Brown Lady

Brown Lady
Ghost on Staircase

Monday, February 9, 2009

Linear Time

I have always felt it a little presumptuous and perhaps ethnocentric to assume that our existence beyond death would occur in linear time. If it is possible to survive death in some form, then something more wondrous and incomprehensible than quantum physics exists. In quantum theory, time is not necessarily linear. Why not a haunting by a ghost who has not even been born, let alone died? Why couldn't we haunt in the past?

I know if I were a ghost and was suddenly free to travel back in time as easily as left or right, I would travel back and experience historic events first hand. I would be there when the first Americans arrived on the continent; I would observe battles in the Revolutionary War and witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence; I would watch battles in the Civil War and experience the trauma of the assassination of President Lincoln; I would find out, once and for all, if Oswald acted alone. And if I could travel back as a ghost, perhaps I would also try to change history -- to save as many lives as I could. Perhaps this has been happening for a Milena; perhaps our world, our time, is made and remade several times.

If we can go back, and if reincarnation is a possible transition from one form of existence to another, maybe we can be reincarnated from people not from our past, but from our future.

It seems to me that if we are to dream and theorize about the scientific possibilities of ghosts, we should open our eyes to all possibilities where life, and time, are quite different than what we are used to.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Long do Ghosts Haunt?

It seems that many buildings and sites that date from around 1200 AD to the present are reportedly haunted. But what about places that are older? I wonder if there is a time limit to hauntings. Have ghosts been seen or heard in caves once occupied by Cro-Magnons or Neanderthals? I suppose my question is, if ghosts are real, how old can they get? Is there another death to look forward to? Is their energy whisked away to some other universe or plane of existence? Or are they recycled back into the world of the living -- reincarnation.

It seems odd to me that time would have anything to do with ghosts. If they are real, I just don't seem them existing in a world where time is as linear as ours. Perhaps I am way off base here, but I think exploring such questions might lead to some insight in answering the first question: are ghosts real?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Evidence of Ghosts

Where is the data? For over 100 years, people have investigated hauntings and in that time an enormous amount of data -- photographs, video, audio, witness interviews and investigator's notes -- have been collected. Where is this vast amount of information? Is there a ghost hunter's archive? Or is the data stored haphazardly in the attics and basements of ghost hunters all around the world? I fear the latter.

Many ghost hunters, like TAPS, honestly attempt to gather real data that can be objectively evaluated. I'm sure each ghost hunting group analyzes the data they have collected to reach conclusions, form hypotheses they can test and perhaps refine theories about life after death. But they are only looking at one tiny fraction of a fraction of all the data that has been collected. Think of it as a puzzle where the pieces are key bits of evidence spread all over the world. How can we determine what the puzzle is without having access to all the pieces?

Some will argue that much of the evidence is redundant. But I counter, how do you know? Have you seen all the evidence? One thing to keep in mind is Darwin's Theory of Evolution. He postulated that there must be some internal mechanism that propels the vast suite of diversity in biological life. Unknown at the time, Gregor Mendel, a German monk, was experimenting with diversity in sweet pea plants. His seminal work became the foundation for the field of genetics. He had one piece of the puzzle and Darwin had the other, but the pieces weren't put into place until long after their deaths.

In a perfect world, there would be some vast archive where data from all investigations of the paranormal (ghosts, cryptozoology, UFOs, etc.) would be stored and preserved. We need all the pieces before we can assemble the great puzzle of life.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It seems there are a number of people out there who have had ghostly experiences. There are even more who believe in ghosts and perhaps more than a few who want to believe in ghosts. Of course, there are some who don't believe in ghosts at all. I think it depends on your own particular life view as to which one you agree with. Those who are very religious or spiritual tend to believe in the possibility of ghosts more than those who are not religious. But that doesn't mean that all agnostics or atheists dismiss the possibility that ghosts exist. Myself, I want to believe -- and this is from someone who has had experiences -- but I'm not yet certain that we survive death in some form.

