Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ghosts In The Spare Room

Boogeyman and I are having a terrific and spirited debate today over at my book review blog. Who'd think a review of the Costello Memoirs would end in a show of metaphysic aggression? But he did make me think of things other-worldly, and so I present this little tale.

I live in a 3 bedroom house. One of the spare rooms makes me feel odd. From the very first time I went in there, I felt, well, a little uneasy... as if there was something or someone else in there. I didn't feel threatened, just, I dunno, aware of something unseen being in the room with me. The feeling has never dissipated. Likely theory - the first time I went in there, something happened physiologically with me and now my mind and/or body relates that room to how I felt that first time, and thus, like muscle memory, every time I go in there I have the same reaction. But, for the sake of this tale, let me thrown that theory out the window.

Hot German Chick, mentioned in my previous blog, is a new-age freak. We fought and fought over new-age spiritualism. She was all astrology and Tarot and Wiccan and 'it was meant to be' and the 'cosmos' design' and it shat me up the wall.

She lived in that spare room for 4 months last summer. When she first walked in the room, she was in there for no more than five seconds before she stopped in her tracks and said, "Whoa! There's three ghosts that live in here."

"What?" I said.

She stood silent for a bit, then said to me, "It's okay. They are not harmful. They think you are okay, and they are fine with me stayting here. They are angry, but not with you."

If I hadn't have already felt a 'presence' in that room, I would have kicked her out immediately for being a freak. But, as it was, I said to her, "You know, I've always felt like I was being watched in here."

She said, "Yes, whoever comes in here is watched."


Now. Stick with me. The question I ask is not, "Are there ghosts in my spare room?", because I have other questions.

First, what is a ghost? It is a mainstream belief that ghosts, should they exist, are the souls of dead people. Allow me to tweak that theory slightly and call them 'remnants' so as to keep us all happy.

Secondly, and here's my big question, the one that even Hot German Chick coluld not answer properly... "Is a ghost sentient?" That is, does a ghost know that it exists?

I am atheism's number one ticket holder, but yet, conversely, I think there is the remnants of something in my spare room. The fact there is something in there was independantly verified by a Hot German Chick. So what the fuck is it?

Here's my two bob. There is the remnants of something, or someone, in my spare room. My sub-conscious detects it, as does hers. Because we cannot grasp what it is, because it exists on a plane we cannot grasp, my brain translates it into something I can recognise - the feeling of being watched - and something the German recognises... human form.

Voila, ghosts.

I am prepared to say unequivocally that my spare room is haunted by a ghost or ghosts. I am also prepred to say unequivocally that the ghosts do not know they exist, but rather, my own brain conjures them up to let me know that in that room lays the remnants of something or someone or some event that is somehow relevant to or essential to the design and layout and history of the spare room.

I have no proof of this obviously. Boogeyman will potentially use this as a way of saying that I should go easier on the religious, but I don't care about how much I have exposed my arguments against the existence of anything eternal and sentient as being weak.

But I offer this:

* I am moved by some presence in my spare room.

* I am also moved by the full moon casting a ray across the ocean.

* I don't think the moon-ray knows it exists.

* Then why should I be convinced that the ghost in my spare room knows it exists?


Any ghost stories or opinions here?


wari lasi said...

I'm leaving this "certain to be full of bullshit" thread completely alone.


Have at it. Feeling better Pers?

I'm drinking beer at the Ralum Club in Kokopo, which used to be the home of Queen Emma, who my lovely small person is named after. The view is out to the Duke of York Islands with New Ireland in the background. 30 degrees, clear skies. Beautiful.

Cath said...

I have never had a close encounter of the ghostly kind. If I ever feel like someone is watching me - it is because someone usually is. My mother on the other hand likes to delve into the world's of tarots, palm reading and other such kooky mystical things.

Once I bought a car, 2nd hand, and mum insisted on sitting in the driver's seat to feel the "energy". Her conclusion after closing her eyes and performing some sort of laying on of hands ritual..... "Drive carefully".

Yeah thanks Mum.

Fad MD said...

My mum had the 'feeling' once that a person had walked down the hallway and sat on the end of her bed. We all mocked her mercilessly. Then we met up with th previous owners and they said that "Oh yes, that would be the ghost. He's always doing that when it's hot and there's only one person home"

So our ghost was a bit of a stalker type.

I think the real question here is why was hot German chick being shown to the spare room!

patchouligirl said...

I remember bringing up the topic of ghosts once on this site. I think I commented that with so many sightings can there be smoke with no fire? I haven't seen a ghost myself but have had people I know say they have. My husband had one in a house once, a woman who was a previous owner. He heard her knocking in the kitchen - usually if he was swearing, she didn't like it. He went under the house, checked for anything loose but there was nothing. He sold the house to friends who were aware of her. One night our friend was dozing and heard a voice say 'check your baby' she did and the baby was overheated and needed blankets removed. Another time neighbours on both sides of me reckoned they had 'spirits' but I didn't at my house. Someone told me it could be because my house was protected by maybe someone I knew who had died but is watching over me, particularly if they had been a strong kind of personality. My grandmother would be the most likely one and I have her things throughout the house. It isn't by accident that my son sleeps under a quilt she crocheted. If theres some kind of other-worldly spirit protecting us I'm fine with that. If not, its a warm quilt with sentimental value.

