“Every ghost story begins with a love story, and usually more than one. Once they are untangled, you will always find eternal love, unbearable loss, and unconquerable fear.
Everywhere, every minute, people all over the world are desperately begging God and any other power they can think of to not take someone they love, their child, their husband or wife, mother or father or friend. And finally, at the end, don’t take me.
There is no spot on earth that is free from loss. On this street, or in this room, someone lay down or was put down and was no more. Someone held someone else for the last time here. Rivers and lakes and oceans are full of people who vanished beneath the surface and were never seen again. Wherever you are standing, wherever you call home, someone left the earth there.
Everyone we love dies and disappears.
Something more substantial than a memory must survive of all that love. It’s unthinkable that the dead are truly and completely gone. And if the dead are not completely gone, we, as every generation that came before, are compelled to look for whatever remains.
What is death but the end of all we love? Ghosts are what survive of love. Real or unreal, they are a testament to love, and the hope that no matter what, love lasts.
The men and women of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory were scientists. They never would have phrased it this way. But when all is said and done, as they tried to prove that death is not the end, what they were really trying to prove is that love lasts forever.
The problem was how to scientifically demonstrate that life and all the feelings that go with it survive death. A medium relaying messages of continuing love from a dead wife might be enough for an inconsolable widower, but it will never be enough for the scientific community, which demands not only more convincing evidence but also experiments that can be reliably repeated to produce consistent results. To move an idea out of the realm of belief and into the world of accepted fact, others must be able to verify your results. There are no shortcuts to this process, and no exceptions. Like those we pray to when death is imminent, the scientific method is immune to longing, hope, and pleas.”
—Stacy Horn, from the Preface to Unvelievable: Inveatigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parasychology Laboratory (HarperCollins 2009)
[Image: Still from the 2017 David Lowry film A Ghost Story, starring Casey Affleck (mentor-less.com).]