Have you noticed that Ghosts never seem to play fair? Whatever they are doing, and they do a lot from the looks of it, ghosts always have a hidden agenda.
Take my Grandma, for example. A grumpy overcontrolling bitch when she was alive, but since she decided to become dead she's all happy and sometimes even smiles and NOW she wants to bake me cookies. Grandma, just tell me where you hid the "rainy day" money and be done with it. I'll point you into the damn light myself (there, it's right over there granny, now shoo!). But no, she wants me to "forgive her". Forgive her? She ignores me for my entire life but everytime she saw cousin Brian it was all "My, hasn't he grown since last time!" and "What chubby cheeks you have, mister. Come here by my bed and let me look at you." Makes me so sick I want to gag on her ghost cookies.
And how about Casper, the most famous ghost, the guy with the happy-go-lucky-ghost-sheet. Casper is so cuddly cute, and damn well knows it, and he uses it to his full advantage. But does he tell people his hidden agenda, that he wants to be King of the Ghosts and will stop at literally nothing to achieve his aim? No he doesn't! He just snuggles up to the living, giggles, and within no time at all has them eating out of his transparent hands. Then sometime during the next two or three minutes he'll ask them for one itty-bitty favor, and before they know it they're doing his bidding.
Now all I'm saying is that a ghost will never break straight with you (except, God love him, headless horseman). Instead of having a decent conversation it's all the time "Oogga Booga" and arm waving and stirring up cold spots. What's that about?
Here are some other ghosts who've disappointed me, and who continue to give the species a bad name.
You've probably seen those Harry Potter ghosts, the ones who flew all around Hogwarts for the first few documentaries and then totally disappeared. There was the guy whose head was always just-about falling off his neck, and he liked to frighten the children by flopping it over? And how about those two knights on horseback who'd come crashing through the hallway window and gallop into the dining room on a regular basis? Remember? You couldn't turn around twice in Hogwarts without bumping into one of the ghosts. So where did they go by the fourth or fifth docudrama? They got a better offer, is what.
In the middle of the Potter series Disney sent in some corporate headhunters (no pun intended, it's a figure of speech that people use without realizing what it really means to the survivors) who gave the ghosts a seven-figure deal, and poof! Before you could say BOO! they jump ship to Disney. Without a word to Harry or Dumbledore or to anyone else who'd given them a nice home, notoriety, and an attentive and appreciative audience of magical schoolchildren. That's an indication of a ghost's true character.
Then what about this John Edward--the guy who talks to ghosts, not the cheating-on-his-cancer-ghost-wife American politician who should be a ghost too. Now I think Edward is God's gift. I really do. The man's a saint. I mean, he spends his free time talking to ghosts, and appears in Vegas to prove it to his paying audience. But do the ghosts make it easy for him? Hell no! They only give him little hints about themselves, like "My name is Bob". And then poor Edward has to go to his fans with almost nothing. The best he can do is ask his parishioners "Does the name Bob mean anything to anyone?", and Bob's poor old widow will cry out "Bob, oh my God, Bobby! Is it really you!" Then the ghost, using Edward like a ventriloquist's dummy, will usually try some kind of dead guy shadow-box treatment on his loved one. "Yes, I see him standing behind your left shoulder. And he's telling me he's always with you."
Come on! Always with her? Are you telling me that this ghost has nothing better to do than watch his wife put in her false teeth and fart in the morning? The afterlife provides no better entertainment than that? Bull. This ghost wants something, you can bet the farm on it, but on his way to getting it he makes Edward muddle through his thankless ministerial duties with as little information as possible. You've got to give him credit for patience. It just proves that there's something wrong with ghosts' minds, treating a stand-up guy like John Edward like he's some kind of two-bit carny.
Now tell me what you will about these ghosts, I say they are low-down, double-dealing and dirty. They wouldn't give you the time of day if you begged them from a kneeling position. When I heard about Ebenezer Scrooge and all the phoney-baloney he had to go through just to get a decent's night sleep, it made my blood boil. You may have read about this in the news. Scrooge was 'visited' by three ghosts who showed him what they termed "Christmas past," "Christmas present", and "Christmas future"--just a time-traveling trick that all ghosts can do (how do you think St. Anthony knows where to find your car keys, or Jesus' mom's ghost could harass those kids at Fatima with vids of the future?). These ghosts, acting like a tag-team, gave Scrooge some twisted view of how he treats his workers, laid a couple of mortality guilt-trips on him, and ended up forever besmirching his name. When they got tired of harassing old Ebenezer they calmly met to compare notes and pick their next target.
The three ghosts had no right to do any of that. Typical ectoplasmic misbehavior. Ghosts do their worse, fly off to their next control-freak power trip, and leave us air-breathers to suffer the consequences and clean up after them.
