Many people have experienced things which cannot be explained. They may feel the cause is ghosts....perhaps it is. What is a ghost? No one really knows. All we do know is that things happen without a plausible explanation.

I work from a neutral or "agnostic" standpoint with no prejudices in terms of belief or disbelief in these reported events and when I do investigate, it is from a strictly "nuts-and-bolts" view to what's been experienced and why.

This blog is a portal for those who want to share, talk or learn about their experiences with the unknown. Your anonymity is sacred and no judgment will be passed on you. By talking about your experiences you may find it helps. Educating yourself is a great way to lessen your fear....or pursue your interest.

If you have an experience you would like to report click on the Ghosts and Hauntings Reporting form found on the top right of the sidebar.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Being the Last to Know

Being conscious of survival of consciousness…Man! I hate spelling that word Consciousness; I swear if it weren’t for spell check I’d make a fool of myself bi-scentencly! But, it is a term that I feel describes the topic best, that thing which survives our physical form allowing us to remember our living life and guide us through our ghostly purposes. Without it we would just appear as historical repeaters or random bits of forgotten memories with no thought processes.

Assuming that ghosts need a consciousness to exist doesn’t necessarily mean the ghost needs to KNOW it is only a consciousness. Given the behavior of some ghosts by witnesses it would almost seem as if the ghost believed he/she were still alive. Obviously, one would imagine, this would cause the entity to experience some confusion as to why nobody, (or most people anyway) can hear them, notice them, or touch things.

I think of this as the Prisoner effect, the famed British T.V. show from the 60’s. Patrick McGoohan would stumble through his life in “The Village” just trying to figure out what the hell was going on! Placed in a situation of that magnitude of confusion it would cause most individuals to eventually crack and do things they may not have done while alive.

A natural response to this confusion might be to act out to gain attention like some problem child. And indeed in many witness reports it seems as if the resident ghost is trying to do just that. Taps turned, television sets switched on, small objects disappearing are all examples of what some people see as a nuisance haunting…and it certainly seems like something an attention starved child may do, just to make you notice them in that special way you find so precious. Upon the living finally acknowledging the presence, the activity sometimes quiets down. Maybe this is because the ghost has finally realized what’s going on, that they’re dead, and pass on to wherever it is that ghosts go when their done hanging about. Other times the presence persists in it’s antics in a way that suggests they are not satisfied yet.

One hears about mediums, psychics or just regular people asking the presence to “go to the light”, with the intent that the entity does not know they are dead and so need a little persuasion to help them along. This light is presented as the same light mentioned at the end of the tunnel which some believe we travel down upon dying. Whether the light is an actual thing, or just a metaphor allowing our minds to harness our power of intent is moot here. Believe it or not this technique has a fairly good track record for reducing ghostly activity, (more about the power of intent here ) Obviously if this is the case then what these people are doing is informing a spirit that they are indeed dead and can now go to rest.

This is all very interesting but how does a ghost get into this situation in the first place? It seems elementary to the living that death would be a memorable event, so why can’t the dead take a hint? Well, once again we find ourselves in the Land of Impossible Tests. We can’t know what it is like, (although the movie Flatliners was a pretty cool notion) and so have no means of testing the hypothesis. To give us an idea of how this may happen we need to use our imagination…..a popular stop gap measure we must utilize until a better, more scientific approach, is thought of, although I’m of the mind that this is where scientific ideas come from.

Using my imagination to the best of my ability, (whoa! Did you see that purple headed waffle iron!? Woops, wrong topic…) I can think of a few potential ways where one would become detached from their body in such a way to induce death confusion. Some deaths are not a surprise….lengthy illness for instance, but many are not foreseen so readily. Sudden quick deaths can happen in many ways, car crashes, violent crimes….I don’t think I need to get into any more gory detail here. The point is if someone were to experience a sudden transference of their consciousness from one state to the other, then I feel if could be possible that the individual may not “know what hit them” in a manner of speaking.

The living can experience shock in many ways, both psychologically and physically. In both cases it can render our reasoning methods ineffective, causing us to become disoriented and mistake reality for fiction. If the consciousness is a part of the human makeup, and it survives death, does it not still have the same characteristics? Can it not be subject to at least some of the same traumas as it was in life? If so, then a surviving consciousness could enter a state of shock, and it could remain in this state of shock until someone comes along to help.

