Here’s a famous football quote (out of the mouth of Satan himself): “Football, eh? Bloody hell!” Yes. Football and hell. Inextricably linked.
So, it was always but a matter of time before intrepid photojournalists would capture occult goings-on at a football game. But not just any old kickabout. No, the latest fuzzy-focused phantasm was filmed at no less a fixture than a top-tier UEFA Champions League match in Portugal (TV audience, c. 100 billion). And what foreboding circumstances had precipitated this unearthly visitation? Well, the afterlife was summoned to the Estadio do Dragão in northern Portugal by the occasion of FC Porto’s home fixture against Paris Saint Germain. A guy called James Rodriguez had just scored.
Here is Portuguese TV analysing the ghost in super slo-mo:
Apparently, the Porguese press described this footage as “clearly showing a ghost celebrating a goal“. Confirmation of same was inferred from the fact that the chap was wearing “clothes from another era” and sported “an outdated haircut“. Quite obviously, then, a ghost.
In other words, this otherwise impossible combination of vintage clothing and dodgy hair rendered all mainstream understanding of the biological nature of life truly moot, and confirmed once and for all — after thousands of years of human speculation — not only the existence of an alternative-universe-based afterlife, but also the facility and propensity of deceased persons to leave that netherworld and come down here to walk amongst us mere mortals. And to catch a bit of footie into the bargain.
But you’re just never going to guess how all this turns out. It transpires that the ghoul near the goalmouth was not actually an ethereal being after all. Through the power of, well, alternative angles of photography, the football phantom was revealed to be no less than “an old fan” (or, in the lovely vernacular, “una anciana aficionada“). Yes, it just seems that old people wear old-fashioned clothes sometimes.
So, what line to the Portuguese media go with next? Yes, that’s right, “There is no ghost of Dragão“. Hmmm. No doubt the Pulitzers are in the post.
A game of two halves, perhaps…
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.