Friday, September 21, 2007

The Discovery of Ghosts

Was it the Victorians who discovered ghosts? Certainly, they went in for the supernatural in a big way with all those seances and ectoplasm. What did ghosts do before the Victorians found them?

I suppose they were around before then: Banquo's ghost in Macbeth, for example. But I think ghosts kept a fairly low profile until the nineteenth century, when they started manifesting themselves and knocking on tables all over the place.

But, since then, ghosts haven't really done much, have they? The thing is, when we discover other things, such as radio waves or electricity or non-stick surfaces or North Sea gas, hey presto! We do all sorts of things with them and suddenly there are television sets and microwaves and mobile phones everywhere.

It's not been like that with ghosts, has it? We haven't really moved on with them. You'd think by now they'd be presenting television history programmes or solving murder mysteries. Stephen suggests that in the event of your murder, there should be a law that you have to come back and explain it to the police to save a lot of police time and taxpayers' money.

But no - we're still at the tapping-out-the-message, cold-feeling-in-the-room, mysterious-light-upstairs stage. Oh come on - what kind of progress is that in a hundred and fifty years?

Wouldn't you think that, by now, if there were any ghosts, we'd have proved it? I don't mean proved it to those people who think that any old medium doing that "is there anyone here who knows anyone called Doris?" thing is scientific proof.

I mean proper scientific proof. Repeatable every time. Plug in your ghost-detector and any ghost goes WOOOOO HERE I AM before walking through the wall towards you.

So, what if there never were any ghosts? What if it's all in our imagination and instinct for self-preservation, dating from millennia ago when, if you did leave the safety of your cave and go off somewhere in the dark, something might get you?

If there might not be any ghosts, therefore, would I stay all night in the spooky castle or in the graveyard?

Well, no, of course not, I'd be terrified. But you've got to admit it's a theory.


Blogger Diz said...

Maybe ghosts are exhibiting toddler behaviour. Take a toddler for his 2 year assessment, and he will totally refuse to speak, stand on one leg, or otherwise prove his abilities to the health visitor.
Also seems a bit like the teenage SHAN'T syndrome.

11:55 pm  
Blogger John said...

unless of course we are all ghosts and are just catching glimpses of the real world

10:39 am  

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