Sadly, another possibility is the death of a child. Many children die who may be too young to understand what’s happening and upon death cannot process the change as they have no concept of death. Their consciousness defaults to what it knows and therefore tries to convince itself that it’s play time as usual.

It’s a bit sad, and I don’t like to think that when we die there’s no mechanism to tell us of this important fact, but given the details of some ghostly encounters this seems to be a possibility. It may be a bit of a stretch to assume that when we die we are still subject to psychological trickery, but if so, then it seems that whatever part us which does survive death is indeed human.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Survival of Consciousness

I’ve gone on a lot so far about how ghosts may be the product of our own mind so I thought I’d turn the table here and suppose ghosts are being generated by the deceased. That is, the survival of consciousness. I’ll probably still go on though in a rambling way. The problem with all this researching the unknown is that one idea invariably leads to another, and before you know it you have a web of correlating hypotheses spun by a dyslexic spider after a rave. So I apologize in advance for any rabid spittle I may get on your monitor.

The survival of consciousness deserves a more detailed prodding with a pointy stick than I am about to give it. I will try to use this post as a launching point for exploring the individual branches of the hypothesis…the questions brought up herein acting as the sub topics. As always feel free to share any other ideas you feel are relevant. Or just plain cool.

I sometimes think that we, the living, are not required for a ghost to be present. So if we ask…“if a ghost falls in a forest and there’s nobody there to see it….does it still appear?” In this case, yes it would, because they would require no outside influence to bring them into being. But I think we could also suppose that our minds are required to perceive or even “bring” a ghost, but that the ghost is still a surviving consciousness….sorta needing two parts to create the whole. So there could conceivably be more than one kind of manifestation. Either way you look at it, if a ghost is a surviving consciousness, and is able to be here in the physical world, it would imply a sustaining energy source. What kind of energy?

The heart is a muscle driven by low levels of electrical current and can be monitored and measured with an ECG/EKG, or electrocardiogram, device. In the brain we produce Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta waves. Could a ghost harness this “living” energy into a form useful for manifestation? Or do they draw from an independent energy which they had in their living selves and survives death, held together by some strange force sometimes visible (or audible) to the living? If this is the case then it is an undetectable kind of energy….or at least one we can’t detect yet. EMF detectors are reliant on this theory for survival, but in their case they state the energy being emitted is Electro Magnetic. Unfortunately EMF fields are everywhere so it may be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Leaving the energy conundrum behind, I want to touch on another recurring theme which is puzzling me. If a ghost is a survival of consciousness then why are they usually attached to one place? Why can they not move around more freely? It does seem to me that a great many ghost reports depict the ghost as only being found in one house, or even one room. It’s a little sad to think we should be anchored in death to such a small space. But maybe perspective changes when you die.

Often too, when a family has experienced the ghost of a loved one, they cease to see them when they move to a new house. There must be something to that one physical location.
Yet I find it hard to believe that a ghost, having once been alive, could be more attached to a house than a loved one. Logically then, (if logic is relevant in these things) the ghost does not have a choice in all of this. They need whatever it is in that room to survive, (dead surviving? A bit oxymoronic I know). Personally I cannot come up with any reasons why a structure would be necessary for a ghost to be there but it seems to happen. Maybe it’s the ground under the home which must be specific to be able to support a ghost….something that isn’t found everywhere and so the ghost is bound to places of that nature. When a family moves from the house where their loved one haunted, to a new home where these conditions are not met, the ghost would then get left behind. More on this at another time I think.

There are reports out there though which are more uplifting, of a portable kind of ghost. In these reports the living feel they have a guardian, most often in the form of a deceased loved one….a grandfather or mother who still looks out for you, comforts you and even sometimes warns you of impending danger. The guardian seems to follow an individual wherever they go. So it’s not all doom and gloom and having to go to the dark attic to be comforted by old granddad.

Comparing witness reports, I’ve noticed one large difference in how the stationary ghost and the portable ghost make their presence known. The stationary ghost communicates more bluntly by physical manifestation, moving things about or making noises. Whereas the perceived guardian spirit, or portable ghost, is more subtle…calming the mind with feelings and emotions rather than manipulations in the physical world. Whether these two types are cut from the same cloth is up for debate. They could both be a form of survival of consciousness.

So in summary we have created these points….

