Let me tell you a little secret about myself: I can sense the ghosts of dead people, and I’m not using a metaphor here. I really mean ghosts, or souls, or spirits of other dead people. Call them whatever you want. I can feel them, and they used to scare the shit out of me.
This started when I was a kid. The apartment where my parents raised me had a badly-lit corridor with the living room on one end, my parents’ bedroom on the other, and my own bedroom and a bathroom in between. Often, on my way back from the bathroom, I would have a slight feeling that someone was behind me, just standing there looking at my back. I would turn, and each and every time I was unable to see anyone or anything. However, I felt, I knew there was somebody there, some presence staring at me. I would hurry up, run back to my room, and close the door behind me.
During our childhood years my sister and I used to spend the weekends at my grandparents’ place. It was a big house in the outskirts of Barcelona that my grandfather built with his own hands (or so I’ve been told) after immigrating from Galicia after the Spanish civil war. The house was built on a slope, with the top floor and entrance being at street level. Below there was another huge, dark floor full of cupboards and closets containing my grandparents’ old clothes, photos, china, dolls, and many other treasures that they would never use again, but they would keep anyway, until the house was expropriated by the government and then demolished to make room for a clinic that should have been completed before the 1992 Olympic Games, but wasn’t. My grandfather had to earn a living as a blacksmith during the war, and after he retired he set up a workshop in the basement, where he spent most of his time mass-producing fishing leads he sold to fishing shops. I remember spending lots of time there with him, playing with drills, saws, blowtorches and molten lead and aluminum. My grandfather passed away from cancer before the expropriation, and I kept going downstairs to play with the tools in the workshop. It now felt empty (though it wasn’t), and the back of the room was dark, because the only window was near the workbench on the façade opposite to the hillside. I felt ghosts there too. It always started as a faint feeling of being observed, of someone being there looking at me. I would look and see nobody, but the feeling grew and soon I recognized, I knew that my grandfather was there, somewhere in the room, looking at me neither with approval nor disapproval. I would run upstairs, close the door behind me, and stay in the living room reading comic books.
It still happens today. I currently live in a two-floor apartment in central Tokyo. When it’s time to sleep I switch off the lights in the living room and walk in darkness towards the stairs to the bedroom. It is at these times when often (but not always) I feel a presence behind me, someone that I don’t know, standing right there next to the light switch looking over my back as I hurry up the stairs and close the sliding door.
Needless to say, this is all bullshit.
I don’t believe in paranormal nonsense. I don’t believe in any gods, or ghosts, or spirits, nor any of Deepak Chopra’s idiotic ideas about “quantum energy” or spirituality. Whenever I feel a presence in the dark, the rational part of my brain tells me that it’s just my imagination, that there isn’t really anything there. I know there can’t be anything there and there’s nothing to fear. The irrational part of my brain, however, tells me the opposite: there’s some non-physical presence there the dark and it probably wants to hurt me.
I trace this mess back to my childhood. I grew up in the early 80s between encyclopedias, superhero comic books, science and pseudo-science magazines, TV documentaries and 8-bit computer games. Back then I was very interested in all these articles and TV programs about UFOs, crop circles, ghosts, and haunted houses full of psychophonies. All of these “documentaries” and magazine articles were telling me how real these paranormal phenomena were. For years, my young undeveloped brain assimilated all this information and wired my unconscious mind to trigger these responses to being alone in the dark, even nowadays when in the conscious, rational part of my brain I know that there’s nothing there for me to worry about. This is one of the reasons why often I walk right through the middle of the Aoyama Graveyard at midnight on my way back home from the gym. It is always interesting to analyze these emotions, knowing that it’s just my faulty brain misbehaving.
This childhood self-indoctrination will probably remain with me until I die and my brain decomposes.
Now you’re in a position to understand what goes through my head whenever you tell me that you know that your god exists, that you can feel its presence and that it is affecting your life on a day-by-day basis. You have as much evidence for your god as I do for my ghosts: exactly none. Some part of your unconscious mind keeps pushing these feelings and emotions to the conscious brain, and you think that is “evidence” enough.
Sorry, but it’s not. You’ve been indoctrinated, and your “god” isn’t real.
Try and guess why I rant about this.