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Do you believe...?

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Sean | 14:16 UK time, Sunday, 17 October 2010

Do you believe...in ghosts?

Michelle Foster and Christopher Davies in 'A Ghost Story For Christmas: Lost Hearts'

A strange question perhaps... but I have been thinking about ghosts ever since I read Miguel's post about "The City of the Dead"... and even now, having just read his latest post "In the name of Love", I'm thinking of a famous film - a love story from a few years back, called...

... you guessed it! Ghost.

Actually, even after I'd read Miguel's first post, I started thinking about ghosts. Why? Well, when (as Miguel tells us) Lima, the capital of Peru, was founded in 1535, in England King Henry VIII was on the throne. And shortly after reading Migel's post, I read an article in The Times that suggested the British 'obsession' with 'headless' ghosts may have started with King Henry VIII.

King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn played by Jared Harris as Henry and Jodhi May as Anne

King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn played by Jared Harris as Henry and Jodhi May as Anne

I'll tell you more about that soon. In the meantime, why do you think that could be the case?

But before this gets too gloomy, let me put on my sunny face and say yet again what a joy it is to read such excellent writing from Miguel.

Again I loved the first paragraph in the story of The City of the Dead. Talking about going to meet Ricardito... and then the simple, powerful sentence "He is dead." not only made me stop in my tracks but also aroused my curiosity.

Talking of arousing curiosity, are you still wondering what the connection could be between ghosts and King Henry VIII? Well, I'm going to let you wonder a little more and if you have any ideas, post a comment here and I'll see what you think. I'll be posting another blog in a couple of days after I've read your comments (I'll also comment more on your comments so far! Thanks for all the kind words!). And I'll add a few more photos too.

But I wanted to ask you a few more questions, apart from 'Do you believe in ghosts? So here goes -

Have you ever had an out of body experience? I have! I'll tell you about that next time!

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Have you ever stayed in a haunted house?

There's a great TV series on at the moment called Spooks. But what is a spook?

And finally, do you think I need a ghost writer?!!

Don't forget I'll be posting again soon and adding some links and photos after I've read more of your comments and I'll be answering some of these questions and some of the ones you've asked me so far! Enjoy!

All the best

Some comments on Miguel's English

Again, excellent. Just a few notes here. Miguel talks of the City of Deads; we would normally say The City of the Dead. I also remember visiting a similarly wonderful cemetery in Chile. In British English we would talk about 'the sky turning grey' or 'turning to grey'. Note here that 'gray' is the American English spelling. Instead of saying 'before to built this cemetery', the correct expression is 'before this cemetery was built'. I think perhaps that's a 'Spanish-ism' and there's another one when Miguel says 'finding to' Ricardito instead of 'finding Ricardito' which is correct English. When he says 'the President of that moment' it's not incorrect English, but a useful expression is 'the President of the day.' In his lovely post In the Name of Love, again there are very few mistakes. Perhaps a few typos - 'it's also know' should be 'it's also known'; 'luxuries hotels' should be 'luxurious hotels'; 'places to entertainment should be 'places of entertainment'; and we talk about 'in the surroundings' rather than 'in the surrounding'. Finally, with regard to the love - we would say 'on Valentine's day' rather than 'at Valentine's day'. You can use 'at' when you're talking about a general time (eg: at Christmas, at Easter) but when it's specific use on (eg: on Christmas Day, on Good Friday). I liked the image of 'two lovers couple' but in English that sounds like four! We would say just 'two lovers' or 'a couple of lovers'... and of course we are all curious about the 'she' Miguel ends his post with but, rather than coming 'on his mind' we would say 'she came to mind' or she 'came into my mind'. But these are small points. the main point is that Miguel is treating us to a wonderfully written and descriptive blog. Thanks Miguel!

