The Psychology Of Ghosts

I love ghosts. I love discussing them. I love watching out for them. I love fearing them. And then suddenly, over one long wine-soddled dinner, all that might have been taken away.

Tonight I had dinner with a clinical psychologist and we were talking about a film script we are developing all about the psychological fragility of a young girl who believes she is being haunted.

As you do, we were talking about the existence of ghosts and Dr. Clinical Psychologist said that she doesn’t believe in ghosts, not at all, not one bit. They simply don’t and can’t exist.

Her explanation is that it all usually starts with a bereavement. That someone dies and their loved ones hallucinate that they smell / hear / see the person who died.

The living bereaved hallucinate seeing their loved one sitting in the same chair they have always sat in. They hear the key turning in the lock at the same time their loved one returned home from work each day. They smell the dead person’s favourite perfume.

Astonishingly, she says that around 40% of bereaved people have such hallucinations.

The bereaved person then tells others that they think their loved one is still there and other people who hear this story convince themselves that they see / hear / smell / feel the dead person’s presence too. The story spreads and soon, lo and behold – the mind plays tricks and suddenly people see ghosts and have supernatural experiences.

It makes sense what the clinical psychologist says but does that really explain all supernatural activity?

And doesn’t that take the fun / fear out of seeing ghosts?

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~ by female film maker on February 10, 2009.

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