Is Your House
looks into why haunted houses are so commonplace despite ghosts being
You are short of breath, you feel pressure, faint, in pain. But how do
you know you’re having a heart attack? You might have seen the symptoms
on TV or film, or seen them first hand in someone who is later diagnosed
by a doctor, or perhaps written on a website written be medical
professionals? Either way, scientists have proven that certain symptoms
denote a heart attack, they even have machinery to test it, it’s all
common knowledge so we’d know if it were happening to us.
Surely the same goes with the symptoms of a haunted house? Your keys go
missing and end up somewhere else, you’ve felt a chill, and you’ve heard
some unusual noises. You’ve seen on TV and film that these are the
symptoms of a haunted house, you might know someone who has experienced
these symptoms and a ‘specialist’ using machinery has told them their
house is haunted. You might have even read about the symptoms online,
written by a ‘specialist’.
So what’s the problem? Well, heart-attacks are common enough that
depictions on TV and film are based on reality. But TV and film are just
as likely to have made up the symptoms of a haunted house, it’s what
fiction does. Heart problems can be established through medical
apparatus, but no ‘equipment’ can test for a haunting. Medical
professionals know what a heart attack, but rationalism does not tell us
what a haunting is.
Apparitions might denote a haunting – that’s a debate for another day –
but surprisingly few ‘haunted houses’ have produced an apparition.
In the absence of an image of a dead person, what makes us so sure we
have a haunted house?
It all boils down to our beliefs and experiences. The media has
instilled in our brains that certain non-ghostly activities mean we have
a ghost. If we believe it and we expect it to be true, then it seems to
become true. Once we feel we live in a ‘haunted house’ context, we look
for even more cues that we’d have previously ignored or ‘tuned out’.
So what should you do if you’re in this position? It’s best to read all
the rationalist explanations out there – and there are many compelling
arguments. If you live anywhere in the UK you can seek out rationalist
organisations like ASSAP.
But unless you want your case to get worse don’t seek out those
‘investigators’ who claim to be evidence-focussed and scientific, but a
simple look around their website shows they are driven by
pseudo-scientific and unethical nonsense.
There are no medical doctor equivalents in the paranormal world. For
your own sanity, don’t get sucked in!
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