Ghosts may not be what you believe they are?

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall - 1936

 

What is a Ghost or Apparition?

The apparent perceived image of a person, animal or thing which cannot be physically present.

Three common theories exist as to what Ghosts are:

1. The spirit or soul of a departed being. Also known as an Intelligent Haunting.

This is the most common belief. That all human beings and sometimes animals are simply vessels for a spirit or soul. When the physical body dies the spirit is released. It is believed by some that if a person dies and are not aware of their new state they continue to "live on" in a disoriented state. They are aware of other people but people are not aware of them. These disembodied souls continue to "haunt" a place or person until they are able to move on. Some ghosts, it is believed, who are aware of their state do not move on until a message is passed on or some unfinished business is completed.

2. A Recording on the environment, also known as a Residual Haunting or Stone tape theory, 

This theory suggests that the psychic energies of a strong emotional event such as a murder or battle are "recorded" somehow on the environment. And these events are "replayed" at certain time of day, month or anniversary of the event. This idea could account for the appearance of ghost ships or other vehicles that also manifest to the observer. 

Other theories suggest that constant everyday repetitive human activity is somehow imprinted on the environment which replays from time to time. 

3. A mental projection of the image of a deceased person or thing directly into the mind of the observer.

A different theory that suggests that apparitions do not in fact appear to everyone. They in fact do not exist in this material plane at all. However that they are psychically projected into to mind of the person who is meant to see it. Or to those who are psychically sensitive to receive these images. This theory could account for some people seeing a ghost and others who are present do not.

*Apparitions can be classified into at least 7 groups:

1. Crisis Apparitions visual images that appear at the moment of a crisis. Normally to to notify a loved one of a death or tragedy

2. Apparitions of the dead manifestations of the dead, usually within a short time after death, to comfort the bereaved or communicate information, address unfinished business or to announce the role of a guardian angel.

3.Collective apparitions manifestations either living or dead that occur at the same time to several witnesses. One third of apparitions are witnessed collectively.

4. Reciprocal Apparitions; apparitions of the living in which both appear to the observer. Separated by distance, they experience each other simultaneously. 

5. Veridical apparitions; apparitions that can be substantiated by fact. 

6. Deathbed apparitions; religious figures, angels, divine beings or dead loved ones that appear to a dying person in the last moments of life.

7. Apparitions in cases suggestive or reincarnation; "announcing dreams" where the deceased person announces in a dream to a member of the family into which it will be born.

Poltergeists

Poltergeists are normally characterized by unexplained noises, smells, voices (sometimes with offensive language) furniture moving on its own, household objects moving on their own or hidden then to reappear again, At times the people involved in the haunting is often physically assaulted with bites, slaps, scratches and so on. Sexual assault occurs in some cases. Some researchers account these often violent hauntings to demonic activity while others attribute it to a person in the family with telekinetic ability who is frustrated and "acts out" telekinetic ally from the subconscious to cause the disturbances. It was found that in many cases of poltergeist activity that a young girl at the onset of puberty was connected to the disturbance.

Spirit Orbs

A very popular sight on the internet nowadays. The photographs of apparent spirit orbs in ordinary pictures which many believe are actual ghosts. Orbs seem show up more commonly on digital pictures I really don't understand the reason for this but many believe that ghost orbs are nothing more than light refractions off dust particles in the air. We experimented with this theory and got an ordinary sofa cushion and banged it to loosen some dust particles in front of a digital camera and took some shots. The result was thousands of little orbs showing up in our pictures. We came to the conclusion that "most" orb photographs are in fact dust particles.

How do I know if I have seen a ghost?

You may have already seen one and not known it as many ghosts look like real people. They are solid, full colour and look like a living person. 

The easiest way to know if you have seen a ghost is if the figure should not be there. i.e seen in a locked room. Or if the figure could not physically be present for e.g If the figure suddenly vanishes, walks through a wall or does some other impossible thing.


Sources: 

Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

ASSAP http://www.assap.org