I have a strange relationship with my belief in ghosts. If someone asks me, "Do you believe in ghosts?" my instinct is to say no. But that is patently a lie. I have heard enough stories from people I trust about things that have happened to them that disbelief seems arrogant to me – almost naive.
But the word "ghost" conjures such specific imagery, and seems to imply a level of certainty about life after death, that I am also wary to embrace a true belief in ghosts. "I believe in spirits" feels a little more comfortable to me, but that gets into a discussion of souls that is once again murky and conflicting.
One of the few things I believe in with absolute certainty is the limit of my own imagination. I think that is why I feel ambivalent about the question of ghosts: I believe the stories I've been told of unexplainable first-hand experiences, and I am skeptical of anyone who is certain of an explanation. The universe is far too vast and still unknown to be absolutely confident in either direction.
This made me think of the Hamlet quote, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." When I looked up the quote to be sure I had it right, I found the lines before it even more compelling. Having just seen the ghost of Hamlet's father, Horatio says, "O day and night, but this is wondrous strange." Hamlet responds, "And therefore as a stranger give it welcome." I believe in the possibility of the wondrous strange, and I hope to give it a stranger's welcome.
All of this is to say, while I have not experienced an otherworldly presence myself (probably ... more on that in the next letter), I believe a lot of people who say they have. And I would like to hear from you about the wondrous strange and unexplainable events in your own life. Have you seen an apparition? Heard sounds without a source? Felt a touch with no one nearby? I want to hear any and all of the stories that come to mind. Reply to this email or fill out this google form. And please forward to anyone you know who might have a story to share!
In the next letter, I will share all the stories I receive, along with one of my own that teeters just on the edge between logic and mystery.
Happy Halloween! 👻