Sometimes I’ll want a good scare, and so I’ll try to find some cool ghost stories to read on the Internet. But even the good ones aren’t that scary. The ghosts are always trying way too hard. At first you barely notice that they’re there, but then slowly they start moving stuff around the apartment, running right behind you when you’re in the bathroom brushing your teeth, spelling out really creepy sentences on the fridge out of the magnetic word poetry set that you bought at Urban Outfitters. And then after the fun and games are over, they reveal themselves, it turns out to be a really evil spirit, and that’s it.
The scariest parts of ghost stories are the parts where the ghost isn’t even doing anything yet. The main character moves into a spooky new house, and nothing out of the ordinary has happened at all. But I’m reading a ghost story, and so I know that something scary is about to go down eventually, and so I’m shaking, totally freaked out. And then as soon as that candle knocks itself off the fireplace, I’m like, OK, there it is, that’s the ghost, and everything gets progressively less scary.
So I’m not into scary ghosts, not in fiction, certainly not in real life. And I’m not too fond of happy ghosts either. As a little kid, I always thought that Casper the Friendly Ghost was one of the dumbest shows on TV. It wasn’t scary, and it wasn’t funny. It was just weird, and kind of sad. I remember thinking to myself as a little kid, so wait, if Casper’s a ghost, then he’s dead, right? So why is he dead? Isn’t he just a little kid? Mom, if I die right now, am I going to have to come back as some bald floating cartoon character without any legs?
Scary ghosts, no. Happy ghosts, also no. What really gets me are the ghosts that are totally indifferent to my existence. And since by their nature they’d want nothing to do with me, I can never rule out the possibility that my house might be super haunted right now, like totally overflowing with ghosts that don’t care about me. I just can’t see them, because they don’t find my presence worth haunting. And so they’re sitting around enjoying my couch or whatever it is that ghosts do, and then they hear me coming and, poof, they’re gone.
What the hell, ghosts? Couldn’t you at least do me a solid? If I were a ghost, resigned to take up space in my house for some undetermined amount of time, sure, I can see how I’d maybe feel a little apathy toward whoever takes residence here next. Maybe I wouldn’t want to give them the time of day. If I had the ability to poof myself out of any situation, that’s probably what I’d wind up doing most, if not all of the time.
But do me a favor, just come and say hi. That would be huge for me. I’d finally find out once and for all that an afterlife does exist, that death isn’t the end. Sure, maybe the idea of floating around, disappearing, still trying to avoid weird social interactions with people that I’m not close with, maybe that’s not the idea of heaven that I was expecting. But it’s better than nothing.
Come on, if I were a ghost, I’d leave you alone, but I’d at least give you a little heads up. “Hey,” I’d manifest myself right in between you and the TV. “Look, I’m not going to scare you or anything, and this doesn’t have to be a thing where I’m all up in your business, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m here, and that I’ll be out of your way. When I was alive, I put a lot of thought into this, and I just feel like, at some level anyway, you’d probably want to know.”