I ain’t afraid of no con men.

A co-worker of mine had “paranormal investigators” (ghost hunters) over to her apartment this weekend. Supposedly somebody told her that the mill her apartment is in is haunted. She used that excuse to try to explain mysterious goings-on there. Apparently furniture was moving when she was away, such as kitchen chairs moving across the floor several feet. Her television was turning on and off. I unfortunately made the mistake of calling what these “investigators” were: charlatans. My co-worker got on the defensive and tried posing these happenings to me and asked how else could I explain it. The television one was easy: the television set is broken. I have the same problem with mine which is why I had to borrow another one (which is working fine). The chair could have moved because the floor is uneven. I don’t really know that one because she didn’t give me all of the data. I get the feeling that she wouldn’t because it wouldn’t support her hypothesis about ghosts.

She then said something along the lines of “You can rationalize all you want, but…,” implying that she knew better. But why is “rationalize” such a bad word? Granted, to rationalize one does not need to rely on truth. But seeking a rational explanation based on physical reality is a much more desirable solution to metaphysical beliefs that there are no scientific evidence of. Need I go into the reality of ghosts?

Apparently so. At one point during our conversation she said something along the lines that she was surprised that I of all people wouldn’t believe in ghosts. I didn’t respond to this and started to steer the conversation in another direction. It wasn’t work-related and I was starting to get riled up. Besides that, I could tell the conversation was going nowhere anyway. But I couldn’t help but think about it later. What does that mean, me of all people? I have made it very clear what my non-beliefs are. I don’t believe in souls or an afterlife, so why would I believe in ghost stories? What, is it because I wear a lot of black? Is it because I listen to a lot of “creepy” music? I don’t know where she got that from.

Nor have I asked her. As I wrote this I haven’t seen her since the “investigation” so I haven’t been able to ask about it. To be honest I don’t want to. I doubt that she’ll even see this blog. But the point of it was not to pick on one person in particular (you’ll notice I didn’t name her). I just find it a sad example of how easily people will accept these bullshit explanations over any logical ones. I’m sure there’s a lot of research onto the subject as to why. I just offer one small offering: it’s another case of people not wanting to accept what they really are, or at least getting a step closer to it. For some reason we humans are uncomfortable knowing about ourselves. We have a long way to go to be able to learn how our brains work. But the idea of being a series of biochemical reactions disturbs people. They either want to accept the dogmatic idea of “souls” or not think about it. I even find myself uncomfortable when thinking about the subject.

Why? It’s not like it changes anything about myself. I still live my life the same way. I still interact with the outside world the same way. I still perceive of myself the same way. It’s the not the idea of what I am exactly that bothers me. It’s the knowing. I get the feeling that I’m not the only one in this.

So when people face the idea of something being “haunted,” they have chance to reassert the idea of having a “soul.” Is it because they want to reenforce the religion they already believe, or is it because they don’t want to face the reality of their being? Or is it a mixture of both?

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2 thoughts on “I ain’t afraid of no con men.

  1. For the chairs, a tilted floor would be a stretch. More probably it’s that people have a hard time admitting that action and memory of action are not always correlated. The amount of time we do things unconsciously is scary to think about, but forgetting to push in a chair isn’t something people tend to create a new neuronal pathway for. Ghosts move my keys and sunglasses almost every day. Either it’s ghosts or freewill is an illusion. Most folks would rather blame ghosts than to admit the latter.

    1. Oh, it wasn’t that I really believed that the chairs slid. I was trying to illustrate how frustrated I was getting in the conversation. I was also trying to point out that there are any number of silly reasons for it to move that still make more sense than ghosts. By the way, if ghosts do move your keys a lot I recommend doing what I did and getting one of those keyring holders that attach to a belt loop. If I don’t have them bouncing against my leg when I leave the apartment I know something is wrong. That and the ghosts haven’t yet stolen anything off of me.

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