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Are Ghosts Real?

A ghost is the visible, audible, or telepathic experience of something that was once alive and that is now dead.



Are Ghosts Real? Floating spirit and spectral woman.
Photo: Shutterstock/Clint Pavenu

Are Ghosts and Hauntings real or something else?

To separate Ghosts from other unexplained phenomena, a starting point is to agree that a Ghost is the visible, audible, or telepathic experience of something that was once alive and that is now dead. So, a ghost could naturally be a human being but could also be an animal or a plant. In fact, all of these have been reported at some time. Are Ghosts real?

It’s a question often asked and especially on the internet. The question would be better if it asked: Do ghosts exist?

Are Ghosts Real? Beware of the Ghosts Sign

Beware of the Ghosts

One pseudo-scientific explanation is that all living creatures have a form of measurable electrical (spiritual) energy when they are alive that fades away after their death. For lack of a better word let’s call this energy: “Life”.

Now just about all scientists agree with the Law of Conservation of Energy that states: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another or be transferred from one body to another, but the total amount of energy remains the same

Given this as a concept, the question arises whether or not a “Life energy” continues after the body in which it existed has ceased to function? So, the first explanation is that a ghost is the “Life energy” of a once living thing that does not fade away or move on as it is supposed to. Death is not the opposite of life it is merely its absence – so where did the Life go?

If this is the explanation then it certainly does not explain why there are apparently ghostly carriages, cars, ships, planes and so on. The definition of ghost then has to be: “The manifestation of anything that once existed but now does not.”

Is the latest definition realistic? In theory it is possible that every single event that has occurred since the beginning of time has left an imprint of itself on the matrix that is the universe. This is a very new “big” idea that only now are scientists beginning to seriously explore.

The theory behind it is deceptively simple and draws its formulation from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in which he shows that time is not a constant. Think of life like a film made up of thousands of “frames”. Each frame is a moment in time permanently captured and now real forever. If they are flashed quickly, one after another, then the illusion of motion and reality is created. This is what a person experiences every time they watch a Film or DVD. But what if two films were experienced at the same time? The experience would be very much like that of experiencing a ghost and, as we now know, time is not a constant so in theory it could happen. In paranormal language this is often referred to as a “time-slip”.

Ghost Stories Magazine 1930

Ghost Stories Magazine 1930

Three Great Questions!

Let’s look at these three incredible unanswered questions.

Firstly, not even the cleverest person alive or dead has effectively explained where the universe came from! They can now explain that once there was nothing and then after a significant explosion – “The Big Bang” it all started to materialize but they fail to answer what it was created from.

The second great unanswered question is: “How big is the Universe?” And again, there is no answer other than “infinitely big” or “never ending”. In an infinitely large universe the possibilities are, by conclusion, infinite. In short, anything really is possible.

The third question is: “Is there life (energy and consciousness) after death? The safe scientific answer is “no”. However, ask scientists to prove this and they cannot. The truth is that history is littered with scientific facts and beliefs that have turned out to be wrong.

Universities and other scientific institutions rarely hire people that do not conform to the current accepted beliefs. Science is more similar to a religion than many of its priests, sorry – scientists, would like you to believe.


Now that we’ve raised the subject of religion it’s important to consider that the majority of people are religious – even if somewhat vague about their beliefs and project these onto other passions. At their most basic most religions are remarkably similar. They say:

There is a God. This God created everything. This God wants you to behave in a certain way that is “right”. If you behave as you are told, then when you die your soul (you) gets to carry on in a nice place. If you don’t do and believe what you’re told then something unpleasant happens to you – quite often even before you die.

Most religions believe that all living things have a soul – a form of energy and consciousness – that continues to exist in some form or another after death. Many paranormal experts propose that after death the soul usually moves on but sometimes fails to do so and remains linked to this world (reality).

The force of this presence can be weak and so merely create an awareness sensation in those that are sensitive to its presence or it can be strong to the point where the “ghost” can actually interact with the living. This interaction can be protective, benign, or even aggressive. They further propose that the anomaly created by this remaining soul can be so strong that it can project the appearance of objects with which it was strongly associated. This is quite a good explanation for why the Headless Horseman still has his horse or why ghosts are often seen with their cloths still on.

