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Ghosts, Spooks and Apparitions

Updated on January 8, 2016

"It is the secret of the world that all things subsist, and do not die, but only retire a little from sight, and afterwards return again." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many people swear to have had encounters with ghosts, spooks, apparitions or whatever other names they may go by. Are they telling the truth or are they made up tall tales told to entertain? Are they demons, deceased human spirits somehow trapped in our plane of existence without a body or the product of a fertile, imaginative mind? And if an encounter was experienced, what proof was offered to substantiate the claim? These are questions that demand an answer.

But, to answer these questions, it must be established what the definition of these entities are supposed to be. According to Wikipedia Free Dictionary “…a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living.” However, this definition comes from the minds of men, so how can it be proven? The only logical answer, it would seem, would be the bible.

“They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." Luke 24:37.

In this scripture we see the apostles believed there were ghosts. Before identifying himself, the apostles didn’t refer to what they saw as a demon. They had dealings with those in the past so knew what they were seeing wasn’t a demon. They thought they had seen a ghost, which according to this event would not have had flesh or bone and must have existed even then.

But, what if someone doesn’t believe in the bible, or is an atheist…how are these phenomenon explained then? We can only rely on what people report, hazy videos and photographs, taped recordings and the like submitted by those who claim to have had an encounter or so called modern day ghost hunters. Why so called? Can’t any or all of this kind of evidence be faked? Photos can, recordings could have been made by living voices and reports can easily be made up stories. So, if we dismiss the bible accounts, of which there are many, we’re left with basically hearsay. That being said, here is what people generally claim they are.

The popular explanation assumes a ghost is a spirit. However, this concept is not actually supported by evidence obtained from actual ghost and haunting investigations. A haunting is defined as unexplained experiences generally associated with a specific physical location and can occur at any time of day or night. A haunting lasts only a very short time,usually seconds not minutes.

Reportedly, they inhabit places where they lived, worked or were associated with and appear as figures clothed in fashions of the era they died in. Descriptions of ghosts vary greatly. Some describe them as transparent mists, others say they appear as normal human beings or animals and frequently just suddenly vanish as quickly as they appeared.

Many parapsychologists believe ghosts are apparitions of deceased people and are the energy, spirit and personality of a person who has died. They are either stuck in this plane of existence or have intentionally decided to stay behind.

Noted ghost hunter Hans Holzer says "A ghost is a human being who has passed out of the physical body, usually in a traumatic state and is usually not aware of his true condition.

In conclusion it boils down to many theories and no hard concrete scientific proof. But there will always be those who will swear with their dying breath ghosts exist…at which time they might actually find out.


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    • JY3502 profile image

      John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      JamaGenee, Did you see this ghost, or did everyone else say they had? I once thought one was in my bedroom in the middle of the night and I could hear clanking noises like pots being banged together. And I was paralyzed with fear for about 5 minutes. But, I could have been having a nightmare and woke up. I really don't know. It was about 30 years ago when I was in my early 20s.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Am I correct in assuming you've personally never seen a ghost? My former boss adamantly refused to believe ghosts exist until she encountered one outside the elevator in our office building, a woman she believed to be someone looking for another office on our floor until she walked through a wall and disappeared! Others working in the building had seen this woman many times and, like my boss, didn't realize she was a ghost until she simply evaporated in front of them.