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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru mattymcg's Avatar
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    Do you believe in ghosts?

    One of the reasons I married my wife is because we believe in a lot of the same stuff. We have similar political beliefs, similar ideas about parenting, and basically we have a lot in common.

    Except this: she believes in ghosts. You know, departed souls that haven't found their resting place, haunted houses. She swears black and blue that a house she rented once was haunted, and she heard the chains clanking in the attic every night. We don't talk about it anymore because it's one of those topics that, if I suggest there might be an alternative explanation, it becomes an argument.

    I think her belief in the supernatural might extend to tarot cards, mediums and all that jazz, but to a lesser degree (I think she knows that stuff is baloney, but it's exciting to think that it might be true, so she doesn't completely rule it out).

    This is bizarre to me. I guess my scientific upbringing (I have an engineering degree) means that my rational, logical brain prevents me from swallowing the possibility that there are invisible souls wandering around that used to be living people but now just hang out in derelict housing, clanking chains and scaring people.

    Of course, having someone close who doesn't believe in absolutely everything the same as you keeps things interesting. And I'm not suggesting that there aren't things in this world that science can't explain. But ghosts? Really?

    What about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Have any first hand chilling tales to tell? I'd love to hear them! I promise to keep an open mind!
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  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I'm pretty open minded matty, I am very science focused and believe there's an explanation to everything but that's not to say I don't have any beliefs. I'm a pagan (by faith), though unlike other people I think that most "supernatural" ideas have something factual or explainable behind them (like the case for vampires... usually a medical condition which results in allergy to sunlight along with other stuff) and that they don't really do any harm (outside of obvious denial).

    For instance: I happen to use tarot cards, not that I think they have any supernatural power behind them but they pose a very interesting method of rationally analysing your own behaviour (in the same sense that ink blot tests do). When I feel I'm too subjectively looking at something and want to make a decision I'll use the tarot cards to "interpret" potential outcomes of decisions (of course how tarot works is you subjectively associate cards with whatever you want to see), that effectively allows me to see where my subconscious mind wants to react and it gives me the time to analyse the choices I make before I make them (almost to the same extent as psychological processing), you would be surprised how "devices" can give you a bit of perspective (forcing you to step back and put your own thoughts and conditioning in check)... though most people would probably find such a use of tarot cards rather strange or crazy!

    As for ghosts... I've no answer in regards to a "soul" or anything beyond what degrades when you bury it, but I tend to focus towards reincarnation (law of energy conservation)... not in the way that you get recycled into a fresh body... but that when you die you become soil nutrients that plants grow from, animals eat the plants, we eat the animals. Or to quote the Lion King "It's the circle of life"... but if someone has proof of ghosts, I'd be happy to see it

  3. #3
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattymcg View Post
    She swears black and blue that a house she rented once was haunted, and she heard the chains clanking in the attic every night.
    Do I believe in an afterlife and that there is more to us than our corporeal forms? Yes

    Do I believe that ghosts live in attics and they trudge around in chains moaning? Hell no

    Someone needs to watch a few less scary movies.

  4. #4
    Keep Moving Forward gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    No.

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    No here too.
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  6. #6
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    I don't believe in ghosts.

    I'd like to categorically say no, but I have heard of situations with clairvoyants etc when they have known things that they couldn't possibly guess or make up.

  7. #7
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    I do believe there is an after life but I do not believe in ghosts.

    If they existed, why do they seem to mope around old houses at 2AM and not be apparent to everyone during the day?

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru mattymcg's Avatar
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    I did fail to mention that my wife has watched a loooooot of horror movies. Her thesis for her BA degree was "Representations of the devil in contemporary film" and focussed on the Witches of Eastwick and The Exorcist, which she watched about 100 times each.

    I wonder if this has influenced her position on the matter. Not that I'd be game to suggest as much!!!

    So no creepy tales, anyone?
    I design beautiful, usable interfaces. Oh, and I wrote a kids' book.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawnmod View Post
    If they existed, why do they seem to mope around old houses at 2AM and not be apparent to everyone during the day?
    What lawnmod said!

