So, you thought you’d get off that easy? Hah! No such luck – there’s one Friday left in October, and I’m gonna use it. And what, pray tell, do you think I’m going to discuss on this, the evening of Halloween?
What else? The spirits crossing between our world and the next… the very origin of the holiday.
Ghosts – those spirits of the dead, our little connection to the hereafter. Now, I’ll be the first to say – I’m a believer. I’ve got too much in the way of family experience with them, and my own experiences at that. When you *see* something pushing down the bed that isn’t actually there, you start believing (for the record – we’re pretty sure it’s one of our cats who passed on.)
Now… do ghosts necessarily mean that we’ve got souls and those sort of things bopping around? Not necessarily. Go back to quantum theory, as discussed in my Quantum of Lovecraft post. Places like Gettysburg were events of massive death and emotional strength… while it is plausible that disembodied spirits exist there, it’s also plausible that some sort of shift in the temporal dimensions may be giving us a vision of the past. For your typical ‘repeating’ haunting, this is a perfectly logical explanation – that we’re somehow seeing a traumatic incident in time, a loop in history that keeps on showing itself off time and again. However, there are other types of ghosts, apparently – ones who think more, who interact with people. On a related topic, you have the ‘demons’ and ‘shadow people,’ supposedly inhuman spirits that have their own purposes for humanity.
Again, quantum theory gives us a possible explanation. Creatures that are capable of crossing over between universes where they brush together, where there’s a little overlap… possibly even creatures that can stay in our universe by sliding themselves into one of us.
Of course, quantum theory isn’t the only possible explanation. There’s the standard supernatural – fallen angels and wandering souls – and there’s also more common physics. By our understanding of physics, it’s not possible for energy – or information – to be truly destroyed; all it can do is change form. By that logic, there’s no reason for consciousness to necessarily be any different, if the force behind it is strong enough. The human body generates a small electromagnetic field, and our thought processes take place on an electronic level. All sorts of signs indicate that human consciousness is an aspect of energy, not physicality. Based on that, while consciousness could convert, it’s also possible that this conversion would simply be to an energy form – passing from a physical life to an energetic one. With that possibility (which covers a lot of different phenomena, like astral projection and psychic phenomena), it becomes plausible that sufficient willpower or purpose would allow a ‘spirit’ to remain in the world until it’s decided to ‘move on.’
So ghosts aren’t that implausible. Are they real? I have no way to prove it. So far, there’s no way to disprove it. There is a lot of evidence of some sort of phenomena though (and I’m not counting television appearances, for the record.) Go out and take a look for it, if you want, make your own decision. But I will say one bit of advice.
Remember that if ghosts are real, all evidence indicates that it takes a huge amount of dedication and emotion to pull it off. And that often it involves negative emotions. Just because you’re dead, it doesn’t mean you’ve become a good person – anybody who believes in ghosts should bear in mind that Casper’s more likely an exception, rather than the rule. Be careful out there, or you might end up like Micah from Paranormal Activity.