People are often surprised to hear that the answer is “no”. I don’t believe in ghosts. I’ve not had any experiences with hauntings – although I have scared myself silly at times over the course of my life. The reason for this, of course, is that I love horror.
Ghost stories and supernatural tales are probably my favorite. Giant monsters are cool. Zombies and vampires…meh. Slasher tales? No, those are tiring and boring. For me, gore and vivid portrayals of flying body parts are not frightening. The imagination is more intense.
What? Love horror but not believe it ghosts (or monsters or demons or…whatever)? Why not?
Basically, I’ve been trained as a scientist – a psychologist, but a scientist nonetheless. Empirical support is important to the field of psychology. You will see this perspective in Eric, the graduate student character in my second novel Dead Works (releasing soon). Like him, I believe much of the supernatural experiences reported by people can be described by natural causes. My goal is not to alienate or anger people with this comment (heaven knows I love horror tales), but this reflects my world-view based on the reliance of scientific evidence. Things like hallucinations, dreams, sleep paralysis, confirmation biases, errors in logic, memory and perceptual errors – these account for just about everything that is considered “supernatural”. I haven’t seen compelling evidence to suggest otherwise.
A fair number of supernatural claims are also hoaxes. I love looking at photos of ghosts and reading reports of possession. One of my favorite photos is a picture of a head of a youth looking around a doorway in the Amityville Horror house. This was supposed to be a picture of one of the kids murdered in the residence. Many of you have seen it, and it is downright creepy. I love it. However, it is actually a photo of a college student who was serving as a research assistant for Ed and Lorraine Warren who were conducting a psychic “investigation” of the house. Too bad. (I still loved the movie The Conjuring based on one of the Warren’s cases.)
By the way, the stories behind such “true” accounts as the Amityville Horror and The Exorcist have been disclosed as hoaxes – sad but true. However, they remain dynamite stories just the same. I can – and do - enjoy them on that basis.