595: Ghosts

Have you ever seen / interacted with what you believe was a ghost or other unseen entity?


Full episode script

It’s not quite October, but that doesn’t mean that celebrations of all things Halloween aren’t ramping up. As a part of that, there’s plenty of talk, once again, about the number of people who may or may not have seen or interacted with something not quite of this realm at some point in their lives.

 

Which, frankly, I find fascinating for the fact that the “oh, wow, REALLY” factor of many of these stories seem to be concentrated in majority white, first-world countries like Sweden, the US, and the UK. Read articles based in Mexico, Thailand, China, or Japan and ghost encounters are basically a foregone conclusion, because culturally ghosts or spirits are a part of the fabric of existence.

 

Meanwhile, an article from The Local in Sweden in 2015 reads, quote:

According to a new survey, the number of Swedes polled who believe in ghosts has increased from 12 to 16 percent since 2008. Meanwhile 37 percent people asked for the study said that they believed in “paranormal phenomena” that could not be explained by science, up from 33 percent seven years ago.

 

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center wrote in 2015, quote:

Nearly one-in-five U.S. adults (18%) say they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey. An even greater share – 29% – say they have felt in touch with someone who has already died.

 

I’m less interested in if a belief is more or less rational, or correlated with (or maybe caused by?) a change in how many believe in other things, at least for this discussion. Instead…


Looking for something to listen to this weekend?

May I suggest Palimpsest, since we’re talking about ghost stories anyway. Personally, I love this podcast, but I’m going to share with you part of what got me listening to it in the first place, even when horror isn’t my particular favorite genre – a selection from Wil Williams’ review of the first season:

Palimpsest isn’t a podcast that will necessarily make you feel afraid if you’re listening to it alone at night. It doesn’t try to make your heart race, though there are moments of unnerving suspense throughout. Palimpsest isn’t a scary story that happens to have a plot: it’s a rich, deep story that uses its genre to tell a truth. It’s a ghost story about being haunted in many ways–a trope that feels tired in most works, but feels correct here. Oftentimes, horror as a metaphor can feel forced or navel-gazing. Here, there’s no sign of that back-patting; the ghost story at its core, when listened with no further analysis, is still deeply rewarding as a narrative.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.