If you ask me or Dale now if we believe in ghosts, in the supernatural, we probably both would say “no”, even after having terrifying, supernatural visitations.
We don’t “disbelieve” in them either. We can neither deny nor explain what we experienced. It falls into that realm between the real and the unreal, the known and unknown.
Perhaps what we experienced has some as yet to be discovered physical or psychological explanation. Perhaps it was merely the thinning of some mist that lies between this world and another. None of us are fully aware of all the phenomena that take place around us, but some are more sensitive than others to certain aspects of it. Our pets have a heightened sense of smell and hearing. A dolphin’s sense of reality is quite different from ours. And who knows what the bird and the bees might think of the comings and goings of people. Let alone those creatures that live but a few hours or days.
We are not consciously aware of what’s happening in our own bodies most of the time, the blood circulating in our veins, the mitochondria inhabiting our cells, or the atoms spinning through our bodies, comprising its very substance.
So are the ghosts, demons, and other supernatural beings that have haunted humans through the centuries, that make brief appearances and then disappear, “real”? I do not know, and I’m not sure if it even matters. They are real enough to those that experience them, as least while they are experiencing them, and then afterwards, one wonders.
Each of us make but brief ghostly appearances in this world we call real. We apparently spring from nearly nothing–a few multiplying cells, and then disappear into nothing as our bodies disintegrate after a short visitation that can last a few days or a few decades. Are we “real”?
“You know nothing, Jon Snow!” So claims the wilding Ygritte in the Game of Thrones series, a saying that has become a popular catchphrase for fans. And rightly so, I believe. It has the ring of truth about it.
Author George R. R. Martin created a soft-edged, constantly evolving world that surprises and delights and dismays us at every turn. And if we become too comfortable in believing we know who the good guys and bad guys are, or who has power and who is powerless, what is real and what is not real, we are sure have it all turn topsy-turvy in no time at all.
It is a world that feels very much like our own, psychologically, emotionally, if we would only admit it.
Perhaps we are all Jon Snows, grasping to know for certain, what can only be known tentatively at best. And this is true when considering the limits of our own private, personal lives, as it is when considering the Big Questions about Life and Death and Reality.
And I wisely keep mum.
This concludes a Halloween series of true life ghost stories, experienced either by me or by people I trusted. You can read previous posts at the links below.
- True Ghost Stories, Part I – Growing Up in a Haunted House
- True Ghost Stories, Part II – Attack of the Poltergeist
- True Ghost Stories, Part III – When the Dead Refuse to Leave
- True Ghost Stories, Part IV – Resident Evil: In the Belly of the Beast
- True Ghost Stories, Part V – A Demon on My Chest
- True Ghost Stories, Part VI – Evil Incarnate