556 – The Council of Erias • 07

556

As a younger man, I experienced several strange events that I was certain had been the result of supernatural… even ghostly… activities. Added to this was the weight of numerous tales from seemingly anyone I asked, recounting stories of their own. How, in the face of all of this anecdotal evidence, could I doubt? In fact, I didn’t.

And then… I got cable.

I’m not sure how many shows there are out there, more than four and probably less than twenty, that each track a different team of intrepid ghost hunters across the country and even the world to the most haunted sites available, to thrill and excite viewers such as you and I back home. After watching enough of these shows I’m willing to call bullshit on the whole business.

See, I’m thinking that with this many hours of footage shot someone, even by accident, is bound to film something that doesn’t look like a bunch of frat guys playing campfire tricks on their dim-witted and overly coiffed dates. These shows are so ubiquitously horrible, staged, and transparent that they seem to disprove the very concept of the genre… that ghosts are real and can be in any terms quantified.

But I am not quite ready to give up my ghost. I remain skeptical even to my own skepticism. So tell me your tales. Have you seen a ghost? Everyone has a chilling tale, what’s yours?

38 Responses to 556 – The Council of Erias • 07

  1. Other than doors slamming when no one else is home and there are no open windows/doors to let wind in, I used to see a silhouette of a man outside my window in my first house growing up.

    I’ve heard lots of stories of ghost sightings and I’m told its my grandfather, who died before I was born.
    Apparently his old rocking chair still rocks by itself even after being moved out into the barn.

  2. for a few weeks one year, the tv started turning itself on in the night, and the back door of the house would be wide open when i got up. now, i’m obsessive-compulsive about doors, so i always, always lock the door, turn the key sidwways so it can’t be pushed out by anyone outside, check the door’s really locked, try to force it to make sure it can’t come unlocked, check it again to make sure that by forcing the handle i didn’t break it so it will now be able to come unlocked, then go check the front door the same way, then check the back door again on my way to bed. so there’s no way i could have left the door unlocked, let alone actually open. the tv, i was willing to put down to a faulty switch, or the cat sitting on the remote in the chair. but the door opening itself, i did start to wonder if i was wrong and poltergeist were real not just the title of a pretty good film, heh.
    but it stopped again, and had never happened since, so i’ve never bothered to do anything about it or become a believer, but that did make me think, perhaps… for a little while

    • The tv thing happened to me too. Surprisingly, I was able to banish the poltergeist by the relatively simple procedure of changing the batteries in the remote.

    • I have a pretty good memory of what objects I’ve left where, and doors/windows that are open/closed.

      I know my sister’s door was open about half way, and I was sitting on the couch in the living room watching tv and eating pop-tarts when I heard this huge SLAM (like a football player ran full-force into the door) and I about jumped out of my skin. I looked down the hallway and it was shut.

      I even checked all the windows and doors around to make sure none of them were open. We had no pets at that time either. I’d really love to know just what happened that day.

      *oops replied to the wrong comment

  3. I consider myself an optimistic skeptic. This applies to ghosts, cryptozology, aliens, etc. I would like to think there are ghosts (et. al.) but have yet to see enough convincing proof. And given today’s level of special effects, it’s becoming more and more necessary for that evidence to be witnessed first-hand. I can’t say for sure that I’ve experienced anything involving ghosts (or not), but I have had various experiences that can’t be quickly dismissed as wind | faulty equipment | etc. Had I investigated further, I might have found a rational explaination for the events, but either deemed it not important enough at the time or the events moved on quickly enough that investigation was difficult.

  4. No, never. *shrug* Of course, True Believers in the occult would say it’s because I’m a closed-minded materialist, scientist, atheist, cynic and sceptic unwilling to believe in the supernatural. Which isn’t completely true. There’s enough of a romanticist in me, a stealth dualist that wishes to believe in the existance of a soul existing independant of the brain, some part of me that would be intrigued and slightly horrified to really witness something that does prove the existance of something beyond the Cold Equations (bonus points to anyone who understands that reference). I mean, otherwise I wouldn’t be a fan of fantasy and science fiction, wouldn’t I?

