Are Ghosts Real?
It’s the job of a fiction author to transport the reader from their grounded reality into a world of fantasy. Sometimes this is a simple leap and sometimes it’s vastly complex. For example, we know they’re far-out concepts like vampires, Vulcans, and zombies. Yet, we still love stories about them and want to relate to them. When we read a fantasy work, our minds disable the obvious logic stating that fantasy characters and situations aren’t real. In some ways, this leap makes an even better story.
What about ghosts? Science is 80% sure there is no basis for ghosts, but there remains that 20%. There have been videos of ghostly images and physical proof of mysterious events. In addition, there are hundreds of personal accounts. In college, I had a ghost walk right past me. I clearly remember the experience and I’m still 100% sure it was a real ghost.
Writers utilize this ghostly concept to the extreme. People die, became ghosts and live a full afterlife. One of my favorite books is “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. This work takes the hypothetical existence of ghosts and transforms them into normal people who are simply dead. They have average lives and go about their daily activities just like the living. Side question. Do ghosts eat ghost food? Do they ghost poop? How does that work?
Is this fair to the reader? Should Neil Gaiman take a more scientific approach? My heart screams no, but my logical mind (very quietly) says yes. Stories like this make us want to believe. My Uncle Al recently passed away. Is he floating around somewhere and yelling at his neighbors to keep their dogs quiet? Is he is subtly helping people with his wisdom and making life better for the living?
I, of course, want to believe Uncle Al is out there, but my logical mind indicates that I shouldn’t. It is fair to taunt myself with this notion? I suppose it’s nice to have hope. I would like to think Uncle Al is there subtly guiding me. I think about his voice often. Is that the real definition of a ghost? The voice in my head? My memories? The pictures I have of him? Should I taunt others by writing about my Uncle Al? Am I taunting you right now with the belief that he is still with us? A good writer should not fear the subjects they choose to write about. With that in mind, I chose to lightly enter the topic of ghosts once. I was sure to include a quasi-logical scientific explanation to let the reader know what was going on in the transformation from person to ghost.
Is it fair to give readers false hope? My logical mind says no, but my heart says that I like to give readers a good story and let them decide what is real. Wow, what a cop out. Does that mean The Graveyard Book isn’t real? Clearly, it’s pure fiction, but nobody can deny that it’s a fantastic story. What about my ghost? I know what I experienced. Therefore, that leaves some middle ground. I suppose I should conclude that ghosts probably aren’t real. However, there is no harm in enjoying a story about them.
Just like a ghost, this blog floated around the issue. Books about ghosts are certainly popular. I think they are real, but I have no proof. Will I become a ghost when I die? Only one way to find out…
You’re the best -Bill
November 07, 2018
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