One of my younger brothers enjoys watching these guys:
–explore creepy buildings, stand at top of staircases saying ‘push me!’, and generally make themselves an irritation to the supernatural. The redeeming quality to this ghostly fixation is that it gets me to thinking. If:
a) Ghosts are always dead. As in, no one has ever figured out whose ghost they are seeing, tracked them down, and found that they are still alive.
b) Ghosts usually die in nasty ways. This will become important later.
c) Ghosts are always from a previous time period. One of last night’s episodes featured a ghost that was ascending a staircase that no longer existed in the house, but had existed. Ghosts are not creating their own worlds, but they are also not interacting with the present one.
d) There are very few interpersonal conversations with ghosts. I’m classifying séances differently here, because then we get into psychics and such and a very complicated ground of things that might be pretending to be ghosts. (Think Pratchett’s Dungeon Dimensions.) Go with the TAPS team for this example.
If we can agree that these hypotheses are true, I theorize that this is what we are seeing.
Sightings of ghosts are temporal tears. We are seeing what once happened, not because the person is still doing it as a ghost. We are seeing it when it happened.
That explains why:
a) Ghosts are always dead. The natural order of things is trying to replace that person’s existence. It would disturb the order of time to have someone see their own ghost in the past, just as it would disturb someone to see a ghostly vision of themselves in the future. Also, I think that only when the person dies is there an imprint/absence strong enough to generate a temporal dislocation, or rip the fabric of time.
b) Their dying in nasty ways. If they died before their time, they might not have fulfilled their purpose or, a pleasant thought, it’s a multi-verse slipping into the gap that they left. When there are deaths that leave ghosts, it usually seems to lead back to a kind of horror story, a mass murder or suicide. Lives were changed or ruined as a result. The basement of a community college I know used to be a morgue, and ghost stories run thick down there. My brother asked last night why the TAPS team doesn’t go to the [sic] Holocaust, and my thought was that they would find too much there. Spiritual hostility, emotional trauma, whatever you want to call it, I would think it’s rife with ghost sightings.
c) Ghosts being from a previous time period. They are interacting with the previous time period, and only with that one. This is why we don’t see ghosts standing in front of our iPod docks or flat-screen TVs with their heads tilted to the side. They can’t see them. If they are staring at the new conveniences, they see them as if ghosts, the way we might see their staircase.
d) There are very few interpersonal conversations. BUT the ones the TAPS team have are exchanges. The ghost is having a conversation with them. Only thing is, the ghost is operating within their own time and within their own time… they’re having conversations with ghosts. This would explain why most ghostly conversations don’t last long – the ghosts (in the ‘past’) have other things to go do because they are still alive. They have responsibilities, or just don’t want to have long conversations with ghosts as that is generally regarded as crazy.*
Okay. But what about the slamming doors, flickering lights, moving objects, cold spots, electromagnetic fields? Part of it is (possibly) ghosts interacting with their then-environment. Now, if you have a ghost slamming a door that wasn’t there when they were alive, you have a problem. Otherwise, walking through walls that didn’t exist when the ghost was alive makes perfect sense. The lights flicker because there are two timelines intersecting and power grids don’t know which timeline to follow. Objects move because the ghost was interested in them, picked them up, moved them in their timeline for further examination, and the investigators here freak out.
As for cold spots and EMF – it’s possible that the temporal shift causes both strange temperature drops and different EMF readings. Since both of these are measurable, plausible fields (outside of mechanical error) I think that there is something to them. I just really doubt that the ghosts witnessed are truly from beyond the grave, trying to make contact.
I was raised conservative Christian, so I operate under the immediate assumption that they are demons deceiving humans by playing ghost, but where is the sense in that when all they do is walk up a staircase, or create unpleasant feelings? It encourages interest in the supernatural and given that apathy is a much better way of defeating Heaven’s plans, I would think that keeping humans as nonplussed by the supernatural as possible would be a better choice.
But there is also a major problem with this theory that I can’t explain. It assumes that there are temporal tears that keep happening. Some of these tears are unpleasant or upsetting, sometimes because the ghosts are doing upsetting things or just because they are unfamiliar and frightening. Sometimes they are benign (or what passes for benign when ghostly figures pass through your room).
Certainly haunted dolls aren’t simply the product of a temporal tear, but more a malignant spirit—demon, in other words. Problem is, I can’t see a reason that God would create a universe with temporal tears. It doesn’t make sense and pokes at His infallibility. If this is an accurate idea, there has to be an explanation, but I would have to research the ghost phenomena extensively. Despite this article, I’m not all that interested in ghosts, so that’s not likely.
But ghosts in their traditional function are also a ‘failure’ on God’s part: no man dies more than once. There are multiple verses relating to this.
In Hebrews 9:27 (http://bible.cc/hebrews/9-27.htm) Some notes by “Barnes” on mortality at the bottom read,
“A man who dies, dies but once. He cannot come back again to make preparation if he has neglected it; to repair the evils which he has caused by a wicked life; or to implore pardon for sins for which he had failed to ask forgiveness. Whatever is “to be done” with reference to death, is to be done “once for all” before he dies.”
There is no point in ghosts returning, since it is decreed that they can’t accomplish anything, change anything, or alter anyone’s life. (So much for the plot of The Lovely Bones, right?)
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 backs this up, reading:
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate, and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”
If that doesn’t sound like a refutation of ghosts, I don’t know what does. It’s something to think about anyway. I’m open to debate.
* For those that do opt for the ‘long conversation with ghosts’ route, I think that they open their minds to something beyond the temporal tear and start talking to entirely different things than they were before, and we’re back to seances and Dungeon Dimensions creatures pretending to be deceased spirits.