Ghost story

  • #26
All that you can do is to describe what happened as accurately as you can. From there, if no explanations can be offered that are completely consistent with your account, every effort will likely be made to interpret your account in such a way that prosaic explanations will suffice. It is the price of sharing your story and the nature of the forum. :smile:
Yeah, thats a good point :smile:
However, it is interesting (well to me at least) that while these prosaic explanations are being offered, there haven't been any likely explanations as to what could've really happened, which leads me to wonder that if a scientifically trained mind stumbles upon something they can't immediately explain, they instantly dismiss the situation as "absurd" or carry on about anecdotal evidence and one's ability to recall that situation.

One thing we can't deny though is the bizarreness of this situation, and the difficulty in explaining it.
 
  • #27
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Yeah, thats a good point :smile:
However, it is interesting (well to me at least) that while these prosaic explanations are being offered, there haven't been any likely explanations as to what could've really happened, which leads me to wonder that if a scientifically trained mind stumbles upon something they can't immediately explain, they instantly dismiss the situation as "absurd" or carry on about anecdotal evidence and one's ability to recall that situation.

One thing we can't deny though is the bizarreness of this situation, and the difficulty in explaining it.

Why didn't you re-light the candles?
 
  • #28
Why didn't you re-light the candles?
I decided to start up a discussion with my family about that night, and my mother and aunt did indeed relight the candles after everybody had retreated - I myself wasn't there when they did, so I'm only citing what they told me. They tried blowing out the candles from different angles, walking past them, waving different objects by them, waving their hands by them etc. and could not replicate what had happened previously. Sure some candles did go out, but they did flicker and did not go out simultaneously, as you would expect.

The reason this story has been associated with a ghost is because my aunt had immediately identified that the act was something her mother-in-law would do - she said she was quite a prankster in her life. It should be noted that the flames disappeared as my cousin took in a breath to blow out the candles, which strikes me as rather odd. Even I, being quite scientifically-minded, cannot deny that it is very unlikely for the timing of the candle disappearances to be mere coincidence.

This is a tough one to decipher, suddenly it seems more plausible that something beyond our understanding and comprehension acted that night.
 
  • #29
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This is a tough one to decipher, suddenly it seems more plausible that something beyond our understanding and comprehension acted that night
I'm glad someone tested out the candles, at least.

I really think it was a freak occurrence only, something that required rather specific conditions but of ordinary things. I doubt I could recreate the groaning fan if I wanted to. I might fiddle for hours with the proper placement of a pebble, but it could be the pebble had to be a specific shape for this effect to occur. Likewise, for some reason, I never heard my coffee maker exactly pronounce my name on any other occasion, though it always makes sucking noises. It could be that everyone around the cake, except your cousin, simultaneously exhaled gently on the candles from every direction in a kind of group anticipation of his blowing them out. The group exhalation of CO2 may have been enough to simply smother the flames without a flicker. Rather than suppose you have been confronted with a thing beyond understanding, you might explore what prevents the average birthday candles from drowning in the CO2 they produce, and what conditions might interfere with that.

I'm not claiming that had to be the cause, I'm saying you haven't come close to exhausting prosaic, albeit freak, possibilities.
 
  • #30
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Yeah, thats a good point :smile:
However, it is interesting (well to me at least) that while these prosaic explanations are being offered, there haven't been any likely explanations as to what could've really happened, which leads me to wonder that if a scientifically trained mind stumbles upon something they can't immediately explain, they instantly dismiss the situation as "absurd" or carry on about anecdotal evidence and one's ability to recall that situation.

One thing we can't deny though is the bizarreness of this situation, and the difficulty in explaining it.

It's unfortunate that you aren't a fan of less interesting or colourful explanations than your recently deceased relative. It's also unfortunate that you aren't open to listening to the possibility that your recollection isn't everything you think it is. There's certainly no "carrying on about" going on, just facts.

Here's a less "spiritually connected" (and recall, QuanticEnigma, you're the one who introduced the supernatural to this conversation, not us. The thread title is "ghost story" and the OP includes the dead relative detail. That stuff sits squarely on your shoulders. Don't blame us because you don't like people having less colourful ideas than yours.) story about the power of observation.

I was in my bank one afternoon, standing at the very end the tellers' counter. I was taking with the bank clerk about her vacation because I know everyone in my bank by their first names and am personally friendly with all of them. So we're standing there chatting and a fellow walked by me to the left of me, perhaps two feet away from me. I barely even noticed him going past, because, well, why would I?

