I've never learned how to appreciate traditional ideas about ghosts and ghost stories. I have problems with formulas for ghost stories such as "a supernatural menace, usually from beyond the grave". I'm a skeptic when it comes to ideas like "ghosts" and the supernatural. The best I can do is write about other people who believe in such things, which I think cripples my ability to make a "scary story". Isn't someone with a large amount of personal experience of terror better equipped to write a story about terror? Montague Rhodes James said, "the ghost should be malevolent or odious". When I write stories about going to all the trouble to bring someone back from the dead, it is not my first impulse to bring back someone who was malevolent or odious. I prefer to let folks like that stay dead! thumb|300px|right|How far can you step away from traditional formulas for ghost stories? However, even if I am not a fan of traditional ghost stories, I am interested in science fiction plot devices that allow people to have an "afterlife" and "come back from the dead". For example, I am currently writing about Nadie Jaci, who is killed by savage beasts and then brought back to life by advanced medical technology. I place such stories within the Exodemic Universe, where the "primitive" people of Earth are not allowed to become aware of the "returns from the dead" that are made possible by advanced technology. Something would have to "go wrong" with the rules in order for people on earth to ever hear about the kind of "ghost story" I have in mind.

I often imagine a secret underground base on the Moon where a few people from Earth are occasionally taken and allowed to interact with a culture that has advanced technology. The Earthlings who learn about advanced technology on the Moon are not allowed to go back to Earth and share what they have learned, so I need a plot device that would allow a lunar ghost story to become known on Earth. A "lunar" event for next month is the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) experiment which will attempt to observe evidence for water on the Moon. I've previously written about water on the Moon as a good reason for Earthlings to colonize the Moon. Maybe when the spent upper-stage Centaur rocket of the LCROSS experiment crashes into the Moon it could reveal a "lunar ghost" to the people of Earth.

Some more thoughts about how a "ghost" from five centuries in the past might be able to haunt Earth.

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