    If we're speaking of ghosts then it's also a no from me. On the other hand I am open minded regarding vampires and witchcraft - Not to the point though that a witch could say 5 words and a 50 note appears out of nowhere!

    Andrew Cooper

  10. #10
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    I put ghosts and all other supernatural topics in the entertainment and legend category. Until I actually see some scientific and/or first-hand hard proof, that's where they'll stay.
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  11. #11
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    I don't believe in the sterotypical ghost, eg. Jacob Marley or Ghost Whisperer.
    Also let me say that I consider myself to be a scientist, first and foremost.

    But since I first moved into my present home 16 years ago I've had several first hand experiences that make me wonder.

    When I was first moving in, several times I noticed that the light at the bottom of the cellar stairs was on. I'm not one to not turn off light switches unless I plan on going back again soon. I shrugged it off figuring I must just have missed it, new house and all. But after it happened several times, and only with that one particular light, I started getting a bit creeped out. Even when I made a conscious effort to purposely turn it off and remember doing so, I still later found it on again a few times. Faulty wiring? It stopped happening so I forgot about it.

    I was using the room at the bottom of the stairs for a "music" room where I played my drum set occasionally. Sometimes while getting into it I swore I heard something outside the door (where the light is). I'd stop playing, nothing. OK reverberation rattle, no biggie.

    Then one day while I was going down stairs I mis-stepped. The top stair was missing the aluminum kick protector on it's edge. Not looking exactly at the stairs, my peripheral vision was able to see the edge protectors on the other steps, but as the top one didn't have one, my mind interpreted the top step as being part of the top landing. So when I put my foot down it went further than I expected. Luckily I use hand rails. At that instant an image flashed into my mind. An elderly woman lying in a heap at the bottom of the stairs under the light.

    I've never tried to find out how the past owner of my house died (she was an elderly widow). But I have a feeling I already know. Several days later while taking a short-cut through a cemetary, for some reason I happened to glance at a grave stone. It was her and her husbands.

    I eventually shrugged all this off as coincidence. I am a scientist after all.

  12. #12
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    Nope,this is ridiculous

  13. #13
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattymcg View Post
    So no creepy tales, anyone?
    I think I may at one point have seen something ghostly like... but I shrugged it off as possibly something engineered from a light source reflecting in a certain way. There's enough creepy things in real life for me, don't need to wonder whether Michael Myers is under my bed

  14. #14
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    I believe in Ghost. But if you believe in God, Ghost can not even touch you here.

  15. #15
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattymcg View Post
    So no creepy tales, anyone?
    She needs to watch some more reality based ghost shows, GhostHunters comes immediately to mind.

    You'll see some neat stuff on that, Destination Truth has some creepy stuff on it as well when they are doing paranormal/ghost investigations rather than their cryptozoology ones (although they had some neat Yeti ones in Tibet).

    The creepiest Destination Truth one I ever saw was they went to Eastern Europe to a spot in the middle of these woods where there was a circle where nothing grows and where locals reported apparitions and the such.

    They were taking turns sitting in this circle near a campfire when all of a sudden all you see on the camera is the guy go flying back all of a sudden. They run out to find him and he's like 30 ft away dazed. He said that it felt like someone had grabbed him from behind and flung him backwards, he started to complain about itching and the such and they took off his big winter coat and there were giant scratch marks all over his arms like something had grabbed him and threw him back but his jacket itself was untouched.

    The other interesting thing was the soil samples that they took, several from inside the circle, and several from outside. There were, essentially, identical when tested in the lab so there was no scientific reason why nothing would grow in the circle.

  16. #16
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    I don't believe in anything. No proof - no story. Gimme proof then I won't have to believe it - I'll know it.

    On a side topic, funny how people use the term open-minded in this context. If you believe something, it's hard as heck to change that belief. If you believe in ghosts, chances are no proof against will ever change your mind. Open-minded? I don't think so.
    Saul

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by php_daemon
    funny how people use the term open-minded
    Trying to fill the unforgiving minute
    with sixty seconds' worth of distance run.

