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New Zealand Ghost Auction Sparks Ethical Debate About Capturing, Selling Ghosts

A New Zealander who claims to have captured two ghosts and bottled them with holy water and has now put them up for sale on an auction website has incited a national debate that threatens to overturn old Lord of the Rings sets, pit the north and south islands against each other, and possibly upset some kiwis: Is it ethical to sell ghosts?

In this instance, we are assuming that “the nation of New Zealand” can safely be represented by “a bunch of people who are commenting on an auction website.” Hey, that’s what Australia’s Herald-Sun newspaper did:

TWO vials, which the owner claims contain the spirits of ghosts exorcised from a house in New Zealand, have been put up for sale on online auction site, TradeMe.

So far, bidding on “Two Captured Ghosts” had reached $NZ410 ($A316), and incited hundreds of comments, with advice ranging from how to get rid of the spirits for good, to the ethics of selling someone else’s captured immortal essence.

Alas, the Herald-Sun didn’t reprint any of the comments from the auction thread, some of which get quite spirited:

  • “This auction is very wrong and extremely disrespectful. Spirits are energy and are peoples relatives, you don’t have the right to do this (on the account that this is true). I think its wrong and I think auctioning them off is sick. If you believe in this stuff would you want your mother’s spirit to be bottled? If your answer is no then you know what to do, empty them somewhere away from your house and let them be. Their energy has every right to be as you have every right to live.”
  • “cool auction – As a Worshipper of Beelzebub, I am interesting in obtaining these 2 spirits and teasing them for a bit, I believe this will bring me good luck. Do you have any other trapped do-gooders for future auctions ? As a wee army of trapped souls, could be quite fun too. Thanks in advance.”
  • “So you believe you’ve got someones family member in a bottle for them to ‘play around with’. Sick. Absolutely sick.”

Bidding has since ratcheted up to  $1,010 New Zealand Dollars ($700 U.S.), and the auction, which has been covered by a host of Australian print, TV, and radio outlets, has since instigated its own set of ghost auction-related memelets on TradeMe.

We propose “Poe money, Poe problems.”

(Herald-Sun via Ray Radlein’s Twitter)

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