Are ghosts real? That question has haunted the mind of man since the first hominids climbed down from the trees and became aware of their own mortality. I'm certain that prehistoric humans wondered in awe at the life-force that animated not only them, their fellow humans but even the animals within their midst.
Neanderthal graves have been found in Iraq, Croatia and Israel that are believed to be at least 60,000 years old, and these may not even be the oldest graves in the world! I sincerely believe that these primitive humans would not have bothered burying their clan and family members with items, trinkets and talismans that they believed would be needed by the dead in their next life, unless they had some belief system on the continuation of this life-force, and of life after death. And I'm also quite certain they wondered at where that life-force went, when they did encounter, the death of one of their clan or family members.
I opened this website back in October of 2009. Before that time, I would have to say that I was a complete skeptic when it came to the paranormal and only believed in ghosts and haunting's as something for Hollywood movies and TV programs, or those who were so afraid of death and dying that they needed the hopes of an afterlife. But after some unusual events happened to me, in my own home, events that some would probably consider paranormal, which I mention elsewhere in this website. I had no choice but to open my mind a bit and concede that perhaps there was something to the paranormal. I would not say I was a believer at that time and I still had my doubts and reservations, and believed that some, if not most of these events could be explained by natural phenomena.
I would have to say that I sat right on the middle of that proverbial fence with my beliefs and I sat there until I became interested in EVP or electronic voice phenomena. I've watched quite a few of the TV programs about ghost hunting, but I was not too impressed with any of the EVP that they presented as evidence of the paranormal. I did not necessarily believe that these programs were faked but I was a bit skeptical of their EVP and thought most of it was just random sounds or noises that sounded like words, it's a mental phenomena commonly referred to as auditory pareidolia.
After becoming interested in EVP, I went out and bought myself a digital voice recorder and felt compelled to attempt a few EVP sessions of my own, in my own home. The reasoning behind doing this, was with the hopes that I would either dismiss this phenomena as a simple misinterpretation of the background noise, or I would convince myself of the reality of EVP as something paranormal. After doing a few dozen sessions in my home, I have come to the conclusion that there is definitely something paranormal going on in my home, something that I cannot explain. After doing just this small amount of research on my own, in my own home, there are a few things I can say with absolute confidence.
Does this mean that I now believe that ghosts are real? Not necessarily, I cannot say with absolute certainty that ghosts are real, no one can! But I do have to admit that EVP has changed my perspective from that of an open minded skeptic to one who now believes there probably is something to the paranormal, and ghosts most likely do exist.
The reason I became much more of a believer in the paranormal, is that I, personally have had some strange, paranormal type experiences happen to me, in my own home, experiences that I cannot explain. I got up one evening around 2:00 AM to let my dog out and seen a shadow that looked almost like a person, hunched over, run across my kitchen floor. I really don't remember if the moon was out or not, perhaps it was, and in reality, it was only a shadow coming in through my kitchen window. I have also heard footsteps in my loft or attic room and went to investigate and found no one there, my wife has also heard these footsteps, and they have been heard on more than one occasion, and they have also been heard by other people. I have also heard voices in the middle of the night when no one was around and all the televisions in the home were off and we don't live near any other homes. And this voice almost seemed to speak to me personally. Are these events paranormal or evidence of ghost or sprit activity? I really don't know. All I do know for certain is that I can't explain them. Perhaps my own home is haunted! Or perhaps it's just my own, overactive imagination running amok. But if my home is haunted, then I think that's pretty cool.
I do find the possibility of life after death and the possible existence of ghosts to be both fascinating and interesting. I would love to learn and know more about the paranormal and related topics. I watch TV programs like "Ghost hunters" on the SyFy channel, and "Ghost adventures" on the Travel Channel. I really don't know how much of the so called evidence these ghost hunter programs present are real and how much may have been tampered with a for the benefit of the program and ratings, but regardless of that, I still find them interesting. The one program I did find the most believable was A&E's "Paranormal cops" and the one I found the least believable "Paranormal State" which was also on the A&E network
I do believe that the people, who act as paranormal investigators on these TV programs, are sincere and believe in what they're doing. But I am also a bit suspect of the some of the evidence they present, because it is relatively easy to manipulate any photo or audio evidence with computer image and audio editing software. So before you believe in any of the evidence these ghost hunter programs present, think of the ways it could have been tampered with or manipulated. They also rely on what they call EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon. The problem I see with these is that most of them are unintelligible, and the investigators seem to come up with whatever they think may have been said. I think some of this so called EVP is nothing more than static or natural disturbances of the electromagnetic field in the area where the EVP is being conducted, and that static may sound like words because the human brain does try to make sense out of the chaos of that static. It's the same phenomenon that allows us to see figures in the clouds; your brain tries to make sense out of that randomness. But again, I am open minded enough to believe that some of these EVP may be actual attempt by a ghost or spirit to communicate with the living. I hope no one misunderstands, I am not insinuating that these ghost programs are faked, but you do need to understand that they are made for television and must continue to offer entertainment value, if they wish to remain on television.
