Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead

I believe in ghosts as much as anyone who's never seen or experienced one can. I want them to be real, but I'm not at all certain that they are. I wish they were, though.

I've known lots of people who say they've had experiences, but I normally chalk it up to bullshit. Still, every once in awhile, I'll have a conversation with someone that I've already come to like and trust, and they'll tell me about an experience they've had. I still can't say I believe the stories, but I do believe that they believe them.

I was talking to a friend about this earlier today and it got me thinking about this haunted tour of New Orleans that I went on. It was a walking tour of the city that set out shortly before dark. Our guide was a medium and worked for a company who was contracted to come out and investigate hauntings. She told us stories about working on the shoot for Oliver Stone's JFK and how they had trouble keeping night security staff because they were tormented by a presence.

We walked around the city, and even spent some time in a haunted hotel room and then a lobby that used to be a holding area for incoming slaves. At one point in this former slave holding tank, she asked us to focus, hold our hands out in front of us, and see if we felt anything. I walked around, trying as hard as I could. What I did feel was the heavy atmosphere of the history of that room, but I had no flashes of the past. My arms tingled with lack of blood flow, and when she saw me wiggling my hands she spoke to me and said that she could tell I felt something. I didn't correct her.

For me, it almost doesn't matter if they're real or not though. It's the stories that come with them that's fascinating. It's the horror of life, the sudden unfairness of death, and a soul refusing to accept the natural order of things that draw me in. Like any tale, a hint of truth will enhance it, but it doesn't make or break it for me.

I've been accused of not believing in ghosts because I'm an atheist, and having to accept the existence of ghosts means I would have to redefine my beliefs in other spiritual matters. Again, I call bullshit on that. First, I've never been afraid of my many glaring contradictions, and can't imagine this would be any different. I would have no trouble hanging out with the Ghost of Christmas Past and still saying I don't believe in God. Second, I don't mind being proven wrong from time to time. You show me the face of God, and I'll be the first one to let you know I was fucking up.

Ghost stories are my favorite though. Other supernatural tales are fine. I like zombies, vampires, and werewolves, but when it comes to spookiness and stories that make me look over my shoulder as I'm reading, it's all about the ghosts.

So, if you know where I can find one, holla at your boy. Jen and I are ready for a road trip. But, if we drive all the way out to the middle of nowhere for nothing, you're buying us beer.

1 comment:

Louise said...

I found this really interesting. I have many personal ghost stories as I was brought up with a mother who was extremely phsycic and who has passed some of that 'talent' onto me. I will write a story about one experience on my blog for you this week and see if it can change your mind a little bit more.

By the way, I don't think you have to be relgious in anyway to believe in the existance of ghosts.

Your blog is great and has made me laugh.