If you are religious or spiritual, then you believe that each of us has a soul that lives on after we die. But what about those who are not spiritual? I include myself in this group because I'm not sold on the biblical definition of a soul. I do think that each of us has energy that facilitates our thinking and movements -- the tiny electrical charges in the synapses of our brains that tells us where we left the car keys, reminds us of moments from our past, and controls everything from the coordination it takes to drive a car to the rhythm of our heartbeat. The second law of thermodynamics makes it clear that energy doesn't just vanish, so what happens to it?

One possibility is that when we die, this energy escapes and for a single, bright moment, who we are is captured in a tightly bound net of electrical energy. Why just one moment? Because that's all it takes. Matter can not travel faster than the speed of light, but energy can. What happens when something travels at the speed of light? Time stops. I'm not sure what happens after that...or how this would explain intelligent hauntings -- but it is a first step for someone who was once kicked out of Sunday school for asking too many questions.

Could this net of energy be the soul? I suppose it could. And I am open to the possibility that the religious and spiritual among us are right, about everything. But I need more proof. I have several more questions to find the answers to.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Haunted Houses on Halloween

I was the curator of the Kell House Museum in Wichita Falls, Texas for about three years before finding a museum job in northern California. When I was first hired, I was told that many docents felt the house was haunted. In fact, the public had that perception as well. I admit I had a few strange experiences. We hosted weddings in the grounds -- not in the house because of the historic artifacts. During one wedding, I let the Bride and Groom into the house with a photographer to have one photograph taken at the foot of the large, wooden staircase, then I ushered them out, alarmed the house and locked the door.

The wedding party was "partying" in the garden. A lady asked me if she could get a tour of the house and I told her it was against policy. She then pointed to an upstairs bedroom and asked, "Then who is that inside the house?"

I turned and didn't see anyone. She explained she had seen someone peeking out through the window. I went inside the house thinking the alarm didn't set and that someone was indeed inside the house. But the alarm was still on. I checked out the whole house and saw no one.

As time went on, I saw and heard things.

I'll post more on what I experienced there in a later post. But one thing I started when I was there (and something they continue to do today) was a haunted house on or near Halloween. Instead of a teenager dressed in a Wal-Mart costume jumping out from behind a door wielding a bloody knife, we ran an authentic haunted house. We led people in small groups on a candlelight tour of a darkened historic mansion, explaining at each stop what ghostly things we have seen or heard in that location. The tours were and continue to be a hit.

What do you think of all the haunted houses on Halloween? Do any live up to the hype?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ghost Hunting

Ghost hunters talk about three main types of paranormal activity: An Intelligent Haunting, a Residual Haunting, and Poltergeist Activity. I think that’s getting way too precise about a field that is so imprecise that many don’t believe in it. It’s like discussing the various types of Bigfoot out there when we haven’t confirmed Bigfoot even exists. And, actually, this is something Bigfoot hunters have done!

What if all hauntings are intelligent? What if all are residual? What if an intelligent ghost is really responsible for poltergeist activity? Shouldn’t ghost hunters just focus on collecting as much data as they can to prove the existence of ghosts (enough to convince a reasonable person – I know there are skeptics out there that will never believe, even if they become a ghost).

Once enough data is collected, then they can parse out any statistical differences that may point to a variety of ghost types. That brings to mind another question I’ve had: what about the data being collected right now? There are probably hundreds of ghost hunting groups out there who actively seek out evidence. What do they do with any evidence they collect? Is there some kind of national or international database where the data is kept? Or does each group hold onto the evidence they have, only letting a select few view or listen to it? It makes me wonder if enough evidence to prove ghosts exist is already out there, spread out in little snippets in the closets of several amateur ghost hunter’s houses.

What do you think about ghost hunting?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ghost Hunters...

There was a good episode of Ghost Hunters on tonight. In both locations they were able to capture something strange on their thermal imaging camera. I wonder, for all of you amateur ghost hunters out there, what equipment do you use and rely on most? If money were no object, what tools would you pack in your ghost hunter kit?