Thursday, November 18, 2010

7 Reasons Why We Love Ghost Stories by Guest Blogger Maria Rainier


People seem to feel strongly about the paranormal, and many seek it out by actively listening to or reading ghost stories. Horror films, books, podcasts, blogs, social media sites, and personal videos are all popular ways to experience ghost stories. There are many ways to access dialogue about the paranormal, and that demonstrates a societal appreciation for a good ghost story. But why is that? Why do people gravitate toward ghost stories? Even those who don’t enjoy them can’t seem to put them down or stop listening. There’s something fascinating about ghost stories – more than one something, it seems. I’ve identified seven different reasons in no particular order for seeking out ghost stories, but we’d love to hear from you, too. Do any of these reasons motivate you, or do you have your own?

1. Gaining Perspective
Maybe you just got a big stack of monthly bills in the mail, a notice from the school that your kid skipped out today, and a smaller holiday bonus than you were expecting. These seem like terrible problems until you find a good bone-chilling ghost story to remind you that at least you don’t have zombies to contend with in your everyday life. Sometimes, like many forms of entertainment, ghost stories are merely a distraction from the problems of the real world. Reading about someone who’s just lost their face to a werewolf makes your financial woes look tame in comparison. Ghost stories can be just the ticket when you need that extra dose of perspective to make it through the rest of your day.

2. Enjoying an Adrenaline Rush
Some people are adrenaline junkies, and while ghost stories won’t give you a huge dose, they’re still viable means of getting a little tingle along your spine. If you’re the kind of person who just likes to be scared out of your pants, ghost stories are probably great bedtime reading.

3. Connecting with the Past
Not only are many ghost stories set fairly far back into the past, but some are also about people directly from your lineage. Maybe you have family ghost stories that help you connect with the people who preceded you. Family histories are fun places to find ghost stories that help you feel as if you knew the people in them. Even ghost stories about well-known historical figures can be a little more intriguing than the typical variety because the time period and notoriety add interest.

4. Finding Food for Thought
Ghost stories often operate on multiple levels and are thought-provoking in their unconventional approaches to reality. For some people, ghost stories are like brain teasers – finding the weak points in the story that make it implausible can be fun, and taking the ghost story’s side by challenging reality is also a popular mind game. Those who enjoy “playing devil’s advocate” might seek out ghost stories for these reasons.
5. Figuring Out Life After Death
For anyone seeking affirmation or hypotheses about the afterlife, ghost stories can be good places to find material. People who believe that their ancestors can still influence them on earth might find comfort in ghost stories, and those who are seeking some support for the idea of something (anything) occurring after death might also appreciate them.

6. Participating in a Cultural Phenomenon
Colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities, and even some companies have ghost stories that help cement a certain community with a cultural component. In these situations, people accept and listen to ghost stories in order to be part of a group and participate in a cultural phenomenon.

7. Enjoying the Art of Storytelling
Almost no one tells stories these days, but storytelling used to be a primary form of entertainment. When it’s done right, it’s truly an art and can be a very pleasant way to pass the time with good company. For those with storytelling nostalgia, listening to ghost stories can be a favorite pastime.

Let us know in the comments if any of these reasons motivate you to read or listen to ghost stories and please add to the list as you think of more.

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

3 comments:

Courtney Mroch said...

What a neat guest post! I loved all 7 reasons you came up with. Where would "being entertained" fall on there. That's one of the reasons I like them. (Maybe under adrenaline rush. Looking for something to give me tingles on my spine is a form of amusement I suppose...twisted as that may be!)

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Aano said...

Love all the 7 as well :) The thrilll!