    Update on Sitepoint's Migration to Discourse

  18. #18
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    Another tale involving peripheral vision. My house is on the corner of a "T" intersection. Across the street is a defunct church and it's cemetary. Quiet neighbors. One of my hobbies is gardening during the Green half of the year. Some shrubs, perennials, a few annuals, and a few tomatoes. One spring I was out in the yard working in the small garden and out of the corner of my eye saw a short plumpish woman wearing a dress and head shawl walking along a path in the front of the cemetary. Nothing unusual in that, many use it as a sort of "park" to take walks in.

    I instinctively turned my head to get a better look. No one was there. Odd I thought, but I figured it was just my imagination getting the better of me. Several minutes later it happened again. I started getting a bit creeped out and decided if it happed again I would force myself to try and not look directly but continue to look peripherally only. A few minutes later I again saw her, and watched for a while until I had to look ... no one!

    One of the stones near the front has a statue

    so I rationalized that I had seen the statue and somehow added clothing and movement to it. Or that maybe I saw a rippling flag

    even though it wasn't the slightest bit breezy that day.

  19. #19
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by php_daemon View Post
    On a side topic, funny how people use the term open-minded in this context. If you believe something, it's hard as heck to change that belief. If you believe in ghosts, chances are no proof against will ever change your mind. Open-minded? I don't think so.
    I don't believe in "something" I just chose to associate stimuli with conditions until such a time occurs to which there's reasonable scientific evidence to support something else. Essentially, I like to default to a solution until a more grounded one comes to fruition. I might be pagan but you won't see me denying evolution.

  20. #20
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    A simple no will do
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  21. #21
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun(OfTheDead) View Post
    [youtube]
    Thank you!
    Saul

  22. #22
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    I don't believe in "something" I just chose to associate stimuli with conditions until such a time occurs to which there's reasonable scientific evidence to support something else. Essentially, I like to default to a solution until a more grounded one comes to fruition. I might be pagan but you won't see me denying evolution.
    Not sure why you had to explain that, I wasn't saying that about anyone in particular.

    The reason why I said that was because in the past I too was confronted with an argument that "you don't believe it, therefore you're closed-minded". However, on the contrary, I don't believe it but I'm not saying it can't be true, my mind is always open for evidence (unlike those who already believe in something). So saying that I don't believe it but I'm open-minded is redundant.

    Love the video above, I couldn't have ever put it better.
    Saul

  23. #23
    I Love Licorice silver trophybronze trophy Datura's Avatar
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    @ Shaun

    Great reasoning on the video I love the rubbish conclusion
    Ulrike
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  24. #24
    SitePoint Guru mattymcg's Avatar
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    Thanks Mittineague for sharing those experiences!
    I design beautiful, usable interfaces. Oh, and I wrote a kids' book.
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  25. #25
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    This last tale also involves the cemetary. A few years ago there was a full moon that happened to coincide with the Spring Equinox. I had just bought my digital camera and thought I would experiment by taking some pictures of the full moon as it rose in the east. I'm far from being a good photographer but once in a while I get lucky if I take enough shots. I was hoping for a dim scene with a large moon in it, but most of them disappointingly came out like this one, too dark and with a small moon


    While I was taking one of the pictures I felt a sudden chill. I thought nothing of it at the time. March is often chilly at night in New England. When I went home I anxiously checked my new photos to see how they had come out. I was shocked when I saw this one

    That's the one I had taken when I felt the sudden chill. And I hadn't see the "mist" when I took it! After some time I figured it was just one of those things, maybe it was outside of the vision of my left eye and I couldn't see it with my right eye while looking through the view finder for some reason.

    A few years later, my grandmother passed and I inherited some old photo albums. This sparked an interest in my family's history and I did some genealogical research. I learned that some distant relatives (branched about 6 generations ago). had lived in my town and were buried in the cemetary across the street. I decided to see if I could happen upon their graves (not really expecting to find them) and gather more information. But there they were, right where the "mist" photo had been taken which is also the same spot where I had seen "the walking woman".

    So do I believe in ghosts? No. Do I believe there are no ghosts? Again, no.

    I also don't believe that spirits can be summoned from the beyond, but I'm certainly not going to try doing it either.

    Once a college philosophy professor asked the class "How many coincidences does it take before you start seeing a cause - effect relationship?

    I think 1 more similar coincidence will just about convince me.


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