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1) What is a Ghost?

2) The Reality of Ghosts

3) Can Ghosts Interact with the Living?

What is a Ghost?

As per popular belief, despite the etymological stem, a ghost (spirit) is the soul (spirit) of a dead person manifesting into the physical reality of the living. Even animals are considered to have spirits and thus can have their ghost appear to the living. Based on prevailing beliefs, the spirit is invisible until it manifests and thus becomes a ghost. The difference of the two terms, spirit and ghost, is similar to the difference between a meteor and meteorite.

Although the basic forms of a spirit and a meteor remain unchanged, when a meteor enters the earth's atmosphere and becomes visible through atmospheric friction, it becomes a meteorite, able to interact with earth. By whatever mechanism, a spirit acts in the same manner, remaining invisible until it manifests into the physical reality, becoming a ghost.

To clarify, the manifestation of a spirit does not necessarily imply that a spirit becomes visible to the human eye, rather the spirit can interact with the physical reality of the living through various means.

Some scientific researchers explain ghosts as hypnagogic hallucinations (waking dreams), electro-magnetic fields (electrical boxes, electrical lines, etc), geomagnetic fields (tectonic plate stress or solar activity), and even infrasound (low-frequency sound below 20Hz).

A few paranormal investigators have suggested that some instances of ghostly activity could be attributed to psychic phenomena, most notably, telekinesis. In such a case, a person being haunted could instead, be unknowingly manifesting telekinetic activity due to extreme stress or psychological trauma.

The Reality of Ghosts

The belief in ghosts has existed for countless millennia within the many and various human cultures, and apparently is a universal belief. This belief is probably as old as the first humans, dating back to early human history when animism was first practiced.

It was believed that all things have a spirit and proper reverence had to be expressed to each thing, and that the dead required special attention in order to prevent their spirits from rising and bringing calamity to family and friends. To this end, ritualistic practices were created and employed, which included how to prepare the dead, how to dress the dead, how to bury the dead, and how to pray for the dead. Failure to observe the stringency within such practices was believed to invite hauntings and other supernatural occurrences.

Ancient writings from different eras and of different early societies, have proven that ghosts (known by their respective names pertaining to each society) were very real to those ancient people. The Christian Bible has the story of the witch of Endor and King Saul, where he asked the witch to raise the spirit of Samuel. In the book, Deuteronomy (18:10-12) there is a stern warning of using various magic, including that of speaking with the dead.

Some ancient cultures -geographically separated from other cultures- independently grew to believe in the reality of ghosts, taking steps to protect themselves from the hauntings and disasters they believed were brought about by angry spirits seeking revenge on the living.

In modern times, that is, after science and technology became steadfast principles and practical implementations, did the belief in ghosts drop out of favor, at least, by the majority of people. From time to time, there has been a resurgence of belief in ghosts. When this has happened, whatever the current technology happens to be, new tools are used in the investigation of ghosts. With the most modern of today's technology, there is still no effective and conclusive method to prove the existence of ghosts beyond the shadow of doubt required for a conclusive answer.

Yet, there does exist some strong evidence defying conventional explanation. Much of the evidence is in the form of photographic records that have been extensively scrutinized to determine if there was guile and deception involved. In the past, hoaxing a photograph, when film was used, although difficult, was not impossible for the average person. No doubt some past photographs are indeed fakes, yet others remain unexplained. Today, with the digital cameras and video recorders of modern technology, there have been numerous instances of ghosts caught on camera, however, due to graphic editing software, hoaxing images, and even video, has become much easier for the average person than in the past, when film was predominant.

Unfortunately, the ease of graphic deception, has caused every image of ghosts and video of ghosts to be called into question, with no allowances made for benefit of doubt. Thus, the reality of ghosts remains inconclusive, despite the continual instances of a inexplicable nature.

Can Ghosts Interact with the Living?

Considering the nature of the dead, one would think that the spirit of the dead can't interact with the living, yet, based on past evidence, ghosts can, apparently, interact with the living.

The form such interaction takes is varied and can sometimes prove detrimental to the living. Some people claim to hear voices coming from no where, and many scientifically based investigations have proven fruitless in determining the source of these incorporeal voices.

Other interaction include mysteriously moved objects, doors slamming in a otherwise empty house, sound of footsteps; pushing, pinching and scratching of the living by invisible entities, and the list goes on.

Are these interactions of that of ghosts?

No one can say with any certainty that a particular interaction is caused by a ghost, although most people believe that such strange and frightening events are the work of the spirits.




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