So here's the thing, ever since I was little I've watched a lot of ghost movies and shows, even after I became an atheist. I would read books about ghosts as a kid, and I thought I could communicate with spirits through a magic 8 ball. I'm not by nature very skeptical, I make an honest effort to ask questions and keep my mind open, not jumping to conclusions. I was raised by my single mother, and as you may have guessed she loves reading about ghosts, and watching things about ghosts on TV and we would see scary movies. Honestly I was exposed more to things of that nature than I was to religion. I've gotten to a point that I can't watch scary movies with anything supernatural in them because I get scared that any minute things will start moving on their own, or something will appear in a mirror or in front of me, it really freaks me out. I know that it's stupid for me to feel/think that way, but I just can't help it, and I'm really ashamed. I'll be 18 in less than a month and I'm still sometimes afraid of the dark.

I was wondering what everyone's opinion here is on the topic of ghosts? Do you think they exist or not, is there any evidence for/against them, and is there anything that science has to say? Do you have any tips on being a good skeptic?

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i used to be afraid of ghosts, i remember one time i was watching a movie with my sister and i wanted some popcorn, and as i was heading to the stairs, i looked down and saw a girl who looked, well i described her as looking like Saumara from the ring, you know, she is wearing that old night gown, but i saw her wearing that and running shoes. silly i know, and another time i was going out to feed my dogs, very late at night, and i heard loud and clear someone saying hi, to this day i still don't know what it was. it scared the shit out of me. But i don't believe in ghosts,anymore. i can walk outside in the dark and not be afraid. all i can say is, if you see something or hear something go bump in the night, think of a logical reason for the sound is someone, or you see something its probably just a shadow or a stack of things, things lined up just so and it makes it look like someone is there. think logically. hope this helps o_O

I don't believe in ghosts at all. In fact I lone ripping those ghost hunter shows to shreds when my wife watches them. :) I will say that when I was younger I used to be afraid of all manner of scary movies. My irrational fear of my youth was vampires, believe it or not. I always had to sleep with the covers pulled over my neck (as if that would protect from a vampire bite. lol But it all stopped rather quickly. Was it from growing up, losing my religion, or maybe both. But now I am quite skeptical, but I still don't watch scary movies much. But the reasons have changes. Before, it was fear. Not, I just don't care for them and find myself debunking the presented story in my mind. Don't worry about ghosts though, they're no more real than Jack's beanstalk.

All my fears of the supernatural fell away in a relatively short period of time.  I didn't really notice it, but if I had to pinpoint it, I would say it was tied to the rejection of all forms of "magical thinking" (which coincided with my deconversion).  Investigating the psychology of supernatural belief...magical thinking...whatever you call it...helped me to be objective about some of those areas where I was holding irrational beliefs.

 

I did still have some residual fear of the dark.  You never know what natural threat may find cover in the shadows--a shin-thirsty coffee table, Fido's tennis ball, or The Creeper from next door.  I know you're afraid of much more powerful things lying in wait.  But take comfort in this: it's human instinct to fear the unknown.  Right now your unknown includes the possibility that ghosts exist.  Our ancestors survived because they were on edge after dusk, because their curiosity was tempered by a fear of sticking their hand into that mysterious dark cavern. 

 

But if you learn about the arguments against paranormal activity and test those ideas for yourself, I think you will find yourself watching scary movies for the laughs.  Really!  Keep an open mind and start looking at skeptic's videos/books in the daytime.  It is just a matter of mastering your fears...

Try something similar sometime. Expose yourself to places you think or feel the presence of ghosts and you will find there is nothing there.

Consistent exposure to your fears is a strategy used by therapists to treat phobias.  It works if you do it right.  It took about me about three weeks of walking through my the house in the dark (here and there) before I had the same result as Jim. 

True story, it works. I didn't used to be able to pee in front of other people. So, for about three weeks, I left the bathroom door open when I peed. Now I can pee in front of anyone.

another thing you may want to consider is that in recorded history there has never been empirical, verifiable evidence of ghosts.  none. 

 

every bit of "evidence" seems to change with the times.  photos now no longer show spectres (fully clothed or wearing sheets because who wants to see a naked ghosts).  they show bright lights and balls of dust that reflect flashes in modern digital cameras.   you also got people on ghost hunter shows using equipment in ways that the equipment was not designed for and then claiming paranormal activity.  ridiculous.

 

i suggest you read up on joe nickell.  he's been investigating the validity of ghosts (and other woo woo) for a long time.   it may help you realize that it's something you will eventually outgrow.

 

http://www.joenickell.com/index.html

Not really since they can't read...

Isn't that weird? They can write however. Sometimes get paid handsomely for it too.

I hear they also have trouble remembering their name when talking to a "medium."  They can convey the most intimate secrets, especially about people who talked to aids of the medium about it beforehand, but they somehow have to reconstruct their names on basis of statistics by guessing the first few letters.

I guess being dead kind of fucks op your mind.

Age has a way of mellowing fears. You are young and as you mature you will notice that most of the things you fear dissipate into nothingness. Ghosts are part of the magical world of childhood.

My neighbors are in their fifties and they believe in ghosts.  They're also theists. 

I was 17 until i stopped being afraid of the dark.... dont be ashamed. you grow out of it eventually. If it persists though i suggest mabye getting help?

Thanks man. :)

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