Used through teenage curiosity or closure following the death of a loved one, communication with the dead has long been a taboo subject, shamed by religion and associated with paranormal activities….but does it actually exist?
As a child I remember acquiring a book called the Young Ghosthunter’s Guide, which according to Amazon and Google no longer exists (ironic really…). I always thought the concept of promoting communicating with the dead to an adolescent was a slightly confusing idea, considering that communicating with each other was challenging enough.
The book explained how the dead had not made a successful transition to where they were meant to go, and that through methods such as pendulum divining, dowsing and ‘white noise’ techniques, ghosts could be found and ‘communication’ could be attempted.
It explained the different types of ghost – from grey ladies to poltergeists and other transient beings. I found it fascinating and terrifying in equal measures, and was suitably put off when my friends began experimenting with Ouija boards and séances, and scaring themselves terribly while doing it.
Having had my tarot cards read, I was astounded at the amount of ‘true’ information the reader knew about me, claiming he was talking to a deceased relative over my shoulder. Was he genuinely communicating, or just very good at reading people? I suspect the latter.
Does communication with the dead actually exist, or is it our own imagination that allows us to believe it? Ouija boards depend on utmost trust in each other – and how easy is it to prove what is guiding the hands; spirit or nervous twitch?
When interpreting so called white noise, the identification of the voice depends on the interpretation of the user – with a large capacity for error.
The problem is that I’m a natural cynic. I guess that may be reflected by my career path within science rather than art; if something can’t be proven then I am more likely to doubt its existence.
Communicating with the dead? I don’t think so, but if it allows some closure for a grieving relative, is it really a bad thing, or just an unconventional placebo?