Ghosts: Real Or Just Our Imagination?

Kezz2007

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#1
Is it possible to create Ghosts in our head after talking about them alot, or do they actually exist?

Bit of a weird question, I know. But me and my boyfriend were talking about it the other day, and the subject came up. I was wondering if maybe when you're talking about them, you suddenly project an image in your head which makes you think you see something..

Does anyone else think this, or is it just me?
 

PeniG

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#2
The human capacity to do this has been demonstrated in the Phillip experiment. See: http://www.pararesearchers.org/Ghosts/A ... _five.html

The experiment, however, did nothing to establish the mechanism behind Phillip. Did a pre-existing bored disembodied spirit (dead person or independent) decide to play along, and if so, how common is this and what was the nature of the entity before and after the experiment? Was a separate entity created by the brain activity of all these people and if so, how independent was it? Does it still exist? If we repeated the Phillip experiment, would we get a new entity, or would the same one be attracted? Were the different team members acting individually to create the effect of the spirit in the same way that creative people collaborate to create individual artworks, did any of them "cheat," and how conscious was the process? The experiment is an intriguing one and I would love to see it repeated and rerun with slightly different designs to test various questions raised by it.

The Fortean literature is full of accounts of spirit activity that could be accounted for by the Phillip phenomenon, if we understood it well enough to test it against other hypotheses such as the "dead guy" or "fairy" theories of weird activity. The Phillip experiment has implications all over the place - for poltergeists, ghosts, channeling, fairies, certain religious experiences, alien encounters, etc.

I direct your attention particularly to the "Devon and the Vampire Choir" chapter of Rosemary Ellen Guiley's *Vampires Among Us* (Pocket Books, 1991), which reads to me like a spontaneous repetition of the Phillip experiment, without the crucial element of awareness.

I have a couple of books in line for revision about kids/teens creating phenomena by playing around (or is their playing around coincident with the pre-existing phenomena?), so I would love to hear personal experiences that might fall into this category.
 

Stormkhan

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#3
The success a while back by a Canadian group to create a ghost - complete with poltergeist abilities - called 'Philip'* doesn't say the human consciousness cannot create an apparition. However, I personally would not recommend a search for a unified field, one-size-fits-all theory to 'explain' ghosts. In the same way ghosts exhibit different features, who's to say they are not caused by different things?

*I really cannot be bothered to search out references to this case at the moment - I'm sure the All Powerful Google Monster will supply some links.
 

GNC

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#4
If thinking about ghosts conjured them up out of thin air, I would have seen quite a few of them over the years and I haven't seen or heard one. Maybe I don't have the right kind of brain.
 

norton51

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#5
Kezz2007 said:
Is it possible to create Ghosts in our head after talking about them alot, or do they actually exist?
Can you clarify what you're proposing, please? Do you mean that if you talk about ghosts a lot you will probably see one but it will just be in your imagination? Or do you mean that your thoughts can create ghosts that others can see too?
 

Kezz2007

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#6
norton51 said:
Kezz2007 said:
Is it possible to create Ghosts in our head after talking about them alot, or do they actually exist?
Can you clarify what you're proposing, please? Do you mean that if you talk about ghosts a lot you will probably see one but it will just be in your imagination? Or do you mean that your thoughts can create ghosts that others can see too?
Yeah, sure.

What I mean is; if you think of something alot, Ghosts for example, is it possible to maybe conjure up something after you've finished talking about them?

Maybe "see" something, because you've been talking about it alot, if that makes sense, lol.
 

Heckler

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#7
Kezz2007 said:
Yeah, sure.

What I mean is; if you think of something alot, Ghosts for example, is it possible to maybe conjure up something after you've finished talking about them?

Maybe "see" something, because you've been talking about it alot, if that makes sense, lol.
Well you're kind of talking about Tulpas or thoughtforms there:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoughtform

The simple concept being that if you (yourself or a collective group) concentrate upon and believe something hard enough that you will something into being. In new agey speak they mention the astral being fluid to thought, hence magick cause changes to physical things by will, by changing the astral equivilant of it (Lizard23 could probably explain that much better than I). In Buddism it's more about the universe is thought, thus it takes only a thought to change it.

I'm not sure that talking about something generally is believed to be sufficent to will it into being, Alexandra David-Néel who studied in tibet in the 1920's had to spend a fair amount of time, meditation and concentration to create her 'jolly friar' thought form (which subsequently by her own account got out of control).

