Ghosts, Horror Movies, Death and the Spiritual Path

I recently got an email from an old friend and colleague about a possibly psychic dream.  I’m not going to report on that here, it’s old hat for me to hear about dreams that provide psychic info on real-world events, but some of the other ideas his email stimulated in me may be of interest, so…

I was very intrigued when I saw the heading on your email, “Ghost Dream and More,” as I’d been thinking about you and your dreams off and on for a week or so.  Remember you once told me years ago over a lunch downtown that  you had a lot of nightmares, and I elicited from you that you often watched horror movies at bedtime?

That’s not a rigorous experimental design, but it was hard not to infer cause-effect connections……    😉

Now one of the things that’s always fascinated me is why are horror movies so popular?  Why would any intelligent person want to frighten themselves?  Aren’t there enough real-world perils if we want to worry about something?  I’m sure the answer is multi-faceted, but my guess is that part of it has to do with the fact that most horror movies involve “supernatural” elements.

(In my scientific parapsychologist role I hate that word supernatural, as it says we can’t figure out what’s going on, by definition, some non-understandable being just interferes unpredictably, and reality is hard enough to figure out without talking ourselves out of it in advance).

So here we are in an intellectual culture that’s quite materialistic, no God, gods, goddesses, etc., people who think about them are frowned upon or institutionalized, just dismissed as “believers,” etc.  Yet so many people love these horror shows.  A sneaky way to indulge a feeling toward the spiritual, a disguised way?  If there are devils there must be angels, and then on to…..  ???  I don’t know, but I’ve always wondered about your and other people’s fascination with horror movies.  I hate them myself!


> I am pleased we are both still on the same side of thegreat divide. I am at the age when my friends are starting to disappear.<

Ain’t it the pits?

I have convinced myself that there’s good evidence that they are not really gone, just “transitioned” to another kind of consciousness – but that’s rather abstract, and meanwhile they are gone…..      ;-(

> I think the reconnection with you is giving me the willies.

Should you thank me or be pissed?  I know there’s a very humorous piece about the willies, I think it’s a short story by James Thurber, worth looking for.  Got to learn to distinguish the willies from the heebie-jeebies, the shakes, etc.       😉

A few years back I took a new drug for my atrial fibrillation and it threw my heart into ventricular fibrillation, which can kill you pretty quick.  Luckily I was seeing my cardiologist at the time – he took a listen, pushed me into a wheel chair and personally rushed me into the ER at Kaiser Hospital.  All these doctors and nurses appear from nowhere, electrodes taped on, IVs attached, they give me a short-acting drug (can’t think of the name at the moment – oh, I think it was Brevitol) which knocks you out without depressing respiration, and then they are using the paddles to shock my heart.  I’m out for a few minutes, didn’t feel the shocks, then in a stupid state for a few minutes, knowing I was stupid, but glad to be alive.

Now here’s the funny thing.  Until they injected me with the stupid drug, I was wide awake, cheerful, engaging the docs in nice technical conversations about what they were doing, even though I knew that I might be dead in a few minutes.  The part of me that self-monitors was quite impressed, as a big part of me was repeating, “Hey, Charley, if you want to freak out, you couldn’t find a more appropriate time to freak out than now!!!”

In retrospect I put it down partly to knowing of all the evidence that we survive death in some form, not enough to convince me in any absolute sense, but enough to make me think the next few minutes might have been quite interesting if I died, rather than just eternal blankness.  And that was a safe and useful position, of course, for if there is eternal nothingness after death I’d never be embarrassed by knowing I had the wrong idea!    😉

And those years of meditation training and Aikido, staying calm in difficult situations, had to have helped.

“So,” I say to myself, mentally stepping back, “why am I telling you all this?”

Partly as reassurance.  Yes, our friends are dropping like flies and we’ll go too one of these days, but it might indeed by quite interesting afterwards.  I’m not worried about Hell.  Insofar as I think there’s a God, this God must be better than me, and I’m not so cruel or stupid as to punish anyone for all eternity.

Partly as continuing some conversations we had years ago, and which I suspect are of more interest to you now as death comes closer.  If you want my best thinking on this whole area, try my book of last year (2009), The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, which is my attempt to make sense of it all and to show people why it’s rational to be both scientific and spiritual in orientation.

Partly maybe as I just need to write a lot of this kind of stuff, I think I have another book in me which is going to be about how an honest, intellectual scientist struggles with the “spiritual path.” without the comfort of simple faith, and maybe, or maybe not, gets somewhere….

Or maybe partly I’ll put some of this musing on my blog, disguising your identity, as this writing may be practice for that future book…..

Or maybe……???


  1. I haven’t figured out why people like horror movies either. I hate them, although I’m too stubborn to admit how much they upset me so I do watch them with friends sometimes. I pay for my stubbornness by getting nightmares afterwards.

    I had a great auntie who loved going to funerals. She was an interesting lady, well educated, well travelled, spoke a few languages and left a few guys at the alter. She never did get married, although I remember her having boyfriends well into her 80’s.

    Auntie used to have dreams about things and everyone seemed to pay attention to her if she had a dream about something. No one called it precognition or anything like that, but people still were interested in what my aunt had to say. Auntie had this really strange fondness for funerals. Even ones for people that she didn’t know. She actually used to crash funerals.

    I’m guessing that I may take after my aunt in some ways. I don’t tell people about my dreams the way she did, but I do have those sorts of dreams. And I have other experiences that I think she may have also been prone to. I think it would help to explain her fondness for funerals.

    I’ve seen people at funerals that no one else could see. It isn’t really a bad or scary experience. From what I’ve seen, most people are fine after they die. Truthfully, a funeral can be an intensely beautiful experience. It’s sad to say goodbye, but death seems to be about way more than that. I think that’s why my aunt was a funeral crasher, she just wanted to feel that rush of someone moving on to some pretty cool stuff.

    I’m not like my aunt in appreciating funerals. Even though I get to experience some beautiful stuff. I hate saying goodbye. I have to attend a funeral on Monday, and I’m not being very good about it at all.

    I wish I could be like my aunt was. But I’m not any good at dealing with death. It doesn’t scare me. I just don’t like to say goodbye.

    1. I believe that there is no such thing as death, if we want we can change this belief system, researchers have proved that in countries like India people have lived for hundreds of years and some are still alive. We are all divine beings and the sooner we accept this fact and live it the better for us, people are living in a belief that has been passed on to us from our elders that one day we wil die, but this will only happen if you live in the human belief pattern, if this pattern is broken and we become our true divine sels then we can be immortals, we are immortals.
      Horror dreams: dreams are not something you see when you close your eyes to sleep, it is something that is recorderd in your subconcious mind and when we are awake we use our concious mind and do things our body is in a habit of doing but as sson as we sleep “our subconcious mind starts playing like a tape recorder” and we process all that we have recorded when we were kids or when we watch movies or play violent video games. i believe that movies have a great negative impact in our minds and often makes us do what we do not conciously wana do. I recently watched a movie( where this was very clearly, smartly and confidently stated. This movie has really helped me to truly understand the reality of life and revealed the many facts that was kept away from us while we were lost in books and traditions.
      Everything in this movie resonates with who I really am and took me to a greater level of awakening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *