Inner Michael » Is That Really Scary For You? Ghosts III

Is That Really Scary For You? Ghosts III

Ghosts was written in 1996 and released in 1997 at the Cannes Film Festival. Michael was a spectrologist, and he collaborated with Stephen King to write the Ghosts short film while Stan Winston, special effects guru, directed it. Michael plays several parts in the film including the “Mayor,” and himself as ghouls and a giant (Garima) distorted self.  While the film appears to recapture history with its theme of a crowd verbally lynching a Black man, it seems to point to a particular contemporary villain yet it also has universal appeal and cosmic implications.

Michael was a cosmologist too. Dancing the Dream makes that clear as it gives us an autobiographical peek into how his mind works and the themes he dabbled in and played with in life. All the Divine Ms make their way into his stunning body of work: Magic, Merlin skills, mystery, metaphysics, mythology, mysticism, metaphor, and message.

The Michael Jackson codex is undocumented but unmistakable. The man is a master at hiding things in plain sight with layers of meanings to be deciphered on many levels depending on the viewpoint or “seeing as” of individuals. Spiritual orientation factors into the equation as does location on the spectrum of so many scales or curves. There was one other very visible teacher in history who was able to do that and to this day, they are still decoding his message.

Since Ghosts was written and released after 1993, one has to consider the references to an authority figure who launches a crusade and is interested in symbolically lynching the main character—Michael and running him off of the property outside the “normal” town. (Are you gonna leave or do we have to get rough with you?) The leader is weak as he uses mostly women and children in his crusade while the men of the entourage are either scared or silent. Or scared silent? He is not very inspiring. His “indictment” of Michael seems to be that he plays with children in a way (magical) that the “ordinary” townsfolk don’t understand or approve of.

He tries to tell the crowd that it is harmless and the children agree but there seems to be a hidden agenda especially for the “Mayor” since the collective comes round to appreciate him while the Mayor remains firm in his disdain. Michael sees the Mayor as scary and as trying to scare him and asks the question. He remains congenial until the epithet “freak.” Then all hell breaks loose.

Does that whole story sound familiar? Ghosts was produced after the 1993 investigation and false allegations, after Michael’s insurance company insisted on settlement, and after two grand jury attempts to indict on insubstantial evidence. Did Michael disseminate a message with Ghosts? The contemporary story is there to parallel the historical one. And the cosmic reference overlays both.

Publishing copies of lyrics can cause problems especially with Sony’s blackout campaign for all his work. Michael’s lyrics are already in the music that we bought so we will attempt to examine them without printing them. There is a message in those lyrics and it is contemporary and cosmic. We examined the concept of mirror briefly but it has deeper and more esoteric meanings.

In addition to his “mirror effect” Michael’s magnetism is well known and documented whether encountered one on one or in a crowd of 70 thousand people. Magnetism is part of a universal law called the “law of attraction.” That principle is active in the world and accounts for interpretation of semiotics and translation of any transmission or communication.  Mostly like attracts like. There is also a principle that explains how light can attract darkness through the vehicle of “jealousy.”  Jealousy usually refers to relationships while envy refers to lusting after what another has (coveting) and if not attainable, the impulse to destroy what another has or the other himself. Michael may have been referring to envy instead of jealousy but in any case, we know what he was talking about.

2 Bad:

Michael is saying that having the word out, just that word of accusation is shocking and that a man doesn’t cry wolf. He also refers to throwing stones which is a reference to pointing the finger at someone else while hiding what your own hands are doing. It is a decoy tactic to take the focus off self and project it on another. He taunts the other saying that the hunter hasn’t done enough (to apologize?) or does he know the hunt continues? He reminds the target of the message that despite efforts to take him down, he is still standing.

The line “dead and stuffy” I first heard as “dirty and stuffy in the face?” Dirty face has a significance. “Dirty face” comes from old Warner Brothers films like Angels with Dirty Faces, a movie where opposing characters, one who becomes a hoodlum and the other a priest, spar over the minds and hearts of young impressionable people. The Bowery Boys and Dead End Kids were featured in films after their success on Broadway and dirty faced kids played roles similar to the gangs Michael crafted in Beat It. Does stuffy refer to aloof and superior? Dead and stuffy—is that a reference to no light and superiority?

People are born with a light in their eyes, a sparkle. Children have that light and the innocence shines from them. When children suffer trauma or abuse especially at the hands of another, the light goes out of their eyes. The eyes go dead and the face follows. Deadness accompanies soul loss and is one of the symptoms a shaman looks for. It is the soul that provides the light.

The reference to hell and Hollywood sounds like Michael Jackson; he didn’t particularly like the glam so Neverland was perfect until someone perhaps crawled out from under a rock: creeping things from dusty holes usually indicates an insect. Was there a “blood lust” for Michael? Bloodlust refers to extreme violence and carnage. Were extreme measures used? We’re talking about Michael Jackson; everything was extreme or extraordinary around him. A vendetta lasting ten years? Extreme? What person lies in wait for a misstep for ten years?

‘Look who’s face got slapped and I’m right back where I wanna be’ is a thumbing your nose at the enemy. Not always wise. It adds fuel to the fire. Michael must have been very angry. Reminds me a little of Gary Hart when he challenged the media to follow him and find improprieties; they took him up on it and they found them. He lost the election. Michael lost Neverland. 2 Bad is a rant against insult and injustice. A beautiful and effective rant. Was it insider information or was it prophesy? Was it self- fulfilling? Taunting your enemy is an old warrior game. Dueling usually leaves one body in the dust. Makes one wonder just how old is this rivalry?


A curious spectrologist, Michael speaks of ghosts everywhere. Does he mean just the obvious ghosts called ghouls and wraiths or is he referring to judgments, projections and insults? They are also ghosts of jealous (envious) minds. They may not be made of flesh in the same way bodies are, but they are real and they are everywhere. The effects of these haunting projections are evident by the energy they consume or “suck” from an unsuspecting victim. Thoughts are energy. Thoughts have power. Intentions and vows are powerful tools for manifesting—bringing something into being.

Energy is real. Its physics are a bit different than those of the material world, but the effects can be devastating. There are interactions of energy that are not visible with ordinary vision but the effects can disturb the vibrational signature of other energy bodies. Just because you can’t see the cannibalistic effects of gossip upon another human doesn’t mean they are not being eaten alive. Michael Message people know how to see prana or chi now. Just because you didn’t see it before doesn’t negate it. It has always been there. Energy can caress and it can slash. What it does depends on who wields it and what their intention.

Thoughts and intentions hang around and have an effect on the room or space, the people and events. Jealousy and envy are very low vibrations. According to the law of attraction, they necessarily come from people with low vibrations and they hang in a space until dissipated or cleared. They are the weather of consciousness. If you don’t believe that emotions are ghosts that hang out but can’t be seen, walk into a meat processing plant and stand in the place where the animals are killed for slaughter and check what you feel. Walk into a room where there has just been a fight and see what your body wants to do and where your mind goes. I promise you it won’t be singing silent gospel songs.

Ghosts? Yes, they’re everywhere. In this song and its lyrics Michael speaks of the energetic effects on him and those around him where ghost of jealousy (envy) hangs out. This ghost is his ever present silent guest in life and he knows this apparition well.

Is It Scary?

This has to be my favorite Michael Jackson coded message. He invokes the mirror again and asks: “What did you come to see?” In other words, Michael is asking who or what are you seeing as? What are you looking for, a monster? Well, then you came to the right place. Are you looking for a sweetheart? Then you came to the right place. Did you come here hoping to see some kind of freak? Yup, I’m here. Did you expect to find someone eccentric? Grotesque? A beast perhaps? Well then you came to the right place because I can be exactly what you came to see through those lenses you look at the world with. What is recognized in others is what and who you are being unrecognized in yourself!