Some explanations of my English:

to believe in
to have faith in something, to feel it's true

to think about
generally to wonder about, to ponder on

to think of
is more specific, to think of something in particular

on the throne
the throne is the chair of the King or Queen so this means Henry VIII was King

made me stop in my tracks
means made me stop and think, had a powerful effect on me

aroused my curiosity
means it made me interested

an out of body experience
is when you feel you are outside your body looking down on something or someone; it's a spiritual experience I guess

is coming back to another life as a different person or sometimes perhaps an animal

means there are ghosts living in the house

a spook
is a slang word for a spy

a ghost writer
is someone who writes for someone else, usually their 'autobiography'


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Sean!
    You managed to arouse my curiosity, indeed! You put so many interesting questions in your post and now I can’t choose which one to answer first. (I have little time to spend on writing just now) Well, let’s begin with King Henry VIII and the connection between him and ghosts. I can't help choosing this one because of my keen interest in history. I think you imply the ghost of Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn. She was executed after she failed to give birth to a boy, Henry VIII was desperate to have a heir but so far he had had only daughters. She was accused of adultery, treason, and beheaded at the Tower of London. It is said that since then a headless female figure in a white dress has been often seen near the place where she was executed. Is my guess correct?

    As for the rest, I'll write as soon as I can. Thanks for such an interesting topic.

    All the best,
    Svetlana, Russia

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Sean , Interesting entry ! Speaking of the Ghost , some frightening stories about them …I know it attract most people . About me I do believe in Ghost and fairies ( The Genni ) as We Muslim believe to life after death nevertheless I prefer not to bump to them in my life . Frankly speaking I 'm really afraid of them . You may laugh at me, I have bought an audio CD about Ghost stories but I have not had dare to listen it yet .If I watch an horror film I will be frightening late at night really really silly I know : (
    About the last question I didn't catch the point , sorry .
    I 'm Waiting to hear about your out of body story and other 's .
    Pary from Iran

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Svetlana ,How are you ? Thank you about your story . It was absolutely interesting . I think there is a film about her which unlucky I ahven't seen it . Do you know the Film name ? By the way how is your son . Are you get involve in his homeworks as I do ? I 'm sick of it but no way I have to do it sometimes :(

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Sean! I was amazed with the title. I wouldn´t awaited such question from overeducated Englishman, even to believe any English would take the question seriously. Isn´t it the country of the science and industrial revolution? That´d be the Q 1.
    Q 2. Svetlana has been better in the field and, fortunately, quicker.
    Q 3. Who knows? Maybe as I am sleeping, fantasizing? Wait for you.
    Q 4. Than, couldn´I be a ghost? Frankly, there are some species which I don´t like to be despite I am ´fish´ or if you like a ´dog´. Once is enough for me, definitely!
    Q 5. Surprisingly, yes. In the parent´s house which they built up when I was maybe three. Always, as a school-child being there ill alone I was hearing the same sound coming from uper room under the roof. It sounded like the heavy log wobling there. I was scared. Complaining on that parents just told me it was only a cat which sometimes was true it was there but I am still convinced the sound was far from cat´s silent walk! Now, reading your blog I stuck on the idea it might be some ghosts from neandertal people who lived in the area over here... (Location is documented in history books)
    Q 6. Actually I don´t understand the meaning. Despite I´ve read in the Camridge ALD the ´ghost-writer´ I am still missing the connection with you or the need... Difficult questions, waiting for the HELP, marianna

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi again! As in your first post I didn´t read to the end (and after sending comment I saw my bad luck at negative sentence - the old ache in my grammar), now I missed the explanations ha, ha! Q 6. You don´t need, just write it SOON! marianna

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Sean,

    Do I believe...in ghosts? I ask myself and I hear a reply ‘NO’.

    First of all, I thank you for this interesting post. We’re enjoying variety in all the posts this month both from you and Miguel. I say again both of you are versatile in thinking as well as in presenting. Now, let’s move to the next points, your questions. At the very outset, I confess that I hardly know about King Henry VIII. So, I look forward to hearing about him from you though I found the story from Svetlana very interesting. Thanks a lot, Svetlana.

    Though I don’t believe in Ghost, I (especially while I was adolescent) would enjoy making someone scared from ghost. In our society, there’s a superstition that the soul of a dead person usually wanders around his/her near and dear ones at least for a week immediately after death and s/he is somehow seen by people. I, in group, with two or three more friends, would dress with white clothes and walk at night that the near and dear someone could see me/us. In some cases, the viewer, if s/he was alone, got extremely frightened. But, we would enjoy it very much later in the next morning when we heard the story of the Ghost (actually us). And, to tell truth, this would become established as the story of ‘Real Ghost’. Anyway, we really would do it just for fun and now I say sorry to all for this.

    Now, out of body experience? I’m not sure. I think it happens sometimes while I try to meditate. But, I say again I’m confused about it.

