Hey Elderly Aunt, are ghosts real?

Hey Elderly Aunt, are ghosts real?

elderly_auntRTlogoWell, dear reader, your faith in the Elderly Aunt’s acuity is touching, but the truth is she has no clue as to whether or not ghosts are real. Nor, in her opinion does anyone else. Ghosts either exist or they don’t, and if you’ll allow the Elderly Aunt to fall back on a nugget of her hard-earned wisdom, the opinion of the living doesn’t alter the situation at all.

About that nugget of hard-won wisdom…

When the Elderly Aunt was young, she was a brash atheist who had absolute faith in the reach of the human intellect. If something couldn’t be rationally explained, she summarily dismissed it as poo-pooable hooey.

In those days, the (not yet) Elderly Aunt already loved a good debate, and nothing energized her more than a get-down battle of wits with someone who believed in God. As a result, the teen-aged Elderly Aunt fearlessly challenged a young — and astonishingly tolerant and kind — Episcopalian minister to explain to her why he believed so firmly that God existed. It was this young minister who first pointed out to the (not yet) Elderly Aunt that the existence of God wasn’t contingent on her — or anyone else — being able to prove it rationally. Furthermore, the young Episcopal minister suggested that the current — and possibly eternal — reach of the human intellect wasn’t all that great compared to what lay beyond its reach.

Holy humility, Batman! It was at that exact moment that the Elderly Aunt was finally able to accept that a large part of the fun, not to mention one of the great challenges, of being alive is that we don’t get to know everything. And it is currently her opinion that only dullards and scaredy-cats shy away from acknowledging this.

What’s inarguable, of course, is the possibility of God. And it seems to the Elderly Aunt that the same could be said of ghosts. Particularly as several (possible) visitors from the spirit world have wafted through her own life.

One possible ghost appeared, long, long ago when the Elderly Aunt rented a first-floor work space in funny old building in another town.  There was an apartment on the building’s second floor, and in that apartment lived a funny old gent who believed in ghosts.

This funny old gent occasionally held séances that he claimed summoned all sorts of spirits. As he was a good neighbor as well as a firm believer in ghosts, he always invited the Elderly Aunt to attend his ghost gatherings.

Alas, she never did. But one morning after one of her upstairs neighbor’s supernatural parties, the  Elderly Aunt happened to arrive at her work space much earlier than usual. As always, she brewed a pot of strong coffee, and when it was done, took her mug over to a table by the space’s large front window.

Her plan was to spend a few moments drinking coffee and watching the world wake up. This, however, was not to be, for just as she got herself situated, the window beside the Elderly Aunt exploded outward, sending large, jagged pieces of window glass flying onto the sidewalk.

Luckily, no one was passing at the moment, so there were no injuries. But to this day, the Elderly Aunt remains delightfully bamboozled by the incident.  Her favorite theory is that one of her upstairs neighbor’s party guests got trapped in the funny old building and was forced to stage a breakout. But the truth is she’ll never know. One way or the other. Which, in her opinion, greatly adds to the fun.

And so, dear reader, when it comes to the reality of ghosts, the Elderly Aunt chooses to adopt the provisional viewpoint expressed in Roky Erikson lyrics, “If you have ghosts you have everything.”


On the second and fourth Monday of each month, the Elderly Aunt offers her thoughtful responses to your questions about this wild ride we call life . To get the Elderly Aunt’s advice on an issue that’s been intriguing or bugging you, email your question to [email protected] with the subject line “Elderly Aunt question.” (Just please don’t ask detailed financial questions). 


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