Regarding death, afterlife, ghosts and related subjecture, we have plenty of “frequently asked questions” ourselves, so it’d be a little disingenuous of us to pretend we have all the answers. But, in the hopes of better expressing our views on these subjects, we’ll pose some common questions and give you our view on them. Your mileage may vary.
1)So…do ghosts exists?
2)What do you believe ghosts really are?
3)I’ve seen lots of orbs on pictures I’ve taken. Are they ghosts?
4)Have you ever seen a ghost?
5)Why do ghosts hang around places like prisons and mental institutions?
6)Can a modern building be haunted?
7)Are cemeteries haunted?
8 )Are hospitals haunted? After all, people die there all the time.
9)Do you need special skills or equipment to hunt for ghosts?
10)What’s the difference between a “residual haunting” and an “intelligent haunting”?
11)Are poltergeists ghosts?
12)Can an object be haunted?
13)Are ghosts dangerous?
14What’s an “EVP”?
15)What should I do if I think my home is haunted?
16)What happens after we die?
1) Well, phenomena attributed to ghosts or spirits have been reported as long as there have been people. It would make sense, of course, since humans are still today guided by foundational, primordial fears that we inherited from our ancestors in the days when we lived in caves, subjected to nocturnal attacks by animals or tribal rivals, and when the loss of a tribal member often meant great hardship for the surviving members. Fear (or at least, avoidance) of death extends deeply into the instincts and behavior of all animals, in one form or another, so it makes logical sense that we share a communal sense of dread, and in some cases, sacred dread, around matters of death, the dark and the departed. Ghosts represent something we can all relate to, at our most basic core.
Having said that, completely sane, apparently non-delusional people regularly report visions of anachronistically dressed, semi-transparent people, doing things like walking through walls or appearing or disappearing seemingly at will. There is a reason for all these reports – every single one. Some are just lies, some misinterpretations of funny lighting, some are willful delusion, some may even be the product of some sort of self-contained imaging process – kind of a random TV screen in our head – that we don’t understand from a neurological standpoint, that may triggered by natural phenomena, or faulty neurological wiring specific to some individuals.
It may also be that some ghostly phenomena really is the consciousness, or souls, or energy imprints, of dead people. If we didn’t believe this was possible, at some level, we probably wouldn’t be doing this. Back to the top
2) See above. Some ghosts are misinterpreted natural phenomena, and some are delusion, and some are just stories. We think that some ghosts are probably the real deal – which is, something else. Back to the top
3) Orbs are light anomalies that appear on photographs, almost always taken with flash, that are not visible to the photographer or others in their presence at the time the photograph is shot. We’ve examined 1000′s of orbs pictures, and done a little research (and there’s lots out there) on the subject. We’re fairly confident that the vast majority of them are merely the reflected light off tiny particles of dust or moisture in the air, usually very close to the camera lens. We would cautiously exempt orb photos from this explanation under the following circumstances:
1) The orb is visible to witnesses at the time the photo is taken.
2) The orb casts its own light or shadow.
3) The orb is tightly correlated to some other piece of evidence .
4) The orb photograph was shot without a flash.
You can read more about orb research here. Some researchers believe that orbs are little packets of energy. Without any correlating evidence to support this hypothesis, we’re skeptical. So, in answer to the question…probably not. Back to the top
4) We haven’t seen a ghost, no. We’ve had a few experiences that we would cautiously categorize as evidence. Back to the top
5) Good question. Commonly held theories about ghosts and their behavior include some speculation that spirits can be “trapped” in places where they died, by some mechanism we don’t understand. Also, that spirits may linger in places of great personal meaning for them. It’s a slippery slope, though, speculating why ghosts do certain things or linger in certain places. It can lead one into stacking unprovable theories on top of other unprovable theories, until an entire framework of death, the afterlife, spirit energy, the whole notion of post-life will or unseen compulsion is built up on little more than personal belief or personal biases. Places are reported to be haunted – we go out and investigate them, in the hopes of catching corroborating evidence. Until a ghost tells us why he’s there, everything else is mere speculation. Back to the top
6) Sure – some of our best evidence has come from relatively modern buildings. Ghosts need not be associated with abandoned or derelict structures (or structures at all) – that’s exactly the kind of bias that can trivialize paranormal research. Back to the top
7)Some people believe that cemeteries can be residence for spirits who are compelled to remain with their material bodies after their death. There are many good stories of haunted cemeteries, and we’ve had at least one experience in a cemetery that suggested that this may be so. But the notion that cemeteries are more predictably haunted than hotels, barbershops or theaters probably comes from some primordial superstitions about death and the uncomfortable realization that these are places with lots of decomposed people. Back to the top
8 )Hospitals can be haunted, sure. And to the extent that there is some validity to the hypothesis that spirits can be trapped in the place where it separates from the material body, you’d expect many or most hopsitals to be haunted. But…would you really expect hospitals to publicize that fact? Back to the top
9)This is an interesting question. Modern ghost hunting is a digital-toy pursuit: video cameras, digital voice recorders, thermal imaging cameras, tripods, digital thermometers, EMF (electromagnetic field) detectors, and so on. We use all this equipment ourselves, in the expressed hope that we can capture some evidence external to our own personal perceptions. In other words, some evidence of a ghost or a haunting that is portable and subject to examination by someone who wasn’t there.