But beyond that Michael says I am going to be exactly what you came to see. Why? Because that is what lives in you. That expectation or projection is coming from your mind, your heart, not mine.  You will find exactly what you are looking for because that is precisely how the Universe works. That’s why he says that “you are warning me to be the stranger in your life.” Michael is saying you will never know the real me because you will not recognize the real me; it doesn’t live in you. You can’t recognize what you don’t know or cannot be.

And in reality, there is only “One” here anyway. It is the ego that separates us into separate selves. We are all part of the same thing, the same collective that makes up the body of the One who made us. So there is no other—that is Advaitism and that is what Michael knew to be true. He studied the Vedas and Upanishads. Their influence along with other cosmic fingerprints are all over his work.

Michael says ‘I am going to be exactly what you came to see not because that is who I am, but it is who are; you are the scary one. The evil one is you. You came to find someone who is a projection of what is unrecognized in you. I am being a mirror for your shadow.’ A mirror can be the projection of someone looking into its face. Michael Jackson was a mirror for the world. The judgments heaped upon him are more about the persons projecting them than they are about Michael. Michael was the clearest mirror I have ever seen on this planet. Make no mistake: Those who think Michael evil are making a deafening statement about themselves.

Michael says ‘it is you who is the stranger; do you find that scary?’ Of course we find that scary. We don’t want to acknowledge our own darkness or capacity for evil. We want to deny that we have that impulse within so we project it onto others so that can avoid acknowledging its existence within self. We have no desire to embrace and heal that which is wounded and dark within (which is, actually the way to our salvation), so we wait for some unsuspecting soul to come along and we carelessly project onto them. We remove their humanity and strip them of flesh just like clothing that is removed and discarded.  

Where have you seen this trick? Removing the flesh and humanity stripped bare down to the bone? To a rack of bones without humanity, without flesh and heart an empathy? After we have stripped them of their humanity we then ask them to wear another costume for us—our own darkness projected. Please, will you be my villain? Whatever you came to see—let them materialize because they will; your mind will invent them even if they are not there. The Maestro materializes all the spectres and declares “Let the performance start!”

Michael wore the projections of a lot of the world because he was visible, he was famous, he was easy to vilify and handy. And Michael kept changing his face. Read that again: Michael kept changing his face. There is a huge message there—Michael’s face.

He talks of masquerading the heart and that it is related to haunting souls. Souls haunt others when they are unsettled in themselves. He is saying that the heart reveals the truth; not the words, not the actions, not the appearance—the heart. Who you are in your heart is the truth. And it is revealed because you mirror who you are in your heart to others. If there is evil in my heart and I look at you and you are being my mirror, what will I see? But if you call me beautiful, guess who the real beauty is? If you want to see the truth, Michael says, “It’s here inside a lonely heart.”

So Michael asks the question: did you come to see in me your fantasies? What are they? Of course you will find them here. You’ll find trickery and spirits dancing in the light or whatever you want. He asks: Do I amuse you or confuse you? What do you see in me?

And there is no mistaking in Ghosts that it is Michael’s arm that emerges from within the person who is projecting and condemning him; he holds the mirror to ask:’ Do you like what you see?’ Whoa; is that scary for you? It should be.

(C) 2010 ARR B. Kaufmann


  1. Dalia said . . .

    Barbara: I love your phrase “Make no mistake: those who think Michael evil are making a statement about themselves” but, is not it relative? I’m not able to see the face of a criminal such as Bin Laden and say: “I see in the deep a beautiful person” because their actions tells me of aberrations. The media can influence the erroneous image that I can have on someone. If the media tell me: “Hate and lynch this ugly and bad person” it’s very difficult to make judgments. Are the actions to tell me what kind of person I have in front of me? So I need to examine their past actions to determine if there is congruence between what is said and what is done? We know Michael well enough because we have studied his past and we know what he could do and what he could never have done. But people are busy and so are carried away by rumors. In this case people are not projecting themselves in judging Michael, on the contrary they reflect the influence and power of the media for “lynching” innocent people and for holding opinions without knowledge of the facts. Thank you Barbara. [It’s about being conscious or not conscious, having discernment and understanding the principle of resonance. Most darkness comes from wounding or occasional pathology. Actions can be sincere but misguided and can contribute unwittingly to unconsciousness. It is incumbent upon us to awaken. Identifying with the ego and forgetting who we are is what causes the trouble. If Bin Laden were to awaken and see himself and everyone else as the “One” how might his actions be different? The collective consciousness on this planet allows for the tabloids because there is a constituency. It also allows for killing, treachery, war and more. Is that scary? Maybe when it gets scary enough, we will consciously change it? ~Rev B]