    Lastly, Reincarnation? I’m in doubt. But, I bear it in my mind that it’ll happen after my death. I always go through such an environment that makes me thinking so as I am a Buddhist (I confess I don't know it in detail).

    Looking forward to your feelings.

    Ashish, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Sean and everyone!

    Hi Ashish! I didn’t have enough time to answer you previous post, sorry. I’m fine, thank you. I have been going shopping for warm clothes this weekend; I’ve bought a new fur coat, very warm and very nice. So now I’m ready to welcome oncoming winter!:)

    Hi Pary! I’m fine, thank you. My son is doing well at school, he is a clever boy. But he doesn’t like to do his homework of his own free will at all. I have to push him all the time. He is a bit lazy and his head is always full of games, mischief, as any other boy of his age, I think. Sometimes I have really hard time to make him do his homework, he would rather watch TV, draw, play ice hockey, and hang out with friends. Of course I willy-nilly have to check up on his homework, point out mistakes, and explain something. My mom, sister and my husband have to do with his homework too. Especially my mom, she has plenty of time to spend on the beloved grandson, so when I’m too buzy she gives me a hand. So, you see, I’m not the only one who gets involved, but the whole family:)

    Best wishes,
    Svetlana, Russia

  • Comment number 8.

    Hello Sean! What a spooky blog!!! Honestly speaking I dont have any idea about the connection between Henry VIII and the ghost, you can tell us better. Yes, I believe in ghosts but never bumped into them and don't want to be lolz. I watched horror movies sometimes and it makes me frightned for the whole night. And I saw spooky dreams after the movie. Next you asked about reincarnation, no I don't believe as I'm from a muslim family. Yes, I've out of body experience during meditation.

    All the best.

  • Comment number 9.

    Some of your questions turned out to be difficult to answer. Do I belive in ghosts? Well, I myself have never seen them, fortunately, I’d say, therefore I can’t say whether they exist or not. It’s hard to belive in anything that you can’t see with your own eyes, feel, taste… whatever. There is the only one exception, I do believe in GOD (though I’ve never seen him either). But I realise, there are so many things in this world a man knows nothing about! So many mysteries, so many riddles, legends and such. Even human life is a mystery, as much as human death. Where does the human soul go after leaving the body? In what world? God only knows. And we don’t. We can assume, we can guess, we can believe... I can’t assert ghosts to exist. I can’t deny ghosts to exist either. There is always a possibility. It’s my opinion. The same applies to your question, Sean, about reincarnation.
    As for the rest, I had an odd experience once, perhaps not exactly an out of the body one, but still… During an operation (c-section) some years ago, when I was unconscious I experienced the most strange and unpleasant feeling so far. I can’t put it into words; it’s hard to explain even in my native language. Maybe it was like some kind of hallucination, I don’t know, but it was the weirdest one. It was like I’m integration at one point, and then, all of a sudden I become divided into two, then more, then more still… and then like my soul is somehow detached… The doctors said it was all to do with general anesthesia. I must confess I was pretty terrified; even now these memories give me goose bumps.
    I’ve never stayed in a haunted house. And finally, about a ghost writer, what do you mean? What do you need him/her for? Do you need him/ her to write your ‘autobiography’? Please write soon!

    Bye for now,
    best regards,
    Svetlana, Russia

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello, Sean! A brief answer to your questions, but before answering to them I want you to know I´m "genetically" a reasoning, questioning person, with the tendency to analize thinks a lot and sometimes I find answers to the misterious events. In spite of that I live inmerse in doubts. Well, definitively I don´t believe in ghosts and they have never aroused my curiosity. Although I´m an elderly person I´ve never had an out of body experience so far. May be some day under the effects of anesthesia I´ll have the first. Thinking about reincarnation, who knows? And finally, could it be a "ghost writer" someome who writes for a novelist or player as if she\he were the original author? Thanks a lot for your cooperation. Best regards. Beatriz, Argentina.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Sean,
    you're a kind of mysterious man, if i am aloud to say so, but what does The Tudors has to do with ghosts? because Henry VIII hat six wives? sent to cut the head of two of his wives? ..someone who dies in this way must be walking around as a ghost ....or because Catherine was Isabelle's daughter and Isabelle financed Columbus discovering America? so then....where are the ghost here? aaahh because He did the Church reform in England?, the fourteen century must have been a exiting time!! I am soo much looking forward for your entries,
    but.. ghosts!! I loved this film "Casper the Friendly Ghost"
    see u

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi there , I really enjoyed to read your friends spooky comment :)

    @ Ashish you really made me to laugh with your mischief story , how naughty can be young boys …And How silly were the people who couldn't realize Ghost to be Human . By the way I do believe ghosts will wonder around her/his dear near one after death .