Puss In Boots said...

My parents have always said the spirits of their grandparents (my mother's grandfather and my father's grandmother) live in their house. I don't know.

Anyway, my sister claims to have seen the grandmother once. She was arguing with my father (or stepfather, actually) as she usually did, and was probably throwing the usual 'you're not my father' line at him and then ran down the hallway, calling my name. I was in the bathroom and asked what she wanted, but there was no answer. I heard her run back down the hallway and then I opened the door and yelled 'what?'. No answer, so I followed her to the lounge room where she was telling my parents she'd seen a woman shaking her finger at her. Bill laughed and told her it was grandma telling her to behave herself and stop acting like such a prat.

My sister is a very sensible and reasonable person. She doesn't go in for all the 'mumbo jumbo' stuff, and is probably the biggest cynic I know. So if she says she saw a lady shaking her finger, I am inclined to believe her.

As to what 'ghosts' actually are, I have no idea. Like PG, I wonder if that many people can be wrong, since so many people have claimed to see them.

Perseus said...

I would like to think that these ghosts you speak of do not know they exist. The thought that my dead grandparents are watching me go to the toilet is a bit weird.

patchouligirl said...

I like the buddhists explanation of different planes of existence, where 'ghosts' would simply fade in and out, not be there all the time and not be conscious of it.

squib said...

I believe in ghosts. I've had a number of weird experiences. I like to think there's a scientific explanation, you know, like other-dimensional freaky stuff

odonata-fire said...

I think there are loads of different plains of existance and enteties watching guiding and interfering with us. I believe just like on this plain some of them might not have a clue what the hell is going on. I also think science is up its own ass when it comes to explaining this stuff. The explanations that are offered are infantile and even when this science does mature it will still be a human perspective, or so we think I reckon most of our inspiration and insights comes from those wispering to us from these other places.
I once read a line which sums it up pretty well for me - try explaining nuclear physics to a cockroach, think about it.
He lives in our world, I will rephrase that, we share the same world but I'd bet my life his perception of this world is veeeery different to our own, and no offence to the cockroach, I doubt he has the capacity to comprehend our human perceptions and level of conscience. Personally, I dont believe that humans have the most highly evolved conciousness and like the cockroaches we don't have the ability to comprehend what is often around us.

eat my shorts said...

Ghosts exist. Some ghosts know they exist and like to fuck around with non-ghosts in their spare time. Why not, right? It's a good way to fill in time. Some ghosts don't know they exist and inadvertently fuck about with non-ghosts, they don't mean to do it.

I don't believe in tarot or any of that kind of bullshit. I'll admit I read my horoscopes, but I'm always disappointed by them. For example, my horoscopes at the moment are talking about how I'm about to make big changes in my life. Well, duh. Months ago I quit my job. Proper horoscopes should have told me about that beforehand. I've always poo-pooed the idea of seances and mediums, and I actually think they're full of shit.

I've got stories and experiences, not particularly spooky except for an incredibly disturbing one that happened a few years ago.

I was renting a place that had been developed less than 10 years ago. It previously was the workshop of an old dude in the community who used to make paper. After he died, they split up the land, and built a house where his workshop used to be. In the lower part of this new build they kept an old tap from the workshop. It wasn't until after I moved out that I found out about any of that.

Anyway, I had a night terror early one morning (I get them a lot, at my parents place I was bashing the wall during one, I didn't know I was doing it until mum came in and woke me up, I thought I was being choked, but just dreaming it, didn't know I was making a noise or doing anything else at all). I woke up and saw a body hanging from the corner of my room. It was jerking up and down. I just thought "well, that's a pretty fucked up dream to have" and eventually went back to sleep.

Went to school the next morning and an ex-student had committed suicide by hanging himself. And, yes. It was when I woke up from my bad dream. It sounds so stupid and I hate myself for saying it, but I think I was being shown that by the spirit of that old dude.

I'm not one of those people who likes telling "spooky" stories, or making shit like that up. That happened. It was weird. I can't explain it. It wasn't the first experience I had with that kind of thing, but it was the worst. I keep thinking I'll realise one day that it's just something retarded that I made up, but it actually happened.

Anonymous said...

I think I made a piss-poor attempt at explaining my thoughts on this type of stuff once before but I'll have another go.

I don't believe in ghosts, fortune-telling, god or an afterlife. Nor do I believe that science can be used to simply deem these things impossible. All science does is give us data based on observation. People then analyse and interpret that data and use it to form conclusions. These conclusions rely on assumptions being made about the factors, both known and unknown, that influenced that data. Science doesn't give us a rule book to the universe, so much as a broad framework of current popular beliefs. These beliefs change over time as observations advance.

