Wandering Thoughts

August 29, 2009

Ghosts

Filed under: Ramblings and Musings — terence @ 11:01 am

Simon has a ghost story from South Amercia. How do you explain these things? He doesn’t give us the back story, so maybe this tale hasn’t been relayed to him first hand by the protagonists, maybe it’s a rural urban-legend. But that’s not the sense I get.

So how do you explain these things?

Of course it could just be people seeking supernatural explanations for simple somnambulism. And I guess that’s most likely the case.

But there’s a part of me, a day-dreamy part fed by teenage years reading fantasy novels, that can’t quite shake the idle thought that our ancestors’ belief in the super-natural isn’t just a collection of mistaken attempts to explain the natural world. But that, once, ghosts existed – an existence impossible to test or to prove. Because test and proof are the vanguard of reason. And because reason itself, if clung to strongly enough, and if drawing upon a sufficient reservoir of shared belief, is sufficient to vanquish these things without contest. Study them scientifically and they vanish.

Of course, there’s also a part of my that thinks the above explanation is utter, utter nonsense.

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2 Comments »

  1. Hi Terence

    Thanks for the comment on my site. Your questions are some of the things I’m grappling with as part of my “ethnographic research project” for my (elective) anthropology course. I can tell you that I first heard this particular story fourth hand, then third hand, then second/first hand from Rogelio, the son-in-law and one of the search party. Then we actually went up to the “Devil’s Cave”, which is a topic for a future post, but the photos in this post include one showing the rock near where Señor Mendoza was found, and one looking back towards the village from the cave itself (or at least one of the candidates for the cave).

    There are many more stories where that came from: a couple here and another here If you’re interested I can send you my fieldwork report and final essay, if and when the latter gets written.

    I’m kind of sympathetic to your suggested explanation. From what I can tell, it sounds a bit like what this guy is saying (haven’t read it, just came across the reviews).

    Comment by Simon — August 31, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  2. Thanks Simon. Definitely keen to see the end product of your field work.

    cheers

    Terence

    Comment by terence — September 1, 2009 @ 7:54 pm


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