Hyper-real ghosts

Today I saw several wonderful student projects at Trinity College in Dublin. One of them was about ghosts.

The basic idea for this project was an app for a SmartPhone that lets you see, and have encounters with, ghosts who wander about the campus. Trinity has been around since 1592, so there are lots of ghosts to choose from.

In order to make things more interesting, the students went well beyond historical tales of ghosts, creating a host of fictional ghosts to visit alongside them.

When the students presented their work, they made a distinction between “real” ghosts and “fake” ghosts. The real ones were the ones they had gotten from the historical record. The fake ghosts where the ones they had made up.

At some point I asked the students what would happen if a ghost were actually to appear. Would that be a third category? If ghosts from the historical record, in whom you don’t believe, are called “real” ghosts, then what would you call ghosts who actually show up on your doorstep?

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