Ghosts will start to lie if you are too inquisitive….
For instance, a person might have a spirit of pride or of hostility, and the content would be essentially that emotion, or it might be personified as the spirit of an old aunt, or the grandfather, or anybody else. But it can be proved that it is a memory image still alive, contents of the unconscious that act as if they were persons.
Now in investigating the psychology of such autonomous figures – experimenting with a planchette, say, or with a glass running round the table – if you can pin a ghost down and ask who said a certain thing, the [ghost] replies: “John said it.”
But who is John?
And the answer comes: “Don’t you remember John Smith, your cousin?”
And you think you have really got hold of him.
Then you engage him in conversation, ask him questions ( one is naturally very curious about the land of the hereafter), and he tells you all sorts of interesting details, they are really very peculiar.
But if you inquire too closely, he begins to be evasive, he tells you all sorts of lies, and in the end he often persuades you to believe the most foolish things.
He says: “The reason that I am moved to be here is that you are a very great man,” and after a while it invariably turns out that you are a reincarnation of the savior, a messiah, and so on; or if you are a bit more modest, you are one of the apostles; or you are not exactly Julius Caesar, but his adjutant, and naturally you have a great destiny before you.
And soon you discover that it is all humbug.
And so you go and say to John, “You were always such a good friend, honest and loyal, such a nice man, how can you invent such hellish lies and try to hypnotize me into madness?”
And then he wriggles weakly out and evaporates somehow, he never will tell you why, so you come to the conclusion that the damned thing has no soul, it is soulless to the nth degree.
All the products of the collective unconscious, if too hard pressed, evaporate into nothingness; the moment you get at them with your personal problems and desires, with your human soul, you destroy them. They are exactly like exceedingly delicate flowers which only blossom for one night and then wither.
You must take them as they are, the truth of a moment; if you treat them as flesh and blood you make the mistake of your life.
~ C.G. Jung, Visions Seminar Lecture VI, 8 March 1933