Hayley is a Ghost

The internet is haunted

Posted on: March 1, 2011

I was thinking the other day ‘What would happen to my blog if I suddenly died?’, I realise it’s quite a macabre thought but I’ve found death has become less taboo for me the more I’m involved with ghost research. It’s just part of life, an ending to something beautiful that is, in itself, beautiful.

I realised though, as I was walking to work thinking about my blog and what would happen to it, that it would be almost tragic for it to just be sat here collecting ‘pixel dust’ without me adding to it. The words of someone that once was but no longer is. Then I realised that there must be blogs out there that are already like that – the last post dated from before the bloggers death, a mysterious gap where nothing has been posted – perhaps punctuated by a note from a loved one hastily paying tribute to the blogger after having worked out their password.

“I’m sorry to say that they’ve left , but they’ll live on in our memories and hearts…and their blog”

These are ghosts.

Like an upgraded ghost, sort of. Not your apparition of a loved one walking down the hallway only to disappear when you go to investigate, not the scent of their shampoo or aftershave that is there for one fleeting moment and then gone, but them, from back then, in the way they expressed themselves. Immortalised forever online.

Their thoughts collected in one place leaving an impression of who they were for all to see, somewhere that you can visit them.

The internet is full of ghosts. People who are no longer alive, but who are still there. You can get to know them by reading their blogs, viewing their Flickr galleries or listening to their podcasts. It’s almost like standing at a strangers graveside, or reading through a diary they kept.

The internet is haunted by ghosts of the past, and I think it’s rather beautiful.

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11 Responses to "The internet is haunted"

Some people who I was friends with on Facebook have subsequently died, and their profiles have never been closed down. Every year their birthdays come round, and we post to say that we’re thinking about them and still love them. I think that’s nice πŸ™‚

That is lovely, it’s almost like visiting the grave and talking to them, but as a collective. Aw that’s touching.

Modern chauvinism perhaps?

Libraries are full of dead peoples words, photo albums (online or not) full of dead peoples images.

These ghosts have been here since the invention of writing (and mass literacy) and the camera.

Death in some cases can be beautiful but it can also be tragic and painful: in these situations automated friend suggests on sites like faceboak can be horrible rather than comforting.

It is our memories of people that are important not the medium in which they are carried IMO.

true, but there are many instances of beauty in death. Especially in the memories of those who have passed.

But our memories of them will die with us also!!

I would expand what you said regarding libraries to art?

There we may have a world view through someone’s eyes, limited only perhaps by their skill in the particular medium. It is quite coincidental that I have only today been in an email exchange with an artist regarding who we are and what we leave behind. I was saying how a steel sculpture may outlast a wooden one for example….although the Mona Lisa has been on bits of wood for centuries now!! I often ‘fondle’ sculpture to try and seek the tool and method that created it…I always look at brush strokes in paintings…in a kind of CSI frame of mind…how did they do that…I ask myself.

Years ago I was a little more woo inclined and saw all that we do in life, as a kind of soul imprint….the essence of an individual was what we leave behind in memories, deeds, actions and the physical…but now I am grown up LOL

In recent years I have been bereaved of my mother and my sister…I can’t be angry at their loss, I always remember the smile and the love they both exuded. That leads me to the fact that they ‘live on’ in part by their children…

So after a few minutes rambling I am now of the opinion that we can leave quite a bit of ourselves behind…on the net, in photos, raising funds for the local hospital, our diaries, even the dent I made on that Mondeo as it sent me into eternity lol

So a lot of ghosts really πŸ™‚

I have a family member who is dying at the moment and it still freaks me out that I’ll still be receiving Facebook updates about her horoscope after she’s died.

I have a friend who lives on his own, not married, has a good number of mates, and a son from a previous relationship. We were talking about this the other day. He is a specialist joiner and restores sash windows, doors etc on old houses. “My epitaph”, he said, “is left on all the houses I’ve worked on, and unless some scumbag developer knocks it down, it’s there for at least the next 200 years”.

I got to thinking about what I’ll leave behind, from my photography. Exhibitions come and go. Prints I’ve sold will some day end up in a charity shop. Albums become dusty and forgotten in attics. I’m looking for somewhere online and permanent to leave my photos. It would be nice to know that some day, I’ll be a ghost on the internet as well.

You don’t have to look far. Two people very popular in the cycling fraternity, Sheldon Brown and Ken Kifer, have a web presence that lives on after them.

On cycling newsgroups and forums the acronym “AASHTA” means “As Always, Sheldon Has The Answer” – http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

He used to monitor Usenet and simply saying his name would conjure him up like a genie. We miss him terribly but the internet has his legacy.

A beautiful thought… never looked at it like that, thank you for this insight.

Lovely post Hayley. I agree, there must be numerous blogs, sites, FB pages out there of people who have passed away. I had never really thought about it!

Interesting, more like a friendly ghost. I’ve come across some websites that deal with a person’s death and their related websites. It’s actually more common than some think. Some websites will potentially shut down an inactive website. But as I said, there are websites that deal with this and prevent removal and possibly unwanted hacking and such.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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