1)     The living are not necessary for ghosts to exist, vs. the living are necessary for ghost to exist.
2)     Do ghost require an energy source? And if so what is the source?….internal or external?
3)     Why are some ghosts seemingly anchored to one physical location? (stationary ghosts)
4)     Why do some ghosts (or guardians) seem to move with an individual? (portable ghosts)
5)     Are communication differences between stationary and portable ghosts a result of their personality while alive? Or the personality of the perceiver?

It think this all may go to show that there could definitely be more than one way to survive death. You know what they say…variety is the spice of life. Perhaps it is the spice of death too.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ghostly Premonitions and the Sixth Sense

Ever get a feeling that something was wrong with a loved one even though they weren’t with you at the time? I think we all have to some degree, (your mom for instance, calling you to ask if you’re o.k. right before you do something she would disapprove of). But how about when it goes a little farther and you see the loved one, as if they are in the room with you. You would be startled when they suddenly vanished and even more so when you receive a phone call 10 minutes later telling you they passed on.

As fantastical as this may seem to some, it has been a reality to others. The idea of death premonitions is certainly not a new one in our culture. Irish Mythology is replete with stories of the Bean Si, or Banshee, a female spirit of a fairy mound said to appear to a family when they are about to experience a death and wail mournfully. Even today reports of people experiencing a vision of a loved one about to die are quite numerous.

The SPR (Society for Psychical Research, link to website on sidebar) has a name for these types of phenomenon, Veridical Hallucinations. Here is their brief explanation of the term.

These are cases in which a person, not dreaming, ill, insane or under the influence of drugs, sees a figure which could not be that of a real person or hears a voice when it is certain that no-one spoke. It is highly likely that most such experiences are hallucinatory. However, some of these hallucinations may be called 'veridical' in that they exhibit correspondences, not easy to explain, with external events, or with the experiences of other percipients.

A little heavy on the lingo but what they’re basically trying to get across is that although what these people are describing fall easily into the category of a normal hallucination, the Veridical ones correspond to the real world by appearing just before a tragic event…..this is where the vehicle of scientific logic gets rerouted into a sturdy block wall. And now we find ourselves in the realm of the unknown groping in the dark for answers until someone can find whatever drawer it was they put the matches in.

I find in cases such as these it helps to assume for awhile that the unknown phenomenon is actually a known phenomenon, enabling us to look at it from a logical or scientific point of view and kind of go through the process of analysis. So, imagine if you will that people do get veridical hallucinations, and it is normal….so how then, using our logic chip, does it happen?

I’m afraid that logicking this topic funnels it back to the brain (damn attention whore!). If the vision is real then it must be a hologram of sorts, and not a hallucination. Therefore I would think it needs something to project it, probably a brain eye collaboration. This then implies that the brain is producing a physical change to the outside world. Pretty heavy stuff indeed! But it gets more amazing! To be able to produce this hologram we would have needed to receive the information beforehand. Now we’re getting into the realm of telepathy. Somehow our mind is picking up on some sort of impulse from the loved one being transmitted through brain waves, or even some sort of collective consciousness. I like to liken the collective consciousness to an old telephone switchboard. Having brought up the operator you tell them the number you want then they plug in a few wires to the appropriate place and you’re connected. Of course only certain people would receive the message, otherwise we’d all be wandering around in a constant state of telepathic reception and we’d never be able to sort out what was real and what was a hologram.

Perhaps the thing that gives the collective consciousness the correct phone number if you will, is the senders emotions. Upon a persons death bed, or even after, what would be a likely thing to be on their mind? Loved ones…..or at least I suspect so, although, having never been dead I’m not sure. And that’s one theory I’m willing to put off finding the answer to.

One could interpret this as a survival trait of sorts…a call for help maybe, or a warning. This would then make it a subset of the sixth sense. That thing we hear so much about in science fiction and a damn interesting movie subject. A lot of people poo poo the existence of a sixth sense but I think it has some merits considering how little we know about the human brain and how much we experience we can’t explain.

Bringing this back onto the topic of ghosts (I heard that’s what this blog is supposed to be about), I think it is yet another possibility about the origins of ghosts. That’s not to say there isn’t more than one explanation to ghosts. Even if ghosts are all in our head it doesn’t mean what we experience is any less profound. The idea that the human brain may be able to send signals of this nature out to those most important to the individual is an awesome concept. Further understanding of psychical abilities could uncover all sorts of unknown tools and functions we didn’t know we had, and answer a lot of questions…..let’s just hope we’re meant to know the answers.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A Separate Reality.

