Why i don't believe in ghosts as potrayed in popular culture?

  1. If ghosts could be seen then its obvious that they are emitting visible light,and light is

    nothing both electromagnetic fields.
    which would imply that they are made of physical matter,as everbody knows that electromagnetic

    fields couple to accelerating charges.
    What is even more ridiculous is that ghost in popular culture are potrayed in clothes as if

    clothes have the same kind of after life as the person.
    If ghosts exist then they are disembodied concious enities.
    And conciousness is not physical which means it cannot interact with physical matter,unless you

    take the materialist point of view.
    I am neither a materialist nor a cartesian dualist but i find both point of views equally

    But one thing im convinced about is that ghosts if they exist are not visble to the human eye as

    they are disembodied conciousness.(assuming that you take the dualist point of view).
  2. jcsd
  3. Our minds can play all kinds of tricks on us. And if coupled with beliefs systems, and emotions could really fool people. One common theme in reports of seeing ghosts is that there is a component of fear associated with the event, and occurs in a dark setting.

    My hypothesis is that during the caveman times it was a way to prevent the huntsman from venturing into a cave or woods alone to avoid danger.
  4. Mech_Engineer

    Mech_Engineer 2,347
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    Not that I necessarily believe in ghosts, but your logic is flawed right from the get-go...

    Who's to say they have to emit light? Why wouldn't they be reflecting or refracting existing light?

    That is to say the least a poor definition of light. I'm not sure I see the point of this thread, and you definitely haven't "proven" anything in it...
  5. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,537
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    By definition, ghosts are, at best meta-physical. I am fairly certain that people who believe in ghosts aren't going to be stopped by arguments involving EM emissions.

    Your post could have been shortened to "The reason I don't believe on ghosts is because I am rational and believe on the laws of physics."
  6. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
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    I think we need to be a little more specific about what we mean. By ghosts do we mean the souls of the dead, or other exotic notions such as transdimensional entities, or do we mean possibly something that we don't understand, without trying to assign explanations? Or is it the position of everyone here that it is absolutely impossible that there might be something real involvled with some ghost reports - something that we simply don't understand?

    First we need some definitions. What specific alleged types of occurances are we talking about?
  7. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Some people think that the images we see of "ghosts" are some kind of playback, which is why they are simply images and reflect the clothing, but the image does nothing. It is why the image is not of a dead person, but a snapshot of an instance when that person was alive.

    I've been wanting to bring up all of the things that modern "paranormal investigators" accept as proof of hauntings like cold temperatures, emf readings, orbs, etc... Just exactly when were any of these things proven to be associated with a verified haunting? :biggrin: They take these things as gospel and even teach courses about these things.

    This doesn't mean that I don't believe there isn't something out there we don't understand because, like Ivan, I had something happen that I cannot explain. I was 42 years old when it happened. Ok, I was taking a basket of laundry into my daughter's bedroom, when a white kitten I owned tried to run in through the door with me. My daughter was allergic to cats and would not let them in her room, so when the kitten started to run in, I stuck my foot out to block it. It dodged my foot a few times then hit my ankle as it darted into the room past me and ran straight under her bed. I pushed the door behind me closed with my foot. Dropped the basket of laundry down and went to the bed and got down on my hands and knees so I could grab the kitten.

    No kitten.

    I searched the entire room, including the closet.

    No kitten.

    I searched the entire house.

    No kitten.

    I looked outside, there it was.

    Then I remembered the other white kitten that had died 3 months earlier.

    I was doing laundry on a bright, sunny day. Not thinking of anything except putting away my daughter's clothes at that moment.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  8. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,537
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  9. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

  10. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
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    The "ghostly encounter" that my wife and I had involved two distinct events and one long-term oddity.

    My wife was out of town and I had just gone to bed, when somebody sat on the bed between my legs. At first I thought it was one of our two cats, but I saw that they were both where I thought they were - at the head of the bed. So I looked toward the foot of the bed expecting to see that someone was there. In fact I remember thinking that it might be some kind of maniac who had broken into the apartment. I remember thinking that I was probably in for the fight of my life. But when I looked down, nothing was there! I could still feel it sitting there, but... yep, hmmm, there it is, I can feel it, but I can't see it.

    After taking a moment for this all to register, the reality of the situation sank in and I flew out of that bed. I spent most the rest of the night lying on the couch and staring down the hall; trying to figure out what the hell I had just experienced. In the end it was just too strange so I opted not to tell my wife. And even by the next morning, my own mind was trying very hard to dismiss the entire event. The day did seem surreal as I knew that it did happen, but at the same time, it really is amazing how quickly we will try to rationalize something like this. And even stranger is that although I had no doubt that what I experienced was real, later, when I heard other people telling similar stories, I would react as before - oh sure sure sure. Then I would realize that my story would sound just as ridiculous!

