I don't get out much, it must be acknowledged, but the other night I was at a very nice party and taking the opportunity to ask people: "do you know any ghost stories?" Mostly the answer was a no. I would then move onto question number two: "do you believe in ghosts?" One reply was very much to the point. Upon asking whether they believed in ghosts they said something like this (I had been drinking so I paraphrase what I remember):
"I don't believe in ghosts, but I don't not believe in them."
This I feel covers a fair number of popular beliefs - but covers the supernatural rather well. People don't really believe in ghosts but they can't deny that some peoples accounts of ghosts can't be explained. There might be some logical reason behind the noises and the figures and these might not, quite, be nonsense spooky magic stuff.
The more I delve into real genuine peoples accounts of ghosts, the more I hear the don't but do. Something doesn't make sense, even if we disagree about the limits of that lack of sense.
I was on the phone today with a lovely woman who told me all about a poltergeist that haunted, not so much her house as her family (as poltergeists are supposed to do). I cannot say what it was happened to her family, (though I am sceptical about some of the theories expounded about it by some of the people who had spoken to her) but I cannot say it didn't happen. This gap between real accounts and the ghost story is where I think my Ghost Story show will go. My stories will be made up, but I will bookend them with accounts. As I said in my last blog, real accounts do not make great entertainment. Of interest, yes. Important, yes. Riveting for 90 minutes... less so. So the real will be there to add source to the unreal, to lend the seed of doubt into our world of certainties.
And if someone comes up to me in a bar and asks me: "Do you believe in ghosts?" I have a ready made newly stolen reply. Thank you party.