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A ghost story.

  1. Jun 11, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    A "ghost" story.

    Note that the word "ghost" is in quotes to emphasize the fact that I am making no claims beyond telling the story as it was told to me. The telekinesis thread reminded me of this. I hadn't thought of this in many, many years.

    When I was a kid, my best friend who lived next door was about three years older than me. So, one summner evening when I was about ten, my then thirteen year old neighbor, Gordon, was home alone as was often the case. Just before dark I remember Gordon knocking frantically on our front door asking to be let in. He was clearly shaken by something - maybe just his own imagination but so goes the story. He swore that while he sitting in his room, their piano in the living room started playing by itself. At first he thought that it must be a rat or something, but he said it started playing real music! He refused to go home until his parents returned and hour or so later.

    This story is easy enough to dismiss. A thirteen year old's imagination can run wild at times. Still, one detail makes this story a little more interesting. Through friends I remained connected to that neighborhood for over twenty years. About twelve years after this episode my best friend still lived in that house - a different best friend named George. George's girlfriend, Robin, moved in with George one day, and Robin and I soon became friends. One day Robin was sitting home alone when she claims the ghost of a woman appeared to her in the living room. As long as Robin lived there she swore that on occasion she would see this ghost. She even claimed to know its name. AFAIK, Robin was not otherwise inlclined to have such beliefs. It was the only account of anything like that she ever told me.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2004
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  3. Jun 11, 2004 #2
    A guy I met here in San Diego told me this one a few years ago.

    Near where he lived as a kid was an abandoned house where kids told each other not to go because it was haunted by the spirit of the last resident who had hung himself from a hook in a beam in the ceiling.

    They used to go there once in a while anyway to look into the window at the hook, which was, apparently, actually there.

    He told me that he, and a friend of his, decided to go look at the hook one day, but when they looked in the window they were horrified to see an electric vaccuum cleaner being pushed around the floor, with no one visible pushing it. They ran away as fast as possible.

    When he told me the story he was about 24, and I guess he was about ten when it happened. He was quite emotional when he told it, and I am convinced he believes he saw what he reported he saw.
  4. Jun 13, 2004 #3
    Ghost Stories-- Lol physics who can prove or disprove gods existance believing in ghosts. not that I believe either of you two actaully believe that there was a ghost but things can happen that tricks the imagination. A. I have heard musics from no source before, I didn't think it was a ghost- mere mental concentration. I have somewhat replicated my experience a few times, however I was under extreme circumstances the first time i heard the music. So the body may react in ways that are not well known in extreme situations. Also after you tell a story to someone... ie someone saw a ghost here before... the brain is more likely to make you belive something is from a ghost. Say you have a dream about a ghost-- could be real in thought becasue of the explantion you have heard. I may one day be convinced of the existance of god or that he doesn't exist but it will take me a hell of a lot more before I believe in ghost... ie about 8 beers.

    None the less your stories were entertaining.
  5. Jun 13, 2004 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    What is a ghost?

    Maybe you assume too much here. In other words, Whether one is a skeptic or a true believer, I think it is easy to let new-age "theories" or even traditional spiritual beliefs interfere with objectivity. Really, I neither accept or reject these stories. I have no evidence either way. I have no evidence to suggest that either one of them was hallucinating or lying, nor do I have any evidence to suggest that either one of them saw or heard anything at all.

    As for entertainment, that's one of the best uses for ghost stories that I know of. :rolleyes:

    One note: I am sure that Robin never knew about Gordon. I was the only person around who would have even known about that isolated event. If anything I would rather assume that Robin was predisposed to such beliefs but that she never shared that with me.
  6. Jun 13, 2004 #5
    Tom McCurdy,

    Control yourself, no-one except you has made the link between ghosts and god.

    I myself have had physical contact with a "ghost", so I accept that they exist, and even interact with matter in its more common state, but I take it no further. It has not affected my belief systems to any great extent.
  7. Jun 14, 2004 #6


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    I, myself, have had unexplainable things happen in the house I currently live in. I make no claims as to what they are, but they have been observed by quite a few, and I never told anyone about what was happening for fear of being thought a flake. My oldest daughter moved out and refuses to ever set foot in the house again. She had some very disturbing encounters from when we first moved in.

