Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fire Bad!: Part 2

So if all it really takes is dying by violence or extreme negative emotions at death, the list of possible triggers for ghostly behavior would be massive.

You have:
Extreme Anger
Heartbreak (if the romance novels are to be believed)
Daytime Television
Political Ads
Car Wrecks
Someone ninja-looting your epic during the big Ulduar raid
Calling tech support
Tax Season

It just seems like it would be far too easy for haunting to occur. And as long as we’re exploring that line of thought, how come you never hear about caveman ghosts? People have been dying violently for thousands of years, yet you never hear about ‘that cave in the hills where a ghostly voice wails ‘Fire Bad!’’

In the US, it’s always Civil or Revolutionary War dead or the odd Indian Burial Ground. In Europe (as far as I can gather) it’s haunted castles. Yet caveman, who by definition lived short, brutal lives, never seem to become ghosts.

It’s puzzling. You’d expect every other cave or rock outcropping to be haunted, but there you go. And I have yet to hear of a haunted shopping mall. People probably die there every year, but you never hear about the ‘Cinnabon of the Dead.’

I would totally visit the Cinnabon of the Dead.



Silver said...

Well, there are many possible reason there aren't any cavemen ghosts around (totally stealing that idea for a roleplaying campaign though). Perhaps whatever makes up ghosts dissipate over time. Perhaps you can only see ghosts of your own species. Perhaps cavemen weren't advanced enough to remain behind, content with their lives, despite brutality.

I agree that the requirements are a bit broad though, especially the unfinished business some people talk about. I mean, does that mean you'll have ghosts desperately trying to go buy milk? Negotiate a contract? Pick up their children from kindergarden? Perhaps decorate the christmas-tree or setting up christmas lights (perhaps that's why people always swear they're cursed and tangled and impossible...)?

TX_Val said...

Perhaps it's a set up for a book or movie.. you find out all the people are actually ghosts in the end. Maybe it's a big war scene, but no one remembers why they're fighting, then later it's revealed that they're all ghosts?

What was that story, where the guy is in the underground bunker and has the computer friends, then they basically ignore him until he thinks he's the one that's not real? Oh nm I'll have to do some digging.

Maybe Like Silver said, the cavemen expected it. They didn't know any better, so brutally dying was normal, and didn't cause whatever emtional need to stay that others would have.

Much like Vikings, wasn't dying brutally in battle a good thing? They woudln't have unfinished business after they were deboweled, they would be happy. :)

I can imagine why the indians (native american) might be upset, and want to hang around for a few more scalps though.

Good point though, I could see a bunch of ghost nerds moaning about epic loot though....

TX_Val said...

Deboweled.. did I actually type that? *shakes his head* How about Disemboweled....

Jason Janicki said...

You make good points, Silver. Though what about the Caveman that didn't die brutally? Maybe they would be weirded out enough to stick around?

The bunker story sounds vaguely familiar. I might have read that a long time ago. There was a video game where you eventually figure out that all the characters were the memories of a destroyed village. I always thought that was kind of cool, in a sad kind of way.

And 'deboweled' actually works. I might have to use it in a conversation :)

Silver said...

Well, yeah, vikings that didn't die properly in battle could very well remain behind, but they don't really have many ghosts myths. I don't know if that has any affect on the forming of a ghost, a viking dying outside of battle, alone in bed, that stayed behind would most likely turn into a Draugr.

A caveman that didn't die brutally, I would suspect would be grateful, and thus wouldn't return either. It's not about their expectations, but more being as primitive as they are, they consider death fully final, and have no reason, or desire, to stick around.

People today are often very caught up in escaping death, and ignore it, when it comes to themselves. We are so caught up in living our lives, that when death catches us it takes a while for us to catch up, that death is present, we know, but that it would affect us individually is a foreign idea, something we don't deal with.

I don't know, it sounds vaguely logical to me, as logical as it can get when supernatural phenomenom is being discussed. Would still make for great roleplaying material. I can just imagine the person trying to contact a dead person, doing a spell wrong and seeing ALL the ghosts, from viking invader, to caveman, to civil war soldier, to kamikaze pilot. I imagine it would be quite traumatising.

Jason Janicki said...

Huh, you make some good points there, Silver.

I think I did a blog about contacting the spirits of the dead once wherein it was quickly discovered that the dead don't know anything more than they were alive. Well, if I didn't, I should totally do one :)