If you can’t tell by my attached photo gallery, I absolutely love the horror and supernatural genres of entertainment. Alfred Hitchcock, Vincent Price, George Romero, Quentin Tarantino, Boris Karloff, and Peter Cushing? Cannot get enough. I love the macabre art inspired by all things dark and taboo. Little coffins decorated with favorite movie characters. Crafted earrings with baby squid tentacles in formaldehyde. Scary sculptures and cosplay. These kind of conventions have everything my heart pumps adrenaline for.
But like any genre, there is a certain aspect to horror I completely reject, but many make a business out of claiming it is science. I’m speaking on things like paranormal investigation, aura photography, and psychic readings. And it’s rife throughout a lot of the secular communities, as well. I find this puzzling, and can’t figure out the appeal to my crowd in particular.
And it’s especially hot this time of year with Halloween fast approaching.
It’s funny how I developed an interest in the notion of ghosts and hauntings though, and strangely an ironic source too. I was probably about nine or ten years old, it was Halloween night and a televised séance to contact Harry Houdini was on the television. I don’t remember why I got to see it that night, especially since my parents and I usually spent two hours of Halloween sitting quietly in the dark of our living room as trick or treaters came and went.
Up until I’d watched that Halloween special, I didn’t even know what a séance was. I’d read many books at that point at the library up at the corner of my block, but I’d always favored Martians, Sasquatch, and mythological legends. Ghosts, telekinesis, and dark rituals were new to me, and became a quick addiction for a number of years after. The idea of life after death, even as a wraith, didn’t fascinate me. I was perceiving supernatural phenomena from a more science fiction fantasy point of view.
It was another dimension. One we were still discovering how to manipulate and utilize, and I wanted to know more so I might get there sooner. I often wondered if I might find myself in a situation like Captain Picard in “All Good Things”, but I never did. Fortunately I’d fallen out of love with the idea of escapist fantasy by the time I reached twenty, and dove headlong into just the urban myth section of supernatural lore.
But I am astounded at how taken in many skeptics are when it comes to life after death and ghostly evidence. I realize that atheism only pertains to a god figure, but this fascination with life after death has had me scratching my head for a while. As I walked around the convention hall this past weekend, I realized it was the almost purposely ignorant attitude a number of folks took in order to immerse themselves in occult like role play that was going on all weekend. The evidence was obvious that this was a carnival side-show with not a single shred of solid science. Yet, here were thousands of people handing their money to paranormal experts, ghost hunters, and spiritual psychics. A field of industry that banks on willful ignorance and escapist desires to avoid the finality of death.
I have religious and skeptic friends alike, who cannot get enough of hunting for ghosts, spirit voices on tapes, and images of dead children in Antebellum plantation mirrors. A day before I could have a discussion about the effects of group think, the whole while being agreed with by these same friends, to then have them.... Read