Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Natural Born Skeptics

I am going to continue on in an odd vein of topics today for two reasons. The first is that something rather odd happened the other night. The second is because I always think about weird things when I am stressed, and if you read my post on my upcoming gum surgery then you know I am stressed. So bear with me, posts will probably return to normal next week. Also it is October and Halloween is coming, so what better time for ghost stories right? On with what will most likely be a very long post.

Grant Wilson of TAPS said that a skeptic is a person who hasn't had an experience yet. I think that is true up to a point. I have yet to come across anyone that couldn't tell a story about something they couldn't explain happening to them. Maybe they thought they saw Bigfoot, or a UFO, maybe they saw a ghost, or it was something as simple as knowing something before it happened or having a mental connection with a loved one in a moment of crisis.

Now if you went out into public and put any two people together and told them to tell each other a story of something that happened they couldn't explain it would most likely go something like this:

Person A tells their story with great earnest, giving the details of what happened as accurately as they can. Person B listens politely, but is thinking to themselves how crazy that is and that they had to be mistaken, there is another explanation or they made it up. When person A is done telling their story, Person B tells theirs. They in turn tell their story earnestly with as accurate of details as they can and Person A sits there politely listening thinking that there has to be another explanation, they misunderstood what they saw or they are making it up. Both people know what happened in their own experience, but doubt what the other person is telling them they saw.

I think we are all for the most part natural born skeptics even when something odd has happened to us. I am no different. I am always very skeptical, and yet I have had some odd things happen. Although in all fairness, I am rather skeptical over those too. So the question is, why would this be? Is it a simple notion that everyone else is lying? Probably not. I think it's just that when something odd happens to us that we can't explain we have a hard enough time processing that something outside of our parameters of normalcy and logic is going on, and when someone else tells us a similar story it puts us on that uncomfortable path to realizing that maybe we don't have as much control over our environment and we don't know as much as we think we do. So it's easier for our brains to dismiss the possibility that there are things that simply defy explanation as of yet. People have reported seeing spirits since man has been able to tell stories or write accounts of things down. But yet we like to think we live in an intelligent, scientifically enlightened, civilized world and that superstitions and nonsense are from an age of scientific ignorance.

So on to my story that you most likely won't believe. It's ok though, I have a hard time with it too even though I was there. I have said in the past that I don't really buy into the conventionally accepted concept of ghosts. I have an alternative theory, but it's very long and based on quite a few things, including physics, that I have assimilated so I won't go into it now. That being said, I am about to say something that I have never said aloud. I think my house is "haunted." Even as I type that, my brain is still rejecting that idea.

We moved into this house ten years ago this month. Over time odd things have happened on occasion. I keep dismissing them, despite a few of them being quite solid. The biggest of which was a white puff of smoke, or cloud or vapor...whatever you want to call it rushed out of the bedroom at my head one night when I opened the door to let the dog in to sleep with R. It startled me and I jerked back. The only reason I know for certain it was there and not a figment of my imagination was that the dog saw it too and chased it across the living room, jumping up trying to catch it. I searched for days to try to find a logical explanation for what it was and never found a thing. Was it a ghost? I don't know, I can't make that call. I only saw one other similar thing, and it was dark so I can't be sure I saw it.

A few years later I was making the bed when I distinctly heard a voice at the foot of the bed call the shortened version of R's name. I never use the shortened version, I was home alone, and the windows were closed since it was winter and cold out. I ran right away to look outside and didn't see anyone at all out there that might have said something I would have heard.

Over the years I have caught motion out of the corner of my eye so many times I lost count. But I always chalk that up to tricks of the eye, lighting or imagination. If I don't see something dead on, I can never be sure I really saw it.

I have also seen a picture fly off the mantle. I wouldn't find that unusual except that it was in the second row and the pictures in the first row were left standing upright because it flew over the top of them.

A couple nights ago, I was sitting in the chair down here working on some graphics when it sounded for all the world like someone said something right in my ear. If it had been a real person they would have had to have practically had their lips up to my ear to make it sound like that. I was startled again and spun around in the chair so fast I nearly fell out of it. There wasn't a thing there. I have no idea what was said either. It happened so fast and out of the blue I didn't catch it.

It was at this point, after ten years of odd occurrences, that I decided maybe...just maybe it's time for me to accept that there might be something going on that I just can't explain rationally. I am still not comfortable with that idea, and I am still not sure I really believe it despite having had it happen.

I think my biggest problem with it is that it doesn't make sense in the conventionally accepted idea of ghosts. Why would something want to stay here after they departed the physical realm? Why would something want to scare me? Is that even the intention? If the intention was less sinister...the question still remains why? If something could manifest itself enough to take on a vaporous form or a sound why not just write me a note and say what it wants to say?

