Why a Real Ghost Sighting is Irresistible

a real ghost
Optional audio transcript

I mean, seriously. Why do people want to see a real ghost? We run away from everything that isn’t a part of our normal world. If an elephant ran through your town, would you go and chase it? You can say that you would, but you are full of it. It’s an elephant. People are afraid of geese, of strange people, and even spiders.

Yes, I know, some spiders are fearing, but stay with me. Why do you want to see a real ghost? What variety of reasons are there? I am looking forward to telling you.

Ghost hunting is historical

Back in the day, and I mean a few thousand years ago, death was not meant to be the end. To be more specific, it wasn’t meant to be the end of the person’s soul. Their life force. Nearly every culture contained some sort of afterlife where the person could come back.

Some were fearful of this while others celebrated it. Some thought there were no ghosts, like those in Mesopotamia. From Egypt to Scotland, though, there was a form of return that was either good or bad, depending on the culture.

A real ghost reading his own story.
A ghost reading his own story.

Ghost hunting back then was more for allowing the soul to rest rather than ask them a question, then scream and run away when they answer. You don’t go into a place in 2,000 B.C. wondering how the person died from 2,100 B.C. You want them to find their place in the underworld and stay there. Ghost hunting was more spiritual than today.

Curiosity killed a real ghost

Ghost hunting is something I look at often, not because I want to, but because it makes for good entertainment. You see this assortment of groups trying to get a ghost on film. Their equipment is typically the same and they ask the same questions. They also yell when something interesting happens. I would love one day to see a ghost hunting crew just be apathetic about their findings.

In the more haunted areas, like in asylums and prisons, the ghosts would seem to be used to the multitude of folks going in and out. Seeing how many times shows go to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania would make it so that the ghosts would know when a crew comes in. But that leads another question: do ghosts even remember the living like we do them?

There are so many other questions they could ask.

There is a reason why we think ghost

Why do you want to see a real ghost? It could be the answer to an unknown question. If your home doesn’t feel right or if you swore you closed that kitchen drawer while it stays open, you can blame ghosts. Do you want to see one? It would allow the situation to make sense. That is one reason.

Discover Magazine has an idea on why we think ghosts, from Daniel Kahneman’s theory of humanity’s two ways of thinking. There is one, the reaction thought, and the other, a slower process of concluding. Either you forgot to close the drawer, or a ghost opened it in the night to scare you.

You think ghost. You can blame media for the thought if you watch that sort of thing. But do you want to see it?

To prove or not to prove it’s a real ghost

This whole article has many reasons people would want to see a real ghost. Because I feel like it, I’ll give you the psychological explanation. So, Celeste Kidd and Benjamin Y. Hayden1 did a study on the curiosity of, well, curiosity. They speak of Lowenstein’s information gap theory, which states that information will be wanting if a small amount of “base” information is given. If we didn’t know about ghosts, we might not be looking for them.

A real ghost
A real ghost

With the more information given, the more curiosity gained. Easily said. If your drawer is open and you’ve seen a ghost hunting show in your life, you might think ghosts.

Want another reason? Sure, but it is another obvious one. For the 46% of Americans, at least, it is a belief in the paranormal. The reason? There must be something else out there. While there are many things to discover out in space, in the ocean, in our own minds, we go to the paranormal to answer some questions.

Since many paranormal creatures can be nearly 10,000 years old, the paranormal, which includes ghosts, is not short sighted. Humanity has believed in the otherworldly for many millennia.

A real ghost would collapse the wave function

That reason is ultimately one of those two. Either curiosity or belief. Your view of the unknown is trying to figure out the suspect of the opened kitchen drawer. It turns into Schrödinger’s culprit, unknowing what happened until you see it.

How to get to that point is another ordeal entirely, but entirely doable. Why people are so interested in the paranormal will always be a simple reason. It may come with a story, but the base is always going to be one of two ideals. Our complicated minds can typically reduce our reasoning into a few quadrants of explanations.

There is not much else, except if you have your own explanation that cannot be tied into these two reasons. While they are short, they have extensive backgrounds from constant research or historical findings. I would enjoy knowing if there is a third.


[1] Kidd C, Hayden BY. The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity. Neuron. 2015;88(3):449-460. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.010

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