I am happy to admit to you all that I am partial to a paranormal documentary. Show me a spooky doc, with interviews from unreliable witnesses and cheap event reconstructions, and I will show you pure, unadulterated happiness. But in all my time watching these real-life horror stories, plenty of questions have haunted my mind, particularly when it comes to ghosts. So I have laid those questions out here, in hopes that the Huffington Post might be some sort of online portal to the underworld where, fingers crossed, they have email.
1. Why are none of you ever animals?
I once read that around 998 million birds die in America every year. 998 million a year. And that's just those idiot birds that fly into windows. That doesn't count the ones that explode when you feed them rice, or that run into the road at the worst possible moment. So just where are all the bird ghosts, huh? Why is there not some janky old one-legged pigeon determined to piss me off from beyond the grave? Where's all the dead seagulls doing phantom poos on my shoulder? Why don't you ever go into someone's house and say "wow, it really smells like budgies in here," only to get the reply, "budgie haven't lived in this house for fifty yeeeaars!" All I'm saying is, if humans can turn into spectres, surely animals can too.
2. Why are you always from way, way back in the past?
If you're a ghost, and you're waiting to contact the living, is the queue to make your connection like the one outside Oceana on a Saturday night? Perhaps, as a spirit, you queue, and you queue, and you queue, but the portal between the supernatural and human worlds has a one-in-one-out system, so they're still only letting ghosts from a pre-1920s era haunt us right now. I mean, when was the last time you saw a ghost in a Tesco uniform in your hallway? Most apparitions are still in garbs from the First World War. If you ever find yourself in a haunted house, and you hear footsteps upstairs, nine times out of ten you're going to find some little victorian tyke wearing a dusty old knickerbocker suit rather than a teen poltergeist from 2010 lying on the bed in a snood top, sending all his dead mates a picture of your scared mug on whatever phone Steve Jobs is inventing in the afterlife. Are all the contemporary ghosts lost way back in the queue? Are they letting other ghosts push in front of them? Because of all the paranormal TV shows I've seen there's not been one single outfit that I would pin to my '#OOTD' Pinterest board.
3. Why are you always so vague?
I'm putting myself in the limpid shoes of a ghost here - and knock three times if I'm wrong - but if it were me, and I were a ghost, I would be sticking around to send my message to the sentient world. However long it took. I mean, it's not like I've got anything better to do - I'm here for eternity. I have taken my number from the machine and I'm waiting for it to be called. So when I eventually got through to a medium named Deborah with an 80s perm and long glittery nails and five Jack Russells, who's sitting in a house with my bereaved loved ones drinking tea, I'm not going to be ambiguous in what I want to say to them. Like with all those old-timey ghosts I was talking about - Christ, they've waited a really long time, and they're always so vague. When I get through to Deborah my message won't be lacklustre ("Tell my mum that the park we went to once... the one with the bench... Arrrgh, forget it. I can't be bothered. Pascale out."), it's going to be like War and fucking Peace.
4. Why do you always have such scary voices?
Think of all the people you've ever met. How many of those people have a voice that make your skin crawl? Not that many, right? I know a lot of people who have voices as sweet as sunshine, and I would happily fall asleep to them reading the Ikea catalogue to me. I also have friends with low, jolly baritone voices, and some who speak in gravelly, slightly arousing tones. How come ghosts never sound any of my friends? Why does every single spirit have to talk like Tim Curry in Legend? Seriously, like, no one from the world of the living talks like that. Think how pleasant a seance would be if the poltergeist communicated with the tone and inflection of Adele.
5. Why do you never do anything nice to make your presence known?
I have one rule, and it goes like this: if someone wants my attention, they can come over and ask for it. Don't shout my name over and over again across the office. Don't knock on the window aggressively when I'm in the garden. Don't send me passive aggressive texts that say "I NEED 2 TALK 2 U" when I'm only upstairs. The same courtesy applies to ghosts. I'll tell you this now: no one, living or dead, got anywhere by belligerently throwing stuff around. You want something from someone? How 'bout you just be nice?
So riddle me this: why do spirits always have to be chucking shit to get us to listen? If they're not throwing lego at our heads they're repeatedly slamming our drawers, or moving our sofas so we make absolute tits of ourselves. Is it too much to ask that if you want some level of decent communication, you fold that pile of washing I've been putting off, or make my bed? Instead of leaving ominous scrawlings on steamy windows that, frankly, never make a lot of sense, why not just ask, nicely: "Hey gurl, chat soon?"
Ghosts, humour me please. Just imagine that we are call operators in the worlds largest call centre, connecting calls between those who are alive and those who are not: being a real dick won't get your message transmitted any quicker. I will put on hold and go and look at Facebook on the toilet if you piss me off. You will be the next caller in the queue forever.