    Posted August 5, 2010 at 7:32 am | Permalink
  2. Simona said . . .

    Awesome, awesome post. It soothes my wounded heart to see how deeply you Feel Michael, what connection is revealed by your words, by your reflections. Thank you so much, your work is truly precious to all of us.

    Posted August 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Anne Mette Jepsen said . . .

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Amazing insight! LOVE and GRATITUDE 🙂

    Posted August 5, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
  4. lmt said . . .

    Judging. Michael talked about feeling judged constantly no matter what he did; and that side of human nature hurt him a lot. No matter how hard he tried, there was no relief.

    I think about how blessed he was and yet his uniqueness made him the target of so many. There was not and never will be anyone like him–so envy and an inability to relate to that immense talent and magnetism and genius and global affection wrapped up in innocence and love—that same human nature collectively decided he was too different–fear and envy designed a different entity: evil, strange, freak….

    Michael’s lyrics, as Barbara explains, is his answer and insight into the human soul. He knew. I just love Is It Scary. I love the tone and the anger and hurt in Michael’s voice and music. It is so raw–

    Thank you for your guidance in understanding the layers of this work, Barbara. It is not a simple “Ghost” story. If anything, it is deep and layered and calls for self reflection and honesty in looking at oneself. That is what is scary.

    Posted August 6, 2010 at 3:05 am | Permalink
  5. Jan said . . .

    It’s funny … I hear the lyrics of 2Bad differently than what is printed in the booklet that accompanies the album HIStory: Past, Present, and Future – Book 1. Where it says “dead and stuffy” I hear “look who just walked in the place – the man who struck me in the face – look who’s standing if you please – tho you tried to bring me to my knees.” To me, it just makes more sense that way. I know what the booklet says, but I still hear the lyrics differently. I think the film “Ghosts” was also prophetic in a weird sort of way – a premonition, if you will. The mayor wants to run the Maestro out of “Normal town” … and Sneddon eventually succeeds in the end in running Michael Jackson out of Neverland. Even Michael crumbling to “dust” – “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” in hindsight … I think Michael saw and understood what was to happen. If he didn’t embrace it, exactly, he knew and I believe he told us in the film “Ghosts.” Prepared us, in a way so that we wouldn’t be shocked.

    There is a depth of feeling to “Ghosts” – an intensity – an anxiety on Michael’s part that we understand and “get it.” Yes, thumbing your nose at your enemy is sometimes not the best way to react. And, yes, Michael was angry – extremely angry at the treatment he had received. Another example of that was performing D.S. on the HIStory Tour in front of stadiums filled with tens of thousands of people who knew that the song did not refer to any “Dom Sheldon.” All this, while the man it was aimed at was following Michael around the world and interviewing children in the hopes of finding a reason to prosecute him. When I first saw the film in 1997, (I had to drive over two hundred miles from my home to see it) I thought that it was Michael’s “tantrum” or “tirade.” After I had watched it numerous times (I was lucky enough to have a friend who purchased a copy in Japan), more and more of the messages began to sink in. It’s definitely jam-packed with meanings for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

    Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink
  6. Greet Boete Belgium said . . .

    Do we know “BIN LADEN”? Do we know what is behind the 9/11 attacks? By no means this attack can be justified, but we only know what was shown to us, reported to us by te media. The same media that destroyed Michael. I only want to say that we have to be very careful with our judgements, if we don’t know the people in person, or if we only hear one side of the story. Thank you Barbara for analizing Ghosts. I have looked at it again, and after reading your explanation, is makes so much more sense to me. How wise Michael is. Thanks again.