I think enough people have had paranormal experiences throughout history that it's safe to say something is going on that cannot be explained with the knowledge that we have, but what is it? That's why I developed my own theory based on things that I understand. Someday, if you really want to know, I will type out my theory.

Maybe it's a simple matter of I don't want there to be anything else living in my house besides us...but despite having seen and heard and lived through some odd things in my life that I can't explain, and having known countless others who have lived through things they couldn't explain...I can't get over being a natural born skeptic.


Kathy-Catnip Studio said...

Kelly, I have experienced something similar in a house I lived in years ago. I said nothing about it for many months, and then one day it came up in conversation - my roommate was experiencing it, too. Time passed, a new roommate, I said nothing, new roommate brings it up after several months of weirdness (apparently whatever it was didn't like him very much). I, too, am a skeptic, and yet...

Carmen said...

Oh see now I'm the total opposite. I believe in EVERYTHING (except religion) until you can prove to me otherwise. I don't doubt this house is haunted, to many things have happened but it's not malicious whatever it is - just gives you goosebumps and raised hairs on the back of your neck every now and then.

Ours is centralised to our hall and stair area. Every now and again you will get hit by a powerful waft of floral scent - could be me? Nope I'm all for the fruity scents not floral. Things go missing for days and then turn up exactly where they are supposed to be, if we put a light bulb in our hall, at least 4 other bulbs in the house will blow - even longlife ones.Not the same ones each time either so now we just don't have a hall light.

Sometimes if I sit in my computer chair with my back to the hall door I get that sensation that someone is behind me, whip around, no-one. Same when you go up the stairs. Same with the seeing things out of the corner of the eye.

I went to a psychic once, there was a psychic fayre in town so we went along. It was weird. She told me EXACTLY where I was having experiences in my house, what was happening etc. She said it was a woman named Ivy who lived there many years ago and just didn't realise she didn't anymore and had to move on. She meant us no harm. It still freaks my eldest daughter but not me so much anymore. If things go missing now I say "a jokes a joke Ivy can I have it back now?" You'd be amazed how often it works :)

I'd love to know your theory btw.

Carmen said...

Oops - bit of a long waffle there, sorry :)

Heather said...

Ok, so here comes what always sounds like 'the crazy' :) (and I apologize for the length!)

My family's history is steeped in Fair Folk legend... it came over from Scotland and Ireland with my ancestors and never left. We leave cream out in a saucer at night, we wear our pajamas inside out on St. Patty's to ward off the Bahn Sidhe, and generally we wear one article of clothing inside out at all times to be immune to Fae glamour.

So... needless to say, when things that most people attribute to ghosts happen, I attribute them to Faeries... unless there is a history to the place that suggests some spirit may want to hang around. (My cousin got her house cheap because the doctor who had lived there killed himself in one of the rooms downstairs... at night, you can hear someone walking from the closet in the master bedroom, down the hall, and down the stairs to the room where he did it... I've always attributed that to sounds of the house settling... otherwise being there alone would be too creepy!)

And now that I sound like a ravin' lunatic... lemme explain :)

What I believe in most are Family Traditions. I am in love with the fact that my Grandfather passed these traditions on to us, carefully telling us the whys and hows of each element, and that they had been passed to him by his parents, and so on and so on.

So many people I talk to today don't seem to have family traditions that extend past their immediate family (like friday night is movie night, or some such)... and it seems like more and more often, kids don't even know where their ancestors came from. I think that's a bit sad. I'm fascinated by my family tree... the good AND the bad that can be found in it.

I BELIEVE in the tradition, even if I can allow myself some skepticism about the truth of those beliefs.

I do have to say though, I did have an experience that scared the CRUD out of me... and I honestly don't know what to make of it.

I was sitting at home watching a VHS of a fairly depressing movie (it was probably written by that danged Nicholas Sparks...) when all of a sudden my TV switched to static and a high pitched laughter (not something that *could have been* laughter, but honest laughter) started blaring from the screen. Totally freaked out, I tried to turn off the VCR, but it wouldn't shut down... so I pulled the plug on it... and the static and laughter kept going, so I pulled the plug on the tv... and the thing kept going for a good 30 seconds before stopping.

A bit unnerved, I went to the bathroom for a moment to calm down, splash some water on my face, etc.

The hall to my bathroom had bookshelves lining it... and the minute I opened the door to leave the bathroom, every book on those shelves that had something to do with faeries (about 5 books total... and they were on shelves on both sides of the hall), fell off the bookshelves to the floor.

This is the only event in my life that I truly am at a loss to explain... mostly because of the very selective nature of the fallen books...

I'm highly skeptical of it... but I still just can't explain it...

I'd love to hear your theory on ghosts.

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