Beliefnet
O Me of Little Faith

It’s been a few months since the last sneak peak at Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, which releases in August from Jossey-Bass (along with Pocket Guide to Sainthood and a repackaged Pocket Guide to the Bible).

My favorite chapter in most of the Pocket Guides is the final chapter, which is always just a random collection of lists related to the topic. These are hard to research — lots of information to sift through for a single bullet point — but always fun to write. Because I like lists.

So here’s one of them from “The Afterlists,” which is the listy last chapter of PGTTAfterlife:

Eleven Sensible Explanations for Ghosts

1. They are souls of the dead who have returned to finish an unfinished task.

2. They have returned to avenge their deaths.

3. They want to uncover a hidden truth.

4. They are trying to protect their families.

5. They are suicide victims bound to wander the earth aimlessly.

6. They did not receive the proper burial rites.

7. They are ancestors looking out for us.

8. They are somehow trapped in this dimension and trying to find a way out.

9. They are projections of your subconscious.

10. They are hallucinations.

11. They are only floating bedsheets with eyeholes and nothing to be afraid of.

12. They are at Stage Three of the four stages of death prior to the next resurrection, with Stage One being an animal and Stage Two being a demon (Burmese Buddhism only).

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Have you ever seen, heard, or otherwise encountered a ghost? If so, please explain. (No, Bruce Willis doesn’t count.)

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