At the end of the counter there was a bit of a walkway that in one direction led to some back offices, and in the other direction led beside the teller counter, behind it to a back counter and then off in two more directions to the safety deposit room, the vault, and more admin offices.

While I was talking to Jackie, the fellow who walked past me moved down the side area to the back counter. At the back counter, another of the tellers had stacks of twenty dollar bills that she was running through a bill counter and wrapping them. The fellow reached over the edge of the counter and started grabbing handfuls of the twenties and stuffing them down the front of his hoodie. He had the hood up over his head. I could see what he was doing by looking over Jackie's shoulder. Her back was to the action, so she had no clue.

Initially, because I wasn't expecting anything like that to happen, my mind couldn't figure out what was going on. All I could think was, "Gee, he's not supposed to do that. That's not right." It didn't occur to me that he was robbing the bank. My initial mental response was to be puzzled. Not shocked or outraged or angry or scared or anything. It didn't occur to me that he was a criminal or a bad guy. It didn't occur to me to use my lightening-quick mental reflexes to start memorising every detail about the guy. It took me a couple of seconds to even sort out what was happening. I pointed for Jackie to look over her shoulder.

At that point, the guy turned and started to walk away. The teller who'd been running the money through the counting machine started yelling for the guy to come back and give the money back. Always a great move. The guy walked faster. One customer who was waiting in line began following the guy, at which point the guy turned and yelled for everyone to stay still, saying that he had a gun. Some woman yelled back at him and said, "No you don't you ***hole!" It was all very weird and scary. I wondered if we should hit the floor or just not move or what. I wasn't sure what protocol was.

The guy got out the door and broke into a run down the sidewalk. The customer who was following the guy got outside and ran after him. Then the dead silence inside the bank broke as everyone began talking at once. The bank doors were locked. The police were called, and we were told we couldn't leave until the police arrived.

The police arrived and told everyone they were going to interview them for a description of the guy. I stood, thinking, running the events back in my mind. The guy walked not two feet past me. He stood not ten feet away from me and I spent a few seconds watching him take money. I looked in my mind for details. He had a blue hoodie on, with the hood pulled up, a white baseball cap under the hood, and a black windbreaker jacket over that. He was taller than me, skinny. I know his face was exposed to me when he walked back past me again once he'd taken the money. I had no idea about skin colour, hair colour, although I had the impression that he was native. Blue jeans. Running shoes. I remember he had running shoes on when I watched him sprint away outside.

But blue hoodie. Absolutely. Medium blue with a black windbreaker. The customer who took chase returned to the bank and, somehow, he'd got the guy's hoodie and windbreaker and a bunch of loose 20s. The customer dumped the clothes on the floor. The hoodie was red. The baseball cap was black. The windbreaker was dark blue. I had the basic components right, but not one colour. Not one. Prior to the customer returning with the guy's stuff, I was prepared to tell the police, unequivocally, that the hoodie was blue. In my mind's eye, it was blue. I could see it crystal clear in my memory, just like you, QuanticEnigma, remember every little detail as if it happened yesterday.

I had absolutely no reason prior to anything happening to pay strict attention to the guy and commit details to memory. My point is that unless you are anticipating an event, it's very unusual to take note of details you'd otherwise have no reason to pay attention to. It's only in hindsight, after something significant or noteworthy has happened, that you put details together. And eyewitness testimony is the absolute worst evidence that there is.

From Wiki

Eyewitness identification evidence is the leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States. Of the more than 200 people exonerated by way of DNA evidence in the US, over 75% were wrongfully convicted on the basis of erroneous eyewitness identification evidence.[1] I

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyewitness_identification" [Broken]

So. Anyway. More anecdotal stuff. Again, sorry if that's not interesting enough for you, QuanticEnigma, and sorry to "carry on". The fact is, one's perceptions and memories of any given situation are not reliable. Yes, the event you describe was definitely weird. Yep. It would catch my attention too. You absolutely cannot discount faulty perception. You can't. You're not perfect and your mind's not a video camera. And the more people attending an event talk about it, the more they convince each other that their details agree with each other. Memories morph. That's just the way it is.

I'll leave this alone, now, because you seem determined, QuanticEnigma, to have your "unexplainable" incident without giving consideration to anything else that might be at work or part of the equation. And if you're not promoting supernatural agency, then maybe you'd not want to label it a "ghost story".
 
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  • #31
It could be that everyone around the cake, except your cousin, simultaneously exhaled gently on the candles from every direction in a kind of group anticipation of his blowing them out. The group exhalation of CO2 may have been enough to simply smother the flames without a flicker.
Finally, a plausible explanation! ^_^

But seriously, how often do 20 people breathe out simultaneously and in the exact direction of the cake? For this to be correct, everyone would need to exhale with identical amounts of force, or be standing in positions that compensate for the velocity of the jet of exhaled breath. Also, the amount of breath has to be taken into account, and the duration of exhalation. If the amount of CO2 incoming from all directions was not the same, then the flames would've gone out at different times, but were talking about the exact same millisecond here.

Also, think about it, how many times do people stand around a birthday cake and sing, and how many times do flames vanish? Not much, if any times, you would think. I think the laws of probability rule out this idea. :tongue:
 
  • #32
Georgina, I think you posted a bit late, turns out the candles were re-lit and tested, over and over again (I wasn't in the room, but other told me when I decided to spark up this discussion again earlier on with my family). ^_^

Oh and the thread was initially called "Do ghosts exist?", but was renamed to "Ghost story" by Ivan. :tongue: I was asking whether they exist based on my recount, not saying that they do exist based on my recount.

Please consider this, it's not like there were a thousand details I had to remember which got mushed up in my brain into some sort of anecdotal mess - there were candles, and they went out by no apparent means, we were at a dinner table singing happy birthday, etc. - it's not that complicated. Personally I don't believe that I'm an eyewitness, but rather this experience was happening to me, if that makes any sense. :)
 
  • #33
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Also, think about it, how many times do people stand around a birthday cake and sing, and how many times do flames vanish?
How many times did I run my box fan in front of the open door before the night it started to shudder? At least three years. How long was it running before it vibrated itself over the pebble to the point where shuddering could occur? At least two hours. Freak occurrences require rather specific circumstances. How many times has a toilet float started emitting a high pitched whine?

The probability is that anyone who buys a lottery ticket stands a one in 6 million chance of winning big. Therefore it's unlikely that anyone ever wins big. Except twice a week or so. Chances of some kind of freak occurrence happening somewhere in the world at any given time are extremely high.
 
  • #34
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Personally I don't believe that I'm an eyewitness, but rather this experience was happening to me, if that makes any sense. :)
It makes no sense whatever. You have been claiming yourself as an impeccable eyewitness who was aware of every air current, what everyone was doing, and who knows for certain what they saw.
 
  • #35
How many times did I run my box fan in front of the open door before the night it started to shudder? At least three years. How long was it running before it vibrated itself over the pebble to the point where shuddering could occur? At least two hours. Freak occurrences require rather specific circumstances. How many times has a toilet float started emitting a high pitched whine?

The probability is that anyone who buys a lottery ticket stands a one in 6 million chance of winning big. Therefore it's unlikely that anyone ever wins big. Except twice a week or so. Chances of some kind of freak occurrence happening somewhere in the world at any given time are extremely high.
Good point, but in my opinion this seems much, much stranger than a shuddering fan or toilet. I once was trying to get some sleep when I heard the aforementioned shuddering/groaning sound, it really freaked me out to the point where I got out of bed to investigate, and it was just the pedestal fan on top of a pile of cords - big deal. I've heard a lot of weird sounds in my house and not once thought it was a ghost, they happen all the time.

The candle situation becomes even more unlikely when you consider when the flames disappeared, and my cousin's grandmother's reputation of a so-called prankster.
 
  • #36
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I was in my bank one afternoon...
Indeed, eyewitness accounts have been tested over and over and over again ad nauseam and have been proven to be unreliable.

There was a show on the History Channel about two months ago where they drove people down a dark road telling them to be on the lookout for anything unusual. They'd set up a wooden painted "mothman" figure on the side of the road. Afterward all the witnesses were asked how tall the figure was. Two thirds, more or less correctly, estimated it at a yard tall. One third, though, confidently declared it to be at least six feet tall. This was a case where all had been told something unusual would be seen, and to pay attention.

