Saturday, January 12, 2013

Phasmaphobia: Fear of Ghosts


I have a decided advantage when it comes to dealing with haunting situations:

1. I grew up from babyhood into young adulthood in a very actively haunted home, so I know the range of activities and see it as a very normal and natural part of our world.
2. I have no belief system that includes the Devil, demons, possession or Evil as an entity. Hence, I never run into them because they are not part of my explanation when things occur.
3. I tend to run towards things and not away from them. I know that new knowledge can bring fear and caution. The first time man saw fire, he probably backed away and grunted in horror, but then realized it was warm, he came closer. My tendency is to believe that "novel" means good, not "novel" means bad, because ultimately it provides knowledge. If I run from something unexpected, I will always wonder "what was that?" and will be angry that I didn't take that amazing opportunity to stay and find out.

I have dealt with people who have developed a serious fear of ghosts including hearing ghost stories, watching scary ghost movies, or even listening to people use the "G" word.

For many, this stems from acceptance of church teachings or cautionary tales told to them by others who claim incredible encounters.  Ignorance is the major reason to fear haunted situations.  We are told all kinds of fantastical attributes to the "spirit" realm that make it seem quite manipulative, maniacal and powerful. If we don't seek encounters, we have no basis from which to form an opinion other than hearsay.

Applying some logic might be helpful. This is kind of what it would be like if ghosts could really harm us -




Every October, people rush to haunted attractions to get a paid-for scare. One thing they know going in is that things will jump out at them, they will be in the dark, they will hear creepy sounds, and yet they know they can't be hurt, so they enter.

What we fear is really all in our heads; the images we conjure up of what a ghost could potentially do to us. In the dark, not knowing what to expect, we imagine them stalking us, we fill our heads with thoughts of something unseen having an advantage over us. We can really make ourselves quite worked up and trigger-happy when any noise occurs or any shadow moves.

We confuse the paranormal with magic and those are two separate things. 

There is nothing magical about the paranormal. It adheres to rules of the physical world. If it didn't, we wouldn't able to see, hear, smell, and be touched by it.  We often lump ghostly phenomena into a "spiritual" realm and therefore it can break all the rules we have to live by; going through walls, living forever, knowing and seeing things we don't have access to, moving objects, and more.

Let's make this simpler and clearer - have you ever set a cup down on a wet counter and it starts to glide away? Perfectly magical looking event, completely explainable as surface water tension.  What we are experiencing is a rare and precious thing and to witness true phenomena is very lucky timing. If you can stop the natural tendency to think it's a threat and observe, it will show you many clues about how it works and what might be causing it.

After all, if we ran every time an acorn fell from a tree instead of inspecting it, we might all be terrified of forests.


2 comments:

  1. I take issue with this ...

    2. I have no belief system that includes the Devil, demons, possession or Evil as an entity. Hence, I never run into them because they are not part of my explanation when things occur.

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, Max. I do believe in you, dear.

      Delete

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