In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.
STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works
Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
ARTHUR C. CLARKE, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Ghosts crowd the young child's fragile eggshell mind.
JIM MORRISON, An American Prayer
- The ghosts of the tribe
- Crouch in the nights beside the ghost of a fire, they try to
- Remember the sunlight,
- Light has died out of their skies.
ROBINSON JEFFERS, Apology for Bad Dreams
It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.
SAMUEL JOHNSON, The Life of Samuel Johnson
- I look for ghosts; but none will force
- Their way to me. 'Tis falsely said
- That there was ever intercourse
- Between the living and the dead.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Affliction of Margaret
I think a Person who is thus terrified with the Imagination of Ghosts and Spectres much more reasonable, than one who contrary to the Reports of all Historians sacred and profane, ancient and modern, and to the Traditions of all Nations, thinks the Appearance of Spirits fabulous and groundless.
JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, 1711
There are a few of the open-air spirits; the more domestic of their tribe gather within-doors, plentiful as swallows under southern eaves.
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, The Celtic Twilight
When I see ghosts they look perfectly real and solid -- like a living human being. They are not misty; I can’t see through them; they don’t wear sheets or bloody mummy bandages. They don’t have their heads tucked under their arms. They just look like ordinary people, in living color, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is a ghost.
CHRIS WOODYARD, Invisible Ink interview
There are an infinite number of universes existing side by side and through which our consciousnesses constantly pass. In these universes, all possibilities exist. You are alive in some, long dead in others, and never existed in still others. Many of our "ghosts" could indeed be visions of people going about their business in a parallel universe or another time -- or both.
PAUL F. ENO, Faces at the Window
Ghosts are a metaphor for memory and remembrance and metaphorically connect our world to the world we cannot know about.
LESLIE WHAT, interview, June 2002
Whenever I take up a newspaper, I seem to see Ghosts gliding between the lines. There must be Ghosts all the country over, as thick as the sand of the sea.... We are, one and all, so pitifully afraid of the light.
The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.
ITALO CALVINO, The Literature Machine
- The lawn
- Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return
- Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn,
- The sad intangible who grieve and yearn....
T.S. ELIOT, To Walter de la Mare
Ghosts seem harder to please than we are; it is as though they haunted for haunting’s sake -- much as we relive, brood, and smoulder over our pasts.
ELIZABETH BOWEN, preface to The Second Ghost Book
- Sad men made angels of the sun, and of
- The moon they made their own attendant ghosts,
- Which led them back to angels, after death.
WALLACE STEVENS, Evening Without Angels
I don't believe that ghosts are "spirits of the dead" because I don't believe in death. In the multiverse, once you're possible, you exist. And once you exist, you exist forever one way or another. Besides, death is the absence of life, and the ghosts I've met are very much alive. What we call ghosts are lifeforms just as you and I are.
PAUL F. ENO, Footsteps in the Attic
- Now it is the time of night
- That the graves, all gaping wide,
- Every one lets forth his sprite
- In the church-way paths to glide.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, A Midsummer Night's Dream
- All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
- All intellect, all sense, and as they please
- They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size,
- Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost
Apparitions are often confused with hauntings. The difference is that apparitions are "live" (intelligent consciousness) and hauntings are "recordings."
Psychoanalysis has taught that the dead -- a dead parent, for example -- can be more alive for us, more powerful, more scary, than the living. It is the question of ghosts.
JACQUES DERRIDA, New York Times Magazine, Jan. 23, 1994
Of all ghosts, the ghosts of our old loves are the worst.
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always -- take any form -- drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!
EMILY BRONTE, Wuthering Heights
- While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
- Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
- And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
- Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
The ghosts you chase you never catch.
JOHN MALKOVICH, London Independent, Apr. 5, 1992
For who can wonder that man should feel a vague belief in tales of disembodied spirits wandering through those places which they once dearly affected, when he himself, scarcely less separated from his old world than they, is for ever lingering upon past emotions and bygone times, and hovering, the ghost of his former self, about the places and people that warmed his heart of old?
CHARLES DICKENS, Master Humphrey's Clock
In Eastern culture, people see ghosts, people talk about ghosts ... it's just accepted. And in Western culture it's just not.
JESSICA ALBA, Yareah Magazine
Houses are not haunted. We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.
You might think of a haunting as a loop of video or audio tape playing itself over and over for you to watch. Trying to interact with it would be akin to trying to interact with a show on your TV: sure, you can turn it off or change the channel, but I wouldn't expect the actors to suddenly stop and talk to you directly.
There are stories about winter ghosts found tangled like lice in their lovers' hair. Dead people have no hair themselves, which is how they can be recognized in winter. But in summer, the living and dead may pass each other on the street, and no one knows the difference.
KELLY LINK, Magic for Beginners
The house ghost is usually a harmless and well-meaning creature. It is put up with as long as possible. It brings good luck to those who live with it.
WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS, The Celtic Twilight
One need not be a chamber to be haunted.
EMILY DICKINSON, "One need not be a Chamber to be Haunted"