    Posted August 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink
  7. EBIRN said . . .

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I especially learnt a lot from the explanation of Is it Scary. You’re right, Michael knew so much more than he really let on; but it’s there to see when you look closer. As always, thank you.

    Posted August 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  8. Elizabeth said . . .

    Barbara, thank you for doing it again. Unraveling the layers that Michael used to communicate with us. Yes, our Michal Joseph Jackson was a master of mystery who left so much material for us to study and learn from. One way I have been learning to sensitize myself to the interpretations is to listen closely to the layering in his music, to listen to the music behind the music. Such a wonderful special person. I am glad to have lived in the time to experience the magic and wonder of Michael Joseph Jackson.

    Posted August 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  9. Anne UK said . . .

    Dear Rev Barbara,
    The more layers that you explain of Michael’s lyrics, the deeper goes his meaning. This is enlightening and illuminating. I now see “Ghosts” so differently than I used to. Did he know that eventually some people would see the messages? I say some people as I think there are those who are too blind to ever see and I have to say after looking closely in the mirror that I was one of those until you took the layers apart and explained them. Michael was an extremely complex figure, who at the time many failed to comprehend. It wasn’t meant to be but if you could have met Michael what a difference it would have made to his life as it appears no-one knows his heart, soul and purpose as you do. You have become the voice and heart of MJJ. I’m sure he looks down on you and smiles. Your writing is so eloquent and so beautiful. It has brightened my life. With much love Anne UK. [Anne, Michael himself can answer your question better than I can: Read the first stanza of Michael’s HIStory lyrics. ~Rev B]

    Posted August 7, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  10. lmt said . . .

    Barbara: I read the first stanza in HIStory–never heard or understood before–that steadfast belief in what he was saying and doing is quite remarkable. And Ghosts was written right around that same era of 96-97. Strong, determined man.

    Posted August 8, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink
  11. Jeanne said . . .

    Barbara, You have studied the music the message and it shows. I also have studied and laughed and cried, and gasped. Gasped because I heard something being said other than what was being said, and when I focused I saw more than I had seen. And when Michael said magic and escapism, wow, he literally meant that. You can go this deep when you have a love and appreciation for Michael’s art, for his wisdom, and most of all for his heart. God how I love his heart. Michael’s work is intense and there is a comfort here to know someone else gets it. I am not alone. This is more than music and dance. Michael gave it all. All. Deep thought , deep concentration. Perfection. How generous this is to give every bit of yourself. We got a lot more than 45 years of his work. He still gives.

    Posted August 9, 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink
  12. Dalia said . . .

    The first stanza of history song I interpret in allusion to Jesus Christ central figure of Christianity in our history, and messenger of universal brotherhood.

    Posted August 9, 2010 at 2:05 am | Permalink
  13. Anne UK said . . .

    Dear Rev Barbara,
    Thank you so much for pointing me in the direction of the lyrics from the first Stanza of HIStory. Michael did indeed answer my question,yes he did know didn’t he? I am beginning to see the strength of the purpose as to why he was here and also to realise how he put his messages out in the guise of popular music. With love, AnneUK

    Posted August 9, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink
  14. gertrude said . . .

    Would you have ever guessed, Barbara, that after Michael Jackson’s death you would be one of the major “comprehenders’ of him now that he is in spirit? That it would be you who could reveal what Michael was so impressing upon us that remained hidden in plain sight until you did? One of the things that strikes me is that if Michael was angry and taunted it can hardly be held against him. Jesus taunted the hypocrites when he said, “he who is without sin among you cast the first stone.” Did that anger and taunting justify Him being nailed to a cross? Anger doesn’t justify the retaliation offenses.

    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:42 am | Permalink
  15. Kim said . . .

