Whispers from Outside

Ghosts speak a language that few can grasp. It is the speech of the margins. We hear their whispers at the crossing points. Their words linger: they are our hauntings. They tell us of the places beyond, in words we cannot know. For our wellbeing, it is essential that we learn their words. This is a theme underpinning a number of the stories in Ghosts and Other Tales (for example: “Abandon Hope” in the first pamphlet, “Corpse Road” in the second and “Descending, or Falling” in the third).

Those who act as our guides are drawn to the marginal places. The real, the obvious, the apparent have their stories, but in comparison they are deserts. It is where the slime, the corruption and the first vegetation bloom that the tales have their greatest wellspring. It is at the edges that the ghosts whisper.

As stories depend on moments of change, the margins are – by definition – where changes are most apparent. These moments – fleeting in their actual occurrence – linger. They form themselves into our very fabric, leaving our humanity altered in its wake. We become haunted beings, surrounded by those ghostly voices.

The outsider, the visionary, the artist, all dredge questions into society. Often times, these are deeply disturbing to that which is considered “normal”. The more distorted by regiment that society, the closer the edges and boundaries appear. The outsider does not need to step far beyond to be considered a distant traveler. This is why authoritarian societies of all hues have an unerring tendency to collapse: their ghosts are everywhere amongst them, and grow in potency with each new suppression and retraction. The truth is spoken in the whispers from beyond.

The spirit guides bring with them questions. Their directions are not answers, but hazy paths. They haunt society, stop it from turning to stone. On a personal level, they remind us of our mortality. This is both a hint at what lies beyond, and a call to the moment: to live life as it should be lived. They push the horizons away. They show us the beauty of the sunset, before the oncoming certainty of night. If we do not learn their language, we have only the darkness.

(Photographs copyright Garner and Jones and Gavin Jones)

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