Quarantining with ghosts

According to a 2019 YouGov survey, 45 percent of adult Americans believe in ghosts. What's it like for people who are convinced they are quarantining with a specter? The New York Times' Molly Fitzpatrick interviewed several true believers about their ghostly roommates and puts their experiences in context. From the New York Times:

John E.L. Tenney, who describes himself as a paranormal researcher and is a former host of the TV show “Ghost Stalkers,” estimates that he received two to five reports of a haunted house each month in 2019. Lately, it’s been more like five to 10 in a week.[...]

Mr. Tenney has no doubt that the vast majority of these cases in his inbox are “completely explainable” in nature. “When the sun comes up and the house starts to warm up, they’re usually at work — they’re not used to hearing the bricks pop and the wood expand,” he said. “It’s not that the house wasn’t making those sounds. They just never had the time to notice it.” [...]

Kurt Gray, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studies how we perceive and treat the minds of other entities, including animals, machines and the dead. Times of great unease or malaise, when there is an increased drive to find meaning in chaos, can lend themselves to perceived hauntings, he said — not to mention that disease itself shares certain psychological parallels with a “malevolent spirit,” creeping invisibly upon its unsuspecting victims.

This phenomenon could also be a side effect of the loneliness of our time. “In quarantine, you are physically confined and also psychologically confined. Your world narrows,” Mr. Gray said. “You’re trapped at home, you’re needing human contact — it’s comforting to think that there’s a supernatural agent here with you.”

"Quarantining With a Ghost? It’s Scary" (New York Times)

image: Slimer from Ghostbusters