Are ghosts real?

Spectator staff members debate whether ghosts are real or not, just in time for Halloween

More stories from Elizabeth Gosling

Clara Neupert

More stories from Clara Neupert


Ghosts are real

You hear a creak around the corner. A twig snaps outside, but nobody is there. Leaves rustle in the street, but there is no wind or movement around to cause it. These things seem natural, but if you think about it, are they?

The only explanation for these supernatural occurrences is  the presence of ghosts.

Growing up in an old town, there were ample opportunities for my friends and me to run into ghosts. In fact, the park right across the street was home to a ghost in a flannel shirt. He hung out in the bathrooms, became angry one day and destroyed the mirror in the ladies’ bathroom, covering it with scratches and taking away all of its shine.

To this day the mirror has not been replaced.

Ghosts are real, and we must admit it because of haunted houses, which are often located in the heart of downtown in old cities.

Look at Milwaukee. A serial killer could be lurking just around the corner, ready to kill the next victim and dump them into Lake Michigan, where city workers are still pulling bodies.

Is it a person, or is it a ghost, haunting people into committing gruesome crimes?

Let’s just face the facts: It’s a ghost. Spirits exist in the atmosphere, clinging onto souls worthy of possession.

Running into ghosts isn’t even that difficult. Some buildings have a certain feel to them, sending chills through your skin. Although you convince yourself the chill is a breeze, it could be a spirit, clinging on to the nearest source of human flesh.

The existence of ghosts may seem doubtful because you can’t always see them. But their presence could haunt you for years to come if you don’t believe.

– Elizabeth Gosling, Currents Editor

Ghosts are not real

The human brain is powerful. It can absorb knowledge, spin dreams, compose music and solve complex problems all in a heartbeat. It is also vast: According to Discover Magazine, there are as many neurons in the brains as there are stars in the Milky Way.

With all those neurons, it’s no wonder humans are so imaginative that they often confuse fantasy with reality.

Take ghosts, for example. Ghosts are not real, yet a 2009 Pew Research Center survey found one in five American adults believe they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost.

Human belief in the supernatural dates back to first century C.E. when Roman scholar Pliny the Younger wrote his own ghost story, according to the History Channel.

As the world progressed, the entertainment industry profited off and probably deepened supernatural obsession.

An example is the show “Ghost Hunters,” which, according to Live Science, never found hard evidence that ghosts exist in all of its 12 seasons.  

When it comes to ghosts, people rely on their own experiences — which are not peer-reviewed — to reinforce their beliefs.

“People assume that if they can’t explain something in natural terms, then it must be something paranormal,” Christopher French, a professor of psychology and head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, told The Atlantic.

I blame the brain for imaginatively turning creaks, drafts and “stolen” keys into paranormal verification.

Maybe people today don’t care about peer-reviewed scientific evidence, and would rather go with their guts.

– Clara Neupert, Staff Writer