What are ghosts really? True souls of the dead, unearthly entities, figments of the imagination or mere myth? Many people seem inclined to dismiss them as 'stuff & nonsense' yet most religious people believe in life after death.(Except Buddhism, Buddhists believe in reincarnation)
I am a Muslim and according to Islamic teachings, ghosts don't exist. But then, what do dogs howl at very late in the night? After all, animals see what we humans don't! In Islam, there are spiritual creatures that exist but are invisible to the human eye and made from smokeless & scorching fire. Instead of ghosts, they are known as Jinn and they can either be good or evil and can influence humans. By influence, I guess that just might mean 'possess'.
But the general conception of Ghosts, Phantoms & Spectres is that they are souls of the dead who wander the earth because of the manner of their death (usually murder or a ghastly accident) and they have unfinished business. This has been influenced by movies like the 1990 film GHOST and classical literature like Shakspeare's Macbeth & Hamlet and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Ghosts of the murdered usually tormented their murderers until they publicly confess their crime, punishing them by driving them to suicide or somehow even the score by killing them directly by literally scaring them to death. And there are the ones who stay because they need to watch over troubled loved ones until they have sorted out their problems for them.
AMITYVILLE HOUSE (above) and read many bizarre ghost based stories which apparently are not fiction. On my first teaching job, I narrated some of the stories to my colleagues and they got very scared (we Africans are a tad superstitious); pleading that I stopped. I don't know if they actually believed the stories or they just reacted out of mere fright at the chilly nature of each tale but I have to admit that I wasn't just scared- I wondered more than once if the vengeful entities described were actually ghosts or malevolent Jinn. One particular story gave me the very chills...
What happened next? Some time later, one night, Madga woke up to find a rather deformed Fanchon in her room holding her china doll and she had to lock herself in the bathroom. But when she confronted the police about not telling her that Fanchon had escaped, she was informed that Fanchon committed suicide in prison!
Magda decided to flee to Europe, the threat obviously heavy on her mind and prepared for the trip. But the following morning, she was found dead in her bed and the strange part was, it was as if something was forcibly rammed down her throat as her throat membrane was ruptured, causing her to drown in her own blood. The said thing was not found but in her mouth, strands of hair was found- not the hairs of a human being but the type on the heads of china dolls. *Shiver*
And there was a story acted out in a show I enjoyed very much- Beyond Belief; Fact or Fiction. A woman who recently had an eye transplant after being blind for some years decided to take a vacation to celebrate her restored sight. At a cafe, she happened to see a sullen looking man having a drink. She knew very well he was a stranger and she'd never met him before or know him but he was oddly familiar to her. She was not sure if it was a sense of deja vu; but he seemed liked she'd seen him before. The man, who turned out to be a wanted criminal, misinterpreted her curious stare and followed her to her motel, demanding to know if she was a cop. She denied it but he didn't listen; he tied her up and began to drink himself into a stupor. When he fell asleep, the woman untied herself and ran away; calling the police. The police officers, after making the arrest, told her to count herself lucky as the man was wanted for killing a nurse. When the woman heard the late nurse's name; she could only stare at the policeman in shock. Her new eyes from her recent eye transplant were eyes taken from a dead donor, and the dead donor was the nurse that man had killed.
And worse, at the end of the show; the host Jonathan Frakes announced to the viewers that the particular story was true!
How does one explain that? Eyes' nerves are connected to the brain; was it possible that the eyes somehow placed the nurse's last memory into its new brain which in turn made that woman indirectly expose the killer? Or was it the work of a benevolent Jinn? What's the real explanation?
There are many secrets of the universe we are yet to know or rather, we are not meant to know. To ponder too much on them gives room to paranoia and living in fear all the time. But since there is an after life and there are many schools of thoughts about ghosts, do Ghosts truly exist?