    @ dear Mahjabeen happy to know I 'm not the only person who is afraid of horror film . I was really ashamed of confessing it . About meditation I think I hadn't had a deep meditation to have an out of body experience .

    @ dear Svetlana , thank you to share your experience as mother of a school boy . Lucky you there are some dear and near to give you hand when you are busy bee . I specially enjoyed reading your essay about supernatural issues . I 'm absolutely agree with you : ) . I had two times experience for anesthesia like you but I can't remember nothing just I woke up in pains ! I think the Doctor has taken less amount drug and you were semi_ unconscious just a think if you don't mind .

    @ Hi Mariana , interesting to hear about your frightening experience late back in your childhood . I think if it happen to you again you will find the source of the sound to remove any doubt , won't you .
    I have another funny story :
    after my second son birth you may know I had to wake up many times in midnight, when all the home were at sleep and the home were silent and dark . my hubby once made a joke and he said spooks didn't let him to sleep after that for a while I had a frightening time late at nights and guess what once I really heard the sound of some one walking , at first I thought It was my hubby but no way he wasn't .

    well It 's time to leave here and waiting to
    hear and read other's opinion and spooky stories :)
    Pary from Iran

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Pary! I am really pleased you are able to commenting frequently despite your busy times around babies. And yes, the soud, I am still hearing it in my mind, was sort of havy walking and it went faster et the end like the wobling log does. Interestingly, not the one in the family ever mentioned the same experience. What I do believe is the thing each have in the head as the biggest potential for us. Take for yourself what you want! See you, marianna

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Sean! I read what you wrote about ghosts. Honestly I dont' believe in reincarnation or in ghosts. I've never stayed in a haunted house! Nowadays there are many movies about this topic....maybe because it is wonderful try to escape our world and imagine something else..the theme of what there will be after death, anyway,is fascinating and terrible at the same level... By the way a few days ago a friend of mine joined a seance and he said to me that it was frightening!! But I haven't believied what he said. I think that was only a kind of paranoia ...maybe bacause haloween is coming.... Best wishes to everybody

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Sean,

    Nice to meet you!
    It’s a tremendous topic. I don’t know what’s the connection beetwen Henry VIII and ghosts, but while I was reading your story that thing came into my mind that Sero told, that Henry VIII beheaded two of his wives. Maybe do we have to look for the answer here?
    And my answers’re short for the other questions: no. I don’t believe in ghosts and the reincarnation but it would be reassuring to know that none the less we die we'll live further. I haven’t been in haunted house yet and unfortunatelly I have never had out of body experience but I think it can be really quaint experience.
    Ok, I have a ’I don’t know’ answer too :). I don’t understand exactly meaning of the ghost writer. If it means that a writer writes a autobigraphy book about the other person whose life’s interesting then my answer’s yes. But if it means that a writer writes a book under the other writer’s name then my answer’s no. And maybe both of them’re wrong interpretation so I’d like to ask helping.

    Ditta, Hungary

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Dear Sean, The Teacher!
    Thanks for your post, it was very well done, and for your questions as well: I'm happy to answer to them, so let's go :)
    1. I believe in ghosts, I'm an advocate of such conseption: any things what are accessible to human beings' fancy/fantasy actually exist in real terms. I don't believe that a human being able to creat any new things even in fancy, we only able discover what are already exist, just sometimes gods decide to reveal some things to us, when they want it.
    2. No, I haven't ever had an out of body experience. There is J. London's the novel 'The Star Rover', where he describe such experience in details and very convincing. If for some friends of mine here it's interesting - I very recommend to read.
    3. I answer to this question by my first one.
    4. I don't think so.
    5. My dictionary says it's the synonym of baleful (spooky). There isn't the word 'spook' in my dictionary. Sorry.
    6. Of course you need, Sean.
    Best wishes,


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