    But here's the real kicker: Even though I had never told my wife about all of this, when I was gone a few weeks later, she had an almost identical experience. I had just driven for eight hours to my parent’s house. Upon my arrival, I called Tsu to let her know I was there. When she answered the phone, her voice was shaking, she was clearly upset, and she proceeded to tell me what had happened. In her case, she felt it "sit" right next to her.

    Only then did I admit to my own experience. So I enjoy a rare luxury. I had a sort of independent confirmation of my own experience by someone who didn't know anything about it.

    We each had the one “sitting” experience and that was it.

    Allegedly related [in ghostly terms], we also experienced a recurring, inexplicable odor - the intense, sweet smell of flowers. The odor would suddenly fill the room, linger for perhaps a few minutes, and then go away in an instant. We lived in an apartment with a dedicated A/C system with no forced air exchange to the outside. And although it might be possible for a smell for permeate the apartment, say from an apartment below, to me it seemed impossible for the smell dissipate so quickly. For example, if I opened a bottle of perfume and let the smell fill the room, it might take an hour to air the room out again; even with the window open. Also, sometimes the smell was in the living room, and sometimes it was just in the bedroom. This was also seemingly inexplicable given the intensity of the odor.

    Obviously I don’t know that the odor was in any way related to the “sitting”, but since smells are often associated with “hauntings”, and since it did seem to defy explanation, we have always tended to link the experiences. We continued to smell the flowers on occasion until we moved a year or so later. It was a unique experience for both of us – nothing like it before or since.

    Now, I realize that to a person reading this, it is just another ghost story. And I realize that the immediate assumption is that either I was mistaken, or that I am lying. But it is the gospel truth. I can only say that you enjoy the luxury of doubt that I don’t. I know what happened. It was just as real as any other real experience in life. And it did change my life. I can’t deny what I experienced.

    To this day I use my experience to gauge the truth of stories told by others. There are certain emotions that go along with something like this. They are emotions that AFAIK are unique. When I listen to someone describe an alleged inexplicable event, I sometimes detect that same emotion in their voice and on their face. When I hear or see this, it is very difficult to dismiss their story. I don't think anyone can relate to this unless they too have experienced the seemingly inexplicable. I don't think you can fake it.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  11. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
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    Oh yes, after a time I finally went to the apartment managers and asked if they were aware of any unusual occurances in the apartemnt complex. I wasn't able to convey the essense of my question without spilling the beans, so I finally admitted that we had some unusual experiences in our apartment. Without hesitation, they informed me that the apartment was haunted. Experiences like ours were somewhat common in the complex. She said that it was the ghost of her mother.

    The managers were an older married couple. They invited me in and proceeded to show me an entire library on the paranormal. The wife looked at me and told me not to worry. "Good ghosts smell like flowers, and bad ghosts smell like sh*t", she whispered.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  12. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,537
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    Heh. And now we have a hypothesis about the origins of the mysterious odor ... your apt. managers.
  13. I would guess that if you ask one hundred people in the street if they had ever experienced a ghostly encounter, ninetyfive would say they had. Very few of them would talk about an Elizabethan character with his head beneath his arm, or dragging a ball and chain around.
    However, they would try to convince you that their story is true - because they believe it to be so.

    Many years ago, I dabbled with Ouija boards; perhaps I should say I became addicted as the months wore on. I experienced things that left me in no doubt that 'something' was happening beyond my powers of explanation. Without breaching terms of confidentiality, I was both obliged by law, and frightened off further participation. I know that there is a certain reality there somewhere.

    I was frequently asked to 'prove' that 'spirits', the 'after-life', 'ghosts' etc exist. This was impossible, but I could always ask them if they were aware of a 'presence' when they entered into a room where somebody had passed away. Most of us are somehow able to sense a 'presence' in such circumstances - but what is it? Is there something embodied in the walls? I am unable to explain it further.

    Thousands of years ago, clay jars were turned on primitive potter's wheels. The turners used their fingers to add decorative grooves. It has been suggested that if these grooves could be 'read', similar to a stylus on a 78rpm record, then the sounds that were around those potters from thousands of years ago could themselves be heard. Too far fetched to be believable? I don't think so.

    Have I ever seen a ghost? No. Have I ever seen an unexplained manifestation? Yes, with cats amongst other things. My wife and I have seen the same cat, and at the same time - which had died some months earlier - walk through our front room.