Also, some of the theoretical physics that's out there makes ghosts and crap seem positively tame by comparison.

In any event, I sincerely hope that ghosts don't exist. If I died and found out that I had to spend the rest of eternity floating around some bloke's guest-room, I'd be pretty bloody angry too.

patchouligirl said...

I'm not one of those people who likes telling "spooky" stories, or making shit like that up.
Thats the thing - the people I know who claim to have seen ghosts arent either. If my husband says there was a ghost in that house I'm inclined to believe him. The people who bought it from him also say they both saw and heard the ghost. They even spoke to someone who knew the 'ghost' when she was alive and the description fitted - so not only did they know there was a ghost, but they knew who she was.

Other friends of the family - he was some kind of nuclear scientist, she was a JP, lived in a high rise in Woolarah. They say they often encountered the ghost of a nun praying in their kitchen.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Is the ghost of Heath Ledger still haunting your fridge, EMS?

Anonymous said...

Sheesh. I just get done having a good argument with PQ over on his blog, and I'm all like basking in the afterglow having a smoke, and 10 minutes later Perseus is all like, "Can we go again?" and I'm all like, "Sheesh, bitch, what do I look like, some sort of argument machine?" and I turn over and I goes to sleep.

I don't necessarily believe or not believe in ghosts, but I do think that ghosts, along with othwer psychic phenomena like telepathy, telekinesis, various forms of ESP, etc, are good candidates for initial scientific investigation, because they have been part of cultural belief for millenia, and are easier to define and experiment with than metaphysical concepts like God.

RandomGit said...

Does the room have strange geometry? I remember a three level townhouse I lived in with sloped ceilings on the second floor (the floor was squeezed in between the roof and the ground on a hill, so there is no null psace under the roof.

That room always made me feel odd because of the perpetual shadow at the apex of the ceiling and the sudden gradient of it when walking in from the landing, which had a flat ceiling. I tested this by walking in with a cap on then without. With the cap on, I wouldn't notice a difference because I couldn't see the ceiling.

Perseus said...

Nope. It's as square as Boogeyman.

Alex is right, I believe. Well, his entry sums up how I feel / think better than I can say it.

Ghosts exist inasmuch as we allow them to, or perceive them to, but cannot be qualified, ever.

I add to that a surety that like my moonray analogy, they certainly are not aware of their own existance, because they are nothing but projections of ourselves.

Desci said...

I think it's closer to the mark to assume that a 'presence' may not be human. We're organic; when we die I think we just stop (as fun as it is to speculate about past lives, afterlife, etc).

And Pers, I think you were right when you said we translate it to something we can understand - something human, dead, etc.

There's something there, but I'm happy to speculate that it could be anything from a weird subconscious reaction caused by the specific scent of the carpet mixing with the specific secent of the walls, to aliens, why not.

Also, now I'm reconsidering inviting myself up (down?) there for winter.

eat my shorts said...

Is the ghost of Heath Ledger still haunting your fridge, EMS?Nah, he's gone. And he took all the beer with him, the bastard.

Leilani said...

Perseus have you ever been present when someone's died? Because it's pretty obvious that when their life is over that it's just simply over. In my experience there's no feeling of their spirit hanging in the ether.

We'd have to believe that either the ghost leaves the body - then goes visiting somewhere else to hang out with people they may never have known - just because they like the room. Or if the ghost hangs around where the person dies then why aren't the rooms in the palliative care wards lousy with spectres?

homesick said...

The family and I spent a long weekend in a 17th century farmhouse on the Welsh border. We all had our own rooms with many to spare.

One night, when spouse's Merlot induced snoring got too much, I moved into one the spare rooms.

I fell asleep easily but at some stage during the night/early morning I half awake to this feeling that own into the something/someone/some kind of force was pushing my body down on to the bed. It felt so heavy that I couldn't move; as if a heavy mattress was being pushed on top of me. I tried to call out but it came out like a kitten's pathetic cry.

Needless to say to say it scared the hell out of me and I ran back to spouse (who was deep in sleep and couldn't be stirred).

I was too embarressed to mention it at breakfast the next morning. In all honesty, it was real not a dream. I was awake at the time and couldn't see anyone in the room; just this heavy presense pushing me down.

I am still on the fence as to the existence of such entities, and I refuse to agree with the "if you believe in ghosts then you're religious" philosophy. Maybe its just someting to do with spare rooms Pers.

You may now take the piss out of me... I can handle it.

Puss In Boots said...

I've had that before, Homesick. It's called sleep paralysis. I thought it was ghostly too, until a doctor explained it to me.

Perseus said...

I haven't seen someone die Leilani, but I agree / suspect / instictively deduce that there's no soul. As I said, I believe ghosts are a projection of our own selves, but they don't actually exist, like, the moonray.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.