Do you believe in ghosts? Forty-eight percent of Americans do (according to a poll conducted by CBS news around Halloween) as opposed to forty-five percent of respondents who didn’t. The other seven percent evaporated into nothingness when asked, so their answer couldn’t be included. I believe in ghosts — always have. It’s all part and parcel to being Piscean, don’t you know. Being the fish sign, you become accustomed to living in one world while being able to see into the next. Natural examples of this, like the archer fish or “flying” fish, abound. Pisceans live in the world of material things, but are very aware of the world of the spirit. That has some unusual side effects. For instance, you cannot be unaware of the existence of God. There are no Piscean atheists, though there are a fair number of Piscean liars. The close proximity of the spirit world makes a belief in ghosts almost mandatory. Personally, I’ve decided to take the whole belief process one step further and become one. No, really, I am studying the occult to find ways to bind my spirit to this plane after the clay fixture gives out. Once I succeed, my first stop will be the set of that TV show Haunted America. I’m going to give that group of smarmy oddballs a show that will land the producers an Emmy and insure the cast and crew sleep with the lights on for the next year or so. After that, I’m going to find a house to haunt or maybe a car or even a ship — I haven’t really decided. Of course, the first step is to manage a binding of the spirit. St. John did it, but the only thing he manages to haunt is his own gravesite. That’s sort of depressing, being as it is in Turkey, which is number 2,739 on my list of favorite places to be.
Of course, believing in ghosts is nothing special among Christians. Even the disciples believed in them. In Luke 24:36-39, Jesus appears suddenly in the midst of the disciples gathered in Jerusalem and they are afraid, believing him to be a ghost. Interestingly, Jesus does not chide them for being grown men still believing in children’s stories — spooks and haints and things that go bump in the night. Instead, He simply assures them that he’s not a ghost and offers physical proof of the fact. The disciples’ reaction to having a ghost in the room is also interesting, as it seems to be universal. Across time, places, religions, peoples, and cultures, even among cultures who worship ancestors, a constant theme is a strong fear of ghosts. If a people believe in the existence of ghosts, they seem bound to be afraid of them. Even if people don’t believe in them, they still seem to be hard-wired to be afraid. As American religious philosopher Thomas V. Morris put it, “I am perfectly aware that the fear of ghosts is contrary to science, reason, and religion. If I were sentenced to spend a night alone in a graveyard … I would already know that twigs would snap and the wind would moan and there would be half-seen movements in the darkness. And yet, after I had been frog-marched into that graveyard, I would feel the thrill of fear every time one of these things happened.” As much as we are bound together as human beings, throughout the ages and around the world, by things like love and hate, we are also bound by our fear of something that by all accounts is barely even there. A ball of light should not frighten us unless it is attached to an oncoming train; a wisp of mist should only warn of damp air and the possible onset of a cold; yet either of these two things can cause a human being to generate a life-threatening fear, if circumstances are right and they believe it to be a ghost. Even the telling of ghost stories around a campfire can bring an end to chances of sleep for that night, and a ghost story is naught but the stir of imagination.
It has been suggested that the fear of ghosts is connected to the fear of our own deaths. Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they believe in some form of afterlife — a ghost can be proof it didn’t work out for someone in the way they intended (present author excepted.) Coming face to face with a ghost is like meeting your own mortality head on. Most of us don’t like to be reminded that we have an appointment to one day be dead. On that day, every single thing that we have known will change. Talk about being out of your comfort zone! A fortune teller I know stopped using tarot cards for his readings because if the death card came up, people would tend to flip out. Now, in the tarot deck, the death card is a doorway, a transition from what is to what will be. Despite a professed belief in the afterlife, many people view the death card as an evil omen the end of their life is near and give themselves heart failure — a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one.
It’s not true, you know. Not everything will change. Death does not change God’s love for us. Death will not remove the hand of Jesus from our hand.Death may take us, temporarily, from places that are familiar and people that we love, but those people will be with us again and we can become familiar with new places. Death is a transition, a doorway to a wonderful beyond. I may even meet you there one day — after I take care of Haunted America.
~ Kurt Hendrix