Are Ghosts Real?

That depends on your perspective

Lynn Graham, Staff Writer

Ghosts are a common phenomenon in our society. No one truly knows if they are real or not. Many people believe in ghosts whether it’s from personal experience or scary stories, but do they really exist? This is a time-old question that almost everyone wants to know.

The portrayal of ghosts in the media can sway people’s understanding of their existence. Most horror movies like Paranormal Activity and Insidious have frightening depictions of ghosts, leading some people to accept they are harmful entities.

Ghost hunting TV shows run for many seasons without gathering any actual evidence. It can seem like spooky things are happening because of the music and visuals, but nothing paranormal is really going on. 

American author Stephen King writes horror novels that are considered to be some of the scariest in the genre. The Shining and Carrie are some of the more popular books he has written, known especially for how chilling they are. 

All of these media examples have one thing in common; the purpose of them being to frighten people. However, a lot of these phenomena can be explained. 

For example, in Paranormal Activity, a couple documents freaky and unexplainable events happening in their house. What makes it terrifying is how subtle the horror is. It isn’t in-your-face gory or a constant jumpscare. Instead, it’s slow-paced and suspenseful, making it seem believable.

TV channel SYFY had 230 episodes of “Ghost Hunters”, and the show is just what it sounds like; people go around “hunting ghosts”. There are numerous episodes yet none of them hold any real evidence. The reason people believed it was real was due to the suspenseful music and their fancy equipment. It was edited to make it seem like it was the real deal when it was actually the opposite.

Things aren’t always what they seem to be in the media, but that doesn’t mean they are in real life too. You could feel your phone buzz and there was no notification. You could hear someone calling you and no one was talking. You could see a figure in the darkness and nothing was there. 

Sometimes the brain will mistake hallucinations for real things and blame them on an unknown entity. This is part of a function called bottom-up processing, also known as pareidolia. This happens when the brain is trying to make sense of everything around it and accidentally adds unnecessary things. That’s why sometimes you sense things that aren’t really there.

Sleep paralysis is another function commonly blamed on the paranormal. Sleep paralysis is when you’re in a state of being awake but also asleep. You can’t move and you’re still dreaming, but it feels like you’re not, so when you see odd things it can feel very real. However, it’s actually just your wacky dreams.

Personal experiences are also a reason people believe in ghosts. Some believe their houses are haunted after hearing footsteps or scratching in the attic. Maybe they believe communicating with ghosts is possible, maybe they’ve done it themselves. 

As seen in the media and in real life, ghosts are often used as a way to explain the unexplainable. However, there is no universal belief of whether or not ghosts really do exist, so it truly is up to one’s interpretation.