Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant
I often get the question, “Is (fill in the blank) real?”
I can understand my daughter’s confusion. After all, “It’s not real” is the first thing we as parents say when our children see something scary or unsettling that easily can be explained away.
I don’t like lying to my daughter, but sometimes I’m not the most truthful, and am hopeful that some of our most favorite traditions of incorporating whimsical characters into our holiday celebrations stick around for at least a few more years.
When it comes to Halloween and all those things that go bump in the night, however, I’m not always sure how to respond when the question, “Are ghosts real?” gets asked.
The easy answer is “No.” The more accurate answer for me is more like, “I’m not sure.” Imagine saying that to a 6-year-old and watching as her mind starts running wild with ideas of whether a ghost is simply a legless entity covered in a white sheet or something more sinister.
My husband and I tend to have much different views on what’s real and what isn’t. His answer would be “No,” while mine would be, “Maybe.”
It’s not that I believe ghosts are real. It’s more like, I don’t know. My rationale is that there are a lot of things out there we can’t see, but we know are real, and while I have never gathered indisputable proof that ghosts are real,
I’ve known many people who feel they genuinely experienced something otherworldly.
The closest experience I’ve had was years ago when I visited an old jail during a Halloween ghost tour. We had just walked into an area of the jail that was office space of some kind. I kept feeling like someone was behind me, gently stroking my hair. It almost felt as though a soft breeze caught just a few pieces of my hair, yet no windows were open and the heating system in the building was not operating.
I didn’t think much of it, as I took my hand and ran it down the back of my head.
Just a few seconds later, the tour guide mentioned how many women feel a sensation in that room as if someone is playing with their hair.
It was definitely spooky, but hardly evidence of a playful apparition.
A few years back, I went on a ghost hunt with a local paranormal group at an old theater known for its hauntings.
What I found most interesting was the dedication of this group of paranormal investigators.
Some looked for hard evidence that there was some kind of spiritual life after death, while others simply wanted an affirmation for what they had personally experienced. It reminded me that although ghostly movies will fill our TVs this Halloween, there are many people out there who take it seriously – either from a scientific or emotional perspective.
I didn’t see a ghost that night, nor have I ever seen a ghost.
But there’s something intriguing about the unknown, especially during this time of year when at least the idea of spirits becomes more active in our minds.
There’s one thing I do know for sure, however. There’s so much that we don’t know, and that’s OK, because the mystery behind that can rival any thriller movie any day of the year.
Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.