The Evidence Against Ghosts:

Scientists say they are just not possible. They can’t prove that they are not possible but say that every investigated ghost has turned out to be explainable. We would just like to point out that it would take the collective manpower of every scientist alive to investigate every claim so clearly there is some exaggeration going on here.

Some clearly faked photographs. True, but people still can’t make up their minds whether the photographs of the Moon Landings were real or not. Hmm, makes you think! Also, some faked photographs do not mean all photographs are faked.

Hallucinations, peripheral vision, and psychosomatic belief (the desire to see / believe).

The Evidence for Ghosts:

Millions of sightings over thousands of years recorded by many very respectable people from Pliny the Younger (Athenodoros Cananites c. 74 BC – 7 AD) to members of the modern American Senate.

If, as the major religions would have people believe, we have a soul then ghosts (the spirit) almost certainly exist.

Photographs, videos, and documented eyewitness accounts.

An infinite universe does equal anything is possible.

Personal experience! This is perhaps the single most compelling reason for any individual to believe – their own experience.

The Christian Bible has references in it to ghosts. Luke 24:36-43 (37) They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.

Some very smart scientists, doctors and psychiatrists believe in ghosts or ghost-like phenomena. Some of these interesting names include, Sigmund Freud, Jung, quantum theorist Wolfgang Pauli, modern day physicists Freeman Dyson and Brian Josephson, Epidemiologist Viggy Hampton, Armin Gadit, a psychiatrist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge University, the list goes on.

Belief! “49% of people interviewed said that accepted the possibility of ghosts. 29% of Americans say they’ve felt as if they’ve been in touch with someone who has died, and 18% say they’ve been in the presence of a ghost according to a 2009 Pew Research poll.

So, could they be real?

A good answer would be that ghosts are definitely possible but our methods for understanding the phenomenon are woefully inadequate. To put it into context it would be like an ancient Egyptian astronomer try to understand string theory. Perhaps if mainstream science put the effort into understanding this possibility without immediately setting out to debunk it, then we would have a better understanding of this issue and maybe even some answers.

Some Ghostly Information:

  • The number of ghost sightings vary dramatically from country to country. The United Kingdom is one of the highest.
  • The belief in ghosts can be traced back to prehistoric ancestor worship circa 4,000BC.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed in ghosts.
  • Many researchers believe that ghosts are often mysteriously linked to places or objects that may in some way keep them anchored in this world.
Ghost Image Past

Are Ghosts Real or just attachments to the past.

  • Allegedly, Anne Boleyn is the ghost with the most sightings. Executed at the Tower of London in 1536 for allegedly cheating on her husband Henry the Eighth, she has been sighted over 70,000 times in nearly 500 years.
  • Children seem to be able to see or experience ghostly phenomenon more easily than adults.
  • The original Headless Horseman is a fictional character that appears in a story called “the Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.
  • Animals, especially cats, are supposed to be sensitive to the presence of ghosts and are often observed to be watching something that is clearly not there.
  • Ghosts seem to be associated with extreme deaths such as murder, war, and accidents.
  • Digital cameras using their “flash mode” seem particularly able to photograph ghosts.
  • Haunted houses are becoming a highly profitable tourist industry.
  • 112 Ocean Avenue, Long Island, New York is the address of the haunted house featured in the film the Amityville Horror and was really the scene of a horrific murder.
  • There are many places that claim the title of most haunted house in Britain, but Borley Rectory in Essex seems the most popular.
  • According to many “paranormal researchers” most ghosts don’t know that they are dead.
  • Most ‘Orb Ghosts’ are probably just camera flash reflections on air particles such as water droplets, insects and pollen. However, Orb ghosts sometimes do appear where there is no material to create backscatter.
  • Ectoplasm – or more simply a clear jelly-like substance is reputed to often appear on the ground after a ghostly encounter. No DNA analysis of Ectoplasm is currently available.
  • Poltergeist means “Noisy Ghost” or “Noisy Spirit”.
  • Angel Hair is a substance similar to ectoplasm and appears as fine strands of mucous-like substance near sites of ghostly visitations. Although well recorded and documented every attempt to preserve this substance for more than a few minutes’ results in it literally disappearing.
  • If you type “Ghost” into Google’s new variant search engine you will discover that there are more than 360 million results relating to this subject.