What is it about ghosts?

The light of dawn, Michele T. Knight, ©

What is it about ghosts?  I know I’ve written about this topic previously in my blog, however this question came to my mind again when meandering in a city bookstore I came across some children’s books dedicated to the topic. I hadn’t really noticed this genre in children’s literature before, which doesn’t mean it hasn’t always been there of course.  It’s probably more the case that for so long my focus and interest in the afterlife has generally been directed toward an adult audience.   In pondering this, I remembered then how I used to buy R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps books for my son when he was little and then how he too became fascinated by the afterlife.

What is it about ghosts, and by default the afterlife, that fascinates us?  Why are we drawn to accounts of the returning deceased and to the locales they inhabit?  Why do we watch movies and documentaries about hauntings, and mediums, why do we go on ‘ghost hunts’, why do we love telling stories about ghosts and listening to ghostly tales?  What is it that is driving this interest, what is it that is compelling us, that is pulling us toward it?

Is it a sense of connectedness, or reassurance perhaps, that when we die we don’t cease to exist?  Or that those we love don’t cease to exist?  That we, and they, don’t disappear?  And in thinking about death, what then is life, what is our life, for?  What are we ‘to do’?  What are we ‘to be’?  And what are ghosts, the returning deceased, inviting us to consider?  Maybe it’s all those things, maybe it’s none of them, maybe I will never know all the answers, but I do know that this is ‘some-thing’, and surely it’s occurrence testifies to that.

What is it about ghosts?  Well, truth be told, I probably won’t know until I am one.


Michele T Knight Written by:

Dr Michele Knight is a Social Worker, Social Scientist, researcher and independent scholar. Her interest and research in the end-of-life has its origin in the lived experiences of her own bereavements, her near-death and shared-death events, the returning deceased and attitudinal responses to those experiences. Since 2006, she has been extensively involved in community development, support and advocacy in both a professional and community services/voluntary capacity in the areas of bereavement and grief, hospital pastoral care, and academic lecturing/tutoring. Her PhD, Ways of Being: The alchemy of bereavement and communique, explores the lived experience of bereavement, grief, spirituality and unsought encounters with the returning deceased.

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