What is it about the paranormal that frightens us, and why are we so afraid of death, dying, and the dead?
I was watching an episode of Ghost Adventures, mostly to laugh at them, when all of a sudden I start hearing bangs and creaks on my end. It sort of startled me, as things had been relatively at ease only moments before. Now, as I have stated in previous posts, my house is haunted and I am used to it. I am not used to, however, going from sudden stillness, to suddenly being surrounded.
The experience did, however, get my mind twisting and turning. What is it that actually frightens us? If we stop and think about it, a ghost is just the memory of our former consciousness trapped in an ethereal like body. I realize it is more complicated than that, but essentially what I am trying to say is…they are people, just with no bodies.
I’ve sat down and mapped it out in my brain, and each one comes back to one common factor: Control–or lack thereof. I’ll explain my thought process here.
Being around the dead (as in corpses) makes a lot of people uncomfortable. I don’t mean the gruesome, morbid decay of flesh, or the horribly mangled bodies…Just… dead people. Like, in a funeral home. The idea of being near a body, touching a body, etc makes a lot of people nervous. I had a good talk with a friend of mine a few nights ago, and she stated the reason for her unease was she couldn’t “feel anything”. There was no life, there was no spark, no soul to animate the flesh. Just a body. Being around the dead acts as a constant reminder of our own humanity. Everyone knows they are going to die, but it is very hard, if not impossible, to imagine simply no longer existing. Because of this, I honestly believe it is one of the biggest reasons why people believe in heaven, hell, reincarnation, etc so strongly. It gives us something to look forward to, our minds can continue onward. But our death is something that we cannot control, and what happens after we die is out of our hands as well.
Watch any show about ghosts, and you’ll see it pretty quickly and easily that people are terrified of them. Why? Because it is part of the “unknown” factor. The idea of someone, or something, being around us that we cannot see is the ultimate paranoia, something that has been embedded in us from the start. To some, having a ghost or spirit around is similar to having someone break into your house. You’ve no idea what they’ve touched, what they’ve seen, what they’ve taken, etc. Our home is our safe spot, our fortress if you will. Others are not supposed to invade our safe zone, and yet, here is this being that floats around without our knowing. What are they watching us doing? What have they seen? What do they know? Not to mention the fact, how can we be sure it is a ghost? What if it is something worse, just pretending to be a ghost? It all leads back to the unknowns, and we cannot control the unknowns.
Even weird people like me get startled sometimes, as I’ve already explained. I find the human body to be a fascinating topic, and I find death and the afterlife to be equally as fascinating. I’m one of those people who wants to learn what is beyond the grave, so to speak.
Do you agree? Is it really as simple as being reminded of our humanity, and losing control of the situation?