Written by Morgan Aprill
A woman’s ability to foster new life for nine months within her womb is seen by many as beautiful and empowering. However, there is a part of our cultural dynamic that seems to be threatened or even terrified by this ability. One need only consider the amount of horror movies and television shows that revolve around demonic or parasitic pregnancies to confirm this. As scholars like Lucy Fischer and A. Robin Hoffman have discovered through their analyses of various horror films featuring reproduction, there is something about the ghostliness of pregnancy and reproduction—the life that is being created inside another—that irks us to a point and causes anxiety in men and women. This has made our society look at pregnancy as a ghostly process, something that is potentially both spiritual yet demonic.
Written by Jackson Eflin
The Digital Literature Review class had a visit from Anthropologist Dr. Cailín Murray on August 20th, who told us about recording the stories told to her about the disruption of a Native American burial ground. She told us that when recording stories, it is vital to “Encounter, and document, with humility.” Several weeks ago I had the chance to attend an exorcism, and have tried to do just that. Names have been changed for privacy.
As written by Ruth Weller-Passman
What is the difference between a ghost and a soul that is no longer attached to a human body? Is there a difference? One fascinating answer to this question comes from Shane Acker’s film 9. Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity has gone extinct and the only remaining life is manmade, this film is ripe for spiritual and supernatural analysis. This analysis will focus on the movie’s treatment of souls, ghosts, and the differences between the two.
Tok Thompson is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. His research and teaching has focused on folklore, and he’s the author of the book Ireland’s Pre-Celtic Archaeological and Anthropological Heritage and of numerous articles and book chapters on folklore and popular culture. He developed and teaches a class at USC titled “Ghost Stories Throughout Time and Around the World,” and he was kind enough to agree to answer some questions about ghost stories and what haunts us.