April 13, 2009

Who They Gonna Call?

I was listening to NPR this morning—one of the few perks of Bell's satellite TV service—and heard the perplexing statistic that 40% of British citizens believe in ghosts, which is up from 30% fifty years ago.


The professor, or the person I naturally assumed was a professor—might have been an accountant—cited the statistic as possible evidence to a "god-shaped hole" in the human psyche. Since Brits have gradually become more and more secularized, which I assume is further evidence of evolution, they are left with a vacancy in faith and presumably turn to the supernatural. In a way it makes sense, since they apparently have had more crop circles than in America, though I only take that statement on faith.

Me? I don't believe in ghosts. I've seen some spooky stuff in my days, but I can't attribute any of it to spirits or other paranormal phenomenon. I blame Bigfoot.

I gotta say though, I find it interesting the number of believers in ghosts is rising while the number of theists is allegedly falling. The supernatural has always been something of a spellbinding topic with me, and nearly everyone I know has at least one story of some unexplainable event in their life they attribute to a ghost, angel, alien, or some other unsubstantiated entity. I might even include myself as a believer if I was willing to take that leap. As a teen, I saw a man in the woods run behind a tree and seemingly disappeared, as he never reappeared on the other side of the tree. I could claim the stranger was a ghost. Or, I could own up to the idea my eyesight is fallible

If I am capable of misreading a simple street sign on occasion, I'm certainly capable of misinterpreting a figure seen from a distance. And in my opinion, the 40% of British who fancy themselves ghost whisperers are just as fallible as I ... if not more so. Either that, or the ghosts are multiplying in number to the point where soon everyone will be seeing them. Time will tell.

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