Very true story: Why I started believing in ghosts
I’m so embarrassed to admit that I (maybe) believe in ghosts. I used to be so rational and skeptical! How did I start (maybe, possibly, kind-of, sort-of) believing in the supernatural? How did I go from being a complete Scully to a straight-up Mulder?
Let me tell you my spooky story, just in time for Halloween, our spooky story season of all seasons:
I Met A Ghost Hunter
So last year around Halloween I attended the Haunted Hayride in Los Angeles (if you’re anywhere near the area GO GO GO, it’s one of LA’s very best traditions) and there is a haunted carnival set up outside the hayride and in addition to a skeleton horse carousel and a Halloween snack stand, there was a ghost hunter on stage sharing his experiences with the supernatural.
I watched this dude for a LONG time and came to the conclusions that he a) was not an actor (I live in LA, so I KNOW what actors look like when they’re acting) and b) he wasn’t crazy (I live in LA and I KNOW what crazy people look like when they’re being crazy). So if he wasn’t performing. . . and he wasn’t nuts. . . that means he was a sane person telling the truth about making a living hunting ghosts.
And I didn’t feel quite as skeptical as I once had in my younger and more unformed years.
I Started Reading Paranormal Non-Fiction
I had to do some research for a creative project that takes place in the world of the occult, so I got a ton of books about hauntings out of the library. One book in particular, The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career Of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerard Brittle scared the pants off me. It’s about a husband and wife ghost-hunting team (yes, this is the book that the movie The Conjuring is based off of) and again, the author seems sane, Ed and Lorraine seem sane, and no one seems like a crazy liar here. So this book, with the help of the other paranormal non-lunatics, really make me start to wonder if everyone is telling the truth about ghosts and demons and haunted houses.
I Started Joking About Believing In Ghosts. . . And Got A Lot Of Dead Serious Responses
I was creeping myself out with this whole maybe-believing-in-ghosts thing, and when I get creeped out, I usually crack jokes until I feel all the way back to uncreeped out. But the problem is that sometimes when I would joke about believing in ghosts to friends, they would get this very serious look on their face and then quietly tell me about an experience they had with ghosts.
WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT?
You want an example? Let me throw you an example. I was hanging out with this dude friend of mine and I told him I maybe believed in ghosts and he said “Oh yeah, me too, I hung out in a haunted house a couple weeks back.”
“Wait, haunted houses are real? Wait, haunted houses exist outside of Disneyland? Wait, what?” I mouse-squeaked back.
He went on to describe a building that is literally a five-minute drive from my parents’ house. It used to be restaurant, but it’s been closed for a few years now (spoiler alert: BECAUSE IT’S HAUNTED). My friend and his buds planned on spending the night in the attic. After they entered the house, the temperature instantly dropped like twenty degrees. Then they started to hear footsteps down below even though they were the only ones in this abandoned place. Eventually they saw something white and glow-y through a crack in the door. THAT is when they all decided to peace out. These tough dudes were planning on spending the night in the house, and they barely lasted an hour. I kept waiting for my friend to say “Gotcha!” or “I’m just kidding, I’m just f—ing with you, chill out Steinkellner.” But he wouldn’t budge on his story. He swore, hand to God, that he was telling the truth.
So I have all these credible-seeming sources pressuring me to believe in this seemingly impossible thing. And I feel the pressure hard. I do believe. And I’m so mad at myself for believing. I want to be the Scully-est skeptic around. But maybe I was always meant to be a Mulder. X-Files: I Want To Believe, the story of my life (actually, the story of my life is more like X-Files: I Don’t Want To Believe, But Whatever, I Do Anyway).
So, I’m so curious —who out there is a skeptic and who out there is a believer? What makes you a skeptic? What makes you believe? And have you ever had a change of heart and switched over from Team Ghost Stories Are Kids’ Stuff to Team Ghosts Are Real And They Are The Scariest Tied With Clowns And Axe-Murderers?
Image via, Giphy