When I was a kid, I believed in ghosts. I also believed that I had a soul that needed protecting from the forces of darkness that wanted to hurt me. I felt that by arming myself with certain objects (like garlic and crosses) I could protect myself. I believed that by invoking magical phrases from the bible I could form a force field around myself, protecting me from evil.
One Halloween I even stole all my mom’s garlic and sprinkeled it around every door and window of the house. I thought this would keep out the ghosts and evil spirits.
Admittedly, the idea of being a soldier in a spiritual war is exciting. The supernatural is the basis for the majority of horror movies. When I was a kid I was vaguely aware of the existence of skeptics, of people who didn’t believe in ghosts. Yet at that age I thought the bible was all the proof I needed for god’s existence and as for ghosts, “there are so many reports of ghosts! all those people couldn’t be wrong!” The last statement was further cemented in my mind by the existence of volumes of ghost stories and TV shows dealing with the paranormal.
At that age I had no concept of the “ad populum” fallacy. You see, if there is no god, then there are no souls, no souls = no ghosts. Do I deny the experiences of thousands of people claiming to have seen ghosts? No. Yet I deny that what they experienced was in fact a ghost. There are plenty of things out there that science has yet to explain. Given science’s exemplary track record however, there is no reason to believe that the unexplained will forever be unexplained.
It’s actually quite liberating. Horror movies are no longer as scary as they were when I believed supernatural entities existed. Walking around at night I no longer fear some demon or werewolf is going to get me. I once took a friend to an old cemetery at midnight. She was getting nervous but I wasn’t affected at all. I knew that if we ran into anything that it would be human, and if it was human it was just as vulnerable as me.