Tag Archives: paranormal investigation

Are Ghosts Energy?

This article is a reprint from The Hauntmasters Club, a link is provided below. I thought it was incredibly interesting and wanted to syndicate:

The composition of ghosts has been debated since the philosophy of spiritualism began in the 1840s. Even with sound arguments that ghosts are hallucinations and antiquated sermons that ghosts are demons, the most commonly purposed hypothesis is that “ghosts are energy”, but what exactly does that mean?

The book Hauntings in Time-Life’s 1989 Mysteries of the Unknown series covers the different ideas of the composition of ghosts:

One of the first hypotheses on ghosts was purposed by the spiritualist movement beginning in the 1840s. Proponents of this philosophy believe that “the soul leaves the body at death . . . Under certain circumstances; this spirit may tarry on earth instead of proceeding to the Other Side and thus may be observed as a ghost.” (Hauntings, p. 22)

The Society of Psychical Research (SPR) began investigating claims of after-death communication. According to their website, the organization was formed in 1882 “for the purpose of investigating ‘that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and ‘spiritualistic’ . . .” (The Society of Psychical Research). Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick [(1845 – 1936)] of the Society for Psychical Research proposed that ‘objects absorb psychic impressions and then broadcast them back to people who are in the vicinity.’” (Hauntings, p. 23) This phenomenon has become known as “residual haunting” in parapsychology, where images of the past are seen but do not seem to interact or even acknowledge the still-living.

In contrast, an “intelligent haunting” is a discarnate consciousness that interacts and sometimes communicates with the still-living. To explain this, “Italian psychical researcher and spiritualist Ernesto Bozzano [(1862 – 1943)] proposed that ghosts ‘are not the souls of the dead but rather telepathic messages from their lingering bodiless minds . . .’” (Hauntings, p. 22).

Believing in multiple dimensions, “Welsh philosopher Henry Habberley Price [(1899 –1984)] proposed the ‘psychic ether’ hypothesis, stating that ‘an image born of mental activity lives on in another plane or in multiple planes . . . even after its creator has died.’” (Hauntings, p. 23)

One of the most common theories even held by some parapsychologists is that ghosts are hallucinations. Psychologist William G. Roll ‘contends that in many cases the percipient’s mental state plays an active role, unconsciously creating haunting phenomena to satisfy emotional needs.’” (Hauntings, p. 23) Cognitive neuroscience researcher Michael A. Persinger explains this theory further in a 1988 paper titled “Increased geomagnetic activity and the occurrence of bereavement hallucinations: Evidence for melatonin-mediated microseizuring in the temporal lobe” for Neuroscience Letters, and purposes levels of endogenous melatonin is greatly reduced in the brain when exposed to electromagnetic radiation, causing visual and auditory hallucinations. Hallucinations occur because of complex partial seizures (CPS). If these seizures “[occur] in the area around the hippocampus and amygdala, it may briefly evoke a memory-like image of a person that can be subjectively experienced as an apparition.” (Public Parapsychology)

Another belief is the antiquated and medieval idea that ghosts are really demons. According to a forum on a website titled “Ghosts Are Really Demons In Disguise According To The Bible Why Do You Think?” some people believe that ghosts are demons masquerading around in disguise of the deceased.

In ghost-hunting, it seems the most commonly held hypothesis is that “ghosts are energy”. One of the first books to propose that “ghosts are energy” was Ghosts: A Strange Science Book by Sylvia Funston and Joe Weissmann in 2001.

However, simply saying “ghosts are energy” is cliché. If this is so, what type of energy are they? The U.S. Energy Information Administration explains on a website titled “Forms of Energy” that there are nine forms of energy which can be classified as either potential or kinetic energy. Potential energy includes chemical, mechanic, nuclear and gravitational energy; the website Apache Installation also includes elastic energy as a form of potential energy. Kinetic energy includes radiant (including electromagnetic radiation and light energy), thermal (heat), motion, sound and electrical (including magnetic) energy. Hypothetic dark energy is its own classification.

