Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne

A Ghost Story

Every month we invite our readers to pitch us articles on a theme revealed in our regular newsletter. Find out what our next theme is by subscribing to our newsletter below. This month our theme was ‘ghost stories’ and writer Jennifer Byrne sent chills down our spine with her cold hard ghost logic…

Gather around the campfire, kids – I have a blood-curdling ghost story for you. It’s called The Man With High Triglycerides and Not Enough ‘Good Cholesterol’ who Had Somewhat Successful Cardiac Surgery But Then Never Made Meaningful Changes To His Diet and Got Diabetes and Eventually Died.  

I know – I’m getting chills, too.  

The reality is, probably more than half of all people die of things this boring, if not boring-er. Yet the ghosts we see in movies, TV, and even our own homes always seem to have hatchets buried in their skulls or arterial spray gushing out of their chests from where their still-beating hearts were ripped out. Why is that? Why do our ghosts always seem to be wearing bloody, Victorian-era wedding gowns and never cheap, backless hospital gowns? The fact that none of us wants to look at feeble old ghost asses can’t be the only reason.  

“It’s because people who have died violently have unfinished business here.” 

This was the explanation a friend of mine offered me, based on her approximately zero expertise in the paranormal. But it sounded good, and I have heard similar stuff before. Here’s the thing – it all depends on what kind of “unfinished business” we’re talking about.  

If you think about it, we all have some “unfinished business” at the end of our lives, no matter how we died. In fact, you’d think that a person who dies of some snoozefest of a condition like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (not even the fun, alcoholic kind!) would have more unfinished business than someone who gets beheaded in a medieval duel. I mean, think about it – if you’re doing stuff to get your head cut off or your small intestine ripped out, you are really living. Your business here has been a freaking insane roller coaster and now it’s time to rest. You’ve carpe’d the hell out of your diems. Your work here is done!  

If, however, you were a certified public accountant who didn’t get enough fibre, you might still have some living left to do when your time is up. Maybe you want to try ziplining like you’ve always meant to, and like all the old people are always doing during those commercials for rheumatoid arthritis drugs. You really should have asked your doctor about that, by the way. 

Lastly, why do ghosts always seem to come from bygone eras? Why no ghosts in Uggs or mom jeans? At some point in human history, did we quit haunting and just leave that stuff to the old-timey people? Or are we too busy ghosting each other here on earth? 

Really, I think the ultimate ghost story – or horror movie about ghosts – should take place in a hospital. When you consider how many people die there every single day, hospitals are the most haunted houses ever. Plus, if a ghost attacks you in a hospital, you’re already in the hospital. Yay! Hope you have ghost insurance! 

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