When You See a Ghost…

I am not one to believe in the supernatural, but entertainment loves to utilize this medium to get the audience excited. It is right to do so. Our innate fear of the supernatural heightens our attention and despite the fear, we cannot turn away from what is happening.

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We know that when we see a ghost in literature or a movie, something is about to go down. Ghosts just don’t appear for no reason. In horror movies, ghosts often drive the entire plot! I mean the most famous line from The Sixth Sense is “I see dead people”.

The supernatural is what makes things memorable because it is so out of the ordinary. You couldn’t care less if a squirrel peeked out from behind a tree, but a ghost, you would definitely remember a ghost. Especially now that there seems to be an increase in the interest of the supernatural. So many shows and movies are now basing themselves off of this premise. Popular shows such as Supernatural, Walking Dead, and, Vampire Diaries are just a few.

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To me, I feel that including supernatural elements cheapens the plot (do not get me started on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies). However, there is one example I can think of that uses the supernatural tastefully, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The opening scene showcases a visit from a ghost, a visit that sparks the rest of the plot. What makes it tasteful is that it peaks just enough curiosity and then disappears. It makes its point just by appearing.

I usually abhor supernatural elements but I must say, well done Shakespeare.

-Pauline

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3 thoughts on “When You See a Ghost…

  1. I, for one, happen to enjoy stories such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. While it may occasionally be over the top, I agree it adds a twist that makes it much memorable compared to an “ordinary” counterpart of the same subject (I’m sure that people will watch “Supernatural” over “Natural”.) However, by no means do I believe it cheapens the plot; every factor is intended to strengthen the story, including extraordinary and supernatural situations.

  2. Hey Pauline, I really enjoyed your article! I think that sometimes it can be interesting to add in a supernatural element to something well-known, but I do see your point. If badly done, supernatural elements can ruin a story. (I’m definitely over the vampire and zombie craze.) In my opinion, supernatural elements are so popular in literature and entertainment because it’s something new and strange and different that can be played around with a lot.

    Umbreen

  3. I agree! I feel that since the supernatural has become so popular lately (I’m not saying it wasn’t before, but thanks “Harry Potter…”), more and more authors have been using them just to appeal to their target audiences (I think it’s mostly in young adult fiction). This isn’t bad, since what we all really want more people to read what we write, but if these things don’t exist, then how does EVERY SINGLE AUTHOR have the same idea of what a dwarf or an elf or a zombie should be? Who decided that zombies should eat humans? What if they just come back to life and were like… vegetarians? Why does everyone follow Tolkien’s “high elves and bearded dwarves” trope?

    I think a big part of Shakespeare’s appeal is basically because he did things first; I’m not saying that he is a poor writer, because he really is nowhere close to that, but you’ll always have the advantage if you do something no one’s ever done before.

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