Survival Update

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Are Haunted Houses Real?

Does anyone else live next door to a haunted house? Or am I the only one? Surely there are more ghost-adjacent folks out there, as judged by the enduring popularity of Ghost Hunters, the Paranormal franchise, and of course the cult classic Ghostbusters. 

We recently moved to a new home, and the first thing I noticed was the ancient clapboard two-story house next door. The covered porch leans towards the ground, half the windows are filled with broken glass, a door on the upper floor is boarded up because the accompanying balcony is gone, and the whole thing is a weathered gray color. 

It was obviously haunted. 

A visit from my home’s former resident confirmed my suspicions. He said he drove down the long driveway one night and noticed the lights in the ancient house were on. This struck him as odd, because the electricity to the house was turned off. By the time he parked his truck, the lights next door were off. Soon after that, he locked the front door of the abandoned house (it was on property he owned at the time). He had the only key. A few days later, the front door was open.

Was it the wind? A faulty old lock that popped open on its own? Maybe. But what about the lights? Could that be chalked up his imagination? Perhaps.

But incidents like this happen all over the world. And with Halloween quickly approaching, it’s fun to further investigate the ghost stories that are about to take center stage in American culture, right next to buckets full of candy and toddlers in pumpkin costumes. 

So far, scientists have disproved claims that ghosts and hauntings are real. They base this conclusion on hard, cold, indisputable evidence. But with so many unexplained happenings, how can we be sure? Is everyone who thought they saw a ghost or swore they heard a door slam in a vacant house wrong? Do we all have overactive imaginations, especially when in the presence of dilapidated old houses? 

It’s hard to tell who’s right and wrong when it comes to ghostly experiences. Sure, we’re primed to expect supernatural encounters because of creepy stories and TV shows. I like to think that ghosts exist, partly because it’s fun to think that scientists can’t explain everything. After all, for hundreds of years they thought the earth was flat. They just might be wrong about the ghost thing, too.

I partly hope ghosts are real. It’s comforting to think that a nearly tangible connection to those who lived before us still exists in this world. So much emphasis is placed on the right here, right now, modern is best, high tech rules all mindset. I like to think that right next door, a 120-year-old ghost is wandering the staircase, maybe thinking about how she used to put her babies down to sleep in the first bedroom at the bottom of the hall. 

Or maybe she’s wandering the kitchen looking for a butcher knife to murder me in my sleep. In that case, the scientists are right: Ghosts don’t exist. Either way, I’ll be right next door, trying not to think about it so I can go to sleep.