A ghost is a semi-visable apparition of an undead human doomed to linger about the mortal plane until some unfinished business is at long last completed. Generally speaking, the legend goes something like this:
“Old man ______ died here in 1902 and on a moonless night you can still see his ethereal form wandering the halls of this, his decrepid old mansion blah blah blah.”
Spooky! But I have a few questions about the rules pertaining to spiritual manifestations. Zombies, Werewolves, Frankensteins – these monstrosities are scary all the time. Zombies lurch around through abandoned streets, werewolves run around gnarled forests, and Frankensteins lumber around castles avoiding villagers and fire.
But ghost’s primary spooky attribute is its capacity to momentarily startle. You see a tortured face in the bathroom mirror. You turn around and see a transparent man gliding through a darkened hall. You awake to somber moans outside your bedroom window. Oh no! But what comprises the day to day “life” of a ghost? And what rules govern its existence?
My first concern: Is there a waiting period before you can commence being a ghost?
Ideally, a ghost should be a somber old man in a tri-cornered hat or a lady in a Civil War-times dress or a disturbed child who drowned in the town lake back in 1952. If I died I’d just be some jerk listlessly wandering around with an iphone.
“OoOoOoOh does anyone know where my charger is?? OoOoOoOh!!!”
See? Not scary.
As much as I’d love a better excuse to cover myself in bedsheets and lumber around my apartment groaning, I basically do that every Sunday as it is, and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Surely there must be some mechanism in place to prevent contemporaries from haunting one and other. At best I’d just end up haunting my friends, eventually becoming a harmless novelty. At worst I end up some horrible millennial ghoul, always trying to make sure nobody thinks my hauntings are motivated by race or gender.
My second question is this: What happens if you die at a friends house? Or on vacation? A business trip? I guess one of two options are possible.
A – you have to haunt the Ramada Inn outside Denton or whatever for the rest of eternity (and good luck settling your mortal debts from there). Or…
B – there must be some sort of ghost transportation system in place.
And it has to be B, right? Or else hospitals would just be haunted houses. Doctors would never get any work done without poltergeists knocking the cotton balls all over the place, and just try having a pediatric wing not filled with horrified screams 24/7.
No. The only logical conclusion to make here is that ghosts are somehow traveling from point A to point B postmortem.
So, that sort of works in the 1800’s back when people generally died about ten feet from where they were born, but if you get conked on the head while on some voluntourism thing in Haiti, does that mean you have to also haunt a Delta airplane for 9 hours before you can get to apparating around your ex-girlfriend’s place? Or whatever ghost thing it is you need to do?
This brings me to my next query: Is ghostification optional?
This one is personally concerning. If we are tethered the the mortal coil by things left unsaid and undone, well, then I am in big trouble. I have basically made a life of not finishing things. One need look only as far as my microsoft word files to see this with abundant clarity.
If I were to die right now, as it stands, I’d be a ghost in a Modest Mouse t-shirt catching a bus back to Richmond so I can spend an eternity trying to get humor websites to accept some stupid political thing I wrote.
It seems too me a ghost is sort of a shiftless misplaced soul seeking some semblance of meaning or control in a world that is at best dismissive and at worst repulsed by their existence. So basically just an average person.
However! There is one key difference.
Can you really float through walls? Because I guess that would make it worth it.
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