    Imagine, if you will, being able to talk to a Victorian gentleman in the middle of a field. Somehow, you have managed to bring him forward in time.
    You now introduce him to a radio. He hears voices - but is unable to explain them. You show him a portable television - how can he accept such a concept? You hand him a mobile telephone - he has no terms of reference to be able to comprehend what he can clearly hear and see.
    Perhaps we are so close to explaining something that is all around us, but we cannot yet 'receive' it.
  14. statdad

    statdad 1,478
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    Why not believe that ghosts are the souls of the departed? Other than the fact there is no evidence that souls exist, none.
  15. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
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    As I said, what made that part very mysterious wasn't just the odor, it was the fact that I could see no way for the odor to suddenly manifest, and then to dissipate as quickly. And it was very intense. The room smelled like someone had spilled a flowery perfume.

    I have told this story a few times here. At one point Zooby had the managers hiding under my bed.

    It was a waterbed. There was no "under". :rolleyes:
  16. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,537
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    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - A.C.C. :biggrin:

    Seriously though.

    The fundamental difference here, is that this Victorian gentleman can apply science to his mystery*. He can repeat his experiments and verify them. He can give them to someone else who, with his notes, can independently verify his experiments.

    This is what puts it within the realm of science.

    The big problem with ghostly manifestations is that they do not lend themselves to scientific investigation. And, until they do, they fall into the realm metaphysics.

    * and before you rebutt with suggesting you take the device away before he can study it, well - now you're manipulating him and interfering with his efforts.
  17. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    And that never stopped Zooby from insisting this was the cause.

    Yeah, I don't expect anyone to believe me, or even be able to comprehend.

    When I realized that I had been playfully "fighting" this kitten with my foot, trying repeatedly to block him so I could close the door, then watch him run straight ahead of me and under the bed, and trapping him inside the room with me, only to find that I was completely alone. I cannot describe how the realization that I had been touching and watching something that wasn't there made me feel. I sat down and called my daughter and told her that I had just witnessed something I would swear was impossible.
  18. Again, I love the logic of some people

    "Something happened that I didn't know the explanation to right away, therefore it's paranormal!"

    I mean come on, are people that impatient?
  19. I believe you Evo, and Ivan that you have encountered a mysterious phenomena. However, I doubt it has anything to do with the supernatural.

    In Evo's case, you claimed to have seen a cat in your house. I can relate to that too. I've never had a cat before, and one day out of the blue a cat crept to my parent's house through an open front door. When I noticed it, it ran like hell back where it came from. No big deal. Cats like to wander around the neighborhood alot.

    But since your cat died, and left great memories, you have mapped the experience with the cat you saw to your own cat that died. It's sort of like a confirmation bias.

    What are some facts about cats? They are extremely stealthy. Why don't we hear stories that a rottweiler pops up a couple months after died? Cats are also territorial. Perhaps it showed up in your house to check up on old buddy.
  20. Ivans story has the component of fear. So much so that you didn't want to go back to your bed and slept on the couch as a result.

    A possible reason is that the amygdala been has been stimulated, which is the primitive part of the brain responsible for some of the instinct reactions such as fear.

    I'm not sure what exact mechanism is responsible for your experience, but looks like you went into some kind of a self induced hypnotic trance at the time.

    Also if you look at other unrelated effects of the brain such as deja-vu or schizophrenia, you can get an idea what the brain is capable of. And alot of communications between humans is nonverbal.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  21. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    No, there was not a cat in the house. All doors and windows closed. Also, no emotional attachment to the dead cat. I lived in a rural area, it was a stray that I had been feeding only a couple of weeks, along with dozens of others that came and went, which is why I had completely forgotten about it.

    And the cat would have been in a small bedroom with me, it wasn't a cat I just thought I saw slinking around in a big house.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    I'm not making any claims as to what caused it, just that it happened. I ruled out everything logical, believe me, I went through everything many times. If it hadn't run directly in front of me and under the bed against the wall directly ahead of me, wth the only door behind me that I shut as it went under the bed, it would have left that option for it to have run off and hidden, and I would have to say I couldn't be certain. In this case, I am certain, which is what causes me to question what the heck I had been hitting with my foot. Like Ivan said, I don't expect anyone to understand or believe, I wouldn't believe someone else if they told me this. I'm just relating what happened and now understand that when someone says they've experienced something they can't explain, I know how odd it feels. (I don't believe in an afterlife, btw) I can't swear it was a kitten either, I just assumed it was, since I had a white kitten at the time.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
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