The Common Fascination with Ghosts and My Wonder of Why People are Afraid of Them

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

From Jesus’ disciples thinking that He was a ghost when He walked out on the water to their boat, to the tradition of people gathering around a campfire to hear a ghost story (in which one of the storyteller’s buddies is waiting in the woods to scream at the right cue), ghosts are a classic and preconceived idea.  The thing that gets me about ghosts is this: What are they actually going to do to you?

Yes, ghosts are spooky, creepy, and flat out scary in an old school kind of way.  But I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone in my life that has ever been injured, held hostage, or killed by a ghost.  In every ghost story I’ve ever heard, the worst thing about seeing a ghost is… well, seeing a ghost.  Even if ghosts existed, it’s no more threatening than paying $8 to go to a “spook house” and getting frightened for two seconds because a guy in a hockey mask jumps out at me with a plastic machete.  He can’t touch me, or hurt me.  At best, he’s just there for dramatic effect.

The fact that if ghosts existed they’re harmless is made obvious through the term itself “ghost stories”.  They’re stories.  Fiction.  They often involve a person who suffered a strange death in a house or in a field decades or centuries ago who can still be seen or heard on the right night.  Or like in the bed-and-breakfast where my wife and I stayed at out in Salem, Massachusetts, in which previous guests wrote in the sign-in book that they heard footsteps at night and heard the doorknob being jiggled.  Still though, even if that were true, I’m still here today telling the story.

A natural defensive response to this is someone telling me a “demon story”, which is totally different.  The movie Paranormal Activity is about a demon-possessed girl, not a ghost.  That’s part of the reason it’s so popular and so scary.  There’s a major difference between ghosts and demons, and a lot of people don’t realize that.  A ghost (or apparition) is the appearance of a person who has already lived and died.  A demon is an evil spirit which may inhabit a living person or animal.  (Surely a quick search on YouTube by typing in “actual exorcism” or “demon possessed person in Africa” is at least a little convincing.)

The New Testament is full of situations where people were possessed by a demon, so Jesus or His disciples casted the evil spirit out.  In particular, there was that one time where Jesus cast a multitude of demons out of a man into a herd of pigs, which immediately ran to the ocean and drowned themselves.  But even though I am aware of demonic presences in real life, I fully realize that the greatest concern of the satanic force is hinder me in my spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ and to prevent me from building up the Heavenly Kingdom.  Not to possess me.  Because they can’t- I’m already spoken for.

What truly scares me at night?  Being outside in the woods, knowing there could possibly be a mountain lion or a Copperhead snake that sneaks up on me.  (One of my current favorite TV shows is I Shouldn’t Be Alive, which comes on Wednesday nights on Animal Planet- I’m a little bit obsessed.)

A few times throughout my life I have been stuck in a heavy-feeling dream where I felt like something was oppressing me or weighing me down, where I even heard strange, slow motion voices that I can not distinguish. I tried to wake myself up, telling myself it was just a dream.  I tried to speak, but couldn’t.  Until I said, “Jesus! Save me, Jesus!” I immediately woke up to realize that I physically said those words out loud and that those spirits whispering in my ear or whatever they were doing had disappeared.

I take it I’m not a very well liked guy by the dark side of the invisible spiritual world, because never does a day go by where I don’t somehow publicly acknowledge that God is relevant in my life and that He is responsible for something good.  Instead of letting demonic forces trying to threaten my spiritual life, I do my best to live a lifestyle that hinders their mission. Some people are fascinated the possibility of seeing ghosts; I am fascinated by how through my relationship with Jesus Christ, I pose a threat to the wrong side of spiritual warfare.

“You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that- and shudder.” -James 2:19


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Let’s Go to Kentucky

Why, Kentucky, why?

 When my wife and I spend money on ourselves other than for basic needs, it’s pretty much on one thing.  Not cable, not Internet, not sports events, not fancy clothes, not electronics.  What’s left?  Trips.  And what determines where we go?  B&B’s.  Bed and Breakfast’s.

A near cliché phrase is “life is a journey, not a destination”.  And that’s the basic concept of why we go to B&B’s.  Though we love going to Louisville for an easy weekend trip, we knew the Kentucky Derby would be going on, so thanks to some Internet research, my wife found a B&B in a place called Burnside, KY. 

The only reason I recognized the name of the town was because I knew that sideburns derived from General Ambrose Burnside, a Scottish-American who had some of the worst sideburns in the history of the world.  And Burnside, KY was named after the man.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Burnside

We were asked, “But what’s in Burnside, KY?  What’s there to do or see there?”

Our answer: “The B&B.”  That is THE reason.

I have written before about how some go on vacations or mini-vacations to be busy somewhere surrounded by other people, and the rest of us go off somewhere to be left alone, enjoying the quiet and peace (The Opposite of a Beach Bum).  The whole point of going to a B&B is because there is indeed, for the most part, nothing to do. 

Of course I did a Wikipedia search on Burnside, KY before we left (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnside,_Kentucky).  I ended up finding out that right outside of Burnside, in Stearns, there is a 3 hour passenger train ride.  So that ending up being our only adventurous activity.

And for only $18 per person, we didn’t have our standards set as high as the Monorail at Epcot Center.  Instead, it reminded me more of the kind of train ride a person would expect that takes them through a zoo.  A cross between trolley bus and a boat designed for the chute ride at a local amusement park.

Halfway through the 16 mile train ride, we were dropped off for a while at an extinct coal mining town.  We sort of hiked and explored the area, in the pouring rain, for a while.  Checked out the hilarious gift shop.  And passed on getting chili dogs at the concession stand.  Like a standard weird dream.

Back at the Bed and Breakfast (http://eaglesviewbnb.com/breakfast.htm), as it continued to pour and flood outside, we took advantage of the cozy Gatlinburg-esque cabin and cable TV, which to us, was a luxury.  Especially while watching House Hunters on HDTV and Dogs 101 on Animal Planet.

Demographically, most B&B connoisseurs are over the age of 50.  We realize that being under the age of 30 means that we must be middle-aged at heart.  Even our honeymoon two years ago was a series of B&B’s from Maine to Connecticut.  But for us, this is the best way we can spend money on ourselves. Because the way we see it, nothing lasts longer than good memories. 

And even though our memories will eventually begin to fade, that’s why we take plenty of pictures.

This picture has been made anatomically correct, made noticeable when examined closely.

A bridge going over the river that the train travelled along side, and that our B&B overlooked.

I'm gonna throw a hissy fit if I don't get one of these...

Gettin' lucky in Kentucky.

I don't care how much this costs, I'm buying it! Nothing could possibly go wrong...

Hey, how did that bird dress shirt I gave to Grandma end up in this gift shop?