The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Physics Proves the Existence of Ghosts?

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 24, 2011

I’ve blogged here before about “professional” ghost-hunters and their woo.  And in many cases I have taken such “professionals” to task for not really following any kind of decent, consistent protocols (such as knowing how their instrumentation works, duh) but instead favoring stories that seem to be a combination of the Blair-Witch Project and various kinds of techno-babble.  But now I just have to mention a couple of things about how many ghost-hunters just seem to get basic physics (pardon the pun) dead wrong.

My skeptical colleague Ben Radford recently wrote an article for on this very point…

Do Einstein’s Laws Prove Ghosts Exist?

… Despite years of efforts by ghost hunters on TV and in real life, we still do not have good proof that ghosts are real. Many ghost hunters believe that strong support for the existence of ghosts can be found in modern physics. Specifically, that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, offered a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts. …

Now hold on a minute.  As we’ve seen before, it is not uncommon for pseudoscientists and cranks of all kinds to try glomming onto Einstein’s coat-tails as one of the most well-known and respected scientists of the 20th century as a way of trying to gain traction for their ideas.  It is as if they think that by simply invoking Einstein’s name and theories, despite the fact that they have no real understanding of those theories, that it will somehow, magically make them correct.  Of course, this simply displays a fundamental flaw in the thinking of ghost-hunters, because it shows they have no real knowledge of how science (much less physics) works.

Specifically, in this case the ghost-hunters are claiming that Einstein’s theory of relativity “proves” the existence of ghosts:

… For example, ghost researcher John Kachuba, in his book “Ghosthunters” (2007, New Page Books), writes, “Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. … So what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy. What is that new energy? … Could we call that new creation a ghost?”

This idea shows up — and is presented as evidence for ghosts — on virtually all ghost-themed websites as well. For example, a group called Tri County Paranormal states, “Albert Einstein said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. When we are alive, we have electrical energy in our bodies. … What happens to the electricity that was in our body, causing our heart to beat and making our breathing possible? There is no easy answer to that.” … [emphasis added]

Actually, the answer is pretty easy, as long as you understand how energy is related to matter as outlined in Einstein’s theory.  It can all be summed up in what is probably the most well-known, but one of the least understood, equations in all of science…

E = mc2

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

… also known as the mass-energy equivalence formula. The equation basically states that matter is a form of energy, and it quantifies the amount of energy bound up in a certain amount of matter (if you want to calculate it, E stands for energy in Joules, m is mass in kilograms, and c is the speed of light – equal to about 300,000,000 meters/second).  We know this formula is an accurate representation of reality because we have performed numerous experiments where matter is annihilated into pure energy (and vice versa), which confirms this equation.  Not to mention, we have technology – such as nuclear power plants and PET scans – which operates based upon the physics summed up in this equation.

So when the ghost-hunters are talking about the “energy” of a person going off into some ethereal realm to form a ghost, I think they are simply making stuff up and abusing Einstein’s famous equation.  That’s because when someone dies, the matter (i.e. energy) forming the person’s body is simply redistributed when they decay away into the environment.  I like the way that Ben Radford puts it:

… After a person dies, the energy in his or her body goes where all organisms’ energy goes after death: into the environment. When a human dies, the energy stored in his or her body is released in the form of heat, and transferred into the animals that eat us (i.e., wild animals if we are left unburied, or worms and bacteria if we are interred), and the plants that absorb us. If we are cremated, the energy in our bodies is released in the form of heat and light.

When we eat dead plants and animals, we are consuming their energy and converting it for our own use. Food is metabolized when digested, and chemical reactions release the energy the animal needs to live, move, reproduce, etc. That energy does not exist in the form of a glowing, ghostly ball of electromagnetic energy, but rather in the form of heat and chemical energy.