Everybody seems to have a different way of seeing the world even though we all use the same senses to gather in details about our environment. So, it can be conceived that one persons reality is not necessarily identical to the next persons.

I’ve often wondered why it is that some people seem to see ghosts all the time and why others go through their whole lives and never see anything. Right away I’m confronted with a hundred variables which would affect the answer….so, ya…sorry no answers to the unknown in this blog post either but lots of things to ponder upon. Personally speaking I believe part of the answer lies in the human brain.

Our brains take in information from the real world by use of the senses. I’ve read lots of articles debating whether the ratio of rods to cones in an individuals eye is a contributing factor to their ability to see a ghost, or that sensitive ear bones could lend people the ability to hear things others don’t. However, I’m not an expert on these subjects so I won’t attempt to render these theories into a dogs breakfast. I’m going to do more postulating about the reality/brain connection in a psychological way.

If someone has experienced what they believe to be a ghost they will be much more likely to become a believer. If someone has never experienced a ghost then they are more likely to become a non-believer. Who’s the right one? Well, as far as I can tell they’re both wrong. Sure the believers saw something, but do they know it’s a ghost? Sure the non believers didn’t see anything unusual but does absence of evidence mean non existence? I’m not discounting that the believer saw or heard something they could not explain….I’m more interested in WHAT they saw/heard, and how. Sometimes you’ll read a ghost and haunting report where more than one person is in the room at the time of the ghost sighting, yet not all of those present saw something. Why?

The answer may lie in how our brain interprets the real world. As an example I’ll use the eye as the sensory tool here. The brain has a category for most everything it sees…..something to cross reference what it sees and so come up with an explanation of what “it” is. If it doesn’t recognize what it sees and has no reference material in its data banks then it refers the matter over to the closest thing it resembles. After you explore the new “it” you gain more data on the subject and so a new category is created. But what if there is absolutely NO reference point for your poor addled brain to relate it to? What if what you saw was a glowing, floating kind of mist that looked like the shape of a person? What would be your first thought? Ghost! Of course, traditionally speaking the above explanation of a ghost is the most popular version, hence, the answer your brain comes up with. For most people this is the only reference point they have, derived mostly from cultural memory, (previous post).

I also think that if you believe in something hard enough you can make it come true….at least to yourself. When I was a kid I was afraid of the dark, (but I DIDN’T suck my thumb!...honest!) Laying awake at night in my bed my imagination would run rampant despite the fact I gave it no such permission to do so! The dark possibilities of what was out there seized my mind…after awhile my imagination got really good and I actually convinced myself that I could hear footsteps from somewhere in the house. This would happen to me every night for the next three months and scared the living bejeesus out of me and introduced me to sleep deprivation, (a skill that would come in handy after I had my first child). Eventually, one night I decided to get out of bed to investigate, doing so in the spirit of, it’s better to know what’s coming to eat me than to be taken completely unawares and never know what ate me. My petrified self followed the anomalous sound all the way to the kitchen….. where I found my dog scratching at herself with her hind paw. The resulting thump thump of her elbow on the kitchen floor, although not sounding much like footsteps at all, were indeed the source of my monster. My point is, with a little imagination you can fill in the missing pieces needed to create a really awesome waking nightmare. I couldn’t say for sure, but it seems more than just coincidence that the footsteps stopped the night after bathing the dog and the application of a flea collar.

Back to the thread. Is it then possible for someone to see something they believe is a ghost as a ghost? I think it is possible. Yet I don’t think it is the only explanation of what ghosts are. This just serves as an example that we can’t always trust our senses.

Now, as for the person who has never experienced anything ghostly there are a number of options. Some people are naturally more rational than others….some overly so. With this type of personality it becomes much easier to explain away what they saw or heard. Unfortunately ALL things unexplainable get explained away regardless of any credible evidence to the contrary. I often theorize that some people may not see anything because their brains can’t handle anything so radical…the brain just seizes up, and sends out messages to the senses to kindly stuff it! And stop demanding the brain leave it’s comfort zone! Lets face it, some people are more open to new and exotic experiences, (within the bounds of the Provincial laws please). Can it be that some people’s absolute anti-desire to see a ghost precludes them to paranormal blindness?

