What is A Ghost?

What is a ghost? If you ask this question of a hundred different people you are just as likely to get as many different answers. Naturally opinions on ghosts and hauntings are wholly subjective to one’s life experiences, scientific, and religious beliefs or lack of, along with a multitude of other possible factors. However, what does seem quite apparent and uniform is that despite what one may believe they fascinate the vast majority of us and have done so since the dawn of mankind.

A Listing Of Ghostly Manifestations:

-        Unusual noises.

-        Unusual smells.

-        Extreme variations in temperature that are referred to as “cold spots.”

-        The displacement of objects including the apparent psychokinetic movement of objects.

-        Electrical disturbances and battery failure or draining.

-        Visual images that can range from the solid, the filmy, shadows, and balls of light.

-        Tactile sensations.

-        Disembodied voices.

*A Listing Of The More Popular Supernatural Hypotheses:

-        Ghosts are the disembodied spirits or energy that manifests itself over a period of time, generally in one place.

-        Ghosts are the souls of the dead.

-        A ghost is the surviving emotional memory of someone who has died traumatically and usually tragically, but is unaware of his or her death.

-        A ghost is a person who has died and “missed the bus” going to where they should go. They’re stuck.

-        Apparitions are the super-normal manifestations of people, animals, objects, and spirits. Most apparitions are of living people or animals too distant to be perceived by normal senses. Apparitions of the dead are also called ghosts.

A Listing Of The More Popular Natural Hypotheses:

-        Ghosts are the misidentification of natural phenomena on the part of the witness, particularly by those whom are predisposed due to beliefs or other mental and physical factors to define their experiences using supernatural hypotheses.

-        Ghosts are manifestations of assorted unconscious wishes, unresolved guilts, and patchwork imaginings.

-        Some ghost reports are the result of would-be hoaxers and frauds.

History both ancient and modern is rife with accounts of ghosts and hauntings. Extensive study on these phenomena has been carried out since the late 19th century. However, science has little to offer at this point in a way of definitive explanations. Supernatural hypotheses can neither be proven or wholly disproved either.

What is a ghost? The only definitive answer to this question is nobody truly knows, and therefore everybody’s opinions, ideas and hypotheses are equally worthy of consideration. To quote famed ghost researcher Hans Holzer, “There are theories, but no proof, as to why hauntings happen. But that the incidence of such happenings exceeds the laws of probability, and that their number establishes that there is something to investigate, is beyond dispute.”  Perhaps by openly sharing our stories, experiences, and science related data in a non-judgemental and non-argumentative forum we (mankind) will be a few steps closer to adequately answering this question.


The Ghosts Of Virginia, by: L.B. Taylor Jr. © 1994 Progress Printing Co.