Below are five questions a very good friend asked me as part of her research for a survey of
paranormal teams. I think every team should think long and hard and answer these five questions. Here were my answers:
1.What is a ghost?
We all commonly believe that a ghost is the spirit of a dead person that, for reasons unknown to us,
lingers behind on Earth to haunt favored locations, or even the living. The question here that is being addressed by this
paper is not the existence of a ghost, but the very driving forces behind the concept of a "ghost", by asking the hard to
ask questions that no one seems to want to ask, let alone have the answers to. To even attempt to begin to address this question
both science and religion must be laid bare and it often leads to uncomfortable questions that neither side of the argument
likes to address.
To be able to fully comprehend what a ghost is, a person must come to terms with the nature of life--and
Ghosts, apparitions, hauntings, telepathic messages from beyond the grave and unbelievable psychic
experiences presuppose that the receiver, or at times, the observer, to accept the reality of another dimension or aspect
to human consciousness into which we will all pass into eventually. Either that, or they simply refuse to acknowledge the
experience or rationalize down to terms in which they are comfortable with.
We must also consider the three most important unanswered queries to date: What is man? Why is man?
How is man?
For all of our technology, advances and hard core science, we cannot begin to answer any one of those
questions with any degree of true certainty. And we must examine each question in depth if we are to understand what a ghost
Let us tackle the first question. Why is Man?
Some people toss the problem of man's origins to religion to handle, assuming us to be the works of
an all powerful supreme being, a creator. But this poses problems, problems that fall far short of any answer or insight.
Even if we are to accept the notion that a supreme creator made us, it leaves the next question unanswered: Who Created the
Does something arise from nothing?
Now, from the scientific perspective. To chalk up our existence to the slowly turning wheels of time
and evolution from a simple electro-chemical compound, into the shapers of the planet, while more sensible, is to raise but
Assuming this ideology is right--there seems to be overwhelming evidence that it is--what exactly
was the force behind the ordering and shaping of these chemicals and bonds? The complexity of life begs to shake the very
idea that all of this evolution and perfection of multi-cellular intelligent organisms from its foundations, because if this
is true, who guided the process from start to where it is now? Who laid down the path work to what is obviously a very ordered
pattern of development? Or was it purely random chance, which to me, seems very unlikely.
So we are back to square one. Why is Man?
Whether we are theistic or atheistic, materialistic or idealistic, the end result seems to lead to
the same door, a door that is and remains to us, closed, locked from our science and religion both.
The next questions, What is Man? How Is Man?
Are humans, are we, merely an animal, descended from primates as Dr. Desmond Morris states in The
Naked Ape? Is man a mere accidental development, having spawned by random chance from an ape over time becoming primitive
man? To this day this particular hypothesis has been shunned and rejected by large segments of the population. The stigma
against such an idea comes mainly from religious indoctrination and strongly entrenched fundamentalism. After all, when religion
goes against science it always looses.
Or does it?
On the other hand, as we must always look, is the hypothesis that we are unique creatures of the creation
of supreme God, a belief that is so widespread in this country that it has made heavy of the attendance to churches and synagogues
with church leaders and the various denominations thinking of rather inventive new ways to get followers to their flocks daily.
Or even perhaps, a genetic experiment began hundreds of thousands of years ago by ancient alien races as little more than
cattle or slave labor?
Regardless of what you "believe" and yes, it is a belief either way whether we wish to admit it or
not, it still does not answer entirely what we are and how we came to be thus highly lessens our ability to comprehend or
understand what we will become in the next phase of life, if there is indeed one. The reason I state this is because a growing
number of people have began to report encounters with the state of human existence that we never thought possible in scientific
terms and yet it violates most religious beliefs, at least in Western society.
The majority of these people take their experiences and accept them and hold them blindly, never questioning
them, seeing them as messages from beyond or guideposts that they interpret to fit their faith and sometimes, even fail in
They do not stop to question the how and the whys of such an experience.
It seems to me, that in the end, to answer these questions, we must look at the dark place between
religion and science and explore the forbidding areas where these two dogmas meet, in order to understand the nature of humanity
and intelligent existence, for if we are to ever understand man in all his forms we must take into account all the elements,
strip them of their fallacies and retain the hard truth, no matter what it may be.
