A nagging hypothesis
By Caleb Baumgardner
Do you believe in ghosts, faithful reader?
I do. There are a number of reasons for this, but I won’t cover them in this week’s column.
Suffice to say that I think the ghosts are in a state that we Catholics call purgatory.
It is a belief held by many Eastern Catholics i.e. members of Eastern Catholic Churches, Melkites, Byzantines, Syrians, Chaldeans, etc. There are 23 distinct Eastern Catholic Churches which, although their own churches, are nonetheless in communion with Rome. They should not be confused with the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which are not.
Either way, it’s something that a lot of my Eastern siblings believe in, and I think it’s right.
And no, this chronicle will not be an explanation of the doctrine of purgatory either.
It will be a hypothesis (jokingly) on the origin of the ghosts.
It’s remarkable to me how many people think that just because they don’t believe something is true, it makes it wrong. As if their belief determines reality. This is something that has amused me for a long time. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people will persist in believing something. And sometimes they will get mad at you for challenging that belief or for saying that you are persecuting or oppressing them by doing so.
With that in mind, I envisioned this imaginary exchange between one of the recently deceased and an angel of death who has come to guide their souls beyond. Keep in mind, of course, that this was meant as a joke:
“Angel of Death: Hello. You are dead. I am here to take you to the afterlife.
Deceased person: I am not dead.
Death Angel: But there’s your corpse right there.
Deceased person: I am not dead.
Angel of Death: Yes, you are. Can’t you see your corpse right in front of you?
Deceased person: false news. I am not dead.
Death Angel: See, they’re locking you in a body bag right now.
Death: Didn’t you hear me? I said fake news! It means I’m not dead.
Death Angel: No, these words have no effect on reality. You are dead.
Deceased person: You are entitled to your opinion, but I am not dead.
Death Angel: It’s not a matter of opinion.
Deceased Person: You can’t just tell me I’m dead. Whether or not I’m alive is up to me. I know my rights.
Death Angel: A natural law talk isn’t going to help you at this point. You just got hit by a bus and you are dead.
Dead Person: You are violating my rights!
Death Angel: No, I’m right here. You were hit by a bus and died. Your rights have nothing to do with this.
Deceased Person: I don’t think I’m dead.
Angel of Death: Your belief is irrelevant. You are dead.
Dead Person: Stop attacking me!
Angel of Death: I am not attacking you. And I mean, there’s not much else someone can do to you if they attack you because you’re dead.
Dead Person: I saw on YouTube where some people survive being hit by a bus.
Death Angel: Yeah, some people do. But you didn’t. You are dead.
Deceased person: STOP ATTACKING ME. THIS IS THE DELETION.
Angel of Death: If by erasure you mean the end of your mortal existence, then yes, I guess you do.
Deceased person: STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT.
Angel of Death: Seriously?
Deceased person: You don’t have the right to tell me if I’m dead or alive!
Angel of death: I stopped. I have other appointments today.
* * *
Dead Person: I’ve been walking around for a week now trying to talk to people, but they’ve all run away screaming in terror. It’s like they all act the same way. This … cannot be a coincidence.
It can only really mean one thing.
There must be a conspiracy! And I’ll find out! “
And a new haunting begins!
Caleb Baumgardner is a local lawyer. He can be contacted at [email protected]