When I was in the fifth grade, I started a Ghost Club.
This was around the time my short lived book series "Karen and Misty" was banned by Mrs. Ward, and I needed another way to get attention and positively influence my fellow fifth graders. Plus I really wanted to ride the wave of mid-level popularity that "Karen and Misty" had won me, and if I was going to be the weird, bossy girl, I was going to be the REALLY weird, bossy, girl.
It was great. Not only did my Ghost Club, named nothing more than "Ghost Club", satiate my burgeoning obsession with all things paranormal, but it also convinced my fellow newly initiated adolescents, trudging toward 90s teenage cynicism, that crazy, unexplainable, downright fantastical shit still happened in the world, and WE were there to witness and record it.
For a couple of weeks I had comrades in the fun of belief. Everyday at recess we'd meet, discuss, and record all the spooky stuff that happened, apparently on a daily basis, to each of us.
"I, like, put my socks in my sock drawer? And when I woke up the next day, THEY WERE ON THE FLOOR!"
"My mom and I have both seen a little boy in our back yard, and then, when we walk away, and then look in the backyard again, HE'S GONE!"
"I saw an old woman on the playground, by the trees, and when I went back to see if she was still there, SHE HAD DISAPPEARED!"
Everything had the potential to be beyond explanation, and everything was exciting. For two weeks I was in heaven.
For once my friend Marisa and I weren't just the weirdos who secretly (everyone knew) still played pretend that we were horses, we were the Ghost Hunters of Perkins Elementary. Our overactive imaginations were cool, and it felt good.
And then it wasn't.
Of course, trends changed, and what was awesome became weird, and then studied, practiced cynicism became the thing, and it stuck.
I pretended to laugh along with the cool kids at how dumb our previous ghosty antics had been, but I secretly continued to thrill at the hope that there was still stuff that was beyond belief.
I am proud to say I've held on to this optimism that cool, crazy, shit still exists.
And why not?! It's hella fun! And what's wrong with that?
Anyone whose ever watched a scary movie and slept with the lights on or hidden under the blankets despite the 90 degree heat, can attest to the fact that explaining everything away can be boring. So why are we so eager to make perfect sense of everything?
So when this was brought to my attention a few days ago, I got all a-twitter!
That's a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue spinning all on it's own. Kinda spooky huh? It's called "Neb-Senu".
Found in a mummy's tomb some 80 years ago, the statue has been kept encased at the museum ever since.
Its current caretaker, Campbell Price, was the first one to notice the strange phenomenon, and says he first realized something was off when he found the statue askew, reset it, and then found it askew again the following day.
"In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit," Price, and Egyptologist by trade, told the Manchester Evening News. "Maybe that is what is causing the movement."
When I watched this for the first time I felt my 11-year-old self stand up and cheer. It's a good old fashioned mystery!
Yes, I know, there is a certain eye-rolling quality to this sort of thing, but doesn't even a small part of you get excited that maybe, JUST MAYBE, this relic made for the Egyptian god of death, Osiris, is moving through mysterious, dare I say, SUPERNATURAL means?
Of course there are detractors:
"[Physicist Brian Cox] thinks it’s 'differential friction,'"Price told the Daily Mail, referring to the process by which two surfaces — in this case the statue's stone and the glass shelf, "cause a subtle vibration which is making the statuette turn." Cox believes foot traffic or vibrations from the street outside are causing the mysterious movement, but Price refutes that theory. "It has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before," he said.
Beyond this explanation, I've also read lots of comment threads that seem to fall pretty evenly on the side of "DUH. Vibrations, people, come on" or "Could it be? ghost ghost ghost ghost ghost!".
But the comment that struck a chord in me was this one, in response to a very dry scientific response to the mystery of Neb-Senu:
Have you no sense of whimsy, sir?
Now I realize this comment may have been in jest, but it made me think, have we as a culture, become too skeptical? Is it wrong to hold out hope for the bizarre stuff that can blow your mind?
I'm not saying we should believe every National Enquirer, "CYCLOPS MERMAID NUN BORN! PLAYS BEETHOVEN'S LOST SYMPHONIES FROM MEMORY!" headline that comes our way, but there has to be a balance between believing everything and believing nothing.
And yes, I know, this statue may not be the best example, as there is a strong likelihood that the curator is just trying to get attention for his museum. I'm not blind to the fact that most of the creepy, spooky stuff that I wish was paranormal can be debunked through reason and science. And of course, there has to be two sides to every debate, but are we too cynical to revel in the joy and giddiness that comes from wondering, "What if?"
Frankly, I know I sound a little coo-coo bananas, but maybe we need a little more coo-coo bananas in our lives. I'll start a Coo-Coo Bananas Club if you're interested.
So what do you think? Is there room for some mystery in our lives? Are we too quick to shoot stuff down because it's just too strange? Could this be the spirit of a mummy saying, "Hello! And a good Neb-Senu to you too!"? Or is this just a bunch of hoopla spurred on by people who need to retake Science 101?