Ghost Story

I like a good ghost story. I like the idea of an eternal “life force” that can survive after a person physically dies. It makes a good story to imagine that the life force can disconnect from a living person and be held prisoner in a bottle, or that it can move through time and space to encounter other insubstantial beings. It is a useful literary device that complicates the plot while maintaining continuity. Without that life force to pull things together, it might become apparent that the author is arbitrarily making stuff up. And of course he or she is indeed making it up, with or without a life force, but the reader doesn’t want to be aware of that. It spoils the story.

Members of most of the religions I am familiar with are in a similar position. They are required by their faith to believe in life forces that can transcend death. They don’t usually call them “ghosts,” preferring the terms “spirit” or “soul,” but it’s the same thing. It sounds more acceptable to say our souls will reunite in heaven than to say that we will all be ghosts together, but there is no real difference. I don’t say this to be flippant; words carry connotations that add important nuances to their meanings. It is understandable that believers use terms that avoid the obvious similarity between formal religion and what they call the occult.

Holy Ghost story?Though I am sure they don’t use that terminology with intent to deceive, they are aware of the connection. When I was a young altar boy, the use of the term “Holy Ghost” was much more prevalent. I remember when the Church switched the phrasing of the sign of the cross to “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” in order to make it sound less spooky. At least that’s how my mom explained it. As far as I know, that was part of a gradual change in terminology, as the Catholic Church tried to modernize language that had become archaic. In other words, yes, it did sound less spooky.

Personally, I like to point out the parallels between traditional and occult religion. I don’t see any significant difference between popular theology and spooky metaphysics. They both have the same amount of evidential support, exactly zero. No matter the source of esoteric spiritual knowledge, no matter how wonderful the descriptions by prophets and mediums of some alternate reality, there is no indication that such a thing exists. If we could verify its existence, we wouldn’t call it “alternate” reality.

Every account of life after death is a ghost story. Every vision of a spiritual heavenly vista is, no doubt, a product of the way the human mind sometimes works, not really different from a dream or a hallucination. I suppose that is how the intricate and mysterious art works of Akiane Kramarik came to be, the result of visions subconsciously generated by her own beautifully talented mind.

supreme sanctuary

Title image credit: beecreativelyou.

2 thoughts on “Ghost Story

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  1. Wasn’t familiar with the artist so thanks for the introduction. A prodigy for sure. I recently became aware of the work of Aron Wiesenfeld. The worlds he creates from his own mind seem so psychically authentic that you are left with the feeling that they must exist. Alternate realities.

    1. She is amazing. I only recently learned of her work, myself. I hadn’t seen Aron Wiesenfeld’s art, either. Beautiful and intriguing. Such talent makes life worth the pain.

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