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Spacetime and paranormality

  1. Jan 16, 2015 #1
    I'm a journalist and author with no training in physics beyond a couple of undergrad survey courses at Berkeley back in the day. Lately, I have been grappling with spacetime as viewed through the eyes of such popularizers as Brian Greene and his "now loaf," Simon Singh and Walter Isaacson. And puzzling over that famous Einstein quote: “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion" (I gather there are differing interpretations of what E. actually said, and what he meant).
    My specific questions have to do with the uncounted thousands of reported encounters over the centuries with "spirits" who have "passed," only to "return" decades or even centuries later. In other words, "ghosts." One might simply conclude that every single one of these many, many accounts is either a fabrication, a psychosis, or an error in perception, and let it go at that. But there are so many reported encounters that I can't immediately accept that every last one of them is in some way incorrect. Therefore, I wonder whether the error might be in our misunderstanding of time, and the possibility that our present equals the future of someone who perished in the past. If, as Greene says, the past, present and future are all with us, it seems that some kind of time travel from the past to the present isn't a physical impossibility. If there's no support in the laws of physics for such an interpretation, I'd be interested in knowing that. But I am reluctant to dismiss such an idea as utterly impossible when cosmologists can't agree on such equally fantastic topics as the multiverse. On the other hand, if there's an error in my thinking I'd like to know about that as well. It would save me a lot of work.
    I look forward to any enlightenment anyone has to offer. Reponses from Susskind, Thorne and Penrose especially welcome. ;)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 16, 2015 #2
    Welcome to PF!
  4. Jan 16, 2015 #3
  5. Jan 16, 2015 #4


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    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
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