According to the above hypothesis it would be best to maintain a balanced and neutral mind when confronting phenomenon, otherwise our brains get in the way and fabricate the evidence and/or remove it. Whether there is any grain of truth to what I’ve said I think it can be agreed upon that our perceptions of the world around us, and how we interpret them, are highly individualistic. Therefore I think it wise to keep this idea in mind when we find ourselves exploring the unknown…we must question even ourselves.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Cultural Memory, Belief and Logic, OH MY!

Ask any Tom, Dick or Harry, (or Jane, Sarah or Harriet) what they think a ghost is and you can bet that the slam dunk winner of the popularity contest will be…”they’re dead people”….or something to that effect. First I want to make clear here that I’m not saying they’re not dead people. My cynical nature tends to lead people to believe that whatever topic I start talking about is one that I’m getting ready to poo poo….o.k., there will be a little poo pooing going on but not of the theory.

For myself, when growing up, it was common knowledge that if ghosts were real then they were the spirits of the deceased. And that was it, you either believed this or you didn’t believe in ghosts at all….end of story, no other options. No one bothered much to question this long seated tradition excepting a few open minded individuals who thought, “wouldn’t it be nice to have a new option? This one’s getting rather old and shabby.” So, yeah, there’s other theories encompassing a wide spectrum including psychic memory, mass hallucinations, alien influence, you name it. I don’t want to delve into those alternatives here. I want to explore why it is that our culture has clung on to this explanation for ghosts like a barnacle to a ship.

Growing up we are raised, trained and molded by our parents. Many of us go on to be the products of our upbringing, mirroring the beliefs and ideals of our parents, (much to our dismay). Sure we don’t want to grow up exactly like them but often, one day when your 30, you look in a mirror at yourself and suddenly realize how much like them you’ve become….you then shudder involuntarily for a moment, and get on with brushing your teeth.

Now, if we accept that we are at least somewhat molded in our upbringing by our parents, then what else mold’s us as we grow up? Culture…..which stems off all over the place in the form of media particularly. Television, movies, books, radio…we are constantly bombarded by those forces, and they constitute a very large part of who we will become. Think of how many ideas we derive from media, the moods it makes us feel, the things it makes us buy….a very powerful influence to be sure.

When we superimpose the topic of ghosts into that media matrix what we get is an almost unified theory that they are the spirits of dead people. So, as we are influenced heavily by our parent’s belief so too are we influenced by our cultural beliefs. Once imbued with this ghostly information from the media it makes for a very hard belief to shake.

Yet, to explore the world of ghosts and hauntings we must detach ourselves from preconceived notions so we may view the topic as a whole with neutrality. Ask yourself… do I actually know that a ghost is a dead person? Well, scientifically speaking no one does. Certainly there are those who firmly believe this is the case without need of scientific proof, and that’s just human nature maybe. Faith, at least by my definition, is the concept of believing something without solid proof. Religion works this way….which is primarily why religion and science usually don’t get on well at parties.

So, getting back to the whole mass belief of what ghosts are…we should eventually end up questioning ourselves why it is that ghosts = dead people was ever adopted as the favoured explanation in the first place? If we look at the alternatives we may get a clearer picture. Take the hypothesis that ghosts are a product of our own mind (for more info about this theory read my article, Emotional Graffiti on this blog). Sounds intriguing enough but I’ve found a few people who, frankly, find the thought of that a bit disturbing….it makes them feel crazy I guess to think that all that weirdness is coming from their own head. I put it down to fear of the unknown. The brain is not well known and therefore when it gets up to things without our conscious knowledge we tend to get a bit twitchy.

Of course the other end of the spectrum, the anti hypothesis if you will, is that ghosts are not real. They are either a figment of your imagination brought on by too many brandy soaked plums or they are to be explained away by normal causations, (creaking floorboards, mice in the walls etc.). Certainly this hypothesis, or belief for some, has always been a popular one but if you belong to the camp which believes in ghosts, it isn’t an alternative….and lets face it, it can’t hold a candle to the excitement factor of  the dead coming back to haunt you!

Our collective cultural memory is virtually soaked in stories about ghosts, and no story is worth it’s weight in pickled herring that isn’t exciting. Can you imagine if the movie the Exorcist concluded after it was found the whole family had been ingesting moldy rye bread!? The film would have never made it out of the studio! Ghosts = dead people = exciting….and I have to agree it is a very intriguing idea that the dead should come back to visit. Ghosts are one of the original meme’s…being shaped and molded over the centuries by poets, playwrights, authors, movie producers and television personalities. Like the brandy soaked plums our minds are soaked in this lore.