    Things have quieted down the past two years, but the previous 8 years were pretty eventful.

    Ghosts, no, something unexplainable, yes.

    Zooby, this is one of the reasons I was so intrigued with low frequency. I live near an electric power complex and have high power lines nearby and was wondering if that could explain some of the weird occurences.
  8. Jun 14, 2004 #7
    Yeah, it would have been better had you spilled the beans about this in that thread, because the power plant may very well be the cause, but not due to any infrasound. You would probably get much more from reading about the studies of Dr. Michael Persinger.

    Depending on the size of the power plant the EM fields in the vicinity can be startling. My dad once told me about driving past a power plant with some fluorescent light bulbs he'd just bought and how they flickered on.

    I don't have any Persinger links handy. Alot of google links lead to lists of the papers he has written, and he seems to have written about 4 million. It is probably more fruitful to look for articles about him. (The article I first read about him was very good, but isn't online. It's in the Dec '88 issue of Omni Magazine if your local library had a good backlog of old magazines to read or photocopy.)

    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  9. Jun 14, 2004 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    In the apartment I live in now, a previous tenant hung himself. Happily, it has been very peaceful here. I also lived in an apartment that had burned and been rebuilt. That tenant also died in the fire. Again, no incidents - nothing unusual.
    I did work in an office building next to a cemetary for a while and strange things happened all the time - to everyone! I had to work alone some times on nights and weekends and it could get really creepy. The lights in the office were always flipping on and off by themselves so I'd announce, "OK, I get it, you're trying to let me know you're here. Now knock it off please, I need to work." And then things would usually settle down.
  10. Jun 14, 2004 #9
    Lights flicking on and off? Sounds like the ha'nt of Thomas Edison trying to rewire the system back to D.C.
  11. Jun 14, 2004 #10


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    I'll have to look those up.

    Now that the weird stuff seems to have stopped, it is not so urgent. I still want to find a rational explanation though. It would be nice to have my older daughter be able to come inside the house. She will stand outside and talk to me, but that's all. My younger daughter just accepted it, but was still a bit scared.

    Nothing weird happens anymore. Go figure.
  12. Jun 14, 2004 #11

    Math Is Hard

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    I used to read about Poltergeist phenomena being associated with teenagers in the house. Something about their "mental energy" causing psycho-kinetic disturbances. The conclusions were based on a high number of reported poltergeist cases coming from homes with teenagers. This was a long time ago, though, when I read this, so I am sure its been shown to be complete B.S. by now.
  13. Jun 14, 2004 #12


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    Actually, that has been something I've considered. The intense periods of activity coincided, I found out later, with periods in which my younger daughter confessed to being quite upset.

    It was the thread on telepathy that made me wonder if her angst, coupled with the power lines may have been a cause.

    I know this sounds bizarre, but too many unexplainable things happened. Like when a sleeping cat was picked up and flung sideways several feet into a fan. I actually saw that one. Of course that could have a natural explanation. The cat was unharmed. It was quite startled though.

    Perhaps it was dreaming and lept sideways across the room. It just made my hair stand up on end.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  14. Jun 14, 2004 #13

    Math Is Hard

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    I guess it's nothing to dismiss given that there quite a few cultures on our planet who sincerely believe that directed emotion is a powerful weapon. Strong, non-directed emotion, following that logic, could be viewed as the equivalent of a grenade blasting in random directions.
    This new data about the power lines and low frequency is quite intriguing. You just can't help but wonder if there is some connection...
    I, too, have witnessed bizarre flying cat phenomena but the cause was always observable. :smile:
  15. Jun 14, 2004 #14


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    LOL. :biggrin:

    Well, that cat *is* insane. So anything is likely. :wink:
  16. Jun 14, 2004 #15

    jimmy p

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    We are supposed to have a ghost in our house. Apparently its the old man who lived in our house first. He didnt like the changes and moved all my dad's tools around. If he put a tool down, then looked away, then it would be gone, and we wouldnt find it for a couple of days and it would be on the side or something.

