I went to Sweden to be an au pair in my early 20s.
Okay, I went to Sweden for the music scene. But I worked as an au pair during the day.
One evening, as I was getting the girls ready for bed, supervising tooth brushing, their mother ran into the bathroom all wide-eyed and frantic, “There’s something downstairs! I heard a noise. It’s probably a ghost.”
Then she looked at me, with a magisterial twinkle, realizing as her live-in employee, I was basically a servant. She could pretty much tell me what to do and I would have to do it.
So she sent me downstairs.
Shockingly, it was not a ghost.
It was the sound system in their pool room which had somehow switched itself on and was rather appropriately playing Fear of the Dark by Iron Maiden.
Remembering that inspired this comic.
People ask me how I come up with my ideas, and suddenly remembering something and abstracting it into a 3-6 panel joke is one way I come up with ideas.
Mostly funny ideas just pop into my head when I’m supposed to be concentrating on other things though.
The point of this comic is cognitive dissonance.
Which is the human capacity to simultaneously feel two things that contradict each other. The perfect example of which is ghosts.
Sitting in a lit room, Bridget is perfectly aware that ghosts do not exist. However, once she tiptoes down the hallway, her fear of ghosts, real or not, supercedes her logic.
I think this is fairly common… like those conversations we have with ourselves:
Fear: That movie was so scary, what if there really are giant cockroach aliens who lay eggs in people’s brains and then explode out their faces?
Rationality: There’s no such thing. It was a MOVIE. Movies are fake.
Fear: Maybe I should sleep with the lights on.
Rationality: You’re an adult, you don’t need to be frightened. In fact, I’m going to make you stand here, in the dark and wait, just to prove to you that you’re being silly
Fear: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! NO! Run upstairs.
… and so on.
There are a lot of arguments for why ghosts don’t exist.
But I think Bridget’s point is quite good, and I personally haven’t heard anyone use that reason before. People usually go on about how there’s no scientific proof of an afterlife, and blah blah.
And never-mind the argument of why are humans the only creatures to have ghosts, or are there cow ghosts haunting the empty stalls of abandoned slaughter houses? And if so, may I refer to them as Ghost Beef? Also, assuming ghosts were real and only for humans, at which point in human evolution did we start becoming ghosts? Are there homo habilis ghosts hanging around the Olduvai Gorge?
But returning to Bridget’s point. People ghosts would behave like people, and demand attention. It’s pretty compelling. She’s got me convinced.