    As a child, I used to be afraid of something living in the cellar or under the bed even though I know rationally there wasn’t anything there. I love a good ghost story. But I know far too much about the tricks of the trade of illusionists; about neuroscience and the way our brain finds patterns even if there are none; about how activity in the temporal lobes of the brain can lead to mystical experiences which can be artificially triggered; about altered states of consciousness and how they can create hallucinations; about how strong magnetic fields can mess with our brains to create the feeling that someone is standing behind you and touching you; about the history of UFO-mania, and fungi that glow in the dark…. things like that. All too often people confuse “something science cannot explain yet” with “something that will always be inexplicable”. So “ghost hunters” trying to find out what’s behind haunted houses and ghost sightings have my deepest respect. Sum of human knowledge, and all that.

    I consider myself something of an armchair cryptozoologist in that I follow some of the more, let’s say, rational CZ websites… those that collect stories about the giant squid, lakes under the ice of Antarctica, and strange creatures from folklore that may have some grounding in reality. Not aliens, though, unless you count the very real chance that mankind will one day find alien bacteria on Mars and under the surface of the ice moon Europa.

    Of course, if we found out that supernatural creatures really existed, I’d be among the Technocracy ghostbusters, kicking vampire butt. 😈
    “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
    – attributed to G. K. Chesterton

    • It’s often said that ghost only appear to two kinds of people – those who believe in them and those who don’t. If so, your “I’ll reserve judgement,” attitude means you’ll never see one.

    • Yes, something that bothers me a lot is how people, upon witnessing something, will attribute it to their own beliefs without even trying to find what it is really, and claim it as proof of his beliefs veracity
      For exemple, if someone sees a flying, glowing figure, he’ll say “I saw an angel!!”, without even considering the fact that it could be a ghost, and alien, a tumor in his brain, a sighting from a parallel dimension, or drugs.

  5. I am an arch-sceptic, I am absolutely convinced that there is no such thing as ghosts, aliens, gods, fairies, monsters, angels, demons, mermaids, unicorns, ESP, psychic powers, life after death, the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

    I’m willing to consider the evidence on yetis and sasquatch.

    Of course people love to point out that my absolute fervent certainty that I am correct merely because of the absence of any firm evidence is absolutely equivalent to their enthusiastic advocacy of all things supernatural despite the absence of any firm evidence. And while they can never ever be proved wrong, it just takes one single discovery for my entire belief system to be instantly shattered. Yet I am still significantly more confident that I am right and every day that goes by without that world-changing discovery strengthens my cause. Because I’m right.

    • It’s interesting to me that folks are willing to create modes of logical thought and criticism that they will apply to every aspect of the world around them except the one that is most obviously false.

      But I’m not talking about religion today.
      😉

    • While I’m fine with your viewpoint, I question your use of the term ‘sceptic’.
      A skeptic doubts. Yes, we doubt the supernatural exists, but we also doubt it does not exist.
      Ghosts exist? Fine, prove it. Ghost can not possibally exist? Fine, prove it. A skeptic is equally open to all possibilities until given acceptable evidence to the contrary.

      • A “sceptic” is a skeptical person who lives in the sewers. Duh.

        (Probably because of some disease or virus that gives them superpowers but makes their skin catch flame when exposed to sunlight.)

      • So (by your interpretation) if there is a continuum of scepticism, you have people at one end who are only slightly sceptical (they have almost no doubts at all) and people at the other end who are extremely sceptical (they have so many doubts that they don’t know what they believe). I’m sorry, that’s just too counter-intuitive for me, I’m going to stick with my interpretation, and continue to label myself very, very sceptical indeed!

        I think science (or do you Americans call it skience?) has done pretty much all it can to prove ghosts cannot possibly exist. It can measure the decrease in neural activity until neural death, it can account for every molecule of matter in the body. If ghosts did exist, the energy and matter creating the phenomenon can have no connection at all to deceased humans.

        We can place all kinds of sophisticated measuring devices in supposedly haunted places that are capable of picking up any phenomenon that is not inside someone’s imagination. As KP says, there are legions of almost-serious scientists and tv production companies scouring the spookiest places on the planet for firm evidence. And there is none. So I don’t know where the room for doubt is.

        Science cannot measure the soul, of course, because the soul is and abstract (arguably imaginary) cultural construct. It does not exist in the physical world, you cannot see it, hear it, feel it, and it cannot manifest itself. (except in certain Van Morrison records.)

      • Checking several dictionaries, I find:
        1) “Skeptic” is an older spelling still used in North America. The modern British spelling, “sceptic” (which my spell checker tags as an error) derives from French.
        2) “Skepticism” has three basic meanings. First, expressing doubt, which here is idiomatic for disbelief. Second, holding such an attitude. Third, denying the posibility of knowledge, at least in certain cases. Appzarently Noodlebug restricts the term to only the second meaning, while EcchiKitty limits it to the third; neither is fully correct.

