As a paranormal investigator, one of the most common questions I’m asked is why I believe in ghosts. After all, they cannot be proven to exist scientifically, so why should I give them any credence—especially considering that I’ve never seen one myself?
Since most of us prefer to believe that we will continue to exist in some capacity after death, the idea that we might invent something like ghosts seems a reasonable one. After all, what better way to convince oneself that a deceased loved one is okay “on the other side” than to imagine seeing them at the foot of your bed, smiling and looking better than they did in life?
But I believe there is more to ghosts than just wishful thinking or the quest for a spooky story to tell around a campfire. I believe there are a number of good reasons to at least be open to the idea that ghosts might well inhabit our reality. I know that none of these in and of themselves constitute proof that ghosts exist, but when combined they make a good case that there may be something tangible behind those things that go bump in the night.
10. Medium Contact
I recognize that the history of séances and medium contact with the dead (known as necromancy) has been rife with fraud for centuries, making it easy to dismiss the concept of ghosts out-of-hand for that reason alone. However, hoaxing does not constitute proof that something isn’t true; it only demonstrates that people are very clever about deceiving others. There have been studies made on the validity of those who claim to be able to contact the dead, with some interesting results—at least in a few cases.
Of course, because of the history of fraud so prevalent within the psychic community, it has been difficult to take any studies that try and scientifically validate such claims seriously. However, double blind testing done by Harvard trained psychologist Doctor Gary Schwartz at the University of Arizona, on a number of supposed mediums, suggested that at least some of them had an uncanny ability to acquire information that could only be known to the deceased. While his methodology has been virulently attacked by the orthodox science community, for those who approach his research with an open mind, his evidence is compelling and strongly suggestive of post-mortem existence.
While technically orbs falls into the category of photographic evidence (which we will discuss in more detail later on,) they differ in context. In photographic evidence of apparitions, the “ghost” usually appears very much like a living person, with degrees of transparency evident (though some can be entirely opaque) while with orbs, one sees only small circles of light (usually not apparent at the time the photo was taken).
Of course, orbs can be created in any number of ways: dust particles, water droplets, and even flying insects will all produce orbs if they fly too close to the camera flash when the shutter goes off, which is why most orbs are probably just cases of mistaken identity. There are a few examples, however, of unusually bright or well-defined orbs that cast their own light shadow (suggesting they are internally illuminated) or that are partially hidden behind objects in the distance, suggesting that they are too far away to be a dust particle or insect caught in the camera’s flash. Evidence of ghosts? Not necessarily, but possibly evidence that another world may exist parallel to our own that’s every bit as real and tangible as our own—leaving room for things like ghosts to exist.
8. Historical Precedence
If ghosts were a fairly recent phenomena like Bigfoot or UFOs, it might be easy to dismiss them as a byproduct of our culture’s overactive imagination, but stories of ghosts and hauntings go back thousands of years. In fact, accounts of other worldly visitors can be seen in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and mention of a ghost can even be found in the Old Testament Book of 1st Samuel (1 Samuel 28), so the belief has been around a long time. That doesn’t prove anything, of course, but it does tell us that we’re not the first generation to grapple with the idea that the dead may come back to haunt the living, which suggests that the ancients encountered things every bit as bizarre way back then as their modern counterparts do today.
7. The Immutability of Energy
One of the most basic tenets of physics is that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be changed from one form to another. As such, since human consciousness appears to be a manifestation of electrical energy, it stands to reason that the basic essence of a human being—that which we call the consciousness—is also eternal. It may not be housed in a physical brain any longer, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t exist in some other format that we simply lack the means—at this time, anyway—to detect.
It should be remembered that, two hundred years ago, science pooh-poohed the idea that things like bacteria and viruses existed, largely because it seemed absurd to imagine that creatures could exist that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Once the microscope was perfected, of course, all that changed, leading to the advent of modern medicine. Could “ghosts” then be the next revolution in science that awaits only the development of the technology needed to detect them? Stay tuned …
6. Eyewitness Accounts
It’s surprising how many people claim to have personally seen a “ghost”. According to some polls, as many as 25% of Americans (with similar percentages elsewhere in the world) claim to have actually been in the presence of a ghost or “spirit.” That’s a whopping 75 million people in this country alone. And that’s just those who are willing to admit it; the numbers may be even higher for people who repress their experiences for religious or personal reasons.
