Before I start this baby up, I want to be clear on a pair of things. Firstly, I for one am not 100% certain that there’s no such thing as ghosts; I am merely observant enough of the world around me to recognize that there’s a lot of evidence against their existence. Secondly, not everyone who fully believes in the supernatural are like the people I’m talking about in this post. Many are, however. Otherwise I wouldn’t need to create this list of things that, honestly, I just wish they’d understand.
1. Experiences aren’t proof and blindly deciding that things are supernatural doesn’t mean you have a sixth sense
People can bring up “personal experiences” in discussions about ghosts in two different ways. The first way is to outright declare that just because you yourself experienced something, that has to mean that there are supernatural elements in the world and that you have a special ability to detect them. The second way is to make those exact same claims but simultaneously act as if you’re not trying to convince anyone. This happened in the comment section of a link that Cracked posted on Facebook to their article The 20 Most Eerily Convincing Paranormal Videos on YouTube, where some deluded character insisted that, even if the images shown in the article are hilariously easy to fake, she and others like her still have this extraordinary ability to see things that others can’t because they’re things that they “can’t handle”. Here is the comment…
… and here is one of the gifs presented amongst the “eerily convincing ghost sightings”:
Yeah, when “car switching lanes whilst obscured by cloud of swirling snow” gets labeled as “disappearing ghost car” that’s when you know that ghost believers will fall for just about anything. Being too idiotically stubborn about your beliefs to take a closer look at a fucking gif – or do any research that instantly proves you wrong for that matter – isn’t a sign that you have some kind of special power that makes you see dead people. It’s just a sign that you’re easily tricked.
But of course, the girl in the comment section wasn’t trying to persuade anyone. No no, she was just “sharing her experiences”. How nice. It’s too bad experiences don’t prove anything either. For instance, I once knew a guy who took an insane amount of shrooms and experienced the creation of a magical tree-being in the middle of his living room. This doesn’t mean that he temporarily gained the ability to look into an alternate dimension where time and physics operate on a level that man kind could scarcely comprehend. It just means he saw some fucked up shit that wasn’t there.
Now, obviously not everyone who’s ever seen ghosts has done so under the influence of drugs, but there are still a devastating amount of data they refuse to take into account because they either want to believe that (a) grandma’s still out there somewhere or (b) that they have cool powers like that Joel Osment kid. This, of course, brings me to…
2. Your own willingness (or lack thereof) to accept scientific explanations doesn’t determine whether said explanations are accurate or not.
There are several plausible explanations behind the majority of alleged ghost sightings. Being the party-pooping baddie that I am, I of course decided to share a few with our friend Beth over here:
The phenomena mentioned in my comment above are of course only briefly name-dropped, but in an ideal world, this would motivate Beth to take a few minutes off to do a Google search on them and learn new things about the human body. That’s the thing about humans, though. Facts don’t change our minds, at least not when the discussion concerns things we care about, e.g. whether or not we’ll get to see our dead relatives in the hereafter. Therefore, the retort I had to settle for was this:
Fortunately, however, I once tried explaining the way sleep paralysis and infrasound affects a human being’s perception of reality to another person one time, and that person told me in better detail why he refused to listen. It’s because “[he] doesn’t care if scientists put labels on things they don’t understand”. Yeah, apparently science isn’t about researching a subject until you understand it; it’s about making shit up on the fly so that we ruin Christmas for everyone. Yay!
*sigh* Look, buddy, I’m sorry, but that’s not how science works. Science isn’t a fucking guessing game. It’s not just putting “labels” on things that you can’t explain. It’s spending a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what a thing is and then reaching a conclusion when the data is sufficient.
But why would anyone reject something that so many evolved minds are in agreement of? Easy. It’s because…
3. People see what they want to see
When I pointed out to Mr. “Science Puts Labels On Things” that his experiences could easily just have been hallucinations brought on by either of the things I’ve already mentioned, he also insisted that he can differentiate between stuff that’s happening in real life and stuff that’s in his own head. Cool, except not only can some hallucinations be more vivid than others, much like how dreams will differ in how real they feel whilst you’re having them, but we’re also forgetting that when you want to think that ghosts are real, you’re more likely to blame moving doors or weird noises in your house on them as well because of course you would.
