Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I asked, you repsonded!

Earlier today I asked a simple question. "Using only Mundane means how can you kill a ghost?" here are the responses I got!

Blogger Trey said...
Destroying the item/location it's tethered to?
December 20, 2011 9:58 AM

Great post. I guess I was thinking more of attack the ghost itself. But that is a tried and true way to do it.

Blogger farawayeyes said...
A ghost is already dead. You can't necessarily kill them. Best to just send them on.
December 20, 2011 10:03 AM

I think I was thinking more of the attacking kind of Ghost.  So yours and Trey's would be to figure out why it is here and use that.

Blogger Simon Forster said...
Reciting the ghost's history, up to its death, reminding it that it has lived and died, thus sending it to whatever afterlife awaits it.
December 20, 2011 10:18 AM

Neat idea.  Something that would be perfect for an Occult Poet in Ghosts of Albion to do!

Blogger The Happy Whisk said...
I'm going to agree with Trey. Destroying them by removing whatever is holding them here.

Then maybe they can move on.

I've heard salt before though, but never tried it so I can't tell you if it really works.
December 20, 2011 10:18 AM

Salt has a long standing connection to the supernatural.  It is also simple to get and use.  I am sure there is a connection there.

OpenID seaofstarsrpg said...
If ghosts are ectoplasm and ectoplasm has a physical existence, fire.

If the ghost believes, an exorcism should send it away.
December 20, 2011 10:23 AM

Kill it with fire! Always a good choice.

OpenID keithboyle said...
Depends on the type of ghost being killed... er, dispensed with, I guess. Working from a ghosts-as-electromagnetic-fields perspective:

Death echoes could be dispersed by setting up a counter-noise generator - like the ones in noise-cancelling headphones, but on a room- or house-sized scale. Remember those multiroom speakers that transmitted sound through the house wiring? this would be the lo-fi DIY way of implementing this.

Intelligent/Interactive ghosts would be best handled through negotiation. The trick would be to get them to stay still long enough to have a meaningful chat. So I'm thinking EM Pump combined with Carnacki's electric pantacle with Spirit Box as vocal translator. Then have the conversation - what you want, what they want, how to find agreement, that sort of thing...

Poltergeists as rogue PK in children/teens also fits this model, so ground them via conductive jewelry, cutting their hair shorter, and good old patience as they grow out of this phase should work as well.

You said no supernatural, so I'm going to call the "demonic hauntings" of current TV ghost hunting fashion "anomalous idiopathic EM fields" and recommend Faraday cages around the sensitive spots. It doesn't destroy it, but it does contain it...
December 20, 2011 10:26 AM

Well thought out. So a Spirit Zapper or Spirit Trap in a way.

OpenID keithboyle said...
The lore on salt goes something like this: it's the only rock that's pure enough that we can eat. That purity is incompatible with the "uncleanness" of the spirits, Thus, ghosts can't cross it. Getting shot with it would just be forcing them to not cross themselves and causes dispersal.

Not a huge fan of calling that sort of thinking"mundane only," but salt's about as mundane as you can get.

The Kripke Trinity - salt, iron, burn the bones - works really well as weapons for adventure stories like SPN, though their meaning and uses in traditional ghost stories is quite different...
December 20, 2011 10:36 AM

Cool. I like this approach.  I always figured that it was something that you can bring into your home, salt is something that is like life.

Blogger Woodclaw said...
Given the "no supernatural" rule I think that the main methods are already covered by the previous posts.
Either destroying the links of the ghost to the mundane world (if possible) or destroy its mortal remains might work.
The whole reminds him/her that he/she is already dead is tricky because I'm not sure a ghost is willing to listen.
Keithboyle pretty much covered the scientific/technobabble angle.

Another option is running water. According to the Celtic tradition large bodies of water (especially rivers and lakes) are doors into the afterlife, for this reason a ghost can't cross running water. If someone can force a ghost close enough to a river or a stream the proximity might do the trick.
December 20, 2011 11:12 AM

So if I am facing a ghost, then a fire hose.  I like it!