  6. For myself, I take an agnostic viewpoint. I believe there is Something Out There. Ghosts, aliens, fey, I don’t know. But I do believe the world is bigger then what mere science can explain.

    For my own experiences, was crashed on a friends floor, woke up to her talking with someone. Mostly asleep, I asked who it was, replied ‘This is Uncle Rod. Uncle Rod, this is my friend, say hi.’ I muttered something unintelligible and went back to sleep. In the moring, friend mentioned how she’d had a vivid dream her Uncle Rod had come to visit her, and she’d introduced us. Problem being that Uncle Rod had died several years previous.
    No, not proof of ghosts, but enough.

    Most of my experience with the Unexplained have to do with UFOs. However, I also live under a flightpath for the local AirForce base, which was one of the testing grounds for Stealth technology, and probally more stuff I havn’t heard about yet.

    • You’d either have to be deeply religious, Republican, or stupid to think that anyone had all the answers. But just because I can’t prove that somewhere beyond Pluto there is not a tiny planetoid made of recycled bike tires and run by mice who are in charge ripening all the universe’s tomatoes does NOT mean that equal billing needs to be given to the notion that it’s true.

      In short, a preposterous idea that cannot be disproven is still a preposterous idea.

  7. Not quite a ghost story, but both myself and my dad knew when his mom died, to the minute, despite not being in the same room–and in my case being hundreds of klicks away. I don’t pretend to know if this is ESP or just us both having strong mental models of my late granny that let us get on a deep level she was keeping herself alive under brain cancer to be able to say goodbye when my dad showed up. I just think I’m somewhat observant and fairly good at predicting the obvious but any number of new-agers tell me I’m psychic on a regular basis.
    As far as belief in ghosts goes, I would agree with the statement that a person who spends a long time in a place can leave a degree of their presence that’s notable when they aren’t there anymore, but ghosts? Bah.

    • This is a good distinction. I do accept that we have a lot to learn about humans and the way they perceive their world. “ESP” is probably some perfectly natural sense that we don’t understand and thus have difficulty measuring. (Our family had a similar experience when my grandfather passed.)

      The idea of ghosts (or souls being rewarded in heaven, or astral projection) blew up for me when I learned that memory and personality is a product of brain chemistry. When you leave your brain behind, you leave those things that define you as an entity as well. Fascinatingly, this dovetails nicely with the Hindu notion of atman and reincarnation… though I’m not talking about religion here.

  8. Well, I have had my share of ESP. I can usually predicts stuff with frightening accuracy, but only shitty stuff 😆 Like, I remember a time when, coming back home, I just knew I was gonna be cried upon in at most 15minutes… And it happened. I was beginning to be scaried by my prediction’s accuracy until I realized this happened every week-end 😆

  9. As far as ghostly encounters go, when I was a kid we lived in a mobile home (read that trailer if you like) in southern Oregon. Anyway one night I’m home alone, mom and dad at work, brother and sister at friends houses, watching tv in the living room and I hear the water come on in the bathroom. I have no idea what caused it, but I had heard that this had happened more than twice already from others in the house. I went in to the bathroom and the sink was on full-blast, to the point where I had to turn the thing 360 degrees several times to get it to shut off. Weirded me out whatever the cause was. Another time I was washing the dishes and dropped the sponge. I saw it fall straight down and even felt it hit my foot. I looked down and it was gone. Simple right? I bounced. So I look around, I look under the stove, I look between the stove and the counter, I look under the fridge (which was across the room from where I was, but worth a look) I look all over the damn kitchen. No sponge. So on a whim I open the cabinet and the damn sponge is sitting inside. Wtf? I have no idea how to explain that a dropped sponge “bounced” into a closed cupboard. But there you go. Those are the weirdest, ghostliest experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t know if that place was haunted or if it just sat on a temporal vortex or something but stuff used to go missing all the time and end up in the strangest places.