Another platitude often proposed is that ghosts mysteriously drain batteries and even people to respond to ghost hunters. First, ghost hunters are not taking into account battery life in a digital camera is measurable by how many pictures are taken. There is a vast difference between taking photographs at a birthday party and taking them during a paranormal investigation. During the latter, over 1,000 pictures can be taken in the span of an evening. No wonder batteries seem to “drain” during an investigation. As for investigators being “drained of energy,” one may look no further than circadian rhythms, which are “A daily cycle of biological activity based on a 24-hour period and influenced by regular variations in the environment, such as the alternation of night and day.” (Dictionary.com) The textbook Psychology: an Exploration, Vol. 2 by Saundra K. Ciccarelli explains that the longer through the night someone stays awake, the more melatonin they produce. Melatonin is an endogenous hormone that plays an important role in sleep. Since most ghost-hunts take place at night, there is no wonder ghost hunters feel like they are being “drained”, as they become more and more tired.

The majority of ghost-hunters purpose that ghosts are composed of radiant energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation because of anomalous spikes of electromagnetic radiation, without taking into account geophysical variables that is most likely the cause of aberrant electromagnetic radiation.


Thank you to the author, Justin Guess, and his permission for use of the piece. The full article can be found here.


Responsible Paranormal Investigation

This is an area which desperately needs attention today. While the field of paranormal investigation is far more popular than ever, there are generally some rules which proper groups follow (and all really should). I’m listing the ones I’ve came across first, but will post the general regulations from another site below. I will provide a link should you wish to review the guidelines on their web page:

  • Remains calm and collected during an investigation. Displays of emotion are natural, theatrics are not.
  • While checking for EVPs, the members of the investigation team need to remain quiet. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Professional investigators do not use scare tactics or fear-mongering to achieve a goal.
  • If any fee is charged, it should be clear and upfront.
  • Beware any individuals who promise to “make you a paranormal investigator,” in “one weekend,” for only a few hundred bucks. There’s no such professional training.
  • There is currently a strong argument against the use of Ouija Boards (or Spirit Boards). Paranormal investigators are supposed to be professionals and the use of a game board does not send a professional message. Both the Ouija and Spirit boards do the same thing and any results are questionable, at best. Not only do many involved in the paranormal consider the results dubious, it opens too wide a channel to get an accurate answer, if a genuine answer is received. The primary debate against this is the results are subject to human interference.
  • The group should not jump to conclusions. At all. You may encounter something you believe is sinister, but the members should try to provide reasonable explanations as a possibility.
  • Paranormal investigators should regard there work as scientific. It should be treated with due respect.

Other general rules are as follows:

  • Obeys all federal, state, and municipal laws.
  • Places the well-being of the client and his or her family above all other priorities.
  • Describes in advance to the client (or, in the case of investigations of public venues, the designated contact person) the duration and nature of the investigation, the number and training of investigators who will be present, the nature of data to be collected, and all other considerations that might reasonably be expected to influence the client’s decision to proceed with the investigation.
  • Assures that an investigation does not in any way damage any property of the client, other persons unrelated to the investigation, or any private or public business, organization, or concern.
  • Assures that an investigation does not violate the rights, privacy, or well-being of persons who are not involved in the investigation (such as neighbors, bystanders, and other people in close proximity to an investigation).
  • Does not discuss preliminary interpretations or conclusions with a client during an investigation. All data should be analyzed before any conclusions are shared.
  • Maintains professional composure during an investigation by avoiding expressions of fear and other strong emotions (such as running away from or overreacting to paranormal activity).
  • Refrains from using provocation to elicit paranormal activity except in extreme and unusual circumstances and with prior consent of the client.
  • Discusses all relevant objective data (EVP, EMF, photographic evidence, thermal imaging, personal experiences, etc.) with the client. Typically, evidence is shared both through a face-to-face interaction and via a written report.
  • Refrains from sharing conclusions with the client regarding the identity, nature, motivations, and potential danger of detected activity unless there is a strong evidential basis for such conclusions. In all instances, objective data must be clearly distinguished from interpretations of those data.
  • Shares evidence with other certified paranormal investigators for purposes of re-reanalysis. Such evidence must be “de-identified” with respect to the identity of the client and location of the activity unless the client agrees in advance to being identified. Investigators who obtain data for secondary analysis must not share it with others in any form without the written consent of the client and the primary investigator.
  • Does not publish or release data from an investigation to the public without signed consent by the client. Data collected in investigations of public venues generally do not need consent.
  • Does not sponsor “ghost hunting” excursions for the public that play upon sensationalism or fear. “Ghost hunting” excursions for the public that focus upon history, local stories, and the acquisition of knowledge about the paranormal are acceptable.
  • Accurately represents the knowledge and expertise of him- or herself and all members of the investigation team at all times.

Kudos to the Paranormal Resource Alliance for publishing a professional set of criteria.


%d bloggers like this: