I’ve received quite a bit of criticism recently for my suggestion in articles and in Knowing Fear that supernatural fiction is not an anti-scientific plot to turn the population into believers in ghosts and psychics. (I was amazed to learn that some people feel guilty for enjoying supernatural fiction for fear of endorsing the untrue.) For my efforts I have been accused of contributing to child abuse (by allegedly encouraging exposing children to the supernatural) and for betraying the cause of science and reason. Many have seriously suggested that skeptics and rationalists work to remove horror and the supernatural from mass entertainment to protect children from unreason.
Here is my proposition for everyone who thinks ghost stories are rotting young (and old) minds. If you want to take away my ghosts, vampires, and werewolves because they are not real, then you must give up your warp drives, hyperspace, and time machines. I have news for you: Star Trek isn’t real, either, and all that “fake” science may well be warping just as many young minds. Just because you like the impossible stuff in sci-fi and dislike the impossible stuff in horror, one is not ipso facto more legitimate than the other. We call these things fiction for a reason. Live and let live.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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