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Posted on Thursday, April 14 - 2005

So many people take it for granted that ghosts are spirits of the dead. Whether this is true or not is unlikely ever to be proved one way or the other. And perhaps that is the beauty of a mystery We need mysteries to be fully human, and nothing satisfies this factor more than a ghost. But the reality is there ARE psycho-sociological mechanisms that can account for the vast majority. Let’s have a few examples from Britain. Seen on many occasions in St James’s Palace is the ghost of valet to the Duke of Cumberland, Sellis. Usually seen propped up in a bed with a slit throat, this gruesome ghost seems to be a remembrance of Sellis’s death in May 1810. Accordingto his master, Sellis tried to kill him, but, failing, committed suicide.

A pertinent rumour of the time had it that the Duke was the murderer, killing Sellis to stop him blackmailing him after he had had an affair with the valet’s daughter.Past residents of the Cumbrian village of Eden Hall used to speak of a ghostly skeleton that swung from a rotting gallows on stormy nights. The ghost is said to be that of Thomas Nicholson, hanged in August 1767 for robbing and murdering his Godfather. His body was left on the gibbet for two days as a warning to others. Screams are said to echo through Marsden Grotto, a series of caverns between South Shields and Sunderland. Once used by smugglers to hide their booty, one smuggling gang was betrayed by a man known asJohn the Jibber. A friend of the smugglers heard of the betrayal and warned the gang before they were arrested. Later, they got John the Jibber, took him to the cavern, put him in a barrel, hoisted him to the roof and left him to starve.Most of these stories we can dismiss in terms of producing real ghosts. But within most ghost stories we can see an important social function. For in the main, the classic ‘true’ ghost story usually held an important moral message, warning of the dangers of such things as murder or infidelity.Thus, by allying the moral aspect to the supernatural, the morality is enforced by scaring a superstitious population into thinking twice about being immoral. Indeed, not only did ghost stories become the vehicle for the moral tale.. ...

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Posted on Saturday, August 23 - 2008

Ghostly Activity

Copyright © The Japan Times Online

If there are eerie goings-on in the neighborhood — and Halloween is still two months off — it could be because Japan's traditional "ghost season" maxes out at this time of the year.While belief in the afterlife and in wandering spirits kept from peaceful rest can be found anywhere in the world, ghosts in Japan take on a unique persona. Gripping tales of phantasms have been made into Hollywood movies, including the hugely popular "The Ring," serving up story lines featuring grudges, curses and spine-chilling plots.Following are questions and answers about Japan's ghosts and theirbackground...

What do Japan's ghosts look like? Called "yurei" (faint spirits), ghosts typically wear a white garment and triangular forehead cloth.

This is rooted in the way the dead are traditionally laid to rest in white Buddhist burial kimono, and is the preferred attire for the deceased to travel to the other world.
Japanese-style haunted houses at amusement parks will most likely feature a pale-looking ghost with wild black hair, arms stretched forward and wrists dangling. Japanese ghosts are also usually legless. Experts theorize that this is a reflection of their supernatural powers.

Why is summer ghost season in Japan? Mid-August is considered a spiritual season because ofBuddhist traditions. Many honor the dead during Bon by gathering and paying respects at ancestral graves. The date and customs vary depending on region, but family members typically meet on Aug. 13 and begin a bonfire called "mukae-bi." It is believed the practice brings souls of the dead back from the other world. After cleaning family graves, families greet and show respect for the dead by chanting sutras and preparing special meals. The souls are sent back to the other world with "okuri-bi" bonfires, which are usually lit on Aug. 16.

How do Japanese and non-Japanese ghosts differ? Most ghosts are generally considered to be wandering souls of the dead that are deprived of a peaceful rest. But religiousbackgrounds and concepts of d......

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Posted on Thursday, August 11 - 2005

BBC: THURSDAY11th August 2005. When Nick was invited to take part in an all-night ghost hunt in North Yorkshire's spookiest spot , she jumped at the chance. Did she grab a ghost? Read her report.

Clifford's Tower is one of York's most famous landmarks. The distinctive castle has a gruesome history to match; a Jewish massacre in 1190 secured the site status as the city's bloodiest location.So when I had chance to take part in an overnight ghost hunt, I jumped at it. On the night in question, the rain and wind duly arrived as the Yorkshire Psychic Investigators and I set up camp in Clifford's Tower.We split into two groups, each with a psychic whose ability to communicate with spirits would shape the evening ahead. After some bizarre health and safety guidelines, we started to explore the castle.

As night fell the castle developed a delicious eeriness. I'm not a sceptic, but have never experienced any paranormal activity - I was ready and willing to see my first ghost.With digital cameras flashing, thermometers at the ready, camcorders running and even walkie talkies on stand-by, we were all set. The Investigators were taking notes for their final report and even had a 'spookometer' or Electro-Magnetic Frequency reader, on the go.The others started to 'feel' things. A red setter was spotted by the entrance, a spaniel half way up the fortress walls. One investigator described a painful sensation as she re-lived a woman's death. A psychic sensed a young boy's spirit, who had gone up a chimney, been forgotten and perished...

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Posted on Friday, April 08 - 2005

City Hall GhostYou're all alone in an old house at night.Considering yourself a sane person, you have no reason to be afraid. You're safe. Nothing is going to lurch out of the dark shadows and jump into your path.But you a hear a noise … a strange creaking sound … on the floor above you and sanity and reason go out the window and are taken over instantly by fear and apprehension.You collect yourself and speak reassuring words out loud. "It's the wind," you convince yourself."Old houses make noises.

It's scientific — not supernatural."
And then, just when you've regained your composure — a door slams.Goosebumps begin to cover your flesh and every hair on your body stands on end.But hearing is one thing, you tell yourself.Seeing, on the other hand, is believing.Well, those slamming doors, creaking attic floors and even an apparition in the form of a human have all been experienced at Harrington's City Hall, and not by one person alone. Those who work there are quick to point out that something a bit otherworldly is going on in the old building. Rebecca Greene, operations manager for the city, and by all accounts a very sane, level-headed,educated woman, found herself alone one night at City Hall trying to solve a crisis with a computer server."I walked out of the finance director's office and standing at the top of the stairs was a gentleman with a black suit, white shirt and black tie, with short, dark hair," Mrs. Greene said. "As soon as I saw it I stopped, realized, then looked back up and it was gone. It happened so quickly, you wonder did you see that."According to Carolyn Porter, clerk of council, Mrs. Greene is not the only one who has reported seeing the gentleman in black, although Ms. Porter herself has not seen him and could not remember exactly who else had.Ms. Porter said instead, she hears him."I hear the walking up there," she said of what sounds like footstepson the u......

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