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Ghosts. Specters, Spiritual Apparitions.
Whatever you want to call them, there’s one thing that they always have in common: they’re old.
Everyone likes a good ghost story, and seeing as I fall under the category of “everyone,” I like them too.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been known to watch documentaries and TV shows about ghosts and those strange folks who sit in darkened houses trying to find them. I’ll even throw on the trashiest ones. The kind where a bunch of dudes who look like they play in a crappy metalcore band take tape recorders into an old mental hospital but ultimately find nothing.
Still, I never believed in the paranormal that much but just thought it was fun. More recently I had an epiphany that completely ruined it for me moving forward.
Out of nowhere, it occurred to me that there are no new ghosts.
None. If watching the Travel Channel late at night is to be believed, apparently people stopped turning into ghosts after World War II, perhaps even earlier.
I’ve watched a lot of paranormal TV shows in my day, and there are always plenty of Revolutionary War apparitions. Plenty of Civil War ghosts too. There’s also a good amount of wealthy socialites who died of loneliness or whatever, and a good number of Roaring Twenties Great Gatsby-type ghouls floating around.
After that? Nothing.
Ever hear anyone talk about the ghost of some Fonzie-like greaser who croaked in the ‘50s? I haven’t.
How about some stoner, hippie specter that ran out into traffic during a bad trip? Nope.
Are any 1980s Valley girls kicking around the spirit realm with giant hair and giant wads of Hubba Bubba in their ghostly cheeks? How about flannel-wearing 1990s grunge ghosts?
That’s a big N-O on both of them.
If People Still Die, Shouldn’t There Be Modern Ghosts?
If ghosts were real, how could that be?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I have: people are still dying. Not at the rate that they were 200 years ago — where a slight cough was practically a death sentence — but it still happens.
That’s why I feel like for every two or three ghosts wearing top hats and spats, there should be one with a Yankees cap and a set of AirPods. This does not seem to be the case.
It seems like every old bed & breakfast is crawling with spirits but why don’t I hear about any douchey hipster ghosts haunting an avocado toast restaurant in Brooklyn?
I’m not going to pretend to be a ghost expert like all of those other people pretending to be ghost experts (you bought an electromagnetic field reader on Amazon, congrats), but this shouldn’t be the case.
Maybe it’s just that modern ghosts wouldn’t be as scary.
What’s more likely to make your blood run cold? The ghostly visage of a Puritan woman who was stoned to death for being a witch, or the spirit of some dude named Greg who fell off a ladder in the ’70s while trying to fix a broken disco ball and is now floating around with sideburns and an orange leisure suit?
I’ll answer for you: the former.
Maybe someday we’ll have ghosts named of dudes named Seth who died at a Nickelback show in the 2000s. Until then, I’m hitting pause on ghosts.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle