Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Archetypes of Hauntings
The White Lady Ghost Story: These are some of the most common ghost stories. There are also green lady and grey lady ghost stories that follow the similar pattern of a beautiful young woman, often betrayed or hurt in love, who somehow dies and leaves a tragic ghost behind. This would fit into Jung's beautiful woman archetype.
Poltergeists: Poltergeist literally means noisy ghost. It is a haunting that causes much commotion. Objects move and break and are thrown about. Many people now believe that poltergeist hauntings are somehow connected to one person. This person is usually an adolescent going through great turmoil. Some believe it is the adolescent themselves who is causing the haunting. This type of haunting conforms to Jung's trickster archetype. The haunting is caused by one person who is causing a lot of commotion. Loki would love it.
The Crying Child: I've seen a lot of this type of haunting around bridges. Almost every town in Alabama has a cry baby hollow ghost story. I've also seen weeping children in houses and buildings. Usually, the child has a sad story and their crying ghost is the lingering remnant of their tragedy. This conforms to Jung's child archetype.
Demons: I don't hear these ghost stories often but when I do they are the most horrifying and terrifying ghost stories. I've had several people tell me stories about being tormented by a hostile spirit of some kind who is clearly malevolent and will often work to cause bodily harm against the person they are tormenting. This conforms to Jung's devil archetype.
The Guardian Ghost: I've heard many stories about helpful ghosts. These ghosts usually begin as a classic haunting but when trouble arises they are quick to help. These ghosts would fit the great mother archetype.
The Classic Haunting: The classic haunting is the most typical ghost story. Someone has died in a house or building a piece of them remains. They are usually attached to the building itself and have some connection to the location for some reason or another. These hauntings would fit into Jung's shadow archetype. They are the opposite of the rational self. They are the unexplainable things that connect us to the other side and chaos.
I'm not entirely sure why haunting types seem to fit so neatly into the Jungian archetypes. Jung himself would argue that this is just more proof of his theoretical collective unconscious and his belief that ghosts represent some part of our core desires. I'm not to sure about that. Maybe there is something that connects us all in life and in death and draws us to similar stories and places, but I think it more the part of what makes us human than some outside consciousness. I would tend to believe his theories on core desires would come closer to the truth in this matter. Whatever the cause, it is fun to look at ghost stories like this. I may not agree with Jung much but his way of looking at the world certainly hits home in many instances.
The painting above is by an artist named Renee Gandy. This paintings name is Shadow Archetype. You can find her work at http://fauvestudio.blogspot.com/2009/07/shadow-archetype.html. Her work is also available on Etsy.