On another show a group of nature hikers was stopped by a guy in military uniform with a rifle and told they couldn't proceed: there'd been a crash ahead and the scene had to be secured for investigation. Later, half the hikers reported they could see a wreck in the distance (there was none) and one woman said she had caught glimpses of the "UFO" through the brush behind the guard.

On another segment they tied a line to a log in Loch Ness and made it rock back and forth. Tourists about a 100 feet away started pointing at it. More tourists gathered and watched the log. Later they asked people for descriptions. Most described an indistinct shape, but some reported a "head". One sketched a profile much like the famous "surgeon's photograph".

Sometimes they ask misleading questions and this really trips people up. After being shown a video of a car crash they might ask "Estimate how fast the white car was going when it passed the car wash sign." In fact, there was no car wash sign in the video, but people throw out estimates anyway.

Someone posted a link to this in Medical Sciences last week:

The topic of his dissertation was social influence in perception, and the experiments have come to be known as the "autokinetic effect" experiments. In an otherwise totally dark room, a small dot of light is shown on a wall, and after a few moments, the dot appears to move. This effect is entirely inside-the-head, and results from the complete lack of "frame of reference" for the movement. Three participants enter the dark room, and watch the light. It appears to move, and the participants are asked to estimate how far the dot of light moves. These estimates are made out loud, and with repeated trials, each group of three converges on an estimate. Some groups converged on a high estimate, some low, and some in-between. The critical finding is that groups found their own level, their own "social norm" of perception. This occurred naturally, without discussion or prompting.

When invited back individually a week later and tested alone in the dark room, participants replicated their original groups' estimates. This suggests that the influence of the group was informational rather than coercive; because they continued to perceive individually what they had as members of a group, Sherif concluded that they had internalized their original group's way of seeing the world. Because the phenomenon of the autokinetic effect is entirely a product of a person's own perceptual system, this study is evidence of how the social world pierces the person's skin, and affects the way the understand their own physical and psychological sensations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muzafer_Sherif

In groups, therefore, people will relinquish their own perceptions of indistinct phenomena to arrive at a group consensus. Hence the situations where it is claimed "Everyone there saw it! Ask them!"

It may irk people trying to be believed about something extrordinary but the fact eyewitness accounts can't be relied on is inescapable, and has to be raised in all cases.
 
  • #37
Indeed, eyewitness accounts have been tested over and over and over again ad nauseam and have been proven to be unreliable.

There was a show on the History Channel about two months ago where they drove people down a dark road telling them to be on the lookout for anything unusual. They'd set up a wooden painted "mothman" figure on the side of the road. Afterward all the witnesses were asked how tall the figure was. Two thirds, more or less correctly, estimated it at a yard tall. One third, though, confidently declared it to be at least six feet tall. This was a case where all had been told something unusual would be seen, and to pay attention.

On another show a group of nature hikers was stopped by a guy in military uniform with a rifle and told they couldn't proceed: there'd been a crash ahead and the scene had to be secured for investigation. Later, half the hikers reported they could see a wreck in the distance (there was none) and one woman said she had caught glimpses of the "UFO" through the brush behind the guard.

On another segment they tied a line to a log in Loch Ness and made it rock back and forth. Tourists about a 100 feet away started pointing at it. More tourists gathered and watched the log. Later they asked people for descriptions. Most described an indistinct shape, but some reported a "head". One sketched a profile much like the famous "surgeon's photograph".

Sometimes they ask misleading questions and this really trips people up. After being shown a video of a car crash they might ask "Estimate how fast the white car was going when it passed the car wash sign." In fact, there was no car wash sign in the video, but people throw out estimates anyway.

Someone posted a link to this in Medical Sciences last week:


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

In groups, therefore, people will relinquish their own perceptions of indistinct phenomena to arrive at a group consensus. Hence the situations where it is claimed "Everyone there saw it! Ask them!"

It may irk people trying to be believed about something extrordinary but the fact eyewitness accounts can't be relied on is inescapable, and has to be raised in all cases.

There is in fact, a region of the brain which contributes to this, the Nucleus Accumbens. Recall also changes memory each time that memory is recalled. Our brains are designed to fill in blanks, and that keeps us sane and alive. It also makes most people without significant training useless as eyewitnesses to even simple events.
 
