July 8, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

I’m lucky.

I’m lucky enough.

I’m lucky enough to live.

I’m lucky enough to live in the country.

I’m lucky enough to live in the country, outside of Manchester’s light pollution. My daughter is gone for the week, I don’t have the attention span to watch television or videos and Lucy loves being out in the dark, so last night we sat by the non-burning fire pit and contemplated life. As regular readers might assume, my contemplation often takes me down strange paths. Last night, my mind’s theater was primarily focused on ghosts.

It’s odd to think of ghosts in the country since if ghosts existed they’d be more common in cities and towns than the outskirts of nowhere. When I wander in the city, though, I always expect to find dead bodies around a corner, empty containers in their pre-ghost condition. Once I’m near forests though, my fancy turns to ghosts.

Below are some thoughts I’ve had on the topic. Call them Casper’s Pensées.

  1. How long do ghosts live, if that’s the right word? That is, while my understanding of metaphysics and plain-old-physics is limited—for instance, I can’t figure out how ghosts draw energy to begin with—ghosts must have a life span, right? One never hears of Cro-Magnon ghosts or pre-Columbian Native-American ghosts. Still, Perry White, editor of Metropolis’ Daily Planet, regularly referred to Great Caesar’s Ghost, although this may not have been based on actual observation. Do ghosts simply grow bored of their haunting and move on, and, if so, to where?
  2. How many humans become ghosts? What are the determining factors in a person’s transformation? If I want to eventually ghostify, what actions should I take now to improve my chances?
  3. I speak of humans above, but can animals become ghosts—or, I suppose, leave their spirits to roam the planet? What does a ghost squirrel do, and who does s/he haunt? Are ghost squirrels predated by ghost foxes and ghost wolves? And if they’re caught, how does one completely incorporeal being digest another?
  4. Other than spooking the living, what goals does a ghost have? Do ghosts have purpose, dreams, wishes? Do they bask in a sense of accomplishment when they’ve successfully spooked a person?
  5. Do ghosts live in community, or are they completely alone in their state? What happens when one ghost meets another? What if a newer ghost has been spooked to death by an older ghost? Do they join forces or isolate into pockets of resentment?
  6. From a Christian theological perspective, are some ghosts saved and others damned? If damned, do they have a chance at salvation while in this waiting room to hell? If saved, what have they done to be stuck here on earth instead of joining God? Also, do ghosts have hymns?
  7. Of what, exactly, are ghosts capable? Can they go through walls? Fly? Pick up that stone too heavy for God to lift? Do ghosts continue to think and learn in their current state?
  8. Is a ghost like that tree falling soundlessly in the forest? That is, if humans no longer inhabit a space, do ghosts still exist there, and for how long? Does Greenland, for instance, have ghosts from the 1300s buried under snow and dirt, still haunting long-abandoned Norse farms? Are they lonely?
  9. Is there a waiting period between death and induction into ghosthood, or does the pre-ghost human simply expel its spirit into the atmosphere? Or is there a training/education or orientation program to help the newly-spirited ghost adjust?
  10. Are ghosts “catchable” using current technology, or are they able to float through all devices? What research is being done to eradicate ghosts? Do they contribute to human life or detract from it?

After meditating on these thoughts, both Lucy and I were ready for bed, once we’d checked underneath it to make sure no Boogie Man was there.

I’m lucky.

I’m lucky enough.

I’m lucky enough to live.

And so are you! After all,

You matter. I matter. We matter.

Keith