Now, could it possibly be that those noises are caused by something else? Yes, but who cares? If you say it’s ghosts, sure, it’s frickin’ ghosts! Alright!
But okay, let’s pretend for a second that I’m not at all familiar with these things. Let’s pretend for a while that I haven’t mentioned any explanations for ghost sightings so that we can start over. It’s time to address the fact that…
4. You don’t actually know what the burden of proof means
This is something people should have learned by now but I guess this is another one of those things they use their powers of “do not want” on in order to avoid seeing things they don’t wanna see for a change. Many Christians have had an equally difficult time understanding it and I suppose people who insist upon the existence of spectres aren’t too different.
Time for another story from my past. In high school I told a friend – one that’s dangerously desperate about wanting ghosts to be real, mind you – that I don’t think they are. Her response was the ever-so classic “What’s your proof?” and the details of the lecture I commenced I’ll leave to the imagination of my readers.
The thing is, though, it’s better to ask that person what evidence they have, because the thing about the burden of proof is that it lies on the person that makes the claim, especially if it’s as extraordinary a claim as “dead people walk the Earth and only some of us can speak to them”. Asking me to prove that ghosts aren’t real is like asking someone “Hey Einstein, prove that I can’t fly!” If you’re not gonna prove to us that you can fly, what’s the point? I can’t prove that invisible unicorns don’t exist. That doesn’t mean they fucking do!
You don’t need proof to reject a claim. You only need proof to counterargue a claim and that’s why the Internet has skeptic dickwads like me. Speaking of which…
5. The “science” that you try to counter skeptics with is bullshit
Paranormal investigators, some of which you might see on your local broadcasting network at 10 tonight, are at least attempting to use science as a means of convincing people that ghosts and hauntings are a thing. It’s a shame they spend so much of their valuable time mistaking illuminated dust grains and insects for footage of ghosts, overreacting to random sounds, and trying to find electromagnetic fields everywhere.
Did you just find an electromagnetic field with your cool little thingy-ma-jig? Well shit, congratulations, you proved that there’s an electromagnetic field there. What’s the connection? This isn’t any more convincing than someone finding a spot of burnt grass on their lawn and deducing that it must be the footprint of a demon. Electromagnetism is a thing that exists. What do ghosts have to do with it? And why do you keep replaying the enhanced audio of a creaking sewer pipe that vaguely sounds like a little girl saying “help”? Why are you doing this?
6. People are just fooling you to make money
Yeah, that would be the reason why, wouldn’t it? Let’s face it, guys. People use the word “haunted” to get more people to visit certain locations. The only reason there are museums for cursed objects like the Annabelle doll or Robert, is because advertising a museum with a dark and supernatural backstory has a much cooler ring to it than advertising a normal museum. Don’t you think I wanted to travel far across the seas just to go see the eyes of the possessed Robert doll move when I first heard the story as a kid? You bet your superstitious arse I did!
It’s a perfectly common tourist attraction gimmick. I mean, just a few miles from where I live lies the island of Ängsö, upon which stands a castle that has many a spooky tale tied to it. I used to sail there in the summer with my brothers and grandparents when my grandfather still had his sailing boat. Did other people come to see the castle as well? Of course! Because who wants to go look at a boring old castle when it sounds much more awesome to go visit a boring old castle that has cursed objects, photoshopped images of ghosts and a more cheap version of the Ouija board inside it? Cha-ching.
Well, I think I’m just about done here. Now I’m just gonna go and try to figure out why I didn’t upload this closer to Halloween. I mean, it’s basically Christmas now, isn’t it?
That’s it for now. Until next time, always know where your towel is. Oh, and belatedly:
† H a p p y H a l l o w e e n †