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Ghosts and their questioned existence

By Cristina Paolozzi, October 31 2019—

I love Halloween. It’s the best time of year for all kinds of different activities — pumpkin harvesting, dressing up (but not too enthusiastically) and dabbling in the supernatural. Except for that I have no desire or eagerness in connecting with my long-lost kin through a beat-up Ouija Board your roommate got from a dumpster. However, with my recent descent into the wavering world of astrology (please just download the Co—Star app and come up to the Gauntlet office and ask, it is far too long of an anecdote to include here), ghosts and figures that are beyond this realm have piqued my Halloween interest. The question of their presence, if they in fact have some kind of control in the earthly domain of the living, the ways in which to contact them and the ability to seek them out through “trained professionals” have kept me up at night in more ways than one. 

My fascination with ghosts — or to suggest that I am at all fascinated in their existence — is a conflicting topic for me to engage in. My curiosity gets the better of me in many situations, especially when I learn that one of my friends has watched the latest horror movie and I’m dying to know the plot, or when another episode of Buzzfeed: Unsolved pops up in my suggested videos queue on YouTube. Those guys create the perfect blend of comedy and actual spook that it’s a struggle not to click on the next one. But the problem I face constantly when discussing this topic is whether or not to even acknowledge that ghosts are real. I hesitate to say whether or not they are real, and if I declare that they aren’t, it is I who will face the brunt of haunted happenings. 

I don’t wish to interact with ghosts, and yet I am constantly curious of their questioned existence. Is there potentially a way in which I may know the secrets of the other world, but merely as an observer? I don’t wish to meddle, just to learn. Like a spiritual lecture hall, merely there to take notes. This leads me to the phenomenon known exclusively as apophenia, which is the tendency to mistake patterns where there are none. It is essentially when you start to connect images, numbers, sounds or any other coincidence that can only ever be described as a coincidence together to suggest and to verify some sort of supernatural activity. I don’t think this is something I struggle with, but it is a little reassuring to know that others may also be just as paranoid as I am regarding the paranormal. 

So, while Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, I sometimes find it difficult to celebrate. I don’t want to be a wuss and completely reject the idea of stepping into a haunted house, to hear ghost stories or watch a scary movie just because I scare easily. But I also don’t want to sound crazy and start raving about the occult and how it’s dangerous to call upon unknown spirits. I hope you see my conundrum here. Perhaps this year I’ll finally get over my fear of ghosts and start calling them out by name in an abandoned graveyard, taunting them to prove their existence. Who’s to say — maybe next year I’ll be able to follow up with a ghost sighting of my own.  

This article is part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet‘s editorial board.

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