The Paranormal has always been a taboo among intellectuals whether you’re a scholar or a car salesman everyone has their opinions on ghosts. Each time someone has told a story of their first ghostly encounter there has been a skeptic there ready to disprove it. In a world where spirituality is at the forefront why are more people not believers? The Catholic religion is told that the body is just a shell and that your spirit lives on even after death so why is it so hard to believe that a spirit could still be here living their lives over and over again.
Shows like Most Haunted on the Travel Channel and Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters on the Biography channel are just two shows of many that spend their episodes investigating haunted locations in the hopes of gathering evidence to support their theories. We’ve seen the fake photographs but we’ve also seen the ones that can’t be explained. Movie after movie we are shown different sides to the story and different views of just what the afterlife has in store for us. Movies like The Sixth Sense, White Noise, and Ghost have all dabbled into what exactly happens when we pass on. In the Sixth Sense we are shown the afterlife from a child’s point of view, a child who’s special in that he can see and speak to ghosts. In White Noise we are introduced to the term EVP, Electronic Voice Phenomena where a ghost’s voice can be picked up on audio equipment such as tape recorders or digital/video cameras. In Ghost we see a side of death from the departed and how unfinished business can keep a ghost grounded in the living world until their job is done all very different perspectives on a very universal issue.
Ghosts have been reported from the time civilizations were established. The earliest known ghost sighting took place in Athens, Greece. Pliny the Younger (c. 63-113AD) described his encounter in a letter to Sura: Athenodoros Cananites (c. 74BC-7AD), a Stoic philosopher. He rented a house because it had been said to be haunted. While there Athenodoros did have an encounter with a ghost rattling chains and asking him to follow. Athenodoros followed but the ghost soon disappeared. Many Eastern religions also believe in the existence of ghosts. The Hindu Garuda Purana has detailed information about ghosts. All religions from Catholic to Jewish to Lutheran to Egyptian have all accounted for various ghostly sightings and experiences.
A ghost is usually defined as an apparition of a deceased person’s likeness and is experienced in association with the person’s former habitats. Ghosts can also refer to any spirit or demon. A Poltergeist made famous by the movie of the same name is a more sinister being and will move or throw things and cause all around havoc in any household. In many cases these are the types of apparitions that would need to be exorcised from a place. The Catholic church will not usually perform exorcisms unless a priest investigates and finds that the claim is valid. Classically ghosts have been seen as demons and enemies when in fact the majority is regular people who have just found it difficult to move on. Maybe it’s the media and movie studios giving ghosts a bad name that has prompted so much skeptism in the world. According to a 2005 poll by the Gallup Organization, about 32% of Americans believe in ghosts. Other people however do feel that ghosts do not exist and the term ghost has been replaced by Apparition because the original word is deemed too precise.
With the evolution of technology many devices have been invented to help in determining if ghosts truly do exist. Some of the various devices a ghost hunter might use are…
–35mm Camera is preferred by some ghost hunters over digital. The enlargement quality, less ease of image doctoring, and tendency of digital flash imagery to exaggerate light-dispersion and create false images from airborne particles, water vapor, etc all make this camera THE camera for a hunter.
–Digital Audio Recorder is not prone to “noise and hiss” of analog tape, nor to the compression needed for MiniDisc, which can remove parts of an audio signal above and below the range of human hearing. Spirits are said to be audible below this level.
–Digital Infrared Camera is used to capture images invisible to the human eye.
–Digital Video Camera offers better quality than videotape camcorders, which are more limited in bandwidth.
–Digital Thermometer– Witnesses often report cold spots when they feel a ghost is near this device can pick of changes in temperature in certain areas of a room. The cold spots can indicate where a ghost is and how large of an apparition it is.
–Electromagnetic Field Recorder is controversial among ghost hunters: EMFs from power lines, TVs, etc., surround us constantly, and it is undetermined that ghosts emit EM energy. Some researches say ghosts do disrupt EMFs, however.
–Night-Vision Goggles magnifies available light by 10,000 to 15,000 times. However this cannot be used in total darkness without an infrared attachment.
–Thermal-Imaging Digital Camera records images of long-wavelength infrared radiation (i.e. heat), which is invisible to the human eye. This allows the capture of images in even total darkness, or through smoke or fog.
All of these items have made it possible for ghost hunters to capture further proof that ghosts truly do exist. With the development of such devices it brings science to the forefront of investigations trying to leave little room for doubt.
Halloween known by many religions as a night of evil intent is actually a very happy time in the Wiccan religion. Wicca is a religion a branch of Paganism which was what Catholocism originated from. Wiccans believe that Halloween is a powerful night where the world of the dead and the world of the living have an open doorway to move in and out of. It is said that this night alone can bring mountains of proof that ghosts do exist. Halloween is truly a magical night.
It is said that some of the oldest places in the world will find the most activity. A place that holds severe trauma such as a war or murders will be extremely active with spirits. The old south is said to hold many ghostly phenomena because of the civil war and slavery. With history comes place memory, objects, houses and buildings hold on to emotions and situations that may have happened in another time. Place Memory is like a recording of a past event that has imprinted itself on the environment. These are also called Residual hauntings and recordings. We are bound to see the effects of place memory in the near future but for now most remains a mystery.
Throughout history photographs have been captured, a plantation in Savanna, GA of a maid standing in the doorway who died hundreds of years prior. EVPs of soldier’s voices have been captured at a military base in Europe. We are constantly surrounded by reminders that what happens after we die is just as much a mystery as how life begins. For the next hundred years we will still be investigating and researching what truly happens when a spirit leaves the body and how we can live hand and hand with ghosts.