Tuesday, January 02, 2007

On the paranormal...

Recently, my buddy Melinda reviewed a book on her blog called "The Skeptic's guide to the Paranormal". Toward the end she mentioned a theory I developed about the nature of ghosts and such, which I have yet to put into print, or even comment upon outside of the occasional dinner party.

Fact of the matter is, I have said very little here about the time I spent working as a Paranormal Researcher, even though it was probably the coolest job I will ever have. For those of you that don't know, I spent some time working for some folks that were doing an ongoing study of a haunted property here in New Orleans Pre-Katrina. It was something I don't talk about unless pressed to, and never here in fear of tainting the research we were doing by having people read about my experiences. Part of the research was to see what would happen when people who knew nothing about what we were doing were brought onto a haunted property for the first time, and coming across my blogs about it could have made people biased. ("Well, this must be where Rob said on his blog he saw that ghost so my imagination will start playing tricks on me at this point and... HOLY CRAP, IT'S A GHOST!") So understanding why (at the request of my boss) I should say nothing about stuff that happened to me, I kept my fool mouth shut.

I may have to start changing that... I'd desperately like to get involved with the paranormal stuff again and maybe do more research. I think a good way to start that would be to share a little of my personal beliefs and experiences on the subject, starting with crackpot theory #7...

The Truth about Ghosts.

First off, let me start by saying to all the skeptics out there that I am one of you. I looked at everything that happened to me with a disbelieving eye, and it generally took a lot before I would label something that happened to me as "Paranormal". Having said that, I would ask that anyone reading these pages do so with an open mind... I know that a lot of the 'proof' generally put forth about ghosts and like phenomena is very subjective, and difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce. For the purposes of this article though, I would ask that you take my word for it that my experiences were indeed valid and yet defied conventional explanation.

My experiences in the field have convinced me of this, if nothing else... Ghostly phenomena is real. Something is happening to the thousands of people that encounter ghosts every year that is beyond our current science to understand. I will also state unequivocally that nothing in my experience has convinced me that ghosts are the immortal souls of the dearly departed. The truly sad thing is that because this is generally the accepted notion, no one is offering an alternative explanation. Heck, Freud once said "As for ghosts, there is scarcely any other matter upon which our thoughts and feelings have changed so little since early times."

So, If ghosts aren't the spirits of the dead, then what are they? Well, first lets take into account what I know of them through my observation:

-Ghosts can manipulate electric and/or magnetic fields, as evidenced by magnetometer (emf reader) results.

-Ghosts can be seen, but not easily. There are many ghost pictures on the Internet, but few that truly defy explanation to a serious photographer. many of the "orb photos" I've seen are quite obviously dust. However, I have indeed seen one, and the shadow of another as it passed. this means that ghosts can, under the right circumstances, reflect light.

-Ghosts can have shapes, but this shape can vary. Many Observers report translucent human forms, others report mists. I have seen both.

Now, things within the realm of science that generally can accomplish all three of these tend to be sub-atomic particles, and (more importantly) fit into most current quantum theories. My theory is that on an unconscious level, we are sensitive to minute changes in sub atomic and quantum fluctuation, and perceive this phenomena as ghosts.

So, sometimes, what we're looking into with this sense is an alternate reality intruding upon our own, which is why we interact with "humans"... it's entirely possible that on the other side of the dimensional barrier, the "ghostly encounter" is perceived by whatever sentient life forms are there in an entirely different manner.

Of course, I have no idea how to go about testing this... I know just enough physics to be dangerous... if anyone out there has an idea about how to measure or prove this theory, let me know.


Melinda Barton said...

As I said on my response to your comment on my blog:

I highly recommend you read Paul Feyerabend's work. He has some extremely interesting ideas about "anarchistic" science and the limitations of rigid scientific methodology.

I disagree with some of his conclusions. He tends to go a bit too far at times, I think. But nonetheless, he's well worth reading.

Canardius said...

I wonder if any of the star trek series episodes in any of the incarnations [even including that inane Bakula one], First Contact was ever attempted in any other form than humanoid. Dimensional or extradimensional.

Of course, I shall have to look into the physics of different universes... I know philosophically Kant said that causality was not a valid assumption in the afterlife. So whatever physics we know here may not apply elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Robert, I am surprised at you!
Seeking a purely "scientific" explanation of "paranormal" phenomenon! I would have thought you had enough exposure to entities such as "Whitney", (for one) to consider ghosts more than random glimses of a parallel universe... And how would you explain Cousin Edward?
Personally, I don't like the term "paranormal". Anything the human mind is capable of IS normal - no matter how profound or far from our societal "norms". To be "paranormal", or METAphysical, the event would have to be something of which the human mind is NOT capable. With the current state of the psychological arts in our society, I think we would have great difficulty determining whether any particular event is something of which the mind is not capable.

Melinda Barton said...

Yeah, Robert! hehe

By the way, who is "Whitney"? and "Cousin Edward"? Do tell... not necessarily here of course. You have the digits

Orchard P Dirk said...

Yes, it is a good point that it is not paranormal if it is something the human eye can see, thereby making it normal. BUT, what I propose is that the meaning of paranormal is more like two-normal, like para as in double or two. And so it goes to be said that ghosts perhaps are really just ourselves in our lives when others are not sure they are seeing us clearly. If I walk into a store of canned goods and someone does not see me in the normal sense of the world, perhaps I would be more like a ghost to that person, yet it is really me. And if I drop a can, that person might be frightened and try to capture the incident via cell phone camera, but maybe it would or would not come out. I would not understand what the oddity of the situation is because I would just be going about my can shopping as usual and not understand the person is seeing me as a ghost. So therefore it seems there may be a regular form and a ghost form. Of course, I have no proof on this matter, and it is possible that it is not even something I believe in, but it is something to think about, and I guess that's what the paranormal is for. but it is amazing that you have done this sort of work, Rob, because that is not something you hear of every day. love, orchy