But you don’t need all the gadgets to see or hear a ghost, and sometimes, the gadgetry can actually interfere with or distract from personal experiences that should always been considered part of the experience. Utlimately, if you want to capture evidence of paranormal phenomena, having some equipment helps. We discuss this a bit on our Equipment page. Back to the top
10)Residual hauntings are thought to be phenomena where images or apparitions may appear apparently unaware of being seen or witnessed, or sounds may show up on recorders that seem anachronistic or unrelated to temporal space. The faint sounds of music playing or a crowd of people in an empty space. Kind of like a film or sound recording of an earlier time playing itself back at random intervals. An intelligent haunting is thought to be paranormal phenomena caused by a conscious and interactive spirit, communicating with a living presence or seemingly trying to get their attention. There are lots of theories around both, but that’s the difference at a high level. Back to the top
11) Poltergeist activity, the movement of solid objects by unseen forces, is usually thought NOT to be the product of spirit activity, and is often more associated with people than with spaces. This reflects common thinking amongst paranormal investigators, though, and may not always be the case. Doors opening and closing by themselves, for example, are often attributed to ghosts. A flying vase…more likely a poltergeist. Back to the top
12) At some level, it would be unwise to attempt to answer this with finality. Like many other aspects of paranormal investigations, what biases you bring will likely provide your answers. If you believe that spirits can be attached to an object, you could argue that object is “haunted”. If you believe that an object can “contain” the energy of a spirit, again, you could call it haunted. If you believe that natural objects – rocks, trees, etc – have their own spirit energy, it’s not a great leap to suggest that it could have the spirit energy of a deceased being. We don’t know. We don’t have a lot of experiences with haunted desks or garden hoses….but some investigators have. Back to the top
13)In general, we don’t think so. To the extent that a collective belief in a malevolent spirit occupying a home can create tension, discord or other negative phenomena amongst its living inhabitants, sure. If that belief is not investigated, or explained away as a product of natural phenomena, the belief can be dangerous or distracting to the business of everyday life. Any speculation beyond that (again) lapses into the realm of discerning ghosts’ intentions, ability to affect the material world or general temperament or disposition. Some will venture there…we generally do not. Back to the top
14)An “EVP” (electronic voice phenomenon) is a recording of anomalous sounds (usually) voices unheard by witnesses but captured on a recorders during an investigation. They are probably the most common evidence collected by modern ghost hunters, and can be extremely compelling, especially in cases where the anomalous voice responds to proximate stimuli – as in, answering a question posed by an investigator. There is some controversy around the practice of collecting EVP’s and holding them out as evidence of paranormal phenomena. The possibility of fakery is substantial, the possibility of misinterpreted sounds is always a risk, and there are some difficult questions about how an otherwise unheard voice seemingly within the audible range of human hearing can be captured on a recorder whose response bandwidth is usually less than the average human ear’s. Paranormal investigators tend, however, to be their own best skeptics, and we are always very careful to throw out EVP’s as evidence if we are the least bit uncertain if the recording could have a trackable material source. Most EVP’s we have deemed valid are suggestive of a paranormal source. Back to the top
15)Who ya gonna call? Seriously, if you believe your home is haunted, there are a couple of things you can do yourself. Spend some quiet time (yes, in a darkened room, mostly because paranormal phenomena can be very subtle and there’s less distracting light and noise at night), attempt to communicate. If it’s a spirit, let them know you are vaguely (or solidly) aware of their presence, that you wish to learn more about them, hear their story if they wish to (or can) tell it. Ask for more tangible evidence of their presence. Ask them if they need something, or seek someone, or are in distress…or, if they just want to be left alone. You can pick up an inexpensive digital recorder for very little investment – buy one and leave it running during your quiet time. Play it back later and see if anything comes through.
If you would like us to come investigate your space, we will gladly do so – we never charge a fee, we do not publish our findings on the net without your permission, we do not judge you or your sanity. We are happy to help, and we’ll be honest about what we capture. This is important: we cannot disprove a location is haunted. Paranormal investigators will usually claim limited abilities in provoking paranormal activity….some believe a spirit can exhibit a shyness about not revealing itself, or its plight, to strangers. But if we are invited to investigate your home or facility, and capture something, we’ll tell you. Back to the top
16) We don’t know. If you find out, please email us. Back to the top