Even if we discount a large percentage of these as imagination, mistaken identity, or outright hoax, the fact that millions of people around the world claim to have seen a ghost with their own eyes has to be taken seriously. What’s especially compelling is the fact that most people who claim to have seen a ghost either didn’t believe in them beforehand or were not expecting to see one, reducing the chances that their imaginations were playing tricks on them.
5. Electronic Disturbances
Anyone who has ever watched the hit reality program Ghost Hunters knows that ghosts often signal their presence by interacting with electronic gadgets. Probably the best know of these devices is the EM-Meter, which measures electromagnetic energy in the environment. Of course, electromagnetic energy is naturally put out by electronic devices of all kinds, electrical wiring, and even by the Earth itself, so it’s not surprising that they would get energy “spikes” from time to time. It becomes interesting, however, when an energy spike has no evident rationale behind it (such as an appliance or wiring being nearby). Evidence of a ghost? Not necessarily, but possibly evidence that “something” is interacting with the environment that is not easily explained away.
4. Audio Evidence (Passive)
EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) are sounds purportedly made by other worldly entities on tape recorders or other electronic devices that were not heard audibly at the time of the recording. These noises, which can be anything from knocking sounds, footsteps, and garbled noises or growls to distinct voices, are usually only perceivable once a recording is played back (and the volume greatly increased). Of course, there are any number of things that can create an unusual or unexpected noise, from settling and water in pipes to rodents and birds, but sometimes these noises can be quite unusual and, on occasion, even startling—especially when they form complete and intelligent sentences.
3. Audio Evidence (Active)
While EVPs are usually not heard at the time of the recording, there is another type of audio evidence that is not only heard but is frequently caught on recorders. The most common sounds are footsteps, loud bangs or knocks, and growls, but sometimes clear but disembodied voices, laughter, and even singing can be heard. What makes this type of audio evidence such potent evidence is their clarity and the fact that they frequently have multiple witnesses. Of course, one still has to be careful to eliminate natural noises, but once that is done, the sounds often recorded at a “haunted” location can be compelling and considered strong evidence for the existence of ghosts.
2. Audio Evidence (Interactive)
While exceedingly rare, there have been instances in which a person has an interactive “conversation” with an apparent disembodied entity which is actually recorded, much like a regular conversation might be. What’s particularly interesting about these is when “something” on the “other side” answers specific questions put to it by the investigator, suggesting that if ghosts exists, their cognitive abilities remain as responsive in death as they were in life.
A good example of this, and among the most famous, are a series of tapes made by the late psychic Peter James in which he records an interactive conversation with “Jackie”–the supposed ghost of a little girl who drowned in the pool onboard the luxury liner Queen Mary and remains there to this day. Either a clever hoax (in which case James managed it with numerous witnesses present) or the best evidence yet that human consciousness survives the death of the brain housing it.
1. Photographic Evidence
While most photos I’ve seen that purport to be “ghosts” turn out to be common camera anomalies, pareidolia (seeing familiar objects—like faces—in random patterns of light and shadow,) mistakes or outright hoaxes, every now and then I see a photo that defies easy explanation.
The most compelling, of course, are full body manifestations of entities that were not seen at the time the photo was taken, but appeared later once the photo was developed or downloaded. Since the advent of the digital camera and Photoshop, however, it’s becoming increasingly easy to fake a ghost picture. That still doesn’t explain away those photos taken before the advent of the computer, or those shot on celluloid film. Plus, there are a number of digital photos out there that would also be exceedingly difficult to fake even in the hands of an expert, making the supposition that every photo of a ghost is a hoax untenable. As such, and while rare, photos that appear to show likenesses of deceased humans remain the best evidence to date that the dead sometimes do appear to us and, as such, exist.