And then we have things like Jesus, who was a pretty cool cat when he was alive but became a full-time prankster after he died. While living he healed the sick, passed along data on consciousness, hung out with his buds, and befriended a prostitute or two. Your typical hippie. But dead? He starts right in with this shroud of Turin, the blanket he used while resting in his cave. When he got up to take a leak or something, the blanket captured his "image", complete with blood and gore and a little bit of corpse sweat. Why did Jesus' ghost cook this up? Look for their hidden motives, everytime, because if spooks don't immediately lay all their cards on the table when you call their bluff you know they've got a pair of aces up their sleeve.
I'd venture a guess that Jesus is one of those ghosts who likes to mess with people's minds. To punk the living. In this case it's pretty obvious that he first did a little time-travelling to check out what was in the probability stack up-line. He then put a clever twist into it, what the uninformed call a "Festivus miracle". Because although Jesus' raggedy blanket is 2,000 years old, it was just a few years ago that people used modern technology to discover that the image is really a photographic negative with encoded 3-D properties. Why'd he do that? Some of your smartest ghosts, probably an affiliated group which includes Jesus, his mom, Casper, and a few others, get off on giving religious people just enough to entice them but not enough to satisfy them (i.e. making statues cry blood, meaningless but attention grabbing). And then they sit back and enjoy the fuss. It's like twisting someone's nipples or giving them an Indian-burn, the sick swamp-gas drinkers just like to watch the reaction.
My oh my. How time flies. You live in a house, you raise your kids, and then you die a peaceful death or, more often than not, get brutally murdered. And then you're a ghost. What do you do next? Why, you keep on living there like you always have but now you just turn psychotic.
Haunted houses never cease to amaze the general populace. It's not as if they've never stepped on a piece of Uncle Al's ectoplasm while watering the lawn, or been briefly visited by a dead relative who just wants to tell them that they're all right (briefly visited, you hear that grandma?). But haunted houses are different. They contain stories, and that's what the people want.
Now, if I've had one run-in with a ghost I've had a dozen, and all of them have occurred in haunted houses. When you catch them at home, and they're protecting their ghost territory, it's just like singer Cyndi Lauper wisely squeaks: their "True Colours come shining through (like a rainnnn-bow)". And ghosts true colours do not remind me as much of a rainbow as they do of a muddy-ditch filled with sewer water and gasoline run-off. Here's why:
Ghosts never put out the welcome mat. It's as simple as that. They either try to run you off with bursts of activity--a trait Pac-Man's designers emulated no doubt--or they ignore you. Either way it leaves me cold (again, apologies to the survivors). Lots of old documentaries have explored the reception people get when they visit haunted houses. Like that Poltergeist box-set of Steven Spielberg's, or the docs about that little Japanese Grudge kid. Even on the TV shows, where a crew of ghost hunters go into a home, an old school, or hop aboard a ghost train, haunted ship, or something and politely introduce themselves with the lights off in order to interview territorial ghosts, the ghosts treat them rudely. If they know a camera is around, they either don't show up or they'll make a noise way down the hall, just to run the ghost hunters ragged. Ghosts never make it easy when you visit them where they're most comfortable, and this just rubs me the wrong way.
The Ghost Whisperer and Medium
Here we go again. Me me me. Of all the ghosts that Ghost Whisperer's Melinda Gordon or Medium's Allison DuBois send into the light, usually after doing a time-consuming errand like "passing along a message" or "Please nice lady, boo hoo, catch my killer!" just to make them happy, I've never heard any of them ask Melinda or Allison "How was your day?" or "Can I do anything for you?". These blowhards can pretty much travel anywhere instantaneously, pop their spidey senses into nooks and crannies hidden from human eyes, and talk with other ghosts anywhere in the ghost network. But do you think at least one of them would think to ask Melinda or Allison - busy women who they regularly wake up with nightmares and expose their already jumpy and damaged psyches to horrendous "visions" - if they could do them one small favor before they walk all transfixed and bedazzled into the light? Selfish bastards, without exception. Ghosts just have no class.
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
I saw this old British documentary the other day, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and thought I'd found a polite, serious, adult ghost, the rarest of the breed. But I had fallen into a common trap. It was a film! An American film! A run-of-the-mill fiction story written by some Hollywood screenwriter who probably never met a ghost in his life. And his make-believey ghost was actually old-time actor Rex Harrison, not yet a ghost at the time he made the movie. I should have known better, should have taken all the atmospheric fog and music in the 'documentary' into account ("Fool me once, shame on you. . ."). Some people hate gotcha journalism, I hate gotcha ghost stories. Give me a real ghost like that "Oh-Woe!-is-me-I-died-in-a-well" girl from The Ring anyday. At least you know where you stand with them.
Here is the one ghost I wouldn't mind hoisting a beer with. The equestrian from the "legend" of Sleepy Hollow. He's got no pretence, doesn't use manipulative street-smarts to spook you or to try to get your stuff, and has no ego-driven need to impress the world.
This headless horseman guy just wants to cut you.
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