Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalog of common things.
Philosophy will clip an angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine ----
Unweave a rainbow[...]
JUST time for Halloween: the 'haunted air' is full retreat.
Item: since the introduction of cellular phones, ghost sightings in Britain have plummeted, according to this report. Are ghosts vulnerable to tiny amounts of microwave radiation? Or are 'ghosts' some sort of electrical phenomenon that cell phones interfere with, the way they supposedly interfere with electronic medical equipment? Or is this just a coincidence, and people have just been becoming less superstitious over the last 15 years?
Item: There is evidence that very low frequency sound waves, so-called 'infrasound', below the human auditory level of about 20hz, may be responsible for some 'haunted' houses or rooms. Even though they cannot be heard, these sounds seem to be unconsciously sensed, and lead to a feeling of unease, or a sense of presence. A paranormal investigator named Vic Tandy (man, that sounds like a stage name) discovered this while investigating a supposedly haunted site. He found a ventilation fan that put out inaudible 18.5hz vibrations. When the fan was turned off, the sense of 'haunting' went away. "A 'haunted' 14th century pub cellar in Coventry was shown to have an 18.9hz peak when its soundscape was spectrally analyzed."
Carl Sagan's 'Demon-Haunted World' is by slow degrees becoming less haunted. Its dark corners are being illuminated, its foul pits are being opened up to the sunlight and air. Sort of like the breaking of Thangorodrim. ^^;;
In a way, I find this process sad. I'm a lover of fantasy, and the idea of a supernatural world, a 'life beyond life', coexistent with our own, a world of ghosts, demons, fairies, sprites, demigods and hamadryads, and all the rest of Ovid's and the Grimm brothers' posse, appeals to me. But it's also a world of unreality, of lack of truth, of needless fear. At its worst, it is a world where people are burned for being witches, or have their skulls cut open to release the demons inside. The human race must grow up, and leave it behind. Slowly, slowly, that is happening.