WILD PARANORMAL THEORY!
I wrote this for fun a couple of years back on James Randi’s forum… thought might amuse! I thought time to allow myself some wild speculation and kookery, and the original featured LOTS OF STUFF IN CAPS, and bright coloured text and fonts. Still, I actually was quite serious, as I realized as I got in to typing it – so here is a less brightly coloured, parody lite version of my musings. Reading them know I think they were quite sensible actually…
Ok, here goes… question — “if ghosts are spirits, how do they open doors, bang on stuff, and interact with the physical world?”
Well I have argued for a long time that ghosts may be primarily INFORMATION – not necessarily the Recording hypothesis (a ghost is a recording of a past event) , but something similar.
The idea is a ghost is NOT physical in the accepted sense – it is closer to being made of the stuff of ideas or thoughts, but an objective idea/thought, which may be experienced by independent witnesses. It is real – just non-physical.
No if so, a human brain may be needed to “receive” said idea. So hence the absence of excellent quality ghost photos/films – (some do exist, but let us pass on that for a moment, and assume they can all be explained away) – by this theory ghosts can only manifest when there is a human being to see or hear or whatever them.
Yet as a casual search and analysis of a random sampling of ghost cases by Becky Smith and myself showed – ghosts are USUALLY associated not just with appearances, but with knocks, bangs, small object movement, doors opening, etc, etc. Minor physical phenomena.
Also, and confusingly, many ghosts show directed intelligence – they seem to act with purpose, and occasionally even interact with the living. An information model could include the possibility of intelligence – but a recording can not. So is there a way of saving the recording hypothesis in the light of the physical and intelligence aspects of the hauntings?
My guess is yes: the key is in the observer.
Now we are dealing with miracles, and two very different miracles interest the ghost hunting kids and the parapsychology gang in my experience.
Ghosthunters generally are interested in ghosts. Duh.
Parapsychologists are interested in supposed unknown powers of the human mind, called PSI – ESP, which includes psychokinesis (mind movement), telepathy, clairvoyance etc, etc.
Assuming both miracles exist, and that is a big assumption, I think ghosties might work like this.
The ghost of Elizabeth haunts the physical location of Harris’ house – and is information. Some, maybe all humans have the capacity to experience Elizabeth, maybe the cat too, but when there is no observer, ‘she’ can not be perceived. Ghosts haunt people, not houses.
If a witness however “tunes in” to Elizabeth, their own psychic powers may be activated – they can blame the impossibilities they commit on the ghost. Denial of personal responsibility for the psychic actions may be psi-enabling according to many parapsychologists. Ditto belief. Both might make some sense. It was the ghost moved it, not me.
So if you took 5 different ghosthunting groups to the house, although there might be some agreement on the ghost, there might also be a lot of different phenomena, unwittingly created by the different groups own psychic powers, unleashed by the fact they can perform impossibilities because “Elizabeth” did it… . I call these hypothetical “additions” to the phenomena “psi-de effects” – a term I am proud of, but if anyone invented it or can find a reference to it before 1993 do let me know!
So my guess, and we are multiplying miracles here, is that the “ghost” does not ever interact with the physical in any way. That is done in fact by humans, using these psi powers, who ascribe it to the ghost. This would explain the physical aspects of the hauntings –it might even explain some of the intelligent behaviour.
In which case even Recording/Stone Tape could be rehabilitated as theories to explain ghosts. I have no idea how psychokinesis would effect matter (wonderful gobbledigook – “you wouldn’t understand madam – it’s technical!) , but at least we have no moved from “spirit” to a ‘mere’ energy conversion.
If I am right, Spirits by definition possess no energy, no mass, only information. It requires information to be a fundamental principle of reality – which I’m guessing might annoy those who know something about physics, which I am afraid I don’t.
So when a psychic talks about energy – it is their own energy that is really involved – not the ghosts. Without the ghosthunter, there is NO ghost – but that does not make it in any sense less real.
And furthermore – lets apply Occam’s Razor to this tawdry mess of multiplied miracles – we don;t actually need the ghost or spirit to be real. If PK, or some other psi abilities were real, then Harris’ belief in the ghost as it build may slowly allow him or another resident to psychically generate the ghost by PSI alone… which strikes me as no more likely than the ghost, but in keeping with what we are seeing.
That was fun. It may even make some sense, and it’s therapeutic to take the mickey out of oneself and ones colleagues occasionally. Personally, I don’t think we need to invoke anything more than misperception in this case, but hey its always fun to think up a theory!
Have fun, and really do hope you get to the bottom of it. Hope my levity does not offend. I really do hunt ghosts for a living, more or less… if only I could charge my clients I’d be wealthy!
Any comments or ideas?