Ghosts, spirits, demons, specters, phantoms, shadow figures, souls, or wraiths… the list goes on as to what some describe as paranormal. According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll posted in a USA Today post, approximately 45% believe in ghosts. What about you? Do you believe in ghosts?
From the poll, 32% believe ghosts can hurt people while 43% believe they’re harmless. That means, though, that 55% believe that ghosts don’t exist. If true, then what about all the reportings? You know the ones. SyFy has made a bundle off the idea. From Ghost Hunters to their spawning creations of Kindred Spirits, Ghost Nation, and The Dead Files, ghosts capture the imagination.
If Ghosts Aren’t Real, Then Are We Hallucinating?
But what if you’re among the naysayers? For theory’s sake, let’s explore. Say that ghosts don’t exist. Then how do you explain away all the reports? What about the voices and photos caught on tape or recording devices?
Scientists have tried to explain such phenomenon away for centuries. According to an NBC News Report back in 2009, some skeptics suggest that people hallucinate. They use the terms hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, meaning that you see things when trying to fall asleep or wake up.
Ever heard about “waking dreams?” What about “sleep paralysis?”
But we can’t all be dreaming, right? Think about it. Are that many people sleep walking or dreaming these things? Nightmares I get, but when waking from one, I immediately know it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Can we really be “dreaming” for a minute or two, standing up while “hallucinating” our dead relative or someone else, to then instantaneously “wake?”
Coming from a science background, this sounds far-fetched. I’ve researched night terrors, nightmares, sleep walking, and sleep paralysis, and they do exist, but to explain away the entire notion of ghosts by using the above seems a little too unscientific in my opinion.
And I reiterate, what about the recorded phenomenon? Numerous video recordings exist depicting embodied voices, misty apparitions and the like. These same skeptics believe them to be created by pranksters, environmental quirks, and, as stated before, hallucinations.
Sure, some people use Photoshop to alter photographs, and sounds can be easily manipulated and created. However, are we to believe that every last one of these reports holds no merit?
Seeing Is Believing
A duck is a duck, right? If it walks like one, quacks like one, then it is a duck. Unless, of course, it’s not. At least, that’s what some would like to believe. And please for all that’s sacred, if you don’t believe in ghosts, then fine. We’re good. I’m just coming at this from all angles. The idea fascinates me, and so I bring it to you good folks.
Again, let’s take this from a skeptic’s viewpoint. What would it take to convince you that ghosts exist? Seeing one? I’ve heard that “seeing is believing.”
When I was little, something happened while I was in my brother’s room that sent my pulse galloping like a hundred stallions. No, I wasn’t supposed to be in there, but I was. He had a cool room. What can I say?
Anyway, I was admiring his cool rock fossil, one of a fish, when the antique radio situated on his waist-high bookcase started emitting white noise. The turn dial kept spinning like someone was trying to find a radio station except I was the only one in the room.
Oh, did I mention that the “guts” of the radio were missing?
Yep, the radio was playing sound/tunes with no internal parts. Was I hallucinating? Didn’t feel like it. Was I suddenly plunged into a “waking dream” or hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucination?
The skeptics would say, “Yes,” but I say otherwise. It happened. My brother was out of the house at an event, my sister was also absent, and my dad was off on business. That left my mom, and I can assure you that she wasn’t and isn’t prone to pranking her children or any other person for that matter.
Was it my age? I don’t believe so. Sure, kids can be impressionable, but ghosts??? Dials turning of their own accord??? Loud sounds emitting from a defunct radio???
Nope. I call it paranormal.
Now, skeptics will argue about the hallucinations, that I was a kid prone to an overactive imagination, but what about the other times in my life that “strange” things happened? How do they explain those away?
For those of us that have experienced paranormal activity, we believe. Nothing can be said to convince us otherwise. When it’s scientifically unexplainable, then there’s only one answer.
Like it or not, lots of people believe in the paranormal. Are we crazy, or tricked by the environment like a mirage of water in the desert? Maybe. But, maybe not.
Another example… when I was on my way to surgery in January, I was naturally apprehensive. Who likes surgery, right? As we were driving down the road, I thought of my deceased grandfather, my bestefar. While I never got to meet him, I think of him when distressed and it gives me strength and solace. Anyway, we were driving and I silently asked him to show me a sign if he was with me. Within ten minutes a delivery truck passed us on the interstate. My young son, sitting in the back seat, leaned forward, pointed his little finger, and said, “Momma, look! It’s a raven!”
My heart flipped flopped as I stared wide-eyed at where he pointed. There, painted on the back of the delivery truck, was a large black raven. It even said something about ravens on the logo. My jaw hit the floor.
Why, you ask? Because I associate ravens with my grandfather. Always have. Always will.
I could go on and on about experiences that I’ve had. One time I was in intensive care with a brain bleed, and a neurosurgeon had told me that I might die. Jeez, how I prayed. I thought of my young son, my husband, my parents and siblings… I thought about a lot. Morning came and in I was whisked to have an angiogram. This time I’d gotten a great neurosurgeon, one that had the best bedside manner. Anyhow, I couldn’t be sedated. So there I was, flat on my back, scared and vulnerable on an operating room table, when who did I see? My other grandfather.
Yep. He smiled down at me and made me feel like everything would be okay. From that point on, I relaxed. And you know what? He was right. I survived. Was that a hallucination? Some would say so, but not me.
Seeing is believing.
I’m thankful for the times my deceased loved ones have watched over me, and I know that some people don’t believe. That’s okay, too. Whatever works for you. As for me, I welcome the smiles, the winks, the gentle squeeze of my hand whenever it’s offered.
Now, what about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? I love to hear from you. Better yet, I love good discussions. Please comment below or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time,