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Ghosts & Hauntings

Ghost

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Ghosts are said to manifest in many different ways. Image Credit: Pixabay / darksouls1
FACTUAL ANALYSIS: While some ghost stories and examples of paranormal phenomena have conventional explanations, given how little we know about what happens after we die, it is impossible to definitively debunk the existence of ghosts. It is perhaps the purest of all mysteries and a topic that repeatedly brings up existential questions that have endured for as long as there have been people around to debate them.
A ghost (from the German geist) is generally defined as being the disembodied spirit (or soul) of a deceased person or animal. Ghosts have been an integral part of folklore and spiritual beliefs in countries all across the world for thousands of years and this is still true today.

A belief in ghosts typically suggests a belief in the idea that one's soul persists after death and can not only return to the world of the living, but even interactive with it in a limited capacity. The exact mechanism through which this is possible, as well as the nature and capabilities of such entities, tend to vary depending on the cultural background and spiritual beliefs of the individual.

The umbrella term for such beliefs is Spiritualism, but there are multiple variations.
Sightings and Experiences

Ghosts are thought to manifest in several different ways and there are many people who have had personal experiences, either during visits to purportedly haunted locations or even within their own home.

A ghost that is directly observed (or 'apparition') will typically appear as the deceased individual did in life, however there are also stories of wisp-like and dark, shadow-like forms as well. Ghosts observed in castles or other old buildings are often reported to be wearing period dress consistent with that location's history, suggesting that perhaps they had died there long ago.

Another common way that people experience ghosts is through anomalous sounds. This can take the form of footsteps, tapping sounds and other noises with no apparent, explainable source.

Many experiencers also recall feeling the sensation of a presence, anomalous cold spots or even the feeling of being physically touched. Some report a strange sense of dread or happiness associated with a specific spot in a building or location that may have some relation to the deceased individual.

There are even those who claim to have directly interacted with spirits, either through tools such as a Ouija board, during a seance or through some form of psychic connection.

Ultimately, however, such sightings and experiences are often highly personal and subjective, making it very difficult to share them with others save for word of mouth.

As things stand, the general consensus among scientists is that ghosts do not exist, yet there are still a great number of people who believe that they do.

According to a 2009 study by Pew Research Center, 18% of Americans believe that they have seen a ghost.

Related content:

Encyclopedia

  • Ghost Photography (Classic), the process of capturing photographic evidence of spirits.
  • Ghost Box, a device designed by Frank Sumption that used EVP to communicate with spirits.

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