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All your old tech is haunted, actually
We're making scientists and ghost-hunters kiss
You own a haunted bit of technology. I guarantee it. Maybe a ghost-ridden phone nearing the end of its life? A spectre-infested computer you’ve had for years? A hand-me-down tablet possessed by the souls of the departed?
No? Think again. I’m sure you recognise the signs: apps freezing and closing; the device getting slow and stutter-y when under strain; or maybe the hardware will just shut down sometimes, its dead, dark screen staring at you, accusatorially.
Of course, considering you’re into technology, you probably don’t think your device is haunted and have a series of “answers” to why your hardware’s acting this way. Malfunctioning touchscreen? Failing RAM? NAND degradation? Newer apps and OS hoovering up too much processing power? Planned obsolescence?
Friend, listen to me, it’s none of those things. It’s ghosts. Ghosts are to blame.
You’d be surprised at just how many people believe in the supernatural. Depending on your sources, the number of people who think ghosts exist has either risen, or stayed roughly the same over the past decade or so.
The question is… why? How come so many people are drawn to the supernatural?
An unexpected consequence of this shift away from religion is the disappearance of a once-concrete belief structure. Previously, theology was a tool to explain the unexplainable. But now? Folks have to look for explanations beyond, you know, god.
And this is something our brains are more than willing to do.
Fundamentally, humans are pattern seekers, our brains are desperate to logicize the world around us. This means that when we encounter a, well, blip — something we don’t have an immediate explanation for — we search for a system we can understand it through.
Life is innately strange. For example, hallucinations are surprisingly common, with 4.3% of the population reporting having experienced one in the past year alone. And, of course, those are simply the people who realise they’ve hallucinated.
This is to say nothing of other phenomena — whether that’s sleep paralysis, infrasound, or light refractions — that can push the limits of our understanding.
And, when encountering things like this, some fall back on a framework that makes intuitive sense to them: the paranormal.
Honestly? There’s a certain romance to this.
Unlike some religious or “ethical” beliefs, supernatural enthusiasts are generally benign. Put it this way: I’ve never encountered groups of ghoul-lovers hanging outside abortion clinics and harassing women about hauntings.
In fact, belief in the supernatural is something that feels innately human. One of the side effects of our brains’ obsessions with patterns is the value we place on stories. We make sense of the world through narrative — and ghosts are an extension of this.
A core tenant of supernaturalism is the act of crafting something logical from the befuddling. We tell a story explaining the strange noises our houses make, characterising an inanimate object with history, wants, and desires.
We make the unknowable human.
This action is imbued with a sense of hope, an idea of not only interconnection, but that things outside of our immediate understanding are important and meaningful — and I think the tech-minded among us can learn something from this.
The Venn diagram of supernatural believers and tech enthusiasts has a minuscule overlap. At least that’s what the stats suggest. While Americans with a post-graduate level of education are the least likely to believe in ghosts, they’re the most likely to own a computer.
This feels logical. Being into tech bequeaths its own type of belief system. It encourages the idea that something is only unexplainable because it hasn’t been analysed enough, that anything is possible with the right combination of research and knowledge.
Science, in other words, is the answer to anything that initially appears unanswerable.
But this is a cold way to continually exist. We’re still human. Knowing an emotion is a chemical reaction doesn’t alter how it feels — and being totally analytical means we can miss the magic in things around us.
Giving events or objects a narrative, lending them a personality, makes us feel part of something bigger. It humanises all these interactions we have with everyday things. And that’s wonderful.
That old computer of yours isn’t just a machine, it’s a trusted companion. It’s more than an amalgamation of metal and plastic; it has a past, traits, and personality. There’s a story behind it, and it doesn’t matter that it’s unrealistic, because it’s something you just feel.
So no, your laggy phone isn’t outdated or running out of space. It’s possessed. It’s overflowing with ghosts. It’s the most haunted thing I’ve ever seen.
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