With that being said we must now move on to consider, What is life? How do we as humans define it.
From a religious stand point? From a scientific stand point? Let's ignore the two for a moment as separate entities and look
at what life is as a fact based exploration of the definition of the term.
From birth, life is an evolution, through gradual, successive stages of development, that differ in
detail from each human being to the next. Materialists and realists, yes skeptics included, like to attribute all of these
changes and their effects to environmental factors, such as parental heritage, economical status and the like, alone. However,
this does not explain all aspects of our selves, such as our personalities. For example it has been said that a child raised
in a violent home will in turn be violently oriented as an adult. Yet we have seen many cases where this is not true at all,
and the child grows up as a wonderful understanding kind human being.
Sadly, we have also seen the opposite.
Your likes and dislikes, your loves and fears, temperament and thought patterns are unique to you.
No one else has them nor will they ever come close to possessing them. They are in simple terms your essence, your being.
But they are not physical in nature, nor can they be located, dissected or probed. If the pure-Materialistic view is correct,
these things should not be there. They should be mere by products of raising and environmental aspects and that would bring
you as a person down to nothing more than a walking sack of meat and blood.
Which is another point of contention. If life is so materialistic, if it means truly nothing, and
we are just pieces of walking meat with no sense of self or essence, why do we put such value on life's experiences? Marriage?
Children? If these things mean nothing, why do we engage in them? Why do we punish murderers so heavily if life means nothing
to us as meat bags to put it in the vernacular.
The answer is simple.
Man is essentially a dual creature, both of body and mind, or as some would say, spirit, soul or essence.
Many scientists are uncomfortable with the idea of a non-physical mind because they refuse to see a distinction between mind
and brain, which are very separate. Your brain is an organ of flesh and blood, whilst your mind is something else entirely.
Some believe it’s a magical energy, while others hold that it is a self sustaining electro-magnetic
Others say the mind is merely an odd aspect of the flesh and that we should pay it no mind, pardon
The mind is an example of the non-physical, invisible, controlling the purely physical and visible.
The fields of psychology and psychiatry would not exist if they did not acknowledge the existence of a separate mind. Now,
whether this mind is the same as the concept of a soul is difficult to prove.
Some maintain that from the instant of conception we are full people with a soul. Others do not, hence
why abortion is such a debated topic amongst philanthropic circles. Others maintain that when we reach a certain stage in
the fetal development, we get a "soul" that combines with the body. Others maintain we don’t have either. It is fairly
difficult to prove either way which is truth but it is clear to me that as adults, we each have a non-physical component,
variously called the soul, spirit, psi, or personality.
So what is death then? We now have some better understanding of life. What of its counterpart, death?
Death is the ceasing of bodily functions due to illness or malfunction of a vital organ that simply
reverses what happened at birth. Now since the mind is not biological in nature, it cannot die, nor can it be born but must
always exist. This raises a whole new set of questions. Why does the mind exist? Is it part of a larger energy? Is it part
of another dimension or plan of existence? Is it simple an electro-chemical manifestation of the brain? We will never know
the answer to that conclusively but what seems to happen at death is this.
The non physical part of man, the mind/personality/etc seems to separate from the body at death and
go in different directions. The body, deprived of its operating force, becomes nothing more than a shell, and will rapidly
submit to the laws of nature, decomposing and returning to the soil and water. The mind however, goes somewhere else entirely
yet sometimes does not seem to leave this realm of existence. According to Dr. Joseph Rhine of Duke University, it enters
what he called " the world of the mind" and continued its existence there.
To those that flat out reject the notion of a soul, the decomposing body is all that remains of a
person after death, and hence springs forth the fear of death, its finality, and breeds nihilistic attitudes towards life
whilst one lives it, a system in which the cemetery is feared and death is the end.
Death takes on many forms in various cultures, from a vengeful god like power who takes away loved
ones when they are still needed here on earth, to functioning as a punishment for the sinful and the wicked, after which is
the reckoning, or in rare cases, a benign beginning to the next chapter in life.
While most orthodox scientific views poo poo the idea of survival after death, there is hardly a religion
on earth that does not have some conception of survival in one form or another.
