Part 1 - Introduction/Beliefs
As you've likely noticed if you've visited this website before, I write a lot about ghosts and the spooky things they sometimes do. I've always been intrigued by paranormal stories and the possibility that they're rooted in some sort of truth. I have never been the sort of person who was afraid of stories like that, but there is of course always the element of fear in the unknown that is exciting. Even when the majority of things I read about are almost guaranteed to be just stories not based in any truth, they're still interesting enough to keep me coming back for more. I thought I should write a bit about the subject that I find myself writing so much about.
I’ve always had a passing interest in the unusual, and the thrill that you get from being afraid of something unknown. I remember watching those over-the-top UFO shows that FOX was big into showing during the late-90s and then not being able to sleep because I was terrified of being abducted. I also recall my dad telling us a story at dinner about UFOs and aliens, and then spitting out some asparagus (because who wants to eat that gross stuff?) and being sent to my room. I didn’t want to go upstairs to my room because I thought I’d be taken away on a spaceship. Thankfully, I was never abducted, as far as I know anyway.
I always enjoyed television programs that covered the unexplained, mysterious things the world had to offer. If it had ghosts, cryptids (undiscovered animals), mysterious happenings, or anything else along those lines, I’d be hooked. When I was a teen, I got a book that talked about the then-undiscovered Giant Squid. It fascinated me that such a creature, then a myth, could possibly be real. And then at some point later in my life, they actually found them and proved them to be real. While it’s highly unlikely that many of the unexplained things people talk about will be proven to really exist, it’s still exciting that something like that happened.
One of the stories in my Paranormal Series, The Outside Locks, was based on things that happened to my family and I when we moved into an older farm house in Indiana. While I always had some level of interest in the paranormal, I had never really experienced anything myself up to that point. I would say that those strange things are what really sparked my interest in wanting to know more about what could have possibly been the cause for such weird things to happen.
I joined the Army not long after, and was more focused on my career, but still kept up with my interests in the unexplained. In fact, while in Iraq, I ordered a bunch of ghost story books online and would read them while out patrolling and during the little time off that I’d get while there. Around that time is when all of those “ghost hunting” shows began to gain popularity. I still wasn’t sure what to really think or believe, but it was very educational to learn all the accepted “tools of the trade” and theories about what could explain hauntings.
After reading dozens of books, and seeing various shows, I started to form my own opinions and ideas on the subject. I never liked how certain things were being considered as “fact” when in reality; nothing was factual in regards to anything relating to ghosts. For decades, people would pass off certain things like “spirit orbs” in photos as being evidence of a haunting, when really it was just dust orbs that are otherwise not visible.
It wasn’t that people believed dust balls were ghosts that irked me, but rather it was that people would even think that some kind of ball of light was a ghost in the first place. There’s zero proof that ghosts manifest as balls of light, but for whatever reason, that sort of thing was and in some cases is still common knowledge as far as “proof” goes. Even with the advancement in videography and photography, many of “ghost videos/pictures” are just random flashes of globules of white light or dark shadows. No-one in the entire history of paranormal research has ever proven that random balls of light or misplaced shadows are spirits, because spirits have never been proven to exist. But do you know what has been proven? Lens Flares, camera malfunctions, bugs on the lens, etc.
I quickly realized that I leaned towards the scientific reasoning approach to investigating the subject. You could say that I was a classic “Skeptical believer” because as much as I wanted to believe in ghosts being real, I was very quick to try and find logical explanations for everything. It was fine that people wanted to believe and prove things, but using unrealistic or just outright ridiculous ways of doing it was only going to hurt any real progress. And since the entire field was just pieced together nonsense from people who were making it up as they went, the “classic proof” of the paranormal just never really had any weight in my eyes.
For this series, I’d like to go more in-depth into the more common and well-known phenomena that are attributed to ghosts and why I feel as though they don’t hold much merit. While I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, there are no experts. Ghosts are nowhere near being close to proven one way or another, and there is little that anyone could or should agree on as far as what are common traits.
That is what I’d like to first cover: what my personal beliefs are. I guess the most important thing would be to mention that I’m not at all a religious person. I don’t follow any faith, and I do not believe in any intelligent design. I believe wholeheartedly in the chaos of nature. The universe was created by time and immense pressure. A lot of people who think that to believe in ghosts, you’d have to believe in religion because ghosts equal spirits. And you can’t have a “spirit” without their being religion. But I’m under the belief that the ghostly phenomenon is caused by something that would fall under science and not religion.
I have no more proof than anyone else, but I think that there is some kind of unknown form of life energy that can manifest after a living being passes away. I won’t make any claims that this is 100% what ghosts are, because that would make me just as bad as the people I mentioned before. But after 15 plus years of serious research and investigations into the subject, I believe that it’s much more of a likely scenario. And, there are many natural environmental events that are or were considered by science to be myth but then proven to be real. A good example of this would be ball lightening.
I’ve been to a number of reputed haunted places (Waverly Hills, Roff Mansion, Prospect Place, etc.) and have had my fair share of personal experiences that I can’t explain. I’ll get into more of those in future parts of this series, but just want to mention that nothing I’ve experienced makes me completely believe in the existence of ghosts in the way that I’ve mentioned. But when you piece them all together with the countless other stories and circumstantial evidence, I tend to lean towards ghosts being nothing more than some form of yet known scientific event. There has been some ground broken in the effects of sound and energy waves on the human mind which could also be an explanation for some of the things that are blamed on ghosts.
However, there are some very intriguing cases of intelligent contact being made between living beings and ghosts; which could be hard to explain away as just residual energy manifesting in its previous form. That’s what leaves me still exploring and digging into the subject, because until we know for sure there is always the possibility that it’s something completely different than what I lean towards now.
For the next part of this series, I will discuss the most common types of photographic evidence that is presented as proof that can be explained way easily or otherwise discredited. I’ll also break down my reasons for why I don’t put much credit in light/shadow oddities being related to ghosts.