Were the ghosts that haunted Scrooge real or just his imagination?

scrooges_third_visitor-john_leech1843The following is a special installment in our ongoing series, Exploring the Paranormal with Reanna Roberts.

There are not a lot of Christmas or holiday themed paranormal events to write about for this issue, and this time of year also isn’t a particularly noticeably active time of year for the paranormal. For this issue, I decided to address, and attempt to debunk (or at least give opinions on what causes) the ghosts that Ebenezer Scrooge sees in Charles

Dickens’ fictional novel A Christmas Carol.

Most people are familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol, whether it be from the book itself, the stage presentation, or one of the many film adaptations. Just in case you are not familiar, though, let’s review the main characters in the film

Ebenezer Scrooge – Elderly money-lender (think overpriced loan agent, ‘pay day loan’ style lender.)  He and a good friend of his, Jacob Marley, owned the business together until Marley’s death. This is also where the term scrooge came from, generally directed as a person that’s not very perky or chipper around the holidays.

Jacob Marley – Scrooge’s business partner who passed away seven years before this takes place. Also the first ghost to visit Scrooge.

Bob Cratchit – Scrooge’s clerk, very mild and meek, very family oriented. Low income, large family, which includes a disabled son Tiny Tim, the pride and joy of the Cratchit family.

The Ghost of Christmas Past – The first apparition after Marley’s visit, shows Scrooge’s childhood, we meet his sister, and see his family holidays.

The Ghost of Christmas Present – The second apparition after Marley’s visit, shows Scrooge Fred’s house, whose invitation he turned down, where they are talking about how cranky he

always is.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – The third apparition after Marley’s visit, shows Scrooge his own grave a year later, and also what happens to Tiny

Tim and the Cratchit family in the following year.

There are also a few other characters, such as Fred and Fan, or Fannie, Scrooge’s relatives. Fan is his deceased sister, Fred is her son, Scrooge’s nephew. There is also Fezziwig, Scrooge’s former employer from his youth, who throws lavish holiday parties.

What could possibly cause these ghosts to visit such a wretched old man? Were there ghosts actually visiting him, or were they some sort of hallucinations? Possibly, they were dreams. There are quite a few options, but I want to briefly touch on a few.

First, loneliness can do strange things. Although Scrooge is known for his “bah humbug” attitude, the older he gets, the more he realizes he has no one. He had his nephew Fred, to an extent, but he never really associates with him, he never really visits, and he detests spending holidays with family. He may very well have been realizing he’s going to be alone for the rest of his life, and while wondering what he would do as he fell asleep, his subconscious conjured up these visitors to show him his ‘options.’ Suffer for eternity, like Marley, remind him of the parties Fezziwig threw and make him feel all warm and fuzzy inside recalling that, show him what fun Fred and his guests are having while they mock him since he is not there, once again, and then finally shows him the ‘Christmas Yet to Come’ where he sees his own demise and also sees how empty the Cratchit house is after losing Tiny Tim. After the ghosts visit him and he wakes up, he’s filled with merriment, buys presents, feasts, and visits family. He’s a changed man. Was this because he subconsciously saw how lonely he was, though? Were there actually ghosts visiting him?

Perhaps, since he is an elderly man, he has something similar to dementia setting in. I am not a medical doctor, nor am I a psychologist, but I do know that those suffering from dementia imagine some people are others from their past. Maybe this spilled over into his dreams. Maybe he just missed his old friend Marley and his sister, and maybe he subconsciously felt bad about Tiny Tim.

Or, maybe they were really ghosts. It is a work of fiction, and it could be ghosts actually visiting, but in all of the years I have investigated the paranormal, I’ve never heard of time traveling ghosts. That’s a new theory to me. Just because I know nothing about it, though, doesn’t actually mean it’s not accurate. Really, I feel like whatever was able to get through to Scrooge in this story is the best thing to happen for those that surround him and are stuck with him as a boss or family member.

I guess I didn’t really succeed at debunking, but I hope I made your brain work a little in regards to time traveling ghosts and what could have caused the ghosts in A Christmas Carol. If not, well, “Bah, humbug.”

Have a question about the paranormal? Email Reanna Roberts at PABridges.Reanna@comcast.net