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Everett D. Wair Sr’s Graveyard Society: Eve is a horror comedy story about some souls that stay and linger in the corporeal plane before passing on, but what might compel them to stay?
Hallowmass is coming soon, and it is said to be the time when the barrier between the spirit world and the corporeal world is at its weakest. While there is still some debate on whether or not such things do occur, this annual event does present a pretty interesting aspect of human beliefs in souls and spirits.
In that, we are quite engaged with the idea of life after death—or a possibility that there is something beyond that is waiting for us when we eventually do shuffle off of our mortal coil.
This is a preoccupation that exists across all human cultures, manifesting either in helpful or vengeful spirits still anchored to the mortal plane for some reason or another. There are even some ideas that when a soul departs the body, they do not immediately go to the afterlife and instead are placed in a terminus, waiting to be herded to where they should be (this is the premise of Everett D. Wair, Sr’s Graveyard Society: Eve).
Regardless, the concept of why souls stay and linger is a strong one.
Why Do Some Souls Stay and Linger
In most cultures and perspectives on the afterlife, souls are frequently depicted as ethereal beings that quickly transition to the afterlife after death. However, there can be plenty of reasons why some souls may not immediately leave this earthly existence.
For this coming Hallowmass, we will explore some of the most common reasons why spirits may stay behind and some challenges they may face in the transition.
A common reason that people bandy about as to why souls stay and linger is to complete unfinished business. This can include resolving incomplete relationships, making amends for past mistakes, or fulfilling a promise made before death.
This is a reasonable assumption to make as even in life; there is a well of purpose to be had when people have a goal in mind or a conviction in their hearts. So, why can’t the souls of the departed have the same conviction in death as they had in life?
Attachment to the Physical World
Souls may also stay behind if they are firmly attached to the physical world. This can be due to several factors, such as a love of nature, a passion for their work, or an attachment to a particular place or person.
One of the many things that make humans human is the way we make relationships with others and other things, whether animate or inanimate. Haven’t you heard of a man dying for an ideal that is heavily attached to a place? Remember nationalists dying for their homeland, monks and priests sacrificing themselves for their church—so it makes sense that even in death, they would be tightly anchored to these places.
Fear of the Unknown
As humans in life, souls may also have a fear of the unknown and stay behind because they are unsure of what happens after death. They may be worried about leaving their loved ones behind, or they may be afraid of judgment.
This is a very common trope with stories involving possession. Although people may not fear dying, they are quite afraid of what happens after. As such, there are plenty of stories and legends involving what would happen when a soul is consumed by such terror.
Unfinished Spiritual Growth
Souls may also choose to stay behind to continue their spiritual growth. The afterlife is often seen as a place of learning and evolution; some souls may feel that they need more time to develop before they are ready to move on.
This is usually a case of cultures where life is seen as something cyclical. Here, death is simply another spoke of the wheel, so to speak, and there are rungs of spirituality that exist to help souls better acclimate or the exact opposite.
Thoughts for Hallowmass
There are many beliefs out there on why people imagine souls do not immediately depart for the afterlife–regardless, it is important that we be cognizant of those beliefs because it helps to be understanding and supportive of people who do actually believe that souls stay and linger for one reason another. But one thing is true: the idea that a soul might stay behind for a while is an extremely attractive idea for a lot of people, especially those who have recently lost loved ones—as such, by being sympathetic to their perspectives, you are more able to help them work through their grief and their anxieties about death and the afterlife.
If you’re looking for some great reads during this Halloween, we recommend Graveyard Society: Eve and many more.