*The Unexplained is a weekly series documenting strange and unusual phenomenon that inspire my writing.
It starts as bumps in the middle of the night then graduates to doors opening and closing on their own. You ignore it, passing it off as age or knowing that the human mind is frail. Eventually you get nightmares of a shadowy person, on top of that you wake up to find your bed hovering a foot above the floor and a few seconds after you realize what’s happening it slams down onto the floor. As time passes, things fly off the shelf, you hear voices, and start to see apparitions daily.
This topic is broad and difficult to narrow down. There are tales of repeat hauntings where ghosts appear to be trapped in a loop, there are tales of full apparitions, claims of catching disembodied voices on recording devices (EVPs) and even pictures.
Some ghost stories seem very credible while others appear to be nothing more than someone’s brain child. What claims are or are not credible I leave to the reader. It is indisputable that there are many ghost encounters and they go all the way back to the dawn of humanity.
If you’ve been following this series, you know that I find consistency and volume of stories to be criteria for weeding out unexplained phenomenon. Ghosts stories are all over the place though. In some situations, there are multiple witnesses in others not so much. Consistency within individual encounters is discernible but not when it comes to the phenomenon of ghosts as a whole.
One problem with ghosts that I don’t see many people mention is that we have no idea what is communicating with us. Something can claim to be a long lost relative and impersonate him/her perfectly, but we have no way of knowing for sure. The spiritual realm is full of mystery, perhaps for a reason, and there have been documented cases of evil beings impersonating dead loved ones.
Ghosts as a topic are difficult to dismiss entirely. Certain individual cases may not pass the smell test, but there is enough evidence to at least strongly suggest SOMETHING is going on. Blaming all ghost sightings on delusions, hallucinations, drugs, and alcohol is an overly simplistic explanation, one that ignores many difficult stories in order to fit into a certain worldview.
As with other topics, I find it hard to believe so many people are mistaken. Any amount of research into ghost sightings will uncover more than a few that aren’t easily explained away. Of course, we can never know for sure how much truth is in these claims but if there is an entire family for example who start off as skeptics/Atheists and rationalize every experience away until they have no other choice what then? What are we to do with those same families who all have strikingly similar recants of what went on? Shall we dismiss them outright? To me that is an intellectual cop-out.
Part of the difficulty in discussing ghosts is trying to decide what they are. Some of it is undoubtedly natural, others are trickier to explain away. Popular culture tells us that ghosts are disembodied souls of deceased people. Some parapsychologists say ghosts are residual energies from deceased people, not necessarily their souls. Others believe they are evil spirits trying to trick people. There are also views that ghosts are people accidentally peering into another time. As I stated, from our point of view we have little evidence to know what the answers are. There may be evidence to suggest something is going on, but what I mean is whatever it is, there is a lot of difficulty discerning who/what these things are and what that something is.
What are your thoughts on ghosts? Have you encountered one? Have you lived in a haunted home? Feel free to share your stories or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org