6 Bizarre Things Ghost Stories Tell Us About The Afterlife
Is it just me, or is it weird that in America, we have a tradition wherein we take children out in the woods, start a fire, and then tell them that supernatural beings exist and are hunting children just like them? "Boooo, why are you crying?" I've never read a thing about the afterlife that made total sense to me, but the picture of life after death stitched together by ghost stories is definitely the strangest. I feel like the rules for ghosts are all over the place, and even the things that are constant are confusing. So gather round, children, for a tale that makes no sense!
Ghosts Don't Get To Pick Where They Haunt
Think of a few examples of places that are typically said to be haunted: abandoned hospitals, old churches, the basements of spooky houses, Cracker Barrels, etc. Now think of places you would enjoy being for all of eternity. "Not in a musty basement" is the first thing that pops into my head.
I don't care how depraved you are, nobody wants to hang around a graveyard forever. Even if all you want is to be a creep and murder people, wouldn't you at least pick a location with maximum foot traffic for victim options? Murderous ghosts should be haunting a mall in Paramus, New Jersey if they're going for a gross number of people spooked. I guess if we're talking scare quality over scare quantity, a spooky location can make sense. But most ghosts just spook through creepy whispers and slamming doors. You can do that shit most anywhere.
Haunting an abandoned psych ward has got to be 99 percent sitting around waiting for someone to show up so you can murder them. Even when someone does show up to your rotting murder barn, they're obviously not very smart. The smart people stay away from creepy locations. Do ghosts not like to be challenged these days? Just once, I would love to meet a ghost who's looking for an intelligent, funny, charismatic woman to murder. A ghost who loves the outdoors, but doesn't mind staying in and watching Netflix. A ghost who ... oh, sorry.
Also, if all ghosts got to pick where they haunt, the front row of Beyonce concerts would be the most haunted place in the world. Hawaii would be an uninhabitable nightmare island, and you could never get a good parking spot at Costco because all of the ghost cars would be haunting the best spots. So I guess ghost locations are assigned by lottery drawings. Some get Waikiki, and others get the ass crack of a broken Chuck E. Cheese's animatronic.
You're Incapable Of Emotional Growth After Death
This is the spooky thing that haunts me the most about ghosts: Why do the creepy little children in 1920s sailor suits still want to play with toys? They're 90 years old. Shouldn't they want to play with cigars, or the stock market section of the newspaper, or a Make America Great Again hat? They should be floating around their scary playroom complaining about avocado toast and hip hop, not riding an antique rocking horse.
What about all of those brides who were left at the altar who now haunt in their white wedding dresses? Shouldn't they have figured out their fiances were dicks by now? Can a ghost Stella never get her ghostly groove back? That's the saddest thing I can imagine! What's the spiritual equivalent of taking your girl out for froyo and telling her she was too good for him anyway? I'm sure there are tons of eligible boy ghosts out there just waiting to meet a sweet ghost lady. Or, since it's 2017, they can explore some options which maybe weren't open to them in the 1800s. Maybe those girl ghosts like other girl ghosts. Hey, the nether realm could only benefit from progressiveness.
What about ghosts who lost something before they died and are doomed to spend eternity looking for it? I look for my car keys for five minutes before I decide that they're gone forever and I can't leave the house that day. What is it about death that gets people so hung up on things that they will literally spend eternity moaning about them instead of moving on to some other spooky venture? I don't mean to critique the dead, but maybe look into some hobbies. Do ghosts play badminton? Hey, I'm just throwing out ideas.
Being A Good Person Makes You A Terrible Ghost
I feel like the moral of ghost stories is "GO WILD, KIDS, as the more people you murder now, the more superpowers you get in the afterlife." They posit a universe wherein bad people are rewarded for being terrible during their lives by Pokemoning into superpowered indestructible monsters. Meanwhile, good people can accomplish dick as ghosts. For a serial killer, death is like leveling up in a video game, while for a good person, it's being blindfolded in a windstorm.
Murderous ghosts can appear whenever their name is said three times, or interact with objects in the real world easily, like knives and fire! Good ghosts in ghost stories mostly get to show up in a dream and deliver the world's vaguest warning which only makes sense as you're actively being murdered. "Oh, my aunt's ghost said to 'beware of tubers,' so I always thought I was allergic to potatoes, but now that Nathan Yams is stabbing me to death, everything makes sense!"
If a good ghost isn't being used to warn someone about a bad ghost or person entering their life, they're presented as a victim whose spirit is being held hostage by a bad ghost. Either that or they're unable to cope with their unfinished business. If you listen to one hundred ghost stories in a row, you can't help but get the impression that good ghosts are totally lame, and if you want to have any fun in the after life, you better start racking up evil points right now. Now excuse me while I go rip a crucial page out of a library book and throw some Skittles at strangers.
You Get One Outfit For Eternity
One of my favorite classic ghost stories is the guy who picks up a pretty girl hitchhiking in a Halloween costume from the '50s, or the '30s, or whatever is about two decades prior to when the story is being told. Today it would be a pretty girl in JNCO jeans who probably won't shut the fuck up about Chumbawamba. Anyway, the girl says she wants to go home, but then she tells the guy to stop at a cemetery and runs out of the car, her pant legs flapping behind her in the wind as she sprints away.
Obviously, this ghost is trying to masquerade as not-a-ghost, so why didn't she update her outfit to a more modern option, like an oversized "Adulting Is Hard" T-Shirt and leggings? I personally assume that anyone I see in a dated outfit is a ghost. It's the safest way to live a phantom-free life. Although I do end up running screaming from perfectly normal people a lot. Also, telling people, "I thought you were a ghost because of your terrible outfit" is not a fantastic way to make friends. Neither is "Your vest makes you look like the deceased. And you have the shoes of a poltergeist."
What are the style rules for the one outfit that we wear forever? When you die, is your first stop in the afterlife a dressing room? If so, why aren't ghosts flashier? I would go full Glinda the Good Witch if I got to pick my ghost outfit. My afterlife would consist of two jobs: spooking people and looking damn good in a Cinderella dress.
I suppose in a lot of cases, it's a whatever you die in that you wear in your forever situation. If that's the case, I'm going to have to make sure I never wear anything uncomfortable for the rest of my life. Imagine being trapped in spanx for all of eternity. No, don't! I don't want this article to be too scary.
There Are No Animal Ghosts
One of the few solid rules about ghosts is that they're created when someone has unfinished business at the time of their death. What unfinished business could a bear possibly have? I'm sure it probably wanted to poop on all of the trees in the forest, but was only able to get to about 40-50 percent of them. Personally, I don't think that's ghost material. Don't @ me.
Are there no animal ghosts because animals are simply a lot more efficient than humans and nothing is ever left undone? They came here to sniff some fire hydrants and ruin some shoes, and they all die happily knowing their goals have been met ten times over. I really hope that's the case. I really hope that dogs go into the afterlife knowing that their mission of inconveniencing the world in the cutest ways possible was completed.
I feel like the lack of ghost stories about animals is proof that animal ghosts don't exist, because I can't think of anything scarier than a ghost shark. Jaws is easy to avoid; you just don't go in water. But if Jaws was a ghost, I would never leave my house. There's no place to hide from Ghost Jaws. Can I trademark Jaws 5: Ghost Jaws? I'm going to consider this my trademark. Oh, they already made a movie named Ghost Shark? Forget Hostel and The Human Centipede, the horror genre has finally gone too far.
I love animals, but a lack of ghost animals is probably a good thing in the long run. Imagine how many ghost bugs there would be in this world if animal ghosts existed. So many spirit spiders would be out for revenge against me. Sorry I didn't let you guys bite me while you were alive. Get over it.
Ghosts Apparently Have Some Kind Of Lifespan
We only ever hear about ghosts from the last 100-150 years or so. How come there aren't any caveman ghosts? Did ghosts only become a thing in the 1800s? I suppose it's plausible that caveman ghosts are out haunting caves, and they're just really confused about where everybody else went.
I wonder if we only see recent ghosts because we can't take ghosts from too long ago seriously. Being haunted by a Roman ghost speaking ancient Latin would probably just be confusing. If I woke up and there was a guy in my bedroom wearing a toga and speaking gibberish at me, I would assume he was a lost drunken frat boy. I'd just put on some Lil Jon, pat his head, and put him to bed.
When ghosts get too old, they probably just get frustrated and go away. "I have to learn English to haunt them? Fuuuuuck that. Do you know how insanely hard that language is to learn? I have literally all the time in the world and I'm not going to do it. I'll happily fade into nothingness now." Or maybe it's all the newfangled technology scarring ghosts off. Snapchat would be terrifying to a caveman ghost. It's a tiny box that distorts our face so we look monstrous, and we love it! Poor caveman ghosts are probably more scared of us than we are of them. Honestly, we should all really be nicer to ghosts. It sounds like a rough afterlife in general.
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You can find plenty of ghost stories that inspired all kinds of assumptions about the afterlife or for some real world supernatural business try Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places and trust any house again!
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