Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ghosts, among other things

Pearl S. Buck's 'Death in the Castle' has gotten me thinking about ghosts and their unfinished business. In the book, it is suggested that England is an old country with a lot of history. That is has quite a few famous castles with famous ghosts is obvious, but in terms of land masses, England is probably no older than North America. One doesn't hear that much about unsettled Aboriginal spirits haunting Canadian or American cities or angry Incan or Mayan spirits at work in Mexico City. I know there's a book out there that looks at this concept -- the name of it escapes me -- but that's about it for that. What is it about European ghosts and their unfinished business?
Yes, I believe in ghosts. I've never seen one or felt one's presence, but I do believe in them. In the book 'Death in the Castle', the ghost of a king takes over the local lord who lives in this castle. If one looks past the idea that this lord might've suffered from a brain tumour (yes, the thought did come to mind), the idea that he was haunted is plausible. I'm pretty sure Buck was not going in the tumour direction, but she seems to leave it open for interpretation.
Looking at it from a more or less Buddhist view, are ghosts more ignorant than living people? They cannot understand that they have passed into another life, and repeat endlessly the rituals of their former life. It's something I'm thinking about. At any rate, I thought 'Death in the Castle' was a mind-twisting book. At one point, I thought that one of the characters, sort of caught in the middle of all the action, was going to lose her mind and run screaming into the night. The lord did seem more than a little odd -- odder than most of faded nobility.

No comments: