Almost all of my paranormal research starts with “what if…?”
I’ll bet your interest in ghosts, etc., began the same way:
- What was that thing I heard/saw? And what if ghosts are real?
- Everyone says that house/battlefield/cemetery is haunted. What if they’re right?
- Ghosts can’t be real. I won’t believe in them. But what if something really is going on, at that “haunted” site?
My “what if…?” questions seem to multiply, like wire coat hangers in the basement wardrobe. Or dust bunnies under the sofa.
This morning was no exception. I had an idea for a new Hollow Hill article.
It was going to be about one particular archetype in ghost hunting.
I started to research the idea, based on a series of related, haunted places in the U.S. and the U.K.
Within minutes, I realized this topic is too big for an article. It’s a book. (Like I don’t already have a dozen books to update & re-release… right?)
So, I’m sitting here, printing pages & pages of information about repeating patterns in this kind of research.
And I’m editing Thursday’s article for Hollow Hill. In it, I’m speculating about a possible light effects connection with ghostly activity. (It’s another “what if…?” question, but – in this case – I didn’t think of it, myself. I just amplified it to include other, similar anomalies.)
I’ll put aside the book idea from this morning’s research. My next editing-and-updating project must be my “Is Your House Haunted?” book.
Why? Well, there’s no way I can reply to all the emails from people asking if their homes are haunted. And, frankly, most probably aren’t… but some sound like they are.
My book will help people rule out unusual (but normal) reasons a house can just seem haunted.
Trending: Hill House
I think most of this concern relates to the “The Haunting of Hill House” TV series on Netflix.
That show is an interesting revision based on Shirley Jackson’s wonderful book, and what may be my favorite “haunted house” movie of all time, “The Haunting” (1963).
Here’s a YouTube video from the original movie, featuring one scene.
If that YouTube video doesn't show on this page, see it at https://youtu.be/bQxyaI74v7U
That 1963 movie is a powerful example of a terrifying paranormal investigation. (It also inspired Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” attraction.)
No, most ghost hunts and vigils aren’t even close to that dramatic, but many can be just as scary… in more subtle ways.
Likewise, the Netflix “Hill House” series isn’t realistic. The tropes in it are fun, and it includes a few good scares, but that’s not what happens in haunted houses.
Hill House and Sleep Paralysis
At least half of the latest emails in my in-box sound like sleep paralysis.
That is, the person thinks he (or she) has woken up – or didn’t fall asleep yet – and has been visited by a disturbing figure (usually a scary looking ghost). The victim usually feels paralyzed, cold, or numb… and terrified.
The incident can seem to last forever, but – in actual fact – it’s usually just a few minutes.
And then, the person is left with a sense of horror, a racing pulse, and pumping adrenaline. Sleep is difficult to resume, if the person can get back to sleep at all.
The problem is, it can seem a lot like the ghost at the foot of the bed (or over the bed) in shows like Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.
And that’s why people write to me.
They want to know what if it’s real? What if it happens again?
The Benefits of “What if…?”
It’s easy to brush off people’s concerns, saying “you have an over-active imagination.”
I won’t do that.
I’ll point to reasonable, scientific explanations, and let the person decide if that’s the answer. (Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.)
More important: I believe the “what if…?” impulse is a healthy one. It keeps us interested in the world around us – seen and unseen.
Usually, those questions leads to simple, fact-based answers. The person sighs with relief. What they experienced was normal, not paranormal.
But, sometimes that’s just the beginning, and further research leads “down the rabbit hole,” as in Alice in Wonderland.
Either way, it’s important to keep your critical thinking skills engaged.
And, in my case, it’s even more important to stay focused on my current projects. They include updating my websites and my books. That will keep me busy for much of 2019.
But, I’ll confess that this morning’s research – and the connections I discovered, among iconic haunted houses – sings a siren song. I’m always intrigued by “what if…?” questions.
So far, I’m resisting temptation.