Most Christian interpretations of Biblical passage seem to forbid "trafficking" in the world of the
paranormal, the search for answers and such pursuits. However the vast majority of world religions discourage no such thing
and if we take the route to assume that a unique spirit exists within each human being, then it is clear that one step begets
another, for we must ask ourselves where does this soul go upon death?
Religion is the only place to turn to get the answer to that, however, I do have problems with that
as an alternative. Religion is embroidered with human fashioned elements of man kinds "justice" and to me possessed very little
Now that we have examined life and death and the basic nature of humanity's attitudes towards the
survival of the soul or mind, I think we should examine the reports of ghosts themselves to determine their basic nature.
On the surface, a ghost appears to be the surviving emotional memory or at times, even the consciousness
of a once living human being who has passed on, usually tragically but not always, and may or may not be aware of his or her
condition or situation. There appear to be two different kinds of human ghost. The ghost, which is unaware of its situation
and in reality appears to simply be a recording of the past recurring over and over, or, a free spirit, which is the actual
consciousness of a once living human. Based on these two separate types being reported, it is safe to assume we may be dealing
with two different categories of hauntings that stem from human causes: the residual haunting and the intelligent haunting.
The residual haunting type appears to be a recording of events and routines that a person expended
time and emotion on in the past, engaging in the same action repeatedly or it may also record a single event, usually a tragedy
that left a deep scar on the psychic fields of the environment. It is hypothesized that this type of event leaves an imprint
in the atomic structure of the surrounding environs which will play over and over until its energy is expended.
Usually this type of haunting is more perceivable to people who appear to exhibit psychic tendencies,
which is unusual but not totally so.
The second type appears to be the intelligent haunting, or rather, the actual consciousness of a human
being who was once alive. In short, these are the things that most people think about when they hear the term "ghost". This
seems to be a person without a body, simply put who, for various reasons, is sticking around a place or people most familiar
to them in life rather than going to whatever destination lies beyond for reasons that are known only to them which actually
defies Western religious beliefs that when we die we are automatically judged. If we stick around a free spirit, how does
that fit in with established belief? Many other religious views do not have a problem with the possibity of a ghost.
And if one were to counter that by saying " all ghosts are demons in disguise" then you open up a
whole new can of worms, which I will go into in another article in the future.
So if we follow this train of thought, that humans have a unique aspect to their selves, called a
soul, a mind, a spirit....the uniqueness that is you, if it does not die and survives death in the form of coherent energy
that is self sustaining, drawing on heat and electrical manifestations from the environment, that leads us to the next question.
What are ghosts made of?
Again, harkening back to the CEM Field Theory of Electro-Magnetic Consciousness put forth by Professor
John McFadden of the School for Biomedical and Life Sciences in Surrey, there is strong evidence that the human consciousness
is an electro-magnetic field, which of course cannot die as they are not alive to begin with, in the traditional manner that
If that is the case why aren’t there ghosts all around us?
Who said there wasn't?
There are an abnormally large number of reports of hauntings and ghosts. And these are only the ones
that get reported. How many more go unreported for fear of ridicule? Research into various belief systems and reports of objective
analysis of these hauntings seem to suggest that the world of the spirit and mind is not a separate world but rather superimposed
upon the world of the living, existing side by side with us every day.
So why would these spirits linger on the earth plane? Perhaps to stay with their families, or to be
where they are most comfortable...or perhaps they fear retribution and rejection from an angry God that they believe will
burn them in a Hell of fire for eternity.
Or it could be a simple physical process that someone went wrong. In truth, we do not know but if
we never delve into the mysteries of how this "world of the mind" may work, we will never know. As we are all destined to
make that final journey from this world into the next someday, whether we like it or not, it may be in our best interests
to find out.
2.What would you consider scientific evidence?
When speaking of scientific evidence of the proof of survival of bodily death, one must be very clear
in no uncertain terms as to what proof is acceptable as scientific evidence. From what I can see, there are two main camps
on this issue. The first camp are those who believe survival occurs and extended classes of “evidence” that purport
to prove death survival such as EVP. The second camp are those who feel that no evidence whatsoever exists for the possibility
of survival after death.
