Thursday, 4 August, 2016

Do you believe in ghosts, Cornelia?

Cornelia spent some writing time with ghosthunters, ASGs and IRGs. But does she actually believe in ghosts?


Illustration from "Geisterritter" (Ghost Knight) by Friedrich Hechelmann


"Do I believe in ghosts? Actually, yes, but unfortunately I have never met one. Many of my friends keep telling me about ghosts that have appeared to them in the shape of white women, old men or even children, but none has appeared to me yet.
Quite disappointing! That's why I have to think up stories about ghosts to meet them! I have read a great number of books about ghosthunters. Yes, they really do exist. Actually, there are quite a lot of them! They have different equipment than Tom and Hetty have and I guess none of them has ever worked together with a ghost.

A very interesting theory says that most apparitions that people report are not real ghosts, but only records of a moment in the past life of the dead person, a moment which was so dreadful or distressing, that it was left behind in time like a magnetic impression and therefore continuously recurs. If you believe ghost researchers and ghosthunters, real ghosts are quite rare, and even more rare are those, that can be dangerous to us. Certainly storytellers like me are fond of writing about this sort of ghosts, because it is just more thrilling. Nevertheless I do not want to meet them in reality.

Illustration from "Ghost Knight" by Andrea OffermannYet let us assume that one morning I find a ghost in my writing house (yes, indeed, they are said to exist in California as well, they do not necessarily need fog and rain to be comfortable). So - first I surely would not immediately carry out expulsion measures as Tom and Hetty would do (well, Cornelia, that's what you say now, but let's face it: you HATE being scared; right, but let's pretend for a while that it is not like that). Okay, I would wish for a ghost that is not too depressed and quite imaginative regarding scaring someone - I would prefer a somewhat better-humoured version of Hugo.

My lovely assistant Angie is crazy about ghost stories and there's nothing she would like better than scaring her friends (she spares me, for she knows that first I would have a heart attack and then a fit of rage; it would be amazing to have a ghost that scared her once in a while, and we could find out, if that ghost was once a famous film star (well, film stars are quite common here in LA, both alive or dead). In Europe, though, there could be so exciting spooks like long-ago buried kings or knights or a witch, you could ask questions about magic potions and herbs.

Illustration from "Geisterritter" (Ghost Knight) by Friedrich HechelmannThere are so many things you could ask a ghost: How does it feel to be a ghost? How does it feel to walk through walls? To be invisible?
Most ghosts are supposed to be unaware of being dead. That's why you have to be careful with asking such questions. Maybe it is better to just offer that ghost a coffee and treat it like a living being.One of the most amazing stories about ghosts was written by Neil Gaiman. His Graveyard Book tells everything you should know about ghosts - and even more.
And for the first time you will get to know a human who has learnt to live among them. My other favourite ghost story is Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost. Fantastic. In the truest sense of the word."


Oola on 1 August, 2020