Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Ghosts"

I wont say I believe in the existence of ghosts, but at the same time, I cant state defeinitely that they DON’T exist, either. Ghosts are kind of in the same realm of belief (or disbelief) as God - although possibly they dont provide the spiritual crutch that God does to His/Her believers. A lot of people believe in the existence of both, sight unseen, but I would need more substantiation than that.

I’ve always been an avid reader of ghost stories and comics with vengeful skeletons and disembodied killer hands and evil possessed toys and all the rest of such scary stuff. When I was younger, I used to have nightmares about all those things and couldn’t sleep at night without a light on… but that didn’t stop me devouring more of those books in the daytime. I would of course try to think of pleasant things come bedtime, but no, the latest and most effectively scary story would be the only thing to come to mind.

I’d like to see a ghost, I think, preferably in daylight and in company, not when I’m alone. And definitely it would have to be one of those indifferent ghosts, the kind that go through walls and walk their favourite routes without bothering anybody in the vicinity. I don’t think I’d cope very well if any ghost said “boo!” to me.

I’ve gone on a couple of “ghost walks” in Shrewsbury and a couple of castles in and around here… but I have to say it wasn’t frightening. They were most tales of people who were killed or had committed suicide, and the better “walks” had people dressed in period costume jumping out unexpectedly and screaming in your face. Sure, I jumped – but it was out of startlement, not fear.

The one ghost tour that I’ve been wanting to do is the Edinburgh Vaults – the ghosts there are apparently quite physical in that people have been shoved and pinched and slapped while down there, apart from being privy to strange smells, noises and cold spots. The Vaults have quite a horrible history – About 150-200 years ago, Edinburgh was so overpopulated that tenement buildings of wood were built on top of the existing buildings. The poor people were forced to live in the stone vaults below, unsanitary and unsafe. Then in a great fire, the tenement buildings caught fire and people who took refuge in the vaults, thinking that stone wouldn’t burn, were trapped underground and basically cooked to death. Ugh. The Vaults are supposed to be the most haunted place in Britain. Not surprising, I suppose.

Another massively haunted place is Mary Kings Close, a street in Edinburgh now situated beneath the City Chamber. A plague epidemic meant that the hundreds of people living there – apparently mainly Catholics - were simply boarded in to die so that the epidemic wouldn’t spread. Since then the Close has been haunted.

I’ve read reviews by people of the ghost tours here, and a lot of them have said they felt spooked or scared or terrified, affected by the “aura of unhappiness” and so on. It sounds unbelievable, quite scary, yet something that I’d like to experience in person. But then, I’m sitting in a warm bright room, with the sun shining outside. I don’t know how I would feel underground in the midst of enclosed, dank rooms with a dark history and a reputation for being haunted – but the only way to find out is to go there. The next time we visit Edinburgh, I hope to be able to go on these tours. Who knows, there might just be the ghost of a chance that I’ll be converted to a believer in all things spooky and paranormal…

5 comments:

danni said...

so interesting to read about the ghost tour places, nice post!!!

Castor aka Kiwilax said...

Shyan: The theory is that if you are attuned enough, you can experience such presences even at home. Only, they probably won't be violent or rude ones. And given the way those people died, who can blame those ghosts for being unfriendly? Your reasons in para 2 are the reasons why I stopped reading books like Stephen King.

Karen said...

Hello, I enjoyed your post. I didn't know there were ghost tours :) I bet my hubby wouldn't go, but my kids would! Some day I will make it to Edinburgh.

Karen at Ciderantiques

Lekhni said...

When I watch shows on those haunted English castles, I feel rather sorry for those people and the way they lived and died.

The part about meeting ghosts only in company and in daylight - very candid, and understandable :)

churningthewordmill said...

discovery used to have this programme-haunted houses or sm such thing... was pretty spooky...dont know if they show it still..
i hvnt met any ghosts as yet..not sure if i want to meet any tho!