There has been a surge in interest in ghost hunting and other paranormal research in recent years. There many new TV shows that focus on the afterlife, and even some reality TV shows that use techno-gadgets to track the activities of the dearly departed. Whether it’s just macabre curiosity, or an actual desire to find proof of something that many people do not believe exist, people seem to be utterly fascinated with the afterlife.
Most people believe that there is some form of existence after death. For these people, it just doesn’t make sense that the human consciousness, or soul, would just cease to exist after the body has died. Some people believe in heaven; an eternal, blissful place, where the souls of those who have passed over will never feel sorrow or pain again. Then, there is hell; a fiery pit, full of torturous demons, where those who did evil in this world will get their comeuppance. Some of these people also believe in a state of being between these worlds, a sort of limbo, between this life and the afterlife.
Many people, who have encountered what they would consider a ghost, or a ghostly presence, believe that these souls have stayed behind for some reason. Maybe they had some unfinished business and couldn’t leave without seeing things put right. Some people think that certain spirits are bound to an area, either because of their past lives or because they died in a particularly gruesome way. Other people believe that if someone dies in a state of extreme emotion, whether it be grief, rage, or despair, that that certain emotion leaves an ‘imprint’ on the place of the person’s death, and thus the ‘haunting’ may just be a distant memory of something that happened long ago.
The truth is no one really knows what happens when people die. This uncertainty is what fuels the urge to pry into what is often thought of as an ‘off limits’ topic. Most people shy away from talking about death. Being faced with one’s own mortality is never comfortable. But, why do people fear death? Is it just the fear of the unknown? If we find out what happens to a person’s ‘being’ after their heart stops beating and their brain stops functioning, would it make it any easier? Many ghost hunters are doing their best to prove that life doesn’t stop when our bodies die. But, if they prove that people turn into embittered souls that can’t let go of a grudge, wouldn’t that be a worse fate than simply ceasing to exist?
Whether the countless stories of haunted houses and ghost sightings from around the world are real or not, the fact remains that, until the existence of an afterlife is proven or disproved, it will hold an immense fascination for a huge number of people. Everyone loves a mystery, and there is no greater mystery than the human soul and all its complexities. As far as science has advanced in recent years, it still has not come close to explaining even an iota of what’s really going on in the universe. In time, humankind may come to a better understanding of the world we live in. But, until then, we can still enjoy the mystery and thrill of hunting down unexplainable phenomena and paranormal occurrences.
Is there really such a thing as ghosts? Can the human spirit live on, after death, and occupy a house or building, scaring the living daylights out of those who dare to enter? Old abandoned houses and ancient historical sites often spawn tales of otherworldly visages and paranormal occurrences. A lot of these stories are cooked up by ‘ghost walk’ tour guides, or are at least highly exaggerated versions of the original stories. But, what about regular people who swear that they have seen ghosts, or have had contact with them in some way.
Most people that claim to have witnessed a ghost explain their experience in a much different way than what some people would expect. Very few people actually claim to see a recognizable human form that speaks or interacts with them. Most people experience other phenomena. A sudden chill is often associated with being in the presence of a ghost. Many people recount the hair on their arms suddenly standing on end right before they sense a ‘presence’ in the room or area. Other people hear voices. Sometimes they hear clear, audible words, but more often it is indistinct and distant sounding. Sometimes, these voices seem to be mournful and unaware of the person’s presence. Other times, the person hearing the voice gets a distinct impression that the voice is angry and even threatening.
Some people claim to have witnessed other signs of ghostly activity. Many people, who visit haunted houses, claim that doors and windows seem to open of their own accord, things can fall off shelves without any apparent reason, and furniture seems to rearrange itself when people are not around. These things are hard to explain from a purely physical point of view. And, because there is no hard evidence or scientific fact to validate these experiences, many people put these incidences down to an overactive imagination or an overly excitable personality.
However, paranormal researchers and ghost hunters are trying to change these mindsets. They use a wide range of tools for tracking ghosts and the phenomena associated with them. They carry equipment like EMF meters, which detect variations in the electromagnetic field. They may also use recording devices, like infrared cameras to record cold and hotspots, and highly sensitive wireless microphones that could hopefully record even the faintest of disembodied voices.
The only problem with these methods is that, although they do seem to indicate that something strange may be happening at a certain site, they still cannot prove exactly what that something is. Just because there is a huge disturbance in the electromagnetic field, all the equipment starts going haywire at the stroke of two, and the mikes start picking up voices that seem to yell “Get out!”, that still doesn’t prove that these things are being caused by ghosts. The best these paranormal experts can do is to prove that something unexplainable is happening.
Maybe someday we’ll find out what is really going on in these ‘haunted’ spots. But, at least for now, you can choose to believe in ghosts or not; they probably don’t care one way or the other. If it is proven that there are beings walking the earth without physical form and natural boundaries, it would change the way most people view death, and even life.
Belief in ghosts is nothing new. Whether a person believes that the ghost is a departed human spirit or an actual demon, the basic idea is the same; they’re creepy. Of course, most people would say that they are skeptical about the existence of ghosts. But these same people may be leery of walking into a supposedly haunted building late at night, by themselves. Maybe there is something of the fear of the unknown about it. What ‘if’ there was an angry ghost and no one was around to help you if you screamed?
There are other people that boldly walk into a haunted building and deliberately call out those angry spirits, trying to push their buttons and get a good reaction. These are ghost hunters. While ghost hunting is definitely not a science, people who hold to the pursuit feel that there is enough evidence to warrant further investigation. Many of them experience phenomena that they acquaint with ghosts when they are in a haunted area. They may experience sudden chills, or a drop in the room temperature. Some individuals, who claim to be more finely attuned to the spirit world, claim that they can sometimes hear the voices of those who have walked the haunted halls in the past.
Besides the gut feelings and physical reactions, they also rely on technology for their ‘proof’. They believe that changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure, disturbances in the electromagnetic field, and even the amounts of certain gases that are in the air could be signs of an otherworldly presence. There is no scientific proof to back up these claims, but there does seem to be a higher incidence of these apparent anomalies in places that are thought of as being haunted. The instruments they use to track these changes range from simple gadgets like digital thermometers, to more sophisticated equipment like EMF meters.
There are also gadgets that supposedly help to ‘lure’ out the ghosts, or set the scene for a better connect between our world and theirs. Ion generators electrically charge the air, which supposedly makes it easier for a ghost to ‘materialize’. They may also make use of white noise generators when they are trying to record EMVs. The background noise apparently makes it easier to identify a disembodied voice, and may even encourage a spirit to speak up.
Having a spiritual medium around doesn’t hurt either. People who seem to attract paranormal attention are in high demand with ghost hunters. These people can sometimes sense the spirits much better than normal people, and apparently, when a ghost is being watched it makes them more prone to erratic (and highly sought after) behavior, like throwing things around and making themselves heard, seen, or felt in some way.
While most people that pursue ghost hunting are simply curious about the unknown, there are others who are really looking for answers to the unexplainable phenomena that some people have experienced and proof that there is something more after our short-lived existence on earth. For them, the pursuit of ghosts is not a hobby, but an all consuming passion that drives them to look deeper into the myths and ghost stories and try to understand the truth behind the legend.