This is another break from my usual reviews to do a little exploring of why certain concepts are scary to us. Today I am talking about ghosts.
When you think about it, there are probably few places you could go on Earth where someone has not died at some point. My house alone has been the site of at least one, maybe two deaths. If you think about all the sets of eyes that could be watching you right now, it gets a little overwhelming to believe in ghosts. Luckily, we don't seem to believe that every person who ever lived is now a ghost. We mostly reserve that idea for people who died violently or tragically. That narrows down locations of hauntings to places with tragic or violent histories.
Still, you sometimes get that sense of being watched or feel like you are not alone and ghosts can't help but creep into the imagination. And if a ghost is there, what's to stop it from moving some furniture around or turning an appliance on and off? Why wouldn't it make its presence more known? So, sometimes, late at night, we wait for that other shoe to drop and finally hear a whisper in the darkness or the caress of a hand against our skin. Ghosts are scary because they can be anywhere and they make themselves known usually while we are at our most vulnerable...as we sleep.
It has been discovered that there are certain subsonic frequencies that create a sensation of dread, make you feel as if there is someone present and even causes mild hallucinations in the peripheral vision.. These sounds can be caused by the confluence of all sorts of natural phenomenon so it doesn't take much for a little history and a little imagination to cross up and create a unique haunting experience.
The flipside of ghosts that is so scary is...what if this happens to us? What if there is no heaven or hell, merely being trapped on this earthly plane for eternity? Sure, you could watch people in the shower but even that would get old after awhile. And worse if you are stuck as a ghost repeating the same actions over and over again. While our fear of the afterlife is pretty strong, our fear of the inexplicable is worse. Ghosts get to cover both bases at once without really being all that threatening. They can move little things or make noises but, by and large, ghosts are considered harmless. It still doesn't help much if you feel a tap on your shoulder when no one is there.