left biblioblography: The Fallible Senses Anecdotes Rely On…

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Fallible Senses Anecdotes Rely On…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

garylarsonghostsGHOST, n. The outward and visible sign of an inward fear. – Ambrose Bierce, the Devil’s Dictionary

Ghosts. They seem to proliferate our culture almost as much as any other supernatural drivel. There are multitudinous movies, cartoons, even (aackk!! GAGGG!!) reality TV shows about bunches of noodleheads claiming these ephemeral myths exist (or trying to prove it – which they fail at, of course).

What follows is one of the stupidest puff pieces ever written.

Horrors that tell me ghosts are alive and well

Swiss scientists who dismiss the supernatural as a trick of the mind are missing something...

Do I believe in ghosts? My reaction is usually a vehement, kneejerk “No, it’s stuff and nonsense” – untiI I remember that I do believe in them, actually.

Right out the gate, this woman abolishes all credibility. Does she often say one thing but believe another? There’s a word for that somewhere….

Not because I want to, but because I have to. I’ve variously been jinxed by French victims of the 100 Years War, haunted in a cursed cottage in Hereford and, briefly, adopted by the ghost of a black Labrador.

Yeesh, another one of these entitled idiots who thinks the alleged spirit world gives a rat’s fart in a whirlwind about the fact she even exists.

I pondered my encounters with apparitions when researchers from Switzerland this week claimed that ghosts are all in the mind.

The author doesn’t even bother referencing this: here is an article for research for the interested reader.

Aside from the fact that the Swiss are not a fanciful race, being instead the sort of nation that built the Large Hadron Collider to play about with sub-atomic particles, I was piqued at the “scientific” revelation that specters don’t exist.

Worst ad hominem ever.

My first paranormal encounter was on a family holiday in Périgord 16 years ago. There were 10 of us in a pretty gîte with a swimming pool, but as soon as we arrived, my two otherwise biddable teenage nieces refused to sleep in their room as it felt “creepy and undead”.

Teenage hormone overload, probably.

Then one sister sprained her knee, after which another went over, painfully, on her ankle. By unspoken agreement nobody ventured into the games room because it was “cold”; a euphemism for marrow-chilling.

Pubescent gawkiness is not proof of anything, except that teenie boppers are clumsy.

One night, my brother-in-law met an old lady in long skirts and a shawl sitting on the stairs, brooding. Sad but resigned, she conveyed that she meant no harm. He was so traumatised, he didn’t tell his wife until we were on the ferry home.

Was she a ghost? This undescriptive paragraph is again, aimless rambling.

I, meanwhile, went on a cycle ride, tumbled off at high speed and was found unconscious, with head injuries and a torn knee joint, by a French couple. I was discharged from hospital some days later, hobbling on crutches.

Apparently, lack of coordination runs in the family.

I returned to thank the couple who rescued me; they explained that their daughter had fallen off her horse at the exact same bend in the road a decade earlier and spent months in a coma.

Means absolutely nothing. Dead French soldiers causing a bicyclist to be injured. Yeah, self-obsess much?

Then they broke the news that our house – and theirs – was on the site of a field hospital in the 100 Years War, which treated wounded French soldiers after an attack by the English so savage as to have caused outrage, even by the grisly standards of the time. Coincidence? It felt more like vengeance.

Again, so fucking what? This is proof of nothing else except the author’s lack of critical thinking, and the usual rampaging narcissism.

Scroll forward 10 years and my husband and I, with our elder daughter, rented a cottage in Herefordshire, complete with thatched roof. It was sweet. It was perfect. It was malign.

That’s enough material for a Lifetime movie (retch!).

Within hours we realised something was wrong. Eight months pregnant, I awoke one morning to find insect bites all over my bump; nowhere else.

Likely a rash. You know how these nutjobs tend to accentuate the mundane to prove their delusions. And at 8 months preggers, she could very well have been projecting her hormone imbalance onto her environment.

As the days went by a dreadful lethargy affected us all: we grew exhausted and depressed. We bed-hopped because we couldn’t sleep. Even the dog was subdued. It took us longer and longer to get up and out; it was as if the house was subsuming us into the very fabric of the building. By the end of a week, I had lost a stone in weight and it was with deep gratitude that we departed.

Shee-it, that could’ve been anything. Chemical spill, a leak, there’s a whole bundle of scientific reasons for this. And not even a reason for why the cottage was ‘haunted’.

Later that same holiday, we headed to North Devon and toured the 11th‑century Chambercombe Manor, one of Britain’s most haunted homes (no, I have no idea why we did that either). There, a man in our group turned white and started yelling: “There’s someone horrible behind me! Take a picture!” We could see nothing. The guide, however, said with studied matter-of-factness: “Yes, I’m afraid there is. And you are right, he’s not a nice character at all. Let’s see if he will go away.”

I have an unfriendly phrase for this: humoring the crazy asshole.

Then I felt a weird shiver down my left leg, and involuntarily rubbed it. “That’s the dog,” said the guide. “Black labrador. Friendly enough, but you must make him stay in the kitchen or else…”

Makes you wonder how many times the guide played this trick on the rubes.

And so, as I remonstrated to thin air “Good dog! Stay! Stay!”, the rest of the party gratefully filed out through the chapel and into the hallway.

Probably rolling their eyes and circling a finger to their temples…

It was freaky, it was impossible, it was real. As we legged it to the car, the poor anguished man was standing in the garden shaking as the guide shrugged: “I’m sorry, yes, he is still with you. It’s very puzzling.”

Guide likely enjoys doing this to the gullible touristas.

For all I know, he could be there still. So I take the appliance of Swiss science with a large pinch of salt, and invite you, dear readers, to share your eldritch stories of harrowing hauntings. Sometimes the inexplicable is all the explanation any of us needs.

For all we know, you’re skipping your meds, lady. The ‘inexplicable’ is for lazy thinkers, people who think a few tailored anecdotes (from someone who freely admits they say one thing but believe another) is counted as ‘evidence’.

Oh, and hey wait! What horrors, exactly? We’re missing some of the key components here: blood soaked walls, the distant wailing, the faces distending from the rubbery walls, the deep tragedies of legendary suicides and/or murders. Stating that the area was the scene of a monstrous tragedy is not the same thing. In fact, if you really think about it, the entire planet is one vast graveyard. Chances are that dozens of folks died on the spot you’re sitting on (or in the near vicinity), but we don’t have squads of spooks marching across the scenes of multi-car pileups on freeways, or even across marches and marshes. It’s stupid to say ghosts exist: no one can even come close to proving there is any such thing as an afterlife. That should occur a posteriori (and a priori, if I had my way).

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