I belong to a literary society dedicated to the tradition of the ghost story. This society, quite logically, consists of a group of people who meet up to chat about ghost stories, visit places associated with authors like M.R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu etcetera, and lof course get drunk. But every time we check into a venue as A Ghostly Company, or simply tell people that we're into ghost stories, there's one guaranteed reaction. People start telling you their ghost stories, or that the pub is haunted, or that you'll have to pay for the carpets.
There's no doubt that the literary ghost story is a pale, orphan cousin of the 'real thing', the supposedly verified and valid account of a haunting. Millions of people are in no doubt that there are ghosts and that ghosts are, in some respect, the spirits of the dead. I remain very sceptical about such accounts, for a variety of reasons. While discounting the possibility of the so-called paranormal, I think most 'true' accounts of ghosts can be attributed to true believers seeing what they want. As with UFOs, ghosts are usually seen not by level-headed folk who 'never believed in that sort of thing till now', but by those who really, really wanted to see them all along.
Which is why I'm linking this blog to Hayley is a Ghost, the blog of sceptical investigator Hayley M. Stevens. Like me, she's fascinated by the paranormal but described herself as at 'the Scully end' of the belief spectrum. Her blog is a fascinating, frequently updated account of the antics of professional ghost hunters and the UK tabloid (an unholy alliance is ever there was one), and also looks at the unscientific, gadget-heavy approach we've so often see in films. (Had you heard of the Stone Tape
Projector? I certainly hadn't.)
Anyway, it's a good blog, and I recommend it as a fascinating read.