Many ghost hunters say they can detect the electric fields created by ghosts. And while it’s true that the metabolic processes of humans and other organisms actually do generate very low-level electrical currents, these are no longer generated once the organism dies. Because the source of the energy stops, the electrical current stops — just as a light bulb turns off when you switch off the electricity running to it. …

Let’s think about it this way: if ghost-hunters were correct that a spiritual realm indeed exists and is populated by the “energy” given off by someone when they die (that is, ghosts being a manifestation of this “energy”), then this poses some pretty sticky questions for the ghost-hunters.  First, how much “energy” does it take to make a ghost?  And, in relation to this question, exactly how much matter from a dead body must be somehow annihilated to form this mysterious “ghost energy”, since we know that mass and energy are interchangeable?  And if, by some miracle, ghost-hunters actually are able to somehow quantify either of the above questions (they haven’t), do they have any way to empirically prove that 1) such a transfer of matter into pure energy indeed takes place and 2) provide an explanation for a physical mechanism which would facilitate such an transfer?

Not to mention, there are other problems.  For instance, if people keep dying and this keeps on generating ghosts and disembodied spirits formed out of “energy” which previously existed in the form of living beings, then eventually would we not have some kind of massive “energy crisis” with too much energy supposedly filling up the spiritual realm at the expense of the physical world?  And if this spirit world really is populated by “ghost energy”, wouldn’t all of the supposed interactions between ghosts and the physical world be generating a helluva lot of entropy, speeding up the onset of the heat death of the universe?!  Wow, and I thought dealing with the future production and distribution of oil was problematic!

In conclusion, it seems clear to me that when ghost-hunters try to talk physics, they just end up looking stupid.  They have nothing even closely resembling a coherent theory, they have no consistent protocols, they have no solid definitions (just try asking one of them to provide a clear-cut definition of a “ghost”!)  What they do have is over-active imaginations and over-blown stories which they think is all that is necessary to do science.  And science just doesn’t work that way.

34 Responses to “Physics Proves the Existence of Ghosts?”

  1. […] more here: Physics Proves the Existence of Ghosts? « The Skeptical Teacher Share and […]

  2. Tom said

    Yeah well, they said Galileo was wrong too! (Kidding! Nice writeup Matt)

  3. Lenny said

    While I totally agree with the idea, I don’t think your line of thought will convince people. Mainly because they are talking about the energy in our brains. Sorry, English isn’t my native language, so I am fishing for the right words ATM. The EEG measures electrical activity in our brain. I think that it’s that energy they are talking about.

    While the answer remains the same (heat) I think that the line of thought is more important in this case. ;)

    Thanks for your blog,

  4. brandy said

    I have a ghost following me its a good ghost

  5. hari said

    what about the animals

  6. Roger said

    “Ha HA Ha! Look at me! Im Laughing at you because you believe in ghosts!”….. Ok I understand Where you are comming from. I really really do. You have the inability to belive in something you cant experience with your 5 basic senses. I really do feel sorry for you, just because you are dogmatic. You choose not to believe in an afterlife because it (so far) cannot be proven. However it can not be dissproven. Instead of waisting you’re time making fun of people who are not so rooted in science, why dont you take some time to devlop a scientific way to disprove that a person’s conciousness does not carry on after death. While quantum mechanics says we should hae every reason to believe that it is not only possible, it is probable. I really dont mind skeptics, but i dont like the snide remarkes some of you make. Rather than trying to help educate in a constructive way, you put people down.

    By the way.. A ghost is the still existing conciousness of a person after they’re physical body passes on.

    I could talk about this all day, and throw soo many differnt things at you, but i have more important things to do. please, if you would like to discuss this more, feel free to email me.

    • HunterBuck said

      Nobody has to have to disprove anything. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim which in this case is an afterlife. If I told you I had an invisible gnome living in my ass you wouldn’t have to disprove it. Keep in mind that the more extraordinary the claim the more evidence you need. Evidence that will of course not be found because it doesn’t exist.

    • Jon A. said

      I was going to say exactly what HunterBuck said but he put the nail in the coffin, thank you. Since I don’t want to “WAIST” my time saying more, I’ll say this. please don’t ever go on all day about how you think a ghost is a still existing consciousness of a once physical person. I’m not sure how many of us could endure it that kind of torture.

    • Joe said

      But where does this consciousness get it’s energy and ability to manifest itself? And why aren’t there more tangible cases providing evidence of this consciousness?

      • Jeff said

        I’ve been toying with an idea in my mind for a while about why there is no concrete evidence for ghosts. Legends of past, people we know have had many strange encounters they cannot account for. Now what I have thought about is based in a way to neutrinos as you know billions pass through each one of us every second without us being aware of it, and not only us but the world itself. Ironically nicknamed ghost particles. What if (and unfortunately for now nothing conclusive has been proven) with the Hadron collider and the other particle accelerator experiments going on that we discover the Dark Matter is actually other realities that co-exist with our reality, but like neutrinos pass through us without us being aware if it, maybe other realities co-exist with our own reality, a kind of interwoven reality map of existence. What if ghosts are fluctuations in reality and we cannot read it because it is not stable in our reality. Not so much dead people from beyond the grave but maybe other beings from other realms, that through anomalies in gravity or the electromagnetic fields or some more exotic field which we do not understand yet. It is also possible that ghosts are effects upon the mind which we don’t fully understand yet, hence why some people can see them and others cannot. Would also explain why we cannot find readings for it. Maybe some people are more sensitive too to these electromagnetic fields and that is why they can see other realms (almost like conduits). What I don’t like and disagree with is that people dismiss it because they don’t believe. Not very constructive and really is the reason why true research is not really conducted to the best part. Also we don’t truly understand consciousness as of yet which could be a completely new kind of force (maybe an evolutionary process of energy, just like how we evolve on the materialistic level) However even matter is a concentration of energy so what do we fully understand anyway. Those ghost shows though I agree total nonsense. I agree if there was anything in those shows we would have had our answers by now. Energy can change state so maybe it can also slip between realms (think multiverse rather than heaven and hell; and maybe that is what our consciousness does (if it is a force of it’s own) when our body dies. Slips from one form of reality into another. Only ideas but to me to deny something is not very scientific. A scientist should always keep an open mind. With the discovery of the Higgs Boson and more exotic particles and the idea of supersymmetry kind of losing substance we are finding our ideas of reality are not what they seem. After all none of us actually touch anything, not the keys of our computers, our loved ones or the ground we stand on. It is the force between particles we “feel”. We don’t see either, our eyes are simple optical apparatus. Our eyes receives the light and our brains transfers this into information. As we are all different we could technically all be seeing something different even though we are looking at the same things. However that is another topic. Scientific philosophy is cool but as I have stated before we need proper research before we start discounting “ghosts” exist. I think ghosts are very real. Just not your standard image of dead person coming back from the grave. I could be wrong though. However keeping an open mind is better than a closed one. Less chance of getting egg on your face too. Nobody has seen dark matter either just the effects. When people see ghosts it effects them should we just dismiss this simply out of belief? We want to see something but the majority of those who dismiss it are not even looking. And just like dark matter there is nothing conclusive but because science says there “must” be something we accept it. How is that any more logical. People used to scoff at ball lightning too at one point too. Not so much these days.

  7. Mark B said

    Relying on Einstein to disprove ghosts is rather laughable for these and other reasons:,8599,2094665,00.html

  8. synclaire said

    As far as physics, we are not even close to having a complete, understanding of our environment or the complexities of the universe and our relationship within it. We are only beginning to understand the relationship between consciousness and what we perceive as reality.
    In fact our science is in infancy. Today’s brightest hypothesis will be outdated hundreds of years from now.
    We don’t know everything and as long as we arrogantly cling to what we think we know there will not be any advancement in scientific understanding.

    • mattusmaximus said

      So your argument basically boils down to “we don’t know everything about physics, so therefore ghosts are real”. Well, by that ironclad reasoning, we’ve also just proved the existence of leprechauns :)

      • Mark B said

        The argument “we don’t know everything about physics so, therefore, ghosts are NOT real” is worse.

  9. Woody said

    It sounds like a bunch of subjective views being posted in these comments. People are trying to pretty-up their bias with ‘we can’t disprove that, therefore …
    This is a skeptical site, so rather than repeat description for the millionth time of how insisting that skeptics disprove a negative is a really lame and ineffective tactic, i’ll just say;
    Can’t prove, can’t disprove, so we dont know, have no idea except what the many passionate anecdotes tell us. The result for critical thinkers, rational types who don’t like to make stuff up is WE DON’T KNOW. Assume what you want about the fact that we can’t disprove, none of the assumptions is better than another if we have no consistant or even reliable authentic data to judge by. To me not knowing is a perfectly acceptable answer without raising a heap of boring, time-worn-myth material and expecting critical thinkers to take your words to heart.

    I had to get that off my chest, thank you all for reading.

  10. asha said

    dead bodies are convertd into chemical energy and are mixed up with soil …. is it not

    • Mark B said

      Ghosts are just a creation of the fake professionals? I wonder if God is just a creation of some religious nuts. In any case, disproving something by association is not a very strong argument.

  11. One thing that always annoys me about the skeptics and the scientists is their arrogance in assuming that all amateur paranormal investigators are gullible fools. My group is a hobby, but if anything I think we err on the side of skepticism. In 90% of the investigations we do, we get nothing, pro or con. In another 9%, we get results that can possibly be explained applying Occam’s Razor. If there is a possible natural explanation, however farfetched, we dismiss such data. But there’s still that 1% that leaves us wondering not easily explained. We are people of integrity, intelligent even if laymen, and generally well grounded in the sciences. We do not imagine ghosts around every corner.

    Skeptics should also be held to the maxim “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” People have believed in ghosts since the beginning of time, and not all of them were superstitious, gullible fools. I for one would welcome a serious, well funded and and equipped investigation by experts in the sciences, especially physicists, skeptical going in but consciously shedding any overriding bias pro or con. But it seems all that we get is derision and flat denial–minus any attempt to gather objective data–that such phenomena exist.

    It may have been Roger Penrose (not sure about that) who said something like that anyone who claims to really understand quantum physics/theory is a liar.

    A lot of what quantum theory suggests in counterintuitive to say the least–the idea that something can be in two places at once, spooky action, etc. etc. I remember reading a book about black holes–according to the author, beyond the event horizon of such an object, the rules of physics we accept as immutable simply don’t apply. The title of that chapter was evocative if fanciful: “C’thulhu Exists.” My personal feeling is that as we advance in the sciences, scientists will be surprised to find that a lot of phenomena they currently dismiss as superstition are real. If multiple universes do exist, each with their own “immutable” laws of physics, ghosts may simply be the inhabitants of the next universe over accidently manifesting themselves in ours in a way currently unexplanable. Nor does this, in my opinion, preclude the existence of a God/Supreme Being/Creator.

    Perhaps the ultimate skeptic put it best–” I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – J. B. S. Haldane

    • Mark B said

      Yes, Jerry, well said. You mentioned quantum theory and that reminded me statements in the very accessible book, “The Strange Theory of Light and Matter” by Richard Feynman, I read currently. As of today, nobody is able to explain why and how the light interacts with glass as it does in spite it can be presented in simple experiments. In fact, such a fundamental dilemma makes any person stating “when ghost-hunters try to talk physics, they just end up looking stupid” sounds equally inadequate as somebody saying “spooky action at distance is impossible because I do not understand it”. BTW, do you have any website for your group?

  12. vivek said

    if you want to know whether ghost exist o nt kum to mayung assam india…ul knw da real thing there

  13. Daynon Thiessen said

    1 question although this makes perfect sense the 1 thing I’ve never heard people talk about is the essence of the soul. If we are just matter and energy do we all NOT have souls? I believe that when certain individuals whom have had near death experiences say they see a white light, I believe this “light” is the speed of the soul transferring through the atmosphere to… Somewhere I don’t know, and then refreshed and pushed again to find a new vessel(body). The idea of “ghosts” comes into play with the souls that did not manage to make it off the planet and are stuck in a replay of what happened before they died. There is lots of things we don’t know and probably shouldn’t.

    • Marc said

      Hi Daynon, apparently there is a logical explanation for why you’d see a white light on the moment of your death. Apparently the part of your brain responsible for sight is the first part of the brain to die when a person is dieing. So as the sight dimminishes you are more unable to distinguish what you see until all you see is light until it also gets smaller and dissapears. I don’t know the facts for certain, but I had read this somewhere before.

      Hope that helps somewhat.

  14. Spiralina said

    “For instance, if people keep dying and this keeps on generating ghosts and disembodied spirits formed out of “energy” which previously existed in the form of living beings, then eventually would we not have some kind of massive “energy crisis” with too much energy supposedly filling up the spiritual realm at the expense of the physical world? ”

    There is actually a pretty creepy (and good) Japanese horror movie called “Kairo” that deals with this exact question. But yeah, this theory sounds bogus to me. I’m open minded to the possibility of a spiritual world existing, but I highly doubt it will ever be “proven” with science since by definition it’s not physically measurable.

  15. Dfaux said

    The site is called SKEPTICALTEACHER… hence it was started for the SKEPTICS to voice their opinions… feel free to explain with facts any beliefs in ghosts but I do not see how anyone can bitch about skeptical replies or rants when they are on a site for SKEPTICS!!! If this were a site called GHOSTSCIENCE then I might say otherwise ;-)

    • Woody said

      Well said, Dfaux, I’ve been bothered before by people’s arrogant views against skeptics for sharing their views on a sceptical site, then roll their same old story which is supported only by magical supposition and expecting critical thinkers to take their magical stories seriously. It’s good to read your view and I wish that the gullible, believing, skeptic-hating trolls could even understand what you are saying.

      P.S. Where better to share my views, there are about a billion sites that coddle the believers, can’t we appreciated others views too? Their views may or may not be like mine, but I have as much right as they do to voice my thoughts and where better than ‘The Skeptical Teacher’ ?

      • eworkflow said

        For some, however, that “bitching” you relate to, might be grounded in a fundamental philosophical position which states, in the most concise way I can think of, that skepticism does not guarantee accuracy. I can’t even attempt to explain it better than Thomas Reid in the Inquiry into the Human Mind:

        “It is obvious that the natural outcome of this system is scepticism with regard to everything except the existence of our ideas and of the necessary relations amongst them that
        appear when we compare them: because from ideas are the only objects of thought, and ideas have no existence except when we are conscious of them, it necessarily follows that no object of our thought can have a continued and permanent existence. We have been accustomed to regarding body and mind, cause and effect, time and space, as existing independently of our thought; but they are all turned out of existence by this short dilemma: Either these things are ideas of sensation or reflection, or they are not; if they are, they can can’t exist except when we are conscious of them; if they are not, they are words without any meaning.”

  16. physicist said

    WOW I cant believe how stupid this argument is … yes Einstein did state that energy conserves in our universe.. do u even know what energy is? Energy is not “in our body” like a supposedly a “SOUL”.energy is nothing near soul. Energy that humans have is contained in chemical form so its part of our body. These chemical dont disappear when u die. They stay in u. Think about it. If u die and a lion eats u then that lion will obtain energy. According to u that lion wont obtain energy by eating the corpse hahaha. Reason why we arent conscious and mobile is because molacular structure of the brain changes when blood circulation gets impeded which makes u loose consciousness. Cant believe there r ppl reading this and thinking its logical.

  17. Jeff said

    Ghosts ARE real. Over the centuries billions of people have seen them. However WHAT ghosts are should be debated. Personally I don’t think they are spirits or demons. Are they waking dreams (like I believe the one I saw was), are they projections from within the mind hence why usually only one sees, timeslips, interdimensional beings or some other form of physics related entity.
    The reason I don’t think it is a soul (if souls exist) is because if I was dead I certainly wouldn’t want to haunt a place, murdered or not because if my consciousness exists beyond death then it would still be me and over time even if not straight away I would realize I was dead and move on. Said and done there truly isn’t enough evidence for or against ghosts other than what people say. Scientifically there is no hard evidence as such, however we know black holes exist, we presume dark matter exists and yet nobody not even in the scientific community can tell us exactly what these are. Dark matter we accept as real even though there is literally NO evidence to support it.
    I find the problem is there is not enough research into ghosts done. The fact there has been so many sightings over the centuries PROVES ghosts are real, what is doesn’t prove is what they are. We need real scientific research to find that answer.

  18. Woody said

    Hi Jeff
    Why does so many sightings over the centuries PROVE ghosts are real?
    So many futuristic flying machines obviously involving amazingly advanced or paranormal technology have been reported over the centuries. So were dragons reported (more commonly in previous centuries). Many reported cryptids have been sighted (more accurately, many have been REPORTED).
    While on the subject, what real scientific research could answer the question of ghosts? Are we to measure evidence for ghosts in electro-magnetic fields? Areas of temperature variation within a building? Unknown heat signatures? These things may form the ‘evidence’ on ghost shows but we are unable to conclusively attribute these findings (which can be detected in almost any building) to the presence of ghosts.
    Your comment was thoughtful and I appreciate your views on the nature of ghosts, but I think that views and speculation are all that can be listed about them since we don’t have the shown measurable realities to test and without anything to test, how can we do real scientific research which is not just careful, critical and observant study of ghost sighting reports?

    All the best,

  19. Jeff said

    @ Woody. Same can be said about you Woody. You quickly dismiss peoples comments/ accounts and yet cannot prove it either. Yes cryptids HAVE been spotted and some like the Kraken have recently been proven to exist (Giant Squid). The Mountain Gorilla was also a cryptid story till it was finally discovered. UFO’s too DO exist. What they are is what needs to be studied NOT that they exist. UFO after all means unidentified flying object. There is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to say there is a real phenomena but what is , whether there is one explanation or more is like ghosts to be proven. As for your Dragons it is quite possible that dragons DID exist but not fire breathing monsters per say but as possibly the last few pockets of dinosaurs. Instead of dismissing a phenomena maybe it should be researched. The easy answer is always it doesn’t exist.
    I NEVER said that ghosts were spirits of people living beyond death I said ghosts WERE real as in the sense there is a real phenomena that warrants scientific study. Nothing gets explained or understood without being studied.
    I agree about the shows on ghosts don’t do credit to the study of ghosts. Also IF ghosts are a psychological or inter-dimensional with further study we may be able to prove what ghosts are. I merely said ghosts are real as there is a very real phenomena at play and that could stem from psychological conditions, electro-magnetic anomalies that could cause conditions in the mind or the actual landscape in which the phenomena is experienced like warping time and space in that area to allow a wavelength to see things that technically don’t exist in that time and place.
    Like I said I don’t believe they are souls of people trapped eternally here on earth (I could be wrong but that is what I believe) but to dismiss ghosts as a phenomena I cannot do either. All those people living and gone over the centuries that have seen these things cannot all be lying or mistaken. Rather than thinking people are making stuff up all the time or too stupid to know what they saw maybe as scientists not believers or disbelievers we should approach the taboo of ghosts and study it instead of simply dismissing because that is the easy answer.
    We cannot see Dark Matter or Dark Energy and in truth no one has ever observed the electron and yet we accept that these exist because science says they have too. As a scientist myself I find it very hypocritical of our community to dismiss something out of hand regardless of how many accounts simply on a belief system there is no evidence. Truth is there is no concrete evidence and no hard evidence yet because until we know exactly what we are dealing with how can we? If you think ghosts are simply souls then yes it is near impossible to find evidence with current science to gauge this as they may operate in a realm outside our own. However if it is psychological or an environmental condition then we should in time be able to come to conclusions with this.
    All I was saying is ghosts are real as in the sense there is a real phenomena. Nothing more and nothing less. I find as a race we simply dismiss things out of ignorance and biased opinion. Centuries ago people believed the earth was flat and now we know we know we live on a globe. However even to this day some people still believe the earth is flat, only six thousand years old and that there is no other life in the universe other than on earth. Which if you hadn’t seen recently that the comet we landed on has sent back information saying it has found evidence of the basic building blocks to life upon it’s surface.
    And just like this evidence scientists are now leaning towards the multiverse and inter-dimensions entwined with our own to explain quantum mechanics. There is no real smoking gun yet to prove any of this but just like ghosts with more study maybe we can understand what is going on. Who knows maybe ghosts are beings just like you and I which just happen to “pass” through our universe from their universe or their time to ours due to some electro-magnetic anomaly, that appears on earth or in the space we travel through which could give rise to some if not all of these odd experiences (including maybe some of the cryptics that are seen) and we find that science like always triumphs and explains what is going on.
    There truly is no such thing as Supernatural. It is just nature we cannot explain just yet. As with all great scientists who make an impact, our community should think out of the box. We should rise to the challenge and instead of saying NO it doesn’t exist because there is no evidence we should be saying things like lets discover what this phenomena is and find an answer. When all possible answers have been explored and concluded only then can we say it doesn’t exist. Until then people should stop saying things don’t exist especially when so many have seen things and be open and rise to the challenge.
    In the scientific community beyond the neutrinos, muons, electrons and gluons and all the other subatomic stuff of quantum physics there is some very cool and interesting stuff being discovered and I find it hard to dismiss out of hand phenomena simply because I cannot yet explain it.

    • Woody said

      Thanks for the reply, Jeff.
      I know that you don’t think ghost are the disembodied spirits of dead people, comments in your Nov 21 posting made that obvious. My sarcastic examples of how we may measure ghosts was a result of the ghost show crap that certain channels are riddled with. The sarcasm was not directed at you.
      I don’t dismiss things by habit, or look extra hard for bad reasons to support my scepticism. I like to work with the evidence. That which is available to me and hopefully finding out how I can examine evidence that is not commonly reported in relation to the subject.
      As a scientist you understand, more evidence is often found as time goes on. A look at the source and whatever critical examination has been done with the evidence can adjust my view. Good evidence has turned my view completely around in the past.
      Sceptical literature and blogs hosted by like-minded people has taught me the importance of logical enquiry, critical thinking and conclusions that are based only on the evidence. The many logical fallacies we keep suffering from (even though we don’t like to think that we do) and biases that are so natural in us. Studying the masses of supernatural or paranormal or wishful myths may even have added a dismissive tone to my words, but I reject nothing off-hand,
      I appreciate what you mean by the ability of science to show as real things that were only spoken of before (although the findings of what it is that is real are rarely ever as exciting and magical and enchanting as the version that existed before the scientific discovery.
      As a kid I read a lot of the supernatural / unknown mystery stuff and was excited into belief. The sheer number of reports, which I now usually refer to as anecdotes, they meant so much more before I had the chance to learn so much about belief, bias and hoaxing. I didn’t know then how bad human perception is or how bad our interpretations of those perceptions are.
      But still, it seemed to me as a child, as I read up on all this stuff, it can’t be long. science (as clueless as I thought it was at that age), will find more, will get closer to the truth and eventually show the reality of these things.
      About thirty years later, no better evidence of ghosts, visiting alien spacecraft, bigfoot, lake monsters or psuedo-medicines has appeared and now I have had the chance to look at the research that has been done historically and recently, in addition to the amount of hoaxing and use of bad science that have increased the myths so much.
      I must still say that I don’t know, I can’t go around believing things without appropriate evidence (no matter how much inappropriate evidence there is).
      I don’t know but what I do know is that (as you described), science advances, more evidence is discovered and the day may come when one or more of these things is actually shown to be real but probably in a very different form than people report or the slutty media has described.


  20. Jeff said

    Hi Woody,
    Thanx for the thoughtful and quick response to my response. I agree with you about much of what I read and believed in as a child as now been replaced with sceptism and I question every thing I hear, even my own experiences from past tense I have found more logical explanations like the apparition I saw in the bedroom I saw (in adulthood too) and because I woke suddenly I have put this down to a waking dream even though it moved, had eyes and my heart was racing. It could have been something else but I am leaning to waking dream because of the circumstances it seems more logical.
    I do feel that the magic you feel from these stories growing up certainly has more appeal, however no less fantastic than what we are learning now in science. The science we have now is amazing and just as mysterious and like you said could (and if I dare probably will) prove some if not most weird and fantastic stories of past encounters with strange and wondrous being that seem flights of fantasy at the moment – not necessarily as beings but effects from physics we don’t yet understand.
    Some things though I do think there is enough circumstantial evidence for serious research to be undertaken, other’s like Nessie have much more reason to exist for tourism/ profit than actually a creature existing there. Maybe there is but I feel this is a legend that was made real to boost tourism.
    Bigfoot could exist in the Pacific Northwest or other great forests but I feel unless real evidence is found it has to be held in high sceptism. I also feel that IF Bigfoot/ Sasquatch is discovered it is more likely to be a primate like the Mountain gorilla (which was also thought of as a legend until it’s discovery) than a living example of a missing link, Neanderthal or some other human relative.
    UFO’s I feel there is more evidence for than any other phenomena. There is also strong evidence of stuff happening (radioactive markings on the ground, multiple pilot and astronaut sightings, photo and video footage which cannot be easily dismissed), however like I stated WHAT they are is up for debate again as I feel with ghosts. I genuinely believe with both UFO’s and ghosts something real is at play, I feel though we definitely need more evidence (and something more concrete to remove all sceptism).
    I hope at some point in my life I get to see the answers to these mysteries.
    Thanx again Woody I enjoy the input.

    All The Best


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