Today it is at it’s height, and is still climbing. Since the creation of the internet information has been flying unchallenged from any person who can slap together a little html. It’s easy to get your word out there these days, and because they play to the cultural memory they have a much easier time of convincing the masses of their beliefs. Fact is most people who are willing to believe that ghosts are real only need a little push to accept an unfounded idea…after all, the cultural seed is already planted. This belief negates the need for scientific proof….it’s almost as if we go around in a hypnotic stupor, not challenging. But if we stop for a second, and shake our heads, our logic circuits kick in and we wonder why the hell we believe them anyway?!

Paranormal television shows work much in the same way…..actually exactly the same way. It gives them a tool to get their word out there, and because of people’s collective fascination with the dead they’re halfway to the finish line. Scientific facts not required, conclusion jumping mandatory. (there’s the poo pooing I was talking about).

Once again I want to state that I’m not denouncing this theory. Maybe ghosts are the spirits of dead people. But we don’t really know that, no science has found conclusive evidence to back it up and, therefore, we shouldn’t anchor ourselves down with one explanation.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Great Balls of…..Dust? Or, why orb photos are deader than disco.

Orbs have been a hot topic on the web as proof ghosts exist….notice I used the word “been”…to point out it’s past tenseness. Most everyone is over the craze that swept the masses but some still cling on to the thoroughly debunked myth. The reason I’m bringing the topic up is that some of those sites purporting orbs = ghosts, are from this local area, (Quinte)….sigh…I don’t mean to be rude, and I’m sure they’re doing it without ill intent but promoting orb photos isn’t doing anyone any favours. If you look at digital photos these day orbs turn up in a lot of them, and the reasons are varied but are purely environmental. Dust, moisture, condensation, smoke, wedding rice…you get the idea. The big reason they are showing up is because modern cameras have evolved so that the flash is very close to the lens, thus illuminating tiny objects right in front of the lens.

I can’t slay orb mythos as well as some, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so I’ll fit in a link to an article, (cause that’s what god invented links for) from the PSICAN website explaining the whole deal.

So, after reading this you may be asking yourself why anybody would still believe orb photos are ghostly? I have a few theories. Firstly, they haven’t heard about the debunking yet. This, you may think, acquits them of the crime of spreading misinformation but on the other hand it is irresponsible of them not to do their research into the phenomenon. Like my last post, these are another kind of enthusiast which de rail the folks researching causation. Well, it seems that a simple way to fix this is to just go and tell them all those scientific facts which effectively will cause the redundancy of most of their website …ya…been there, tried that….talked to the hand. I guess they don’t want to admit their mistakes, we all get that feeling sometimes but in the field of science you HAVE to be able to admit you’re wrong sometimes, fix the problem and move on…Pride is a very large barrier to finding answers.

Research, I admit, can be pretty boring at times. Reading articles and journals about photography and lab tests isn’t the most stimulating way to spend a bank holiday. But if your going to put your love spuds on the line you should back everything up so you don’t look like an amateur entertainer. These sites didn’t do that, and unfortunately the average person surfing the web looking for information on ghosts is likely to believe what they are seeing, and so the misinformation spreads.

Secondly, some are die hard believers and can’t be swayed. One of the most immediate responses you will get from the orb folks when you confront them is that you are a sceptic, (many faceted word…won’t get into the meaning here). I’m sorry, when did I say I didn’t believe in phenomenon? I just don’t choose to believe in phenomenon that is not valid! I want to see a great ghost photo. I want to see good evidence of ghostly activity! But I’m not going to AUTOMATICALLY believe you just because you say so. And we now know that orb photos aren’t it. Lets be realistic here, you can’t go around fabricating evidence to support your great desire to have seen a ghost. In the end though it’s like arguing with a right wing Christian that perhaps the story of Adam and Eve is allegorical.

Bottom line. Don’t believe everything you read or see. And that includes what I write here…don’t take my word for it, go out there to other websites explaining natural causations for orbs, see what they say, jury your opinion. Listen, question and learn.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Dragging the Word "Ghost" Through the Mud

With the staggering amount of TV. shows out there depicting the paranormal it’s amazing people don’t know more about the topic. Unfortunately what these programs can do is make you think you know about the paranormal when in fact they’re kind of making it up as they go along……what is their prime mandate? Entertainment. Realistically this avenue of media is most peoples only outlet to understanding ghostly happenings and it can be sad as some people really have experienced something and they want help. Perhaps what they experienced has a normal or mundane explanation but what these shows do is force down your throat that every little creak and bump in a home is indeed a ghost! They will go on to prove their point… front of an audience who can’t argue back and who, for the most part, moderate their websites comments section to spin the public support in their favour….sigh….it makes my heart bleed for true.