  • #38
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There is in fact, a region of the brain which contributes to this, the Nucleus Accumbens. Recall also changes memory each time that memory is recalled. Our brains are designed to fill in blanks, and that keeps us sane and alive. It also makes most people without significant training useless as eyewitnesses to even simple events.
I can see that even in myself. Each time I recall a thing it's not quite as sharp. I either sharpen it up or allow it to get foggier. In sharpening up the foggier things, memories with bigger holes, I'm sometimes completely unsure whether I'm just throwing in what's plausible or if I'm reconnecting actual dots.
 
  • #40
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The candle situation becomes even more unlikely when you consider when the flames disappeared, and my cousin's grandmother's reputation of a so-called prankster.

You should link even more unrelated events, then, to the candles going out to make the situation even more unlikely still. How about, two of your aunts had Corn Flakes for breakfast that morning, and your cousin, whose birthday it was, loves Corn Flakes and had won a free candle as a prize from a box of Corn Flakes when he was three. And! Two women who resembled your cousin's dead prankster grandmother crossed the street the day previous at the precise time the candles went out the following day. How likely is it that all of those things will come together?

QuanticEnigma, we keep trying to point out to you that they're unrelated events. You keep refusing to see that. I don't know why. Evidently you just enjoy the story and you're wed to it, I guess.
 
  • #41
Ivan Seeking
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Even if we assume that the candles were mysteriously extinguished by some unknown operator, there is no reason to relate this to a deceased prankster.

You are free to share your story, but you are not free to posit unsupportable explanations for that experience.
 
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  • #42
I keep hearing the same old arguments, about Nucleus accumbens, recalling information, eyewitness testimonies etc. It seems to me that this is a way of denying everything that I've said, or attempts to render everything that I've said useless or irrelevant. If you disagree with this statement, think about it - you are questioning my way of thinking and my ability to recall information, rather than this quirky situation itself.

When skeptical people (myself included!) stumble upon something they can't readily explain, they start to question the source(s) of the information itself. This, in my opinion, is very un-scientific and narrow minded, only willing to accept what we see as reality. On a slightly different note, there are so many things that we don't understand about this universe, it could be that reality and laws of nature are incomprehensible to us, and we are only seeing a small portion of it. My point is, what we see and observe on Earth is not the full picture.

I am a (future) scientist/engineer and consider myself to be very skeptical about a lot of things (just as everyone here seems to be), but I am willing to make an exception when it comes to this situation. All I can do is describe what happened, but nothing compares to actually experiencing the situation. It's easy to be critical about occurrences like this, especially the ones you see on History and Discovery Channel, but this situation seems different to me, and I'm willing to accept that there are some things in this world that we don't understand (yet). I find it saddening that others do not agree, and only accept what they can observe as concrete fact.
 
  • #43
Even if we assume that the candles were mysteriously extinguished by some unknown operator, there is no reason to relate this to a deceased prankster.
It wasn't me who made this association but my aunt. She knew the woman well and instantly associated the situation with her, thinking that it was something that she would do (my cousin took in a breath to blow out the candles, and then they disappeared just as he was about to blow them out, which does seem like a joke). I'm just saying, that's where the association between a deceased prankster and vanishing candles comes in; it's more the fact that the flames went out when he was about to blow, which caused people to make the connection between the situation and a deceased prankster - than the disappearance itself, which is mysterious.

But anyway, ghosts and spooky stuff aside, could there be any other explanations of simultaneously vanishing flames? Air currents and carbon dioxide have already been ruled out...well, rendered extremely unlikely (but don't mention anything about coincidences, very low probabilities are effectively useless, there's a probability I could quantum tunnel through my wall and end up on Jupiter, but it's definitely not gonna happen!) ^_^
 
  • #44
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It wasn't me who made this association but my aunt.

Your aunt isn't here relaying the story, you are.

And you're the one who keeps repeating and emphasising the association.

QuanticEnigma said:
I'm just saying, that's where the association between a deceased prankster and vanishing candles comes in; it's more the fact that the flames went out when he was about to blow, which caused people to make the connection between the situation and a deceased prankster

The candle situation becomes even more unlikely when you consider when the flames disappeared, and my cousin's grandmother's reputation of a so-called prankster.

As for all explanations vis the party candles being discarded, it's only the ones you care to think about that you are considering and not all of the contributing factors offered as ideas here.
 