  10. You’re right, all those shows are terrible. But consider the source: cable TV. Dan Aykroyd gives a good talk about both ghosts and UFOs and why HIS ghost show got the plug pulled just before going on the air because it showed the good stuff:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfDyWZmMtqg
    Regular people see this stuff all the time. I myself have seen UFOs and possibly shadowpeople, no ghosts. But there seems to be a rule among ghosts that they’re not allowed to flaunt their existence, a la Beetlejuice. One of the best documented ghost sightings is Don Repo, who was responsible for the grounding of several domestic airline flights. The Battle of Los Angeles had a giant UFO show up over L.A., get shot at, and have it’s picture on the front page of the LA Times. I won’t even give a link to the number of excellent ghost videos on youtube. There are even more bad ones.
    All the bad shows and bad videos out there are carefully let through while the good ones are held back, kind of like how rapists get let out of prison while druggies are kept inside until they finally join gangs. The goal is to overrule your common sense and get you to disbelieve your own eyes. Personally, I go by strong evidence. If ghosts are reported by several unrelated witnesses, and UFOs are reported by military pilots, I tend to believe them.

    • Um, this has nothing to do with what you said at all but… Dude, this mini-blog does not like your choice of name. Either that or my browser doesn’t, cause this is the timestamp I see for your post:
      mp 53:9 ta 9002 .41 rebmetpeS (reversed)

      That’s totally ghostly. 😯

  11. Carl Jung (Freud’s apprentice) disserted and experimented thoroughly upon the theory of a collective conscience. He also formulated the notion of Archtypes, symbols so powerful to the human mind that we are instinctively able to relate to them even if we hadn’t previous experience or knowledge of them. Thousands of essays, discussions, thesis and experiments have been performed upon that theory, some to an unbelievably resemblance of a fact.
    What if ESP is actually just another sense we should be able to tap into but just haven’t developed that ability yet? It wouldn’t sound like a crazed idea to me, given all the unexplainable “coincidences” we run into every day, or the multitude of psychics and prophets who have been right to the letter on the most diverse occasions.

    I can’t, by my nature, actually believe something like this until I’ve seen proof of it, but just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In all our knowledge of ourselves and our surroundings we still don’t have a freaking clue what actually happens after we pass away. Think of the reaction we’ve triggered on our environment by changing the world as much as we have since the Industrial Revolution, nothing really disappeared it just got changed. Think of the difference between emptiness and void, we used to believe that if we couldn’t sense something then it was nothing, now we know that there are thousands of atoms and waves all around us and we’re still not sure of what their impact is on us.

    Is there a connection between the deceased and the living? Perhaps.
    Is there an intricate and complex relationship that binds all humanity together in spite of cartesian notions? Possibly.
    I can’t say I believe it until I have felt, sensed and possibly experienced it myself. But just because I haven’t I can’t negate their existence either. 🙄

  12. When I was a kid, about 30 years ago, my little brother and I were exploring the basement at our older brother’s duplex. It was a relatively well lit basement, with all the usual basement stuff, but it had a big wooden door in the wall that made us wonder what was in there. It was a suare door, set a couple feet off the floor, and wasn’t locked. I opened it and discovered that it led into a crawlspace under the house, with a packed dirt floor set at about waist level. It was very dark in there- the light went in a foot or so and just stopped. As we were looking into the darkness, about 15 or 20 feet away- a set of glowing orange eyes suddenly looked up and looked right at us. I knew right away they were not the eyes of an animal- the pupils were round, they were set in front, and were shaped and spaced exactly like human eyes- except that they were glowing bright orange. Then they started moving towards us! It was a slow movement, but it was like someone was coming at us at a fast crawl. We shut the door and started to leave. As we were leaving, I started to wonder, “What was that?”, and went back to take another look. When I opened the door again, the eyes were only about 8 feet away and still coming forward, almost out of the darkness, still looking very human, still looking right at me, and still glowing bright orange. At that point I totally freaked and slammed the door and we left the basement at top speed.
    Now back then, there were no night-vision goggles, and I was very familiar with all kinds of animals- so I’ve never been able to come up with any rational explanation. Maybe a ghost? Vampire? Chupacabra? Some kinda wierd-ass animal I’d never heard of? All I know is it was very chilling, and very real- and my brother saw it too.

  13. Nope.

    I am a man of might and intimidating disposition, of skepticism and action, of contemplation and really angry music. And the ‘supernatural’ would WAY rather pick on some one who’ll get skeered instead of try to dissect it and/or punch its face in. Let me tell you, if you regularly go to sleep blasting albums like Lux Occulta’s “The Mother And The Enemy” or Anata’s “The Conductor’s Departure”, some dinky glowing outline isn’t going to seem very threatening. My dreams are TERRIFYING.

    Come on. “BIGFOOT CAPTURED: punched unconscious by canadian college student” would be an awesome headline.