One thing that seems to pull people in is the gadgetry they carry around with them…..EMF (electromagnetic fields) detectors, night vision, machines that go ping. My problem, and indeed many other’s in this field, is that, a) there is no conclusive evidence (not even close) that EMF detectors are picking up on the energy fields emitted by ghosts. And, b) they look a hell of a lot like those detectors in ghost busters don’t they? Gets me wondering anyway. Lets look at the facts, what do EMF detectors do? They pick up on electromagnetic fields. Sooo, in the average household in North America how many things are there which are electrical? Scads…..the whole house is wrapped in a coil of electrical wiring and appliances, (many of which turn on and off on their own at various times, like a refrigerator). This little tidbit of logic is certainly not enough to deter the Ghost hunters from leaping about waving their Radio Shack bling and declaring there’s a ghost in the room!

My personal standpoint is this….although EMF detectors MAY be able to pick up on unknown energy, until someone proves that said energy is from a ghost then I think it is a little pre-mature to state that they are in the presence of a ghost. This would also FIRST necessitate that we have the knowledge of what a ghost really is….deceased person, hallucination, psychic imprint, or some other natural phenomenon yet to be discovered by science. This article isn’t about EMF detectors, they merely serve as an example of what these TV. shows do to hurt science and lead everyone’s conceptions astray from some potentially really good information.

I guess the problem is that without jumping to conclusions these TV shows would be pretty boring….really, under the surface the topic of the paranormal is moot….any topic of public curiosity will do as long as it is entertaining, ghosts just happen to be exciting.

My main point here is that shows of this ilk do nothing for us who are seriously looking into the causation of ghostly sightings…in fact it pulls us backward like a small rabbit being sucked into a black hole! But as Obi wan Kenobi told Luke Skywalker…”control your anger” therefore, I will refrain from pouring sugar in the TV. execs car gas tanks.

The other victim to all this sensationalism is the many people who actually have had an experience and are genuinely looking for answers to what they have seen. Many times these folks don’t need to be told that what they saw was a ghost, they just want to know what it REALLY was….even if the answer is noisy heating ducts. These people are sometimes scared, both of the phenomenon and public labeling, (woohoo, nutcase, etc). And really it’s no wonder these people get labeled when they come forward when you see what reference material the public have to go by. Some people who watch these shows get a different opinion of folks in the ghost field….they think they are idiots and they don’t believe them….and for the most part they are right, and good for them for questioning their findings. What they don’t consider is that not ALL people in the field of ghost research are like this. In fact the only real similarity serious researchers and investigators have with the television personalities is that we both use the word ghost. Problem is their interpretation of the word ghost is set in stone….they know what causes them and how to find them….I guess that makes us stupid because we don’t know what a ghost really is…we’re all caught up with actually working towards a real scientific explanation done with scrutiny and objectivity! I know! Lets all jump to some conclusions!….1,2 skip a few 99…100! And boda bing! We have the answer, right? WRONG! There are no answers as of yet, only hypotheses.

Speaking of detractors there are another set of sensationalists that irk the researchers….the break in artists…The punks who go around to reportedly haunted places and break in to do a report. By breaking the law, all of their efforts are immediately null and void. How can anyone put information gathered illegally into a serious scientific report! Admittedly science is probably the furthest thing from their minds but even if they did actually gather some good evidence it would be for not. When these yahoos get caught…and they do quite often, it hits the news and everybody hears about some bored ninny’s who decided to go and look for ghosts….there’s that word again! Ghosts! And it starts all over again, we get lumped in with these people just because of one word, and the pursuit for real answers looks a fool.

As a scientific study the paranormal is relatively new on the scene. And when you look at other scientific breakthroughs, (the world is round, germs) they all went through the bad publicity phase, and so maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad. When I tell most people that my main interest is investigating and researching the paranormal they tend to look at me a bit sideways, and invariably I need to explain that it is indeed a very real topic of scientific research. Sure, it’s fringe now but if we don’t lay the ground work for future research then the causation will never be known…and wouldn’t that suck?