  • #45
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When skeptical people (myself included!) stumble upon something they can't readily explain, they start to question the source(s) of the information itself. This, in my opinion, is very un-scientific and narrow minded, only willing to accept what we see as reality.
Total baloney. To be scientific it's imperative to question the source. For two thousand years no one questioned that heavier objects fall faster then lighter objects because the source of that notion was none other than Aristotle. When people decided to test the notion they found out it was completely false. And that was the dawn of Science as we know it.

When eyewitness accounts have been scientifically tested it turns out they can't invariably be relied on. They're wrong so often they always have to be questioned. This is serious. People have been sent to jail for years because of eyewitness accounts only to be exonerated later by DNA evidence.
 
  • #46
It wasn't me who made this association but my aunt. She knew the woman well and instantly associated the situation with her, thinking that it was something that she would do (my cousin took in a breath to blow out the candles, and then they disappeared just as he was about to blow them out, which does seem like a joke). I'm just saying, that's where the association between a deceased prankster and vanishing candles comes in; it's more the fact that the flames went out when he was about to blow, which caused people to make the connection between the situation and a deceased prankster - than the disappearance itself, which is mysterious.

But anyway, ghosts and spooky stuff aside, could there be any other explanations of simultaneously vanishing flames? Air currents and carbon dioxide have already been ruled out...well, rendered extremely unlikely (but don't mention anything about coincidences, very low probabilities are effectively useless, there's a probability I could quantum tunnel through my wall and end up on Jupiter, but it's definitely not gonna happen!) ^_^

No, there isn't.
 
  • #47
Ok, maybe I was exaggerating in that instance :tongue: I should probably study quantum mechanics a bit harder though, I have an exam next week.
But I'm trying to say that if the probability of something happening is extremely low, it doesn't mean that it has to happen, sometime, somewhere.

Can someone please explain to me what people are implying when they outline the unreliability of eyewitness testimony (which I agree whole-heartedly with)? That I was just seeing things, that the candles might have actually flickered, that they might have not gone out simultaneously, etc. because I am 100% without a shadow of a doubt sure that those candle facts are true (at this point you're probably thinking, that's what they all say...). But if you ask the 30 or so people that were there what they saw, they would at least give you those general facts. Maybe that's actually a good idea, to ask everyone what they saw and see if the recounts agree.

But, according to my recount, I would have to disregard those explanations of air currents and carbon dioxide smothering, NOT because I desperately want the story to be true or for a ghost to have done it, or whatever, but because I believe they're not possible enough (refer to a previous post of mine where I discussed the simultaneous release of CO2 be everyone, I think I did a pretty good job explaining! ^_^).

On the other hand, and this is a question in general, not necessarily pertaining to my own experience, but why can't ghosts exist? There seems to be no evidence against them, and a lot of different people claim to have seen/experienced them in some form or another...perhaps this relates to the individual's perception or willingness to believe in ghosts? Even if it does, it doesn't conclusively rule them out. Anyway, that's probably a whole new thread on its own.
 
  • #48
TubbaBlubba
Total baloney. To be scientific it's imperative to question the source. For two thousand years no one questioned that heavier objects fall faster then lighter objects because the source of that notion was none other than Aristotle.

I blame Thomas Aquinas and his obsession with Aristotle for that.
 
  • #49
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Hey everyone,

I've noticed a lot of "ghost" threads on here and would like to share a pretty odd experience that I've pondered for quite some time now, and have failed to deduce a reasonable explanation , which is interesting, as I am a pretty scientifically-minded person :tongue:. I also consider myself to be non-religious, although non quite atheistic as in my opinion there is a degree of plausibility regarding some "higher power" or whatever, but anyway...

A while ago at my cousin's birthday, he was about to blow out his candles when all 12 or so flames just vanished at the same time - they didn't even flicker or seem to be blown by wind (all the windows were shut, there was no breeze in the room whatsoever), but just completely disappeared all at the same instant. Nobody blew them out, even if somebody did the flames would have flickered. It was also revealed that my cousin's grandmother had died a few weeks before, and apparently she "never missed a birthday".

Now I'm not saying that I sincerely believe in ghosts or anything, so I've considered some (pretty unconvincing) explanations...
1) The batch of candles had some impurity or something and the flames were extinguished as they burned down to this point (not very likely, as the candles were lit at different times)
2) They were joke candles, if there even are such things (which is also unlikely, they seemed like ordinary candles to me)

...well, at least it's something :tongue:

So, does anyone have any ideas as to what this could be?
Your cousin is a prankster .
 

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