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Do you believe?

Ghosts. Cryptids. Aliens. And whatever else might be out there.

Taking a break from my horror short WIP, I decided to google how many Staters believe in ghosts. I searched for a poll, and found one. Mind you, I do not in any way vouch for its accuracy or veracity since it appeared in People magazine online.

Anyway, the poll surveyed 2,000 people 21 and over on their opinions. Overall, 63 percent of Staters believe in the paranormal in some form.

Fifty-seven percent believe in ghosts, 39 percent believe in aliens, and 27 percent believe in cryptids. Thirty-five percent have felt unexplained presences in their homes. Forty-four percent reported having a personal experience with the paranormal.

Things that go bump in the night.

And this one: 23 percent don’t believe in the paranormal, but they don’t want to do anything that’ll spark an encounter proving them wrong. For them, I guess that means no visiting haunted houses, asylums, abandoned churches, rivers, lakes, ponds, railroad tracks, canyons, battlefields, or anyplace else a ghostie or other critter might be hanging out.

So what the hell do they do on Saturday night, then?

The poll also reports that 55 percent believe the full moon can make people weird.

I have a sibling who can lend some credence to this. She’s a physician, and she says on nights of the full moon, people have come into the ER with the strangest injuries. The kind that made her think, “how the fuck did you manage to do THAT?” Or, “what the fuck did you do THAT for?” Or, “what the fuck were you THINKING?”

Howl at the moon.

I’ve danced naked under a full moon on a narrow, deserted road running through thick woods, its eldritch beams showering me through the gap in the canopy. Does that count as weird? Maybe? I don’t care either way, really. It was hella fun. I wasn’t alone, which made it even more hella fun.

Fifty-six percent believe that some people can see and predict the future.

That one got me thinking. About the Block Universe theory, to be specific. “We” exist in four dimensions, the familiar three–past, present, and future. And the fourth: time. On the whole, I doubt people perceive time as a dimension. Unless you’re a physicist, or a cosmologist. What it means though, is that the past, present, and future coexist in this one big block of spacetime that is the universe. An intelligent something outside the block would see a static slab of…something. Might remind them of a block of cheese?

The theory posits there isn’t such a thing as “now.” All moments just exist relative to each other in the four dimensions, the three spacial and the one time dimension. What you perceive as “now” is a reflection of where in the block universe you happen to be at that instant. Your past is a slice of the block universe that exists at a different location, and your future is a slice that exists at some other point.

Time is an illusion.

The Block Universe theory isn’t a new idea. New packaging, perhaps. Even Einstein thought so, and I quote: “People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

So, let’s say someone predicts a future event and it happens. At the time of their prediction, they were in no position to know if the event would occur. Is it possible they somehow could have “seen” that particular slice of spacetime? If they did, it’s probably because of the pituitary gland. That thing seems to be responsible for all kinds of weird shit that goes down in the body and brain.

Ghosts. Maybe ghosts are the embodiment of the law of conservation of mass? “Mass can neither be created or destroyed; it can only change its shape.” Perhaps a ghost is someone whose physical shape has been changed by death. In that shape, it’s no longer anchored in what we perceive as “time and space” so can circumvent the block’s static slices and be seen in someone else’s “present.”

Okay, but that presupposes that people, or anything sentient, retains its consciousness after death. How? If consciousness has mass, that means it’s energy, and vice versa. Energy and mass are interchangeable. E=mc², remember? If the body has changed its shape, wouldn’t its consciousness change, too? Why would it remain cohesive? Wouldn’t its energy dissipate, and whoever the person was is no longer “I?” 

Napoleon, aliens, and the Grand Canyon.

The law of conservation also doesn’t hold that mass remains static. It can be rearranged in space. So if the block universe is a closed system, my little toe might have bits of Napoleon buried in it. Or Kri’th Mu Gho’rut, the twelve-tentacled shoemaker from Ba’govira in the Tai’chra’chon galaxy. Bits of anything.

Does that mean reincarnation is real? Not the “I was Cleopatra in a past life” sort of thing. But given the law and a closed system, it means everything that exists is made up of bits and pieces of the system’s total mass, right? Instead of Napoleon, maybe my little toe has molecules from that sliver of the Grand Canyon worn away by the Colorado River. No reason why it couldn’t be both. And that alien what’s-its-name.

Cool stuff. Next up: black holes and baby universes.

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