    Either that or mum disagreed with dad's plans :biggrin:
  17. Jun 14, 2004 #16
    Unsolved Mysteries or some such show, discussed a case of apparent poltergeist activity where a teenage girl was present in the home. They referenced the book and film Carrie and said this is much more associated with teenage girls than boys. A link to hormones was hypothesized.

    Objects being flung around, levitated, and spontaneously broken are reported.

    The mother in the Unsolved Mysteries case reported one incident that stood out in my mind as a red flag: in the kitchen there was a carton of eggs lying open on the table. She saw one of the eggs float up into the air, glide over to the refridgrator, and enter the refrigerator by passing, magically right through the refrigerator door.

    That stood out because it diverged from the supposed mechanism of an unseen spirit moving things around, and entered the much more surreal world of dynamics you find in common visual hallucinations.
  18. Jun 14, 2004 #17
    So I guess the egg was a ghost of a chicken that died mysteriously?

    I think they call this incident a "bad trip."
  19. Jun 14, 2004 #18
    Since eggs cannot pass through solid barriers, but ghosts can, logic dictates that this was, indeed, not a living egg, but the ghost of an egg past its expiration date, yes.
  20. Jun 14, 2004 #19
    God not equal possible with physics
    ghosts oh yeah I have had contact with those

  21. Jun 14, 2004 #20
    Regarding music from nowhere: this is a fairly decent summary of a piece by Neurologist Oliver Sacks. The book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat is available just about everywhere, including librarys, and is a fascinating read.

    "Musical Epilepsy...
    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hear your favorite song all day and all night on your own personal radio...IN YOUR HEAD! The chapter called "Reminiscences" in Oliver Sacks's book, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, discusses a few cases where people have actually experienced musical epilepsy so to speak. One woman, Mrs. O'C, woke up one night to Irish music playing loudly. She figured someone had left a radio on, but she soon discovered that she was the only one hearing the music. When she went to see Dr. Sacks, he had difficulty speaking with her because the music was too loud. Only during the quieter songs could she hear him. After an EEG, it was evident that Mrs. O'C was having temporal lobe seizures and this was causing the 'reminiscence' or 'experiential hallucination'. The sudden onset of songs in the middle of the night was due to a stroke, and as it resolved so did the songs as she experienced less and less music in her head.

    "Usually when we are told that someone has had a stroke, we expect that the person could be severly hindered in their abilities to communicate and/or function physically. But this woman had the good fortune of being affected in the "musical" part of the brain, the temporal lobes. While sometimes this music could also be dehabilitating in terms of communication, she did not lose any cognitive functions and her motor skills were fine. I would say that she was pretty lucky.

    "While Mrs. O'C's bouts of music eventually lessened until they disappeared all together, another woman, Mrs. O'M had the same symptoms only they got worse over time. Her songs of choice were church songs, always the same three songs. She was experiencing seizures also in the temporal lobe, and to calm them down, Dr. Sacks put her on anticonvulsants.

    "One more interesting story is that of Shostakovich, a composer, who was found to have a metallic splinter in his head which pressed against his temporal lobe when he tilted his head to one side. He would hear melodies which were different each time which he would then incorporate into his compositions. The difference between this case and the two women mentioned above, is that while their songs were always the same which is common among epileptic hallucinations, his melodies were always different. This indicates that it must have been a different location on the temporal lobe that was being stimulated in his case. It makes you wonder that if the metal chip was moved over a millimeter, would he be hearing Oh, Susana over and over and over? And would he still be a composer?"

    Address:http://www.macalester.edu/~psych/whathap/diaries/diariess98/laura/diary6.html [Broken] Changed:12:32 PM on Wednesday, August 5, 1998

    In that chapter Sacks references the work of Neurologist Wilder Pennfield who localized the processing of music to the temporal lobe of the right hemisphere. Pennfield could actually induce the hearing of music that wasn't there by stimulating parts of this area in the brains of epileptics. (He did this as a side experiment when their heads were open already anyway for surgery, and as part of the seizure focus location process).

    (Something that is interesting is that it also can work the other way: music can trigger seizures. This is a form of reflex epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by outside stimulations. It generally indicates that the seizure focus is located near where that stimulus is normally proessed anyway.)
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