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What Are Ghosts? - The Stone Tape Ghost Theory

Updated on October 27, 2019

Harry Martindale was an apprentice plumber. As an 18 year old, this was one of his first solo jobs, and it happened to to be in one of the most haunted buildings in York, England, called the Treasurer's House. The treasurer's house has a long history of strange goings on, with many people claiming to see and hear many strange things. It was a cold morning in 1953 and Martindale was installing a new central heating system in the cellar of the Treasurer's House. While he was working on the central heating system, he started to hear a sound that sounded like someone blowing a horn. He carried on working, thinking it was a noise coming from somewhere outside the cellar, but he noticed that the noise was getting louder and louder.

Suddenly a huge horse emerged from the wall pulling a cart, with what looked like a soldier inside the cart. More soldiers followed on foot, all carrying weapons and wearing helmets. He watched them in utter disbelief as they came out of the brick wall. He could see them clearly, but it seemed like they could not see him. Another thing Martindale noticed was he could only see them from the knees up. As they reached the center of the cellar, they emerged into a recently excavated area and it was clear that they were walking on the old Roman road buried 15 inches below the surface. Martindale quickly ran up the stairs in sheer panic, and was meet by the house's curator who said “you've seen the Roman soldiers haven't you?”

The Stone Tape theory is a theory that ghost sightings are recordings that are somehow stored in the surroundings, and replayed under certain conditions. Parapsychologist Thomas Charles Lethbridge came up with the Stone Tape theory in 1961. He strongly believed that all ghost sightings were non-inactive recordings. When you read about what Harry Martindale experienced in the cellar of the Treasurer's House, you can see how this theory could hold some truth to it. But, while this theory explains certain cases, it does not explain all ghost sightings. There are many sightings that involve some sort of interaction. Phantom hitch-hiker cases are a good example.

Peddars Lane is in a place called Stanbridge, very close to Leighton Buzzard in the UK. Roy Fulton was driving down Peddars Lane at around 9.20 P.M., when he noticed someone thumbing a lift. Being the person he was, he stopped his van to give the person a ride. The man was not very old, maybe in his early twenties. The man opened the passenger door himself and got into the car. Like most phantom hitch-hiker cases, the man did not speak, even when Peddars asked where he was heading, he just raised his arm and pointed up the road. After a couple of miles, Fulton decided to offer him a cigarette. When he turned to face the man, he was gone. He was so freaked out and scared, he drove home as fast as he could. Fulton said the man looked real, meaning he was solid, just like any other person. The only thing he noticed was the man was quite pale.

I thought I would share just one case that shows a suspected ghost interacting with a living person, and there are many cases out there like this, and that is the reason why I believe the Stone Tape theory is not responsible for all ghost sightings.

But is there any scientific basis for the Stone Tape theory? The short answer is no. There is just no evidence that structures, be it cellar walls, or a room in a house, can somehow hold information like this, then play it. Some have suggested that iron oxide particles within structures could somehow store information. They say this because iron oxide particles are used to store information on video and audio tape. The problem with this theory, is that a lot more goes into this process than just iron oxide particles. For starters, an electro-mechanical mechanism would be needed to ensure the structure is passed through an electro-magnetic field that would change the magnetization of the iron oxide within the structure. Only then would it be possible to store sounds and images. So, can a normal structure do this? Evidence tells us no.

James Randi

Could water be an explanation for these sightings? Surprisingly, there are scientists out there that believe that water can hold thoughts and emotions. Researchers at the Heartmath Research Centre in America have been doing experiments with water, and they have been able to detect and also measure the capacity of water to amplify weak electromagnetic fields. Amazingly, they found that the electromagnetic field produced by the human heart, can be detected in a glass of water placed several feet away. If that was not amazing enough, they also demonstrated that water exposed to weak electromagnetic fields had the property of amplifying the signal many times. Exciting stuff, I'm sure you will agree, but more research needs to be done to see if there is a connection between water and these recorded sightings. James Randi, one of the most famous skeptics in the world had this to say about water and recorded sightings..

"Whatever the actual ability of water to retain some form of emotional information turns out to be, it is clear that water on its own can never be a simple answer to the creation of recording ghosts (if they themselves actually exist!). If that were the case then we must surely be inundated with spooky recordings being played back. There must be other, as yet undiscovered factors that need to be considered. Lethbridge suggested that weather conditions may be significant; he noted that experiences seemed to be stronger when the air was still and humidity levels were high. Substantial evidence for the ability of water to be able to develop a memory in the first place remains inconclusive but it is intriguing how many results from experiments in a number of labs seem to demonstrate this ability. A Google search using the search words "Water Memory" will provide the reader with a clear indication of just how much work is being carried out."

Does water have memory?

So, we have some very interesting theories on what could be causing these sightings. I just find the whole subject fascinating because if recorded ghosts are real, and we found a way to make them appear at will, you can imagine the history lessons of the future. You will not be looking at drawings in a book on Romans, you would be actually seeing them! Also, imagine what this would mean when it comes to certain crimes. Imagine if we could playback the crime scene and see it unfold before our eyes. I am sure you will agree, that it has huge potential for many things. But, at the moment, we just have witnesses and no evidence of a playback actually occurring.

It would be interesting to know if anyone who reads this, has had a ghostly experience. If so, I would love to read about your sighting.


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