I would say in short answer to your question, no I don't personally believe it's possible to create a ghost just by talking generally about ghosts. Whether you create an atmosphere or an awareness by talking about ghosts where you are more likely to see 'something' which might appear to be a ghost, well, possibly. If you go looking for the paranormal do you increase or decrease your likelyhood of experiencing it? *shrugs* ;)
 
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#8
Kezz2007 said:
norton51 said:
Kezz2007 said:
Is it possible to create Ghosts in our head after talking about them alot, or do they actually exist?
Can you clarify what you're proposing, please? Do you mean that if you talk about ghosts a lot you will probably see one but it will just be in your imagination? Or do you mean that your thoughts can create ghosts that others can see too?
Yeah, sure.

What I mean is; if you think of something alot, Ghosts for example, is it possible to maybe conjure up something after you've finished talking about them?

Maybe "see" something, because you've been talking about it alot, if that makes sense, lol.
i don't believe that your imagination can create a ghost out of nothing. However it can out of something. What that 'something' is could be anything in the foreground (moonlight, shadows, etc) which can be perceived as a 'ghost'. This is completely affected by your background (beliefs, memories etc) which determines what you would see in the foreground. For example two individuals could be in a mansion, one of whom has been told that the mansion is haunted, the other hasn't. Both while exploring the mansion together could see something in the foreground, what they both see is the same (moonlight, shadows, various objects), however both would perceive it to be different. The individual who has background knowledge regarding the mansion being haunted would perceive it as being a ghost, while the other who doesn't know of any hauntings would perceive it as being moonlight etc.

So yes, those who believe in ghosts are more likely to experience such phenomena, although they can't experience it out of nothing, something has to be in place to allow their background beliefs to take effect.
 
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#9
Isn't there a theory (I believe linked to Chaos Theory) That if enough people, over enough time think and believe in something strong enough, (tying not to sound like a cheesy christmas special but it's not working) then said thing makes the shift from the subconsious to the physical plane. I remember reading somewhere that this is the basis for a very complex and advanced spell to conjure demons and the like.

I vaguely remember a story in which a group of studentsspent months creating a creature that could control time, they drew it, thought about it, it's name, and everything. They set of on a journey (in car) that would have normally taken hours and asked the creature to shorten the trip, only to find that they where there in minutes. However, the return journey supposedly took twice as long as normal. I remember this being explained in the story that you can't actually change time, they where making up for the time they lost.
I'll see if I can find said story.

Anyway, the whole idea of the theory is better explained in Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, who uses it in that book.

It just means that Jesus and Santa are real, and so are SpongeBob and Homer Simpson, in one form or another.
 

Peripart

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#10
In Robert Heinlein's "The Number of the Beast", whole fictional worlds turn out to be real.

"Pantheistic Multiperson Solepcism", I seem to remember he called it - the idea that if enough people believe in one of these worlds (Oz, Narnia, etc), then they actually exist in a parallel universe.

Interesting concept, but the book gets very stupid after a while, so I can't wholeheartedly recommend it.
 

henry

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#11
Think theres a couple of things here...

theres the idea that talking about supernatural phenomena will cause you to interpret sights an sounds as eerie/spooky/potentially supernatural... when in fact its just heightened awareness, and you are scared senseless.

then theres the notion that talking about supernatural phenomena can actually cause them to manifest - this could extend to seances etc.

on a personal note, i have experienced both.
 

colpepper1

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#12
The few reliable witnesses I know who've seen spooks claim they looked like ordinary people before disappearing and were surprised. If they were 'made up' by the seer it was on a subconscious level, not from willing them to appear.
 

Eve11

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#13
I think I'll tag some of my experiences and ideas on here, because I don't want to keep starting new threads all over the place!

I have experienced both seeing a "ghost", and Thoughtforms, and feel there are definately a whole range of explanations for what gets lumped under the term "ghost". I believe most are mundane misperceptions or suggestion from being in a place with a pre existing reputation, for a start.

I have come to the conclusion that the most likely paranormal explanation for a lot of repeated apparitions is the whole sound/light energy being absorbed by the surroundings in certain conditions, and then being replayed in certain conditions.

Thoughtforms I believe are semi-sentinent elemental-types that are created from the human mind. They are for the most part invisible to people, but are what are responsible for atmospheres in places and odd reactions in animals - they embody, or manifest, human emaotions, of fear, hate, sadness, joy, whatever. It's Thoughtforms I believe are created by concerntrated visualisation, apparently "manifesting ghosts", but are actually just products, or projections, of the mind. Doesn't make them less real, in a non-tangible way, of course ;)

My own Thoughtform experience was seeing a figure out of the corner of my eye walk through my living room. It was humanoid in form, about 6ft 6" - 7ft tall and appeared sepia-toned, but I knew it was not human, or a ghost. It was sentient though, because I felt it registering the fact that I had seen it and that caught it's attention somehow. Don't ask me why I felt this, it was just a subjective intuitive impression. It reminds me of stories of I think they're called "stick men" - I'm pretty sure I saw a thread about them on here.
It unsettled me. I didn't like the fact it "noticed" me.
Anyway, either 2 or 3 nights later, I was in bed just settling to sleep and I became aware of something, opened my eyes and there he was, standing by my bed and leaning over toward me. It was the scariest experience I've ever had, and I screamed the place down. It's the only incident of strangeness that has ever made me scream :oops:

I am quite happy to accept that this was a dream experience/hallucination as I was drifting off to sleep (though I thought I was awake and had only just got into bed) suggested by what I thought I had seen a day or 2 earlier.
The only slight query was my partners reaction. Being a cynical sceptic I had not bothered to discuss the previous experience with him, but when I had stopped screaming his immediate reaction without me saying a word was: "There was something standing by the bed, wasn't there?"
He refused to discuss it again.

Ghost story.
This relates to a friend's house that was "haunted". Many people had experienced a range of things there, including seeing indistinct apparitions, feelings of presence, light switches/doors etc being messed with, footsteps - all the usual. When I slept on the sofa once, I could hear the stereo switches clicking. The radio was fuzzing on and off, buttons clicking, the whole lot. It was switched off at the plug, but the plug was in, by the way. In the spirit of gibbering cowardice rather than intrepid fortean inquiry, I closed my eyes and stayed under the duvet. I could live with the sounds, I just didn't want to see what was doing it.
In the morning I told my friends, they were like"Oh, yeah, he does that all the time. Obsessed with the stereo". I was like: thanks for the warning there, guys. I experienced other things there too, but to shorten this post before it turns into a novel - the apparition.
It is not how I imagined a ghost would be at all.I was sitting watching TV with my firneds, on the sofa with the sitting room door opposite me. Movement caught my eye, and I noticed a figure walking toward the doorway, but small and far off and geting larger as he approached. The only way I can describe it was like a tunnel had opened, not physically in the wall but kind of into somewhere else. He was clearly outlined, though note truely solid, like a pencil sketch which has only been partially shaded. He had short back and side dark hair, wearing a working man's collarless shirt, and loose trousers I think with braces. Average height, looked about 40 ish. His dress put him from 1930s to the early 50s (the house was Victorian). I was not scared at all, but fascinated. He just stood in the doorway watching us. There was nothing remotely threatening or scary about him, in fact it felt like he didn't want to come in and intrude. I watched him for a while, and then he sort of faded away. I was not intoxicated in any way, and it was broad daylight. I think he was a real rarity and something I've hardly ever even felt before - a genuine ghost, in the sense of a spirit who had not "passed over". He was all human, in a way the Thoughtform thing was not. Again, hopelessly subjective I know!

Slightly corroberating(sp?) this, I got a phone call from my mother with a message from a relative, who has proved over many years to my satisfaction she is genuinely psychic, though never practised it as a profession, nor would you find her anywhere near a seance or crystal ball crap. She said there was a man around me at that time, who had died during the second world war and not passed over yet. I had told no one in my family about the haunted house or any of my experiences, including the apparition in that style of clothing (the message came after the apparition).

I'll leave it there. Sorry it's got so long.
 

GNC

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#14
Don't apologise, it's very interesting. Some people attract experiences like this, nothing like that ever happens to me.
 

many_angled_one

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#15
Elan4 - I think what you have there is what has become called the "Stone Tape Theory" (after the film of the same name, which i rather enjoyed) where stonework acts like a video tape and records images/energy which under the right circumstances, em fields, temperature etc can occasionally replay to sensitive minds.

As to the opening question - If you talk and think about anything a lot then he chances of your mind interpreting something as that thing are increased. When the brain recieves incomplete information of something it "fills in the blanks" with what it expects to see from past experience or otherwise. Thus a fleeting glance at something might be interpreted and "seen" as one thing your brain expects it to be when it is actually revealed to be something entirely different when you get the chance to look at it directly. If you think and talk about ghosts a hell of a lot then your brain might start inerpreting things as them with something half-seen etc.
 

OldTimeRadio

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#16
If there truly exists such a thing as human Survival (of which I am nearly convinced, but that's not the point here), ghosts probably exist. If not, almost certainly not.

[Even so, it's also possible that Survival exists and ghosts do not.]

If ghosts do exist, mightn't discussing them "sensitize" us to perceiving them? That seems to happen with UFOs, regardless of whatever UFOs may eventually prove to be.
 

colpepper1

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#17
OldTimeRadio said:
If ghosts do exist, mightn't discussing them "sensitize" us to perceiving them?
Possibly, possibly not. I have an uncle (I've mentioned him before) who has seen things throughout his life most of us would recognise as ghostly activity; figures which disappear through walls, lights that turn off of their own accord, moving furniture and objects, deceased people who've appeared to him. He does not publicly acknowledge the events and I've only gleaned the facts from his wife. According to him 'everyone knows ghosts don't exist' and he's crushingly dismissive of the idea that the dead returning.
This is said genuinely, he's a straight forward elderly chap without guile who believes there must be another explanation for things most of us would rush to judgement on.

