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The Bright Side: Do you believe in ghosts?

Supernatural phenomena have always fascinated me. I started watching Ghost Hunters when I was twelve, and as a teenager I would find every book I could on the paranormal. To this day, I follow paranormal investigative teams through social media and even embark on my own little ghost-hunting adventures every once in a while.

With October winding down and Halloween on the horizon, I felt like this was a great week to visit the topic of ghosts and why the subject have always intrigued me.

Ghost stories have been around for a really long time. Historians believe that people of the ancient world were firm believers in the fact that a soul survives physical death. The problem arose when those that died (or their souls, for that matter) crossed back over into the realm of the living.

From those days until now, ghosts seem to get a bad rap. The ancient people felt that if someone who had died was seen/experienced on earth after death, something was really wrong. In recent times, we as a have been taught that once you die, that’s it, there is no coming back. So, it’s understandable why seeing someone that has died would cause fear.

My friends and family will tell you that I scare pretty easy, which is funny, given that I have spent a good chunk of my life delving into paranormal research. Why the fascination? I have always liked a good mystery.

The unexplainable – things that occur outside our normal, physical world – is captivating. Think about it: From as far back as humans have been around, people have been doing their research to try and explain the things that they do not understand.

The shape of the Earth was disputed for many years before mathematics proved Pythagoras and other mathematicians right. How do hydrothermal vents survive at the extreme depths of the ocean floor? Marine biologists had to find a way to get down there and figure it out, even if that meant building something to withstand the heat and pressure. Science has allowed us the unique opportunity to explain many different phenomena, because people have been interested enough to want to figure it out.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, you have to admit that the concept of deceased souls interacting with the living is pretty interesting. Far-fetched? Sure. Impossible? I’m not convinced just yet.

But what I do know is that our minds like to play tricks on us.

My friend and coworker turned me onto a podcast earlier this year called “Lore.” The podcast delves into myths, legends and bone-chilling accounts of people that have reported that they encountered something supernatural.

Aaron Mahnke, the host of Lore, spends about 15 minutes in each episode explaining where these myths were first conjured up, and what people have experienced to back up the claims. But how he ends his episodes is what gets me.

Mahnke never alludes to whether or not he believes the tales and stories. Instead, he raises some questions to the audience that are . . . open-ended. Do these myths have merit? Or do humans simply find ways to deal with their own troubles by creating a figment of the imagination, and take it as real.

Are ghosts real, or have humans just found a way to cope with their own demons? What happens when science and mathematics cannot explain something that is supposedly “otherworldly.” I have no doubt the debate will continue on for centuries.

What about you? Do you believe in ghosts?

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at danielle.puleo@thecoastlandtimes.com.

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