There is one other thing that bothers me about these paranormal TV shows is that some of the paranormal research teams, seem to think that their investigative techniques are superior to those of other groups. And what bothers me even more about this attitude, is that they insinuate and display it in no uncertain terms during the making of the program. I think this does a real injustice to all paranormal research groups and gives a bad impression to the general public. I'm not going to mention the group or groups that I think are doing this, because I don't want to receive a bunch of hate email from their fans. But if ghost hunting or more precisely, paranormal research is going to become a real scientific endeavor rather than a pseudo or fringe science, then I think these groups should join together to legitimize the study of the paranormal. I also feel that some of the paranormal investigators on these programs tend to over act their reactions to potential paranormal activity just a little bit too much, but again I' m not going to mention which group. And who knows, perhaps I would startle just as easy as, or perhaps even more so than they, if I were to encounter a ghost.
Some of these paranormal investigative groups are open to the idea of using psychics and mediums in their paranormal investigations, while other groups and dead set against it. I think the ones that are against the idea of using psychics, are attempting to look more scientific in their approach to the paranormal. But the way I see it, as an observer, is that they, the paranormal investigators should use whatever tools they have at their disposal in their quest to understand, provide evidence of, or prove the existence of ghosts, and the paranormal. After all, even police departments will sometimes ask for and receive the help of psychics in criminal investigations, including murder cases. And they have been, at times successful, even to the dismay of the police officers involved.
Most main stream scientists, are rather skeptical when it comes to the paranormal and especially to the idea of ghosts and haunting's. Many of these scientists have a tendency to dismiss anything that can't be verified under laboratory conditions using scientific methodology. Their attitude seems to be, if they can't see it, measure it or quantify it under laboratory conditions then it just doesn't exist. But just because ghosts, spirits or some other paranormal phenomena, can't or possibly won't be quantified and verified in a laboratory does not mean that it doesn't exist. These same scientists, who dismiss as bunk the possible existence of ghosts and the paranormal, can't even satisfactorily explain the nature of consciousness or of reality itself.
I've watched programs on the "Discovery
Science Channel" about the universe, black holes and
other space phenomenon. The astrophysicists and scientists who
narrate these programs talk of string theory and how there may be
10 or perhaps even 11 spatial dimensions. And some of these
scientists even state there may be an infinite number of
dimensions. They also talk of dark matter and dark energy, but
can't even prove to themselves that this stuff exists. And
what I find amazing is that these same scientists, who believe in
these unproven and bizarre theories, will often dismiss the
possible existence of ghosts, the supernatural and the
paranormal. I believe it famed astronomer Carl Sagan
who coined the term
extraordinary claims require extraordinary
evidence. Well, I'd like to ask, where is the evidence or
proof that these scientific theories are anymore valid then the
theories of the paranormal. They rely upon mathematics to prove
and validate their theories, but the mathematics they rely upon
is only as good as those who created the equations. And if there
is an error in their logic, then there is an error in the
subsequent equation. And even they admit that their theories
sometimes contradict each other, and they have yet to come up
with their so called theory of everything.
I sincerely believe that the scientists, who ridicule those who do believe in the paranormal, should step back for a few moments and take a look at the history of science itself.
It was less than a century ago, when it was considered science fiction to believe that one day; humans might walk upon the face of the moon. And there have been other strides in science, that at earlier times were believed to be impossible.
I sincerely believe that no one, and especially those with a scientific background should ridicule the believers in the paranormal, ghosts and haunting's, until they, the scientists can come up with conclusive and verifiable proof that such things are not real! I do believe that the burden of proof does lie upon the believers, but to belittle and ridicule anybody for their beliefs, is, in my opinion, just not right.
Scientists have the attitude that everything in our universe can be broken down, understood and explained through science and the scientific method. Perhaps they're right, but there is always the possibility that there are some things that just may be, beyond the scope of normal human and perhaps even scientific understanding, therefore, I believe that everyone should maintain an open and curious mind, and not attempt to negate or invalidate the beliefs of others.
Martin Burns www.aformerskeptic.com