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Is it good practice to anthropomorphize a ghost, hence give it a name?
To be brutally honest Ian I have always assumed that people named ghosts according to their resemblace to some historical figure (ie The Highwayman, Anne Boleyn etc) or because they "felt" the ghost to belong to somebody they knew (ie Uncle Rupert, Grandfather David etc).
"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"
-Kalevala, Rune XIII-
In one his books, Guy Lyon Playfair says it is sensible to name a ghost as it gives them the status of one of the family and it takes the fear out of the situation. He says it is the first thing to be done when dealing with seriously upset people. He then goes on to say it is not scientific, just good psychotherapy?
Would you agree?
Most hauntings don't even involve an apparition. It is only an assumption that haunting phenomena are caused by ghosts. One could equally well make a case for saying that apparitions are just a rare aspect of certain hauntings. So why would anyone name a ghost?
I imagine that Guy Lyon Playfair's comments are in relation to poltergeists. While all ghosts could potentially be scary, I imagine objects moving on their own could be potentially, more fear provoking than an aparition walking through a wall.
I think that if more 'fragile' witnesses are involved then naming could be a good way to help preserve their sanity. However naming something implies some sort of personal relationship with the entity or it having a personality.
It's comforting to put a simple explanation to hauntings, whether that be taking the "ghosts as dead people" approach and giving them names or the equally complacent attitude of putting it all down to fraud and misperception.
I like this argument. I address the ghost with whom I live because I am reasonably confident that I know whom it is. I have noticed that if he's been very active, simply saying his name cuts it down. Is this me venting? is it him listening? I like to think that it's both, but I agree that it makes me sound suggestible.
I really see nothing wrong with it if it helps put the people experiencing unknown phenomena more at ease. A large body of the population find seeing and hearing things they cannot explain to be a frightening experience, and any reputable investigator should try and put people at ease.
A weight of awe, not easy to be bourne,
Fell suddenly upon my spirit - cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past
When first I saw that family forlorn.. Read More »