Ghosts generally get a bad rap in popular culture. Sure, there are a few nice ones, like Casper, but they’re the exceptions to the rule. Like house guests who have long overstayed their welcome, most ghosts linger in this earthly realm, often hanging around the places where they spent most of their time when they were alive. Maybe they have unfinished business here; maybe they’re just being dicks. Who knows? Either way, they cause a great deal of trouble for the living, as depicted in films ranging from Poltergeist to Ghostbusters.
But it doesn’t have to be that way: Maybe ghosts have something to offer humanity beyond a few cheap scares. Super Deluxe has recently launched a news series of animated shorts called Advice From Ghosts in which the spirits of some notable folks from history come back to this world, not to chase teenagers away from an abandoned amusement park but to offer some hard-won wisdom to humanity.
In one episode, for instance, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo delivers a postmortem monologue about the importance of developing a unique and strong identity. That’s something she definitely aced during her time as a living person. “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world,” her ghost says, “but there are so many people in the world. There must be someone in the world who feels bizarre and flawed in the same way.”Because Advice From Ghosts is animated, Kahlo’s spirit can easily change size and shape, taking on one form and then another and another in quick succession.
Another episode of Advice From Ghosts focuses on psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, talking about overcoming fears through paradoxical intention. But first, he has a revelation: “There is no meaning of life! Well, no one meaning, that is.” Since he’s dead and is delivering this monologue from beyond the grave, his words carry an extra ring of authenticity.