Without the slightest blush of apology I am very fond of ghosts. As with most horror genre items, the vast majority of the stories do fall a bit short, but I will roll the dice each and every time because when they land, there is nothing better than a fantastic ghost story. I was the only kid in 4th whose favorite show was the Ghost and Mrs Muir from 1968 with Hope Lang, and should have been now that I think about it. Shortly after I stayed up way too late one night to watch 1963’s THE INNOCENTS and well… that was it. The noir shadow and light play of these stories, the notional apparitions that were everywhere and nowhere, the inherent mystery to unravel as to what they are and want… I was hooked early.
Ghosts are our oldest fright, as old as we are as a species, and our most intimate and personal. You don;t need to go to a haunted house to find one, they come to you in your homes, into your bedrooms late at night. They hide in your closest under your bed, stand over you while you sleep. They are nowhere and everywhere by nature. Over a hundred billion people have lived and died on this planet, by far outstretching the current number living. Every single persona live right now won’t be in a hundred years. it is what we as a species have been most successful at over any other accomplishments: making a graveyard of our planet. Every culture has them, every society tells tales of them. Ghosts are everywhere and always will be when werewolves, vampires and zombies fade into memory.
Ghosts aren’t just alien monsters or creatures from some forgotten forest… they’re us, we know them, and even if we don;t they want to know us whether we like it or not. They are the remnants of lives echoing around our houses. They can’t physically attack you but they’re somehow more frightening for it, They can be everywhere and always somehow are. Ghost stories are always emotional, they utilize a genre to disguise a story about grief or loss or recovery. They are memory given form, and don’t engage us like any other threat or visiting creature in horror does. ghosts are about communication, connecting and the interaction of them. We battle them by understanding them and victory is a liberation, not a defeat, or some bloody slasher mindless violence. If you overcome them you set yourself free from them and they from us. Interactions with ghosts are partnerships and about sharing. They require meeting your fears so that you can understand them, they challenge and the only actual danger tends to be how you respond to them, whether you surrender to the terror of them or meet it and use it as a means to escape. It’s a vastly under explored area and while I don’t believe we require Halloween to indulge in spooky stories, I delight like crazy at this time of the year for all the obvious reasons. So Happy Halloween out there! Have a great holiday and be sure to check those closets before bed.