To look at someone lying in a casket is to see a corpse, not a soul; if you have ever had a loved one die, you probably know this to be true. A corpse is little more than a sack of flesh and blood, it does not retain the intricate personalty of the person that possessed the body. This becomes rather hard to understand when one is staring at the lifeless sack, and often one wonders where the spark, life, and personality that used to make this pile of flesh so interesting ran off to. It is somewhere, around the time that a distrought family member begins to realize that the corpse is not the person they loved and had conversations with, that the idea of ghosts begins to sound very appealing, and thus we have a premise.
The idea of a ghost is as old a concept as time itself, because no one has yet to be able to say, without a shred of doubt, what awaits after death. Some people, in an attempt to explain the unexplainable, cite ghosts. A misty apparition of the soul, an angry force to throw about objects and turn crops bad, a bedsheet with eyes cut out, ghosts have taken on all sorts of forms over the centuries but the central idea has been kept the same, and that is that a ghost is a soul trapped on earth. To think about this, truly, a ghost is a rather disturbing idea. Everyone, no matter what belief, or non-belief, wants to move on from this world when they pass on, whether to Heaven, Nirvana, or oblivion, no one wants to wander the earth until the end of time. Not only would this get boring after a while, but it hints at true lonliness, being alone until the end of time. It does not seem, at all, a pleasant eternity.
I would like to offer up some alternate theories about ghosts, simply for consideration.
To start, I do not believe that the souls of the dead remain on earth and walk around with us. I am not a Christian woman, but I am a Pagan woman, and I would like to believe that after this life I will not be stranded here. I submit that a soul goes where the soul belongs, be it Heaven, Hell or reincarnated, whatever. You go where you believe you will go, never to think about this life again. That being established, I do not think that ghosts are souls trapped on earth, but I do believe in ghosts. In my experiences, and many other people’s as well, there are different kinds of specters that seem to show up: fakes, rememories, the classic polterguist and reminders, all of which I shall explain.
The fakes are, obviously, fakes. Things that qualify as a fake include orbs seen on cameras, which is created by dust being hit by a flood flash, strange illuminations, which are usually the result of the flash being reflected of something that is out of the camera’s eye and showing up on film, and, of course, glowing vortexes, which tend to be hair, fingers and camera straps that fall in front of the camera and get illuminated just right. Off film, one can still be startled by a settling house, a improperly hung door that seems to close itself, and strange stains on walls that usually mean a plumber will need to take every cent you have to fix the leak your great grandmother revealed herself in.
“Rememories” is a term I use for apparitions that seem unconscious of themselves. Things that fall into the rememory category are specters that do the same thing at the same time on a regular basis, and the random ghosts that people seem to see around but that do nothing in particular except exist. Rememories are ghosts of repetition and high emotion. They are essentially an astrial imprint on the world that someone has left either through high emotion or simple repetition. The repetition is much more common than the high emotion, though high emotion rememories tend to be more popular with people. Repetition rememory is simply created like muscle memory. If you walk the same route everyday for sixty years, you have left an imprint, not only on the place, but in the minds of people who saw you do this everyday. The memory will stick with them and with the area. Repetition rememory is often experienced in the peripheral vision (when you know there was a person next to you on the bus but when you turn around you’re still the only loser standing), as people do not notice it fully. People tend to notice high emotion rememory much more vividly because the emotional energy hits them like a speeding train. In particular, high emotion rememories can be found at the scenes of particularly gruesome and brutal murders, and battlefields. There is usually so much emotion going on in these instances that a person can leave an astral imprint. The energy exerted on the place, killing people usually, sticks around in the ground, the surroundings, etc. Because energy does not just disappear, it essentially has to. What then happens, is that the place is talked about, visited, and the astral imprint is absorbed and redistributed by everyone that goes and detects the presence because it is so strong, then it can get manipulated by people’s perception and soon enough you have a non-actual ghost story.
A great example of a high emotion rememory turned awry comes from Aurora, CO. There is the story of Third Bridge. The actual story, based on true events, is from the times of colonial exploration. Some settlers horrifically murdered a clan/tribe of Naitive Americans. Over the years, however, the stories about Third Bridge have become a thing of fantasy. In particular, there is the legend of the ghost car, which runs you off the road if you provoke it. The ghost car is thought to be the ghosts of teenagers that got drunk at the Bridge, rovoked some bad juju and ended up dead via ghost. Interesting, yes, but based on what I was able to find on the theories of Third Bridge, it is nothing more than a tall tale. Still, the rememory exists, and continues to freak out many teenagers every summer, at both Third Bridge sites. That’s right, there are two sites where these stories supposedly took place. Which is real, if either, no longer matters because both have been charged with the “scare yourself silly” energies of decades of teenagers doing just that.
The poltergeist, made famous by the 1982 movie Poltergeist, is an interesting ghost. It seems that in most cases of poltergeists, high emotions from a living person are creating the supposed specter. A poltergeist is characterized by the movement of of inanimate objects, seemingly free of outside will. What has been found, in many poltergeist cases, is a distrought teenager. No joke. Partiicularly turbulent families tend to exhibit poltergeist activity. Too much pent up energy can do that to a person, whether in an attempt to seek revenge, or in an attempt to bring a family together by extreme fear, pent up energy can seriously mess up a house. One of the better examples that has come out recently to explain poltergeist activity was the movie An American Haunting, and if you have not seen that, you should. In essence, a ghost seems to torment a family, but it turns out to be unconscious revenge from one family member to another. In general, some good therapy can really solve most poltergeist hauntings.
The final type of ghost is what I call a reminder. It is a ghost that is made, again by a living person, but tends to take on characteristics of the dead. You often see this sort of thing happen when a beloved family member dies. A wife will miss her husband terribly, and as if by ESP she begins to be haunted by him. What I theorize is actually happening, is that because the mental need for the deceased is so great, that the mind of the living creates a surrogate of the dead. These kinds of ghosts, that seem to show up just when you would need the deceased the most, fall under the category of “coping mechanism”. The ghosts aren’t conscious beyond what the living need them to be and only exist until the living no longer need them. Again, we are dealing with a great amount of energy that has been exerted.
In general, whether you believe in ghosts or not, you’ve probably had a run-in with one or two in your lifetime. If my theories help you rationalize them, good, but if they do not, good as well, for when dealing in the unknown, one must come to their own conclusions.