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Old 05-22-2011   #1
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At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

And given your interest in horror, do you think you were more susceptible to scary "true stories?"

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Old 05-23-2011   #2
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

Around 13, when I stopped believing in the supernatural (angels, deities, etc) in general. More susceptible before or after?

"The failed magician waves his wand, and in an instant the laughter is gone." - Martin Gore
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Old 05-23-2011   #3
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

Up to about the age of 7 or 8, every time I looked under a piece of furniture (for a stray toy or runaway hamster), I'd see fingers and sometimes whole hands protruding from the walls, reaching for me. Once I stopped seeing them, ghosts were no longer a big concern for me. Currently, I agree with John Keel's remarks in Mothman prophecies that whatever we are calling ghosts/monsters/aliens/spirits is a natural occurrence that messes with our senses and gets interpreted differently based on the personality/culture of the interpreter.
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Old 05-23-2011   #4
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

The obvious answer to this one is, 'I didn't.'

Looking back, however, I don't specifically recall believing in ghosts, except inasmuch as the house I grew up in was haunted. I can say that I've become less sensitive to that kind of atmosphere, but I can't really say for sure that I ever believed or disbelieved.

With no specific belief there is no specific end to it.

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Old 05-23-2011   #5
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I don't ever remember consciously believing in ghosts, though I suppose there may have been a time when I did; I certainly believed in Santa Claus as a very small child, and if him, why not ghosts? But I don't think my interest in supernatural fiction has ever had much to do with belief or disbelief in the reality of such things. I'm interested in the intellectual and emotional atmosphere generated by fictional treatments of these matters; whether that atmosphere corresponds to anything tangible is not a question I find answerable or even interesting.

Noonday Stars: a blog about horror fiction. Recent content includes essay on the new edition of Ligotti's The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales.
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Old 05-23-2011   #6
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I've never really believed or disbelieved. I just try to be open-minded about things that I don't understand.

Lucian pigeon-holed the letter solemnly in the receptacle lettered 'Barbarians.' ~ The Hill of Dreams by Arthur Machen
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Old 05-23-2011   #7
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I can still get freaked out by odd things in the dead of night sometimes, so I guess I must retain some credulity to this day.

I've long considered myself to be an open-minded skeptic, never fully believing or disbelieving in, well, almost anything. To quote the sage Dana Scully, "Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it." That would rule out anything being supernatural, although there is still plenty of supernormal to go around.

Scary "true stories" are less intriguing to me than good fiction, especially if it is only one person's account. Something that is experienced by diverse groups, on the other hand, I find fascinating. Ghost stories and alien abduction tales, not terribly exciting. Mothman or Fatima, interesting!

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Old 05-23-2011   #8
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I like this, from a Ligotti interview:

Quote
I'm sure that very weird and inexplicable things happen all the time. So if somebody told me about exploding lightbulbs and fresh flowers dying in a vase, I would probably take them at their word that these things did in fact happen and move on. These are not weird occurences of a very high order. The world is definitely a strange place, and there are a lot of things about it that are unknown. Everybody knows that. Suppose all of the paranormal and supernatural phenomena that you've ever heard were all proven to be true--alien abductions, ghosts, what have you. Then they wouldn't be paranormal or supernatural anymore--they'd just be more stuff happening in the world. I know that a lot people think that it really makes a big difference whether or not any of these things are real or not, but it really doesn't. You still have to haul you're body around this world until you die.
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Old 05-23-2011   #9
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I never stopped believing in ghosts. I don't try to explain them but, growing up, my parents were friends with a couple who livd in a haunted house and we would visit from time to time. There was a cold spot in front of the cellar door that measured about 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall. At the foot of the cellar steps there was visible the outline of a man dressed in the manner of about 1820. Just the outline. At night the re was a luminosity that enabled one to walk through the house without turning on any lights. everything had a glow. Nothing was very scary but it was definitely a house with some unusual presences. The house was built before 1800 and had a long history. it has recently been restored to its origina condition so that may hve chased away the ghosts. I'm sorry that I can't report a more mysterious tale but these are the plain facts as I observed them.

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Old 05-25-2011   #10
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Re: At what age did you stop believing in ghosts?

I used to lean towards a belief in ghosts (and related phenomena like UFOs, Loch Ness Monster etc) when I was a kid because I read about them in books I borrowed from the library. Of course pro-paranormal books are more popular than sceptical ones so it was only in my late teens that I came across the latter and began to realise how gullible I had been in not questioning things a bit more. I still have a fondness for allegedly "true" ghost stories but I suspect it is mostly nostalgia. In fact I've used the internet to buy some of those books I used to enjoy borrowing - Ghosts And Hauntings by Dennis Bardens, The Most Haunted House In England by Harry Price and, best of all, Haunted Houses by Joseph Braddock with its marvellous Felix Kelly illustrations.
Elliott O'Donnell's Casebook Of Ghosts is a gem too, though I'd have to agree with M. R James when he said "Mr Elliott O'Donnell's multitudinous volumes I do not know whether to class as narratives of fact or exercises in fiction. I hope they may be of the latter sort, for life in a world managed by his gods and infested by his demons seems a risky business."
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