Ghosts and apparitions have held great interest to humankind through all the ages. At first, ghosts of the dearly departed were accepted as fact and formed part of everyday life and rituals, but as we became gradually more technologically sophisticated, so the skepticism grew. It is a basic instinct to fear what one doesn’t understand or can’t reasonably explain.
Because “ghosthunting” isn’t a real science and has depended on amateurs with imperfect methods and imperfect equipment, knowledge has remained rather sketchy. Of course ghost stories are steeped in folklore. As tales get passed on from generation to generation, they becomes embellished and distorted. These stories were told to warn and to entertain and weren’t necessarily meant to be accepted as fact.
Personally I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, and have recently started questioning the nature of apparitions of the dead. I wanted to know why the spirits of some people linger after death and others not. To find answers, I first had to explore the nature of ghosts in general.
Let’s be honest. We’ve all heard inexplicable little sounds we hear at odd times for which we couldn’t find reasonable explanations. And because we’re scared of ghosts and things that go bump in the night, it makes one feel better to blame the noisy neighbors. And what about the movement we catch from the corner of the eye that we assign to shifting light casting shadows? Sometimes when we can’t come up with a logical explanation, it’s just more comforting to blame our own overactive imagination. But is it possible that all this space around us is not empty?
I believe we’re all born with the ability to “see.” Unfortunately our perception changes over time as we mature. This suggests that in the process of socialization, the ability is blocked when it’s assigned to the child’s imagination.
Here are a few interesting “facts” regarding the experience of ghostly activity:
• Whereas children can see ghosts, only about one in ten adults retain that ability.
• Women are more likely than men to see a ghost.
• The higher the IQ, the lower the likelihood of seeing a ghost.
• People actively looking for ghosts are the least likely to see one, and by the flip of a coin, those who disregard their presence are quite likely candidates to have a ghostly experience.
The most common explanation of what ghosts are, is that they’re the spirits of people who have died prematurely and so still have unfinished business to complete. The soul incarnates into each new life with a set of prescribed tasks to complete in that life for the development of that soul. When death comes unexpectedly or early, some of the tasks might still be incomplete and the soul is unable to cross over to the spirit world. The spirit then lingers around his or her old haunts and friends and family. This kind of sighting is highly interactive, and not only is a conversation possible, one may even capture the spirit in a video or photo. Some people stick to this theory of the nature of ghosts because they seem to accept it as proof of life after death.
Another theory is that high-impact events are recorded in the surroundings where the event takes place. The recording is then replayed so to speak, over and over, but can only be seen by people who have retained the sensitivity. This could manifest as the actual seeing of the apparition, but it could also take the form of recurring smells or sounds. The recording consists of a very strong emotion or a violent event. As this is only a recording of an event, it makes sense that there can be no interaction with the ghost as such. This is what is called poltergeist activity, as a poltergeist is attached to a place or house or even a single room in a house and doesn’t respond to the people occupying the space.
Recently in South Africa, our own Paralympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius, was accused of murdering his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. The trial is still continuing as of this writing. The state has tried to prove that it was premeditated murder, while Pistorius has claimed that it was a case of mistaken identity.
Then Pistorius’ legal team announced that Pistorius’ home, where the murder took place, was to be sold to offset his escalating legal fees. It is a beautiful house, in a good neighbourhood in Pretoria, South Africa. But the intense fear and violence of Reeva’s death has to be recorded in that bathroom where she was killed. Also, as in all murders, life is cut off prematurely, which leaves the soul with unfinished business, making it impossible for her spirit to cross over. For some this house will be even more desirable for this possibility; for others it will become a place to avoid.
A third theory of what ghosts are, states that they are naturally occurring electromagnetic events. We all leave impressions on the places we visit during our lives. So, one place could have the impressions of many people who had visited it over time. I’m not sure if these impressions would be interpreted as ghosts, though.
Similarly, there is a theory that ghosts are actual people living in parallel dimensions that overlap our dimension for a time. I suppose one must consider all options, but this one seems unlikely.
And the theory that ghosts live only in the imagination would seem to satisfy only those who have lost their ability to perceive.
Whatever the nature of ghosts, I believe they are there, whether one accepts them or not. And remember, if you don’t believe in the existence of such spirits, then you stand a much better chance of being visited by one.
South African born and bred, Maggie loves all things paranormal. Her stories reflect her interest of things unexplained. Maggie loves books (the smell of paper), tea, wine, and her cat Felix, who is her constant companion. https://www.amazon.com/author/maggietideswell