To establish proof of survival, we must get serious and establish first a definition by which to judge
said proof. There are three rules of survival given by parapsychologists and I hold to those rules very closely.
The first rule states that only those cases that will be counted as evidence for survival are those
in which there is a clear and present recrudescence of the personality of a once living human being in its totality whom has
suffered bodily death.
To further clarify personality in precise terms: characteristics, attitudes, mannerisms and emotions,
memory-knowledge and intellect.
Cases in which only voices, non-interacting apparitional experiences, EVP and ITC alone do not
make proof per se for survival as these events may possibly exist outside of the survival of the human being after death.
Rule number two states that if evidence for survival is defined as above, then we definitely
have evidence that suggests survival. The “problem of survival” is the question of how the cases that clearly
demonstrate interactivity beyond a rational explanation should be explained. Beyond the camp that absolutely dismisses any
and all possibility for survival (this is bad science; no possibility should be ruled out without empirical experimentation
ruling it out beyond all doubt), there are two distinct camps of those who are proponents of survival theory.
One are the survivalists, who believe that such direct interactive events are direct proof in and
of themselves of death-survival and secondly, the other camp are those who believe that while survival of the actual
person in question is not possible, that it may be possible to have something of that person linger beyond and that this “recording”
may be picked up by a person who sensitive enough to discern it. This second sub-hypothesis is called “super-ESP theory”.
Rule number three states that cases of ostensible reincarnation will not be considered as proof of
In order to obtain proof of survival, documented and testable evidence must be collected which satisfies
all three rules of survival. If such evidence can be found, then we will have proof of survival. To date, none exists. That
is what I feel constitutes scientific proof of survival of bodily death.
3. Is this a spiritual experience for you?
I would say that my work in investigating the claims of the paranormal boils down in the end to understanding
why I had my own experiences and to trying to be a support for those who have had experiences with no rational explanation
and nowhere else to turn. As a psychology student and future psychologist that specializes in behaviors, I find people that
report such experiences fascinating as there is little to no researchers in the field other than the very few parapsychologists
who study the phenomenon in an organized manner. This is more or less because to admit to an interest in such research topics
is tantamount to committing professional suicide. This says to me that what topics are open to scientific inquiry are actually
censored by “orthodox” science.
To me, this type of work is about discovering the reason behind the event, whether or not the reason
is spiritual or supernatural or “paranormal”. Even if I am able to quantify the paranormal, then I will consider
what I set out to do accomplished which is find the truth regardless of peer criticism for the search for the truth. Science
should not be picking and choosing which truths to cling to as that is more of what religion is for than academic study. No
one took Galileo seriously when he presented his theories yet know we know he was right. Imagine what we will know tomorrow
if only we look!
4.Does your team offer to expel anything paranormal that you find?
No. We do not offer such services as from a logical standpoint to get rid of a ghost, several key
pieces of information must be known. These include:
A.) What a ghost is made of at a molecular or sub-atomic level.
B.) What affect energy and heat have on a ghost.
C.) What materials or actions deprive a ghost of the energy to manifest or interact
with its environment.
D.) Whether or not ghosts exist in the first place.
As we know none of the answers to any of those questions, I feel that telling a client that anyone
can get rid of anything should be cause for caution especially if the client is being charged. We simply have no reliable
method for getting rid of a “ghost” or what constitutes a “ghost” that is scientific in nature, thus
I feel it would be irresponsible to make such claims. If your preference is for faith based investigations then that’s
a different story and far be it from me to say it’s wrong as we don’t know how much of the paranormal may respond
to religious provocation (from what I’ve seen very little of it does). Some research by some teams seems to indicate
that it may be possible to slow down or impede an “entity” from manifesting electrically by stripping the air
of water thus inhibiting electrical discharge between ions in the air but further work needs to be done.
5.What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?
The human mind! Ok seriously.
I feel that at times we may place to strong an emphasis on the reliability of equipment to capture
what we call or describe in simple terms as “paranormal”. The use of equipment to measure energy field readings
or to track environmental changes implies that a ghost, if they exist, cannot be measured directly by current methods but
rather by their effects upon the atmospheric and environmental data.