I suspect 'ghosts' show themselves evenly to the gullible and the sceptic.
 

Eve11

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#18
I think that there is a combination of things going on.

Obviously, if you're telling spooky stories and looking for ghosts, you are likely to interpret many things you wouldn't give a second thought to normally as paranormal. In that sense, talking about ghosts does make it more likely you will "see" one.

Overall, if you assume ghosts as play backs, they must be pretty indiscriminate in who they appear to. Ghosts as human souls are likely to be more discerning, in the sense of appearing for a reason or being more visible to certain people.

They certainly appear to sceptics and open minded alike - the ghost I mentioned on the previous page was seen by a number of times by one of the residents of the house who was sceptical. In fact one night he actually walked through him (apparently) to prove that he wasn''t real after he was seen standing at the top of the stairs by 2 individuals. He saw him, and even described what it was like to walk through him, but still remains a sceptic and to this day and as far as I am aware does not believe in ghosts.

I think what is undisputable proof of life after death for one, would be dismissed out of hand by another. I would say less sceptics report or admit to seeing ghosts, simply because they will not accept the proof of their own senses, whereas the open-minded soul is far more likely to admit it.

Finally, I believe that a lot of genuine paranormal activity and supposed "ghosts" are caused by thoughtforms and astral entities reacting to human thoughts, and above all emotions. And if you mess around with ouija boards and seances you're asking for every passing astral no-gooder to come in and have a go at messing with your head.
In that sense, poltergeist-type phenomena especially can be caused by people thinking about them, and are products of the human imagination. Which of course, doesn't make them less real.....
 

colpepper1

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#19
In the case of my uncle I believe his early life somehow predisposed him to seeing ghosts. His father was killed in WW1 before he was born and I've made some connection between this fact and the psychological reality or folklorish custom of him being attuned to some other dimension. Clearly it's not a provable link, just a theory.
People who have problematic life histories are often attuned to 'spirits' and the conventional explanation is simple hysteria - I suggest there might be something else going on but it's hard to know.

There's no reason to believe ghosts have a literal equivalence between the living person's likeness and the entity involved. There may be something in the notion of discarnate entities using identifiable human simulacra to suggest a person to the viewer, a kind of psychic 'sight gag'. Poltergeists certainly seem to prove elusive to being pinned down to an historical character and slip between lucidity and idiocy, knowledge and ignorance. Some clergy are reluctant to ascribe hauntings to the known dead and prefer the idea of the demonic, whatever that may entail.
 

EnolaGaia

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#20

humanoidlord

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#22
real but definitely not the souls of the dead, otherwise the one world trade center would be the most haunted building in the world
 

escargot

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#25
A traditional belief about ghosts is that they are the spirits of the unjustly killed seeking justice or proper burial.
According to this idea there might well be a couple of thousand WTC ghosts present but they'll be haunting the places where they died, which could be hundreds of feet in the air.
 

Naughty_Felid

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#26
Yeah but that's not that many ghosts on battle fields or concentration camps so if u go by the stone tape theory there should be more. As there should if it's a spirit seeking justice.
 

AlchoPwn

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#27
Yeah but that's not that many ghosts on battle fields or concentration camps so if u go by the stone tape theory there should be more. As there should if it's a spirit seeking justice.
I suspect it is less about spirits seeking justice, and more about spirits who don't know they died.
 

Sharon Hill

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#28
Yeah but that's not that many ghosts on battle fields or concentration camps so if u go by the stone tape theory there should be more. As there should if it's a spirit seeking justice.
The Stone Tape/Water tape idea is BS. And those who promote it currently, like ghost hunting groups, get it even more wrong by assuming these “special” rocks and minerals are there when they aren’t. Alternatively, they say it’s related to quartz or limestone in an area where that bedrock type exists widely across the adjacent landscape. The concept makes zero sense and has no evidence to back it up. Yet, it sounds sufficiently plausible and sciencey to people who don’t know these details and so is useful for looking credible.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#29
I suspect it is less about spirits seeking justice, and more about spirits who don't know they died.
That is exactly how ghosts were described to be by a guy I worked with at my first job and who claimed to be a medium.
He said that if you're crossing the road on your way to work and get knocked down and killed, your spirit may continue that walk to work.
 

AlchoPwn

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#30
That is exactly how ghosts were described to be by a guy I worked with at my first job and who claimed to be a medium.
He said that if you're crossing the road on your way to work and get knocked down and killed, your spirit may continue that walk to work.
Aww shit, does that mean I'm already dead and just haven't figured it out yet ? Reality Check!
 
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