OpenID tarotgames said...
@Technobabble: EM Pumps and Spirit Boxes are considered legitimate tools for ghost hunters/paranormal investigators, in the same way EVP is. Granted, it's a pretty biased piece of reasoning to go from unexplained phenomenon to explainable and exploitable technology, but truly critical thinking isn't normally a well-used tool in a ghost hunter's bag. It's akin to forgetting what the U in UFO stands for and saying that the odd lights in the sky are aliens here to rule the world...

I threw out the Carnacki reference because, frankly, it's Tim who's asking the question. The real-life analog to what Hodgson described is a Faraday cage - aka the shielding & grounding frame inside the computer that you're using to read these words.

Mongo avoids the [tech] like the plague: even if the terms aren't that familiar, they're not entirely meaningless or made-up if I can help it...
December 20, 2011 12:16 PM

I think I was going with "things I have laying around the house or garage".  Granted that also rules out fire and the fire hose.  I have a garden hose though and a sprinkler that looks like a turtle for my lawn.  I am so screwed.

Blogger JWRouseIII said...
Blow it apart with a leaf blower.
December 20, 2011 12:40 PM

That's only good for guys dress in sheets going "boooooo". ;)

Blogger Laura said...
Using a lot of moxy and deduction, I'd reveal that it's only Old Man Grimley, the owner of the abandoned amusement park, out to scare off the current owners so he can collect his money. He'll call me a meddling kid, but a good day's work is worth it.
December 20, 2011 1:06 PM
Haha!! Scooby Doo for the win!

Blogger Jensan said...
Treat it like a hiccup: scare it away!
December 20, 2011 2:20 PM
Be scarier than the Ghosts.  Of course!  The Doctor Who Offensive.

Thanks all!


Trey said...

Keithboyle's first suggestion brings to mind BBC's 1972 Christmas ghost story The Stone Tape.

The Happy Whisk said...

I've never seen The Stone Tape, but if it's a Christmas ghost story, then I'm going to have to see if NetFlix has it.

Woodclaw said...

Well, if a pipeline can ground magic in "Dresden Files", I guess that killing a ghost with a firehose is a legitimate option.

farawayeyes said...

Interesting comments. My problems is that I never met a ghost that was attacking or scary just sad and lonely or with a message to deliver. Those of course,are the real ghosts, not the fictional ones.

Anonymous said...

Taking the jargon out and focusing on the garage-tech, an EM Pump is just a stereo amp with nothing plugged into it but cranked to 11 and a Spirit Box is a radio (or TV) tuned to a spot between stations (some of the fancier ones are constantly running up and down the radio spectrum to avoid getting stuck. Faraday cages can be built using conductive wire mesh. Chicken wire in layers, aluminum screening... maybe not in everyone's garage, but likely easily obtained from Home Despot or S-Mart...

Anonymous said...

@Hose use, the Chicago way: most applications won't work unless you have water pressure. Which means cistern, water tower, muni supply, or well - none of which are very portable or small enough to make tactical use of through the aforementioned turtle sprinkler except as swinging a heavy thing around your head to define a perimeter.

Now, setting aside the "mundane only" for a moment: popping the head off the water supply and blessing the water inside (maybe toss in a rosary and head of garlic or two) then kicking on the lawn sprinklers sounds like a good perimeter defense against vampires & other susceptible undead. Just have to make sure the remnants of the deadies don't kill your lawn as they get soaked with impromptu holy water... And never forget the value of a super soaker in this context.

And while we're setting aside that mundane-ness, my favorite way of destroying a demon is to show them up as amateurs:
"Your mother sucks..."
"Does she swallow?"
"Does she swallow? Because, you know, that'd be even nastier, what with that hell flavored-spunk... Is this your first day or something?"
"No, I am Vhgvoygb, Eternal Lord of Vile Madness..."
"Lord of lame unpronounceable pretentious BS, more like it. Just go home before I must laugh your amateur-hour cheap carny spookshow ass out of existence..."

BTW - thanks for the tip on The Stone Tape.