The equipment was not designed for the purpose that it is being used for and to complicate the issue
many teams and researchers do not know how to properly use their measuring devices and or how to properly record experimental
data in a fashion that makes analysis possible later. Too few teams are familiar with real experimental protocol and that
hurts the data they collect making it close to useless. Many teams also just go out and collect data as opposed to tracking
it and using it later to establish theories that may be testable at a later date.
If I had to choose any particular piece of hardware that I find the most useful, that would be the
audio recorder. I find it useful for not only is it an excellent piece of equipment upon which to take notes and keep records,
but also that it has been the single most prolific piece of equipment to produce the most reliable results out of field
use. We have rarely caught anything on camera, video or stills, which suggests that if ghosts are real or paranormal events,
that paranormal events are only directly visible in the visible light spectrum when they interact with physical matter (moving
an object) or bend visible light (which cameras use to film and somewhat down into the infra-red but not deep enough to make
any real difference). Newer types of cameras such as thermal imagers and full-spectrum UV and deep infra red however may make
the difference eventually.
Audio recorders however, in my opinion and experience, seem to have an uncanny ability to pick
up sounds that we cannot hear with our ears often providing a very hard to discredit recordings of what appear to be intelligent
human voices that were not present with the recorder.
EVP is one of the oldest forms of documented instrumental transcommunication as well, dating back
over 100 years.
In 1901, US ethnologist Waldemar Bogoras traveled to Siberia to visit a shaman of the Tchouktchi tribe.
In a darkened room, he observed a spirit conjuring ritual. The shaman beat a drum more and more rapidly, putting himself in
a trance state. Startled, Bogoras heard strange voices filling the room. The voices seemed to come from all corners and spoke
English and Russian. After the session, Bogoras wrote, “I set up my equipment so I could record without light. The shaman
sat in the furthest corner of the room, approximately 20 feet away from me. When the light was extinguished the spirits appeared
after some ‘hesitation’ and, following the wishes of the shaman, spoke into the horn of the phonograph.”
The recording showed a clear difference between the speech of the shaman, audible in the background,
and the spirit voices which seemed to have been located directly at the mouth of the horn. All along, the shaman's ceaseless
drum beats can be heard as if to prove that he remained in the same spot.
This was the first known experiment in which voices of "conjured spirits" were recorded on an electrical
Some research done by paranormal teams, specifically Josh Warren’s team in North Carolina,
LEMUR, have done experiments that show that the reason why an audio recorder may pick a sound up but your ears may not is
that your ears are designed to pick up sound waves not electromagnetic signals. Sound waves are air vibrations that cause
the ear drum to vibrate whereas something like say a radio signal is an electromagnetic wave. Most decent audio recorders
are actually shielded against radio frequency feedback to prevent the accidental pick up of radio frequencies but what LEMUR
found out was that if you take an audio recorder and wire a radio or sound output device to broadcast its sound not with sound
waves (air vibrations) but rather as a projected energy wave (electromagnetic wave) that the recorder’s microphone will
still pick up the sound and re-interpret it as sound even though we can’t hear the broadcast at all. This suggests
the possibility that the reason we cannot hear EVPs in real time is that whatever is causing them, ghost or otherwise, may
in fact be using an electromagnetic wave to transmit sound as opposed to air vibrations.
While most skeptics claim that EVPs captured by audio devices are just radio feedback or audio paredolia,
this is not possible of the rare and few Class A recordings that clearly address the situation and recorder with direct informational
relay and feedback (aka voices that comment on the exact situation that the recording is being done in or calling investigators
by name). The mathematical probabilities of chance that say that the specific type of interaction in true Class A EVPs is
pure coincidence or a hit of some random radio signal that just happened to be a broadcaster using an investigators name are
so astronomical as to be laughable. Most broadcasters have clear voices that were chosen for that very reason for radio yet
the voices being recorded are average men and women and children some of which would never be on radio in their lives.
EVP, and thus audio recorders when properly used in a proper EVP set up, I feel, offers the best chance
we will ever have at getting anywhere close to proving that survival after death is possible. However, one must still be cautious
and stay rationally skeptical as to avoid the double trap of falling face first into the pit of absolute faith or on the opposing
end, stumbling into blind skepticism.
SSPRS Founder, TAPS Family, East TN.