    As always Barbara, your interpretations truly amaze me. I will also be watching Ghosts from a different perspective. I agree with what some have stated here in that Michael gave every aspect of himself without hesitation. I truly see and understand him at a deeper level because of what you write. There are many lessons in Ghosts and as I watch Ghosts the next time around, I’ll be watching just a little bit differently. I have to say, with all of the things that I have learned about Michael through this process, I am truly grateful to have been here to know Michael; his gifts and his heart. I also believe you do really know Michael. Thank you for all of your contributions to make the world a better place and what you do for Michael.

    Posted August 11, 2010 at 3:47 am | Permalink
  16. Cassie said . . .

    When I watch the Ghost video now, it makes me sad. Why, because I believe that Michael knew what the end would be, even then. He had it down to the science, even to the scene where he breaks apart, dust to dust. Could he have known his fate, even then? People call me an mean names because I have always told them that Michael Jackson could foresee the future. I would tell them to really listen to the words of his songs and then watch things evolve around them. When he sang “will you be there” and “speechless” his eyes were pleading for us to “listen” and not just hear. Ghost does the same thing. All of Michael’s music had deeper meaning. Like I said before, he never did anything creatively that didn’t have a message or a lesson to be learned. He labored and suffered tirelessly for us. Some even think he was to this generation what Jesus was to their’s. People shunned and laughed and mocked and in the end judged, misjudged and crucified him; but he would not because he could not change his heart. Who amongst us is still blind to that truth?

    Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  17. Lisa said . . .

    Hi Barbara, I Thank God everyday for your insight and others like you in regard to Michael Jackson’s spirituality, genius, and his essence. I too regard his hidden messages in his songs and videos. Michael’s creative genius branched out beyond knowing a dance routine in 4 seconds, or singing in perfect pitch. Michael reminds me of Lenardo Di Vinci, both used their creative genius to speak to the mirror in all of us, and within that mirror, were acute messages of their pain, thoughts, and wisdom. One only had to be aware of the hidden truth they were saying. Michael was a warrior in the spiritual sense. He fought back against the tabloids, Tom Sneddon, and all the backstabbers in his life as he should have. He showed courage, strengh, and the limitlessness of his creative talents. The enemy, the ones who cannot see their own light want to take the light of another take by lying, by slandering, by manipulating the truth instead of working on themselves. Tito, one of Michael’s older brothers once said, “Michael is a fighter, he won’t fight you physically, he fights you mentally.” There are things we can let go for the sake of peace yet there are things in our life for which we MUST take a stand and fight. I too have fought back not with physical might, but with the might of intelligence and honor. Parasites of the spirit did run Michael and his children out of Neverland and he left because those who have darkness in their hearts would continue to mutate their disease-anyway. Michael will be forever loved for how he used his genius. He lived in TRUTH even when it meant to lose a home of great beauty and of his creation. He will be remembered for giving his talents to us through endlessly traveling, endless phyiscal and emotional pain. Michael will be remembered for the love he had for humanity, for He was LOVE with all his human imperfections, his courage, his genius, his laughter, his pain, his wisdom, his “knowing,” his virtues, his respect for all living things. I will help continue his legacy of truth and love. Thank you Barbara.

    Posted August 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink
  18. marga1961 said . . .

    Rev. Barbara, again I am speechless. Your explanation behind Michaels words are truly stunning. To watch the vid Ghosts with so may (hidden) messages gives me the shivers when I see it. Michael has a message in almost every song and he held the mirror in front of people. I can FEEL the Truth when he sings his lyrics; he was a wise, strong but very sensitive man with a great wisdom, an old Pure Soul. And when I read his poem Once we were THERE (!) I believe we were there and we are finding each other now again. I guess there will never be such a sensitive, concerned, gentle and respectable artist again. Michael allways stays decently and humble but could certainly express his feelings (even in anger). Thanks for this article, Michael will LOVE you more Rev. B. because you understand him and you share your thoughts with us. Marga

    Posted August 22, 2010 at 12:10 am | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *