October 23, 2010
Kidnappers... from the 23rd Century!
Ghost stories are cool, and also rad. There's no retarded monster with a zipper running up the back. No teeth and claws, again. And no slasher-psycho who walks as fast as a snail with a bad sense of direction, but always gets to your hiding spot before you.
No, ghosts are just dead people who hang around and sometimes fuck shit up. To me, ghosts are the creepiest. They're part of the reason I won't go to Japan. The other part is I'm poor, but ghosts are higher on the list. And still there are (or were, before I stopped watching) a ton of ghost shows on t.v. Ghost Explorers, Ghost Lab, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Fuckers, Get Stoned with Ghosts! and more. I can't understand this. Let's take a look at two relatively recent examples of ghost stories that get shit (scares) done.
1408 by Stephen King. This might not seem fair. King is one of the best known horror writers, after all. Of course he's going to posit that Ghost Any Verb is a bad idea. But, while many of his stories are fun reads, few of them scare in a way that lasts. 1408 does so. The movie isn't bad; but the book. Man, fuck hotels after that story. Fuck them, and the people who work there. And the demon-thing that lives in the thirteenth room (add up the numbers) on the thirteenth floor.
The ghost isn't really a ghost here, but it acts like a haunted house story. Things, like paintings, the radio and phone, even the shower curtain, act weird. That they act at all is cause for concern, but in this case they act as the herald for some unimaginable monster that likes to dine in. On people.
The same is true in our other ghost story, Paranormal Activity. Retarded name? Godawful previews (I thought it was a movie about a movie audience for a while)? Yes to both. But spooky. And the ghost is really a demon, but the usual "things acting as they shouldn't" ghost story goodness is obeyed. It builds the atmosphere necessary to scare in a ghost story, and delivers.
But the point isn't, are these good stories. They are. The point is, with fiction and myth being the only recourse for any beginner ghost-verber, who would want to dedicate the time to do this shit? And who would want to watch them?
There are two possible outcomes to any ghost-verbing. A) Nothing happens. Lot of time is wasted. This, inevitably, is what occurs on the shows. If anything did happen they'd probably cut it, because then there would be proof, making it science, and science is boring. Outcome (B) Something happens. A ghost shows up. Your friend is possessed. Something definite occurs and shit goes down.
Since A is worthless, what about B? Well, fuck B. If there are ghosts, don't talk to them. I have a rule. It is, "Don't talk to dead people, even if you know them" and it has kept me out of trouble so far. If the ghost is friendly, you probably end up with a study that is equally the sad parts of E.T. and Beetle-fuckit. I don't know how to spell the name, and I don't want to look on IMDB. The show with Michael Keaton. Scientists treat the dead folks like they aren't people and find shit out. Cool. Best case scenario.
Worst case: the ghost be hostile. All up in your grill, B. And that, in the long history of fiction and making shit up that are myths, never ends well.
To put it bluntly: there is no good reason to look for ghosts. Don't do it.