Matthew Munson: Joining a ghost hunt when you don’t believe in spirits

Do spirits really exist?

Who here believes in ghosts and ghouls and all things creepy? If you do, you’re not alone – statistics show that large numbers of Brits think that some part of us survives death, and some of those souls remain on Earth and haunt people or places.

I’m not convinced, to tell the truth. I’d certainly like to live a longer life, but preferably in my body; it’s not perfect, but it does the job of carrying my consciousness around – and it’s the only body I’ve ever known – so if I could get a couple of hundred extra years added onto my life, I’d certainly not say no. But the thought of living on as a non-corporeal being haunting my friends … well, it might be fun for a while, but then would get a bit odd as I watch everyone I once knew getting on with their lives but am not able to participate.

But more than that, I’ve not yet seen any evidence for disembodied entities. There’s a dedicated core of people searching for said proof, but nothing has as yet come through as concrete evidence. A friend of mine and I were discussing it very recently, as she comes down firmly on the side of ghosts existing because she has encountered them. I’m sure she thinks I’m mad for not believing in them – which she’s perfectly entitled to think, of course.

I’m particularly interested in her stories of ghost hunts that she goes on from time to time; she follows TV shows like Ghost Hunters and visits supposedly haunted houses whenever events come up that she can get to. Recently, she, her brother (another pal of mine), and his girlfriend attended a ghost hunt, and my pal (let’s call her Lynda for the purposes of this discussion … as that’s her name) returned talking excitedly about the evening. She’d thoroughly enjoyed the event, and strongly believed that she had encountered a being or two from beyond the grave.

Lynda is a good raconteur, and so I was interested to hear her stories, as well as her interpretation of the experiences she had on the night. I couldn’t pretend to share her experiences but I respected the fact she was genuinely open to discussion.

More recently, she revealed that she and her brother (Mark) have set up a company to run their own ghost hunts at haunted venues, with them running the events themselves. I was even more intrigued when they invited me on their first tour in January, as they both know my view on ghosts, and I think I surprised even myself when I accepted the invitation. But I am intrigued to see what all the fuss is about, and to see what both Lynda and Mark see in these events – from the point of view of someone who doesn’t believe in the same things and hasn’t ever experienced something myself.

So, I get to go to my first ghost hunt in January next year, and I’m fascinated to see how Lynda and Mark run the evening – I’ve promised them an entirely fair review afterwards, and they’ve promised me an interesting evening’s entertainment. A non-believer attending a ghost hunt being run by two believers; this’ll be an interesting combination!