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Old 06-19-2016, 09:10 PM
Flare4roach Flare4roach is offline
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Ghosts.What is up?

I've never seen one so I can't verify or preach to their existence. However, I am very interested by the sheer number of reports that have been handed down through history from just about every culture known to man. This has to number in the millions, right? I understand many of them misidentified something, others terrified themselves during sleep paralysis, some hallucinated, some lied for attention, some were victims of pranks, etc, etc. However, If just ONE of these reports is correct then there is such a thing as ghosts, right? Doesn't the overwhelming number of reports indicate that there is a good likelihood that ghosts exist?
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:14 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Nope. No worthwhile evidence, and no working model.

At least with Bigfoot, there's a workable model. Big animal. But with ghosts, you can't even explain how they're supposed to work.

No evidence, no model, no soap. (Radio.)
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:16 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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It says something very definite, all right, but not about the nature of ghosts. Rather, it says something about the nature of living humans. The fact that there are so many stories about ghosts is definitive proof that humans like to tell ghost stories.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:29 PM
flatlined flatlined is offline
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While I loves me some ghost stories, I certainly don't believe that there are ghosts.

I'm quite sure that if ghosts existed, evidence would have been found by now.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:45 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Originally Posted by Flare4roach View Post
I've never seen one so I can't verify or preach to their existence.
Most ghosts have never seen a person, either.

In fact, most ghosts don't believe in people and tend to ridicule those ghosts who do believe in people. It's the same old song everywhere you go.
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:48 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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If ghosts don't exist, then what are cats chasing around in the house?
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Old 06-19-2016, 10:02 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Five percent of SDMB posters who responded to a poll said they had seen a ghost.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 06-19-2016 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 06-19-2016, 10:08 PM
Ignotus Ignotus is offline
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I have seen ghosts (if, by "ghosts" you mean non- physically explicable apparitons of human or animal forms) on several occasions. However, these apparitions have always been linked to one or more of these: starvation/exhaustion; ingestion of psychoactive drugs; running a serious fever.
I think it's a telling fact that I've never seen a ghost when I was well-nourished, feeling well, and not under the influence!
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:18 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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I have seen ghosts (if, by "ghosts" you mean non- physically explicable apparitons of human or animal forms) on several occasions. However, these apparitions have always been linked to one or more of these: starvation/exhaustion; ingestion of psychoactive drugs; running a serious fever.
I think it's a telling fact that I've never seen a ghost when I was well-nourished, feeling well, and not under the influence!
I agree. What this clearly shows is that ghosts are repelled by well nourished, sober people who are feeling well. In just the same way as UFO's are only attracted by people with no camera skills and psychics just happen to only be able to predict things you could probably guess. They are all 100% legit, it's just that they are unfortunately phenomena that coincide with what you would expect of something that isn't legit. It's all so horribly unfair.
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:21 PM
panache45 panache45 is online now
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There are no ghosts. Go back to sleep. I'll leave a night light on for you.
  #11  
Old 06-19-2016, 11:24 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
It says something very definite, all right, but not about the nature of ghosts. Rather, it says something about the nature of living humans. The fact that there are so many stories about ghosts is definitive proof that humans like to tell ghost stories.
Stemming perhaps from an instinctive fear of death and an inbuilt ability to see patterns in random noise.
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:43 PM
Go_Arachnid_Laser Go_Arachnid_Laser is offline
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Much like the existence of aliens or the Loch Ness monster, in a world where practically everyone has got immediate access to a video camera they carry around with them, it's funny how all these phenomena seem to have stoped suddenly.
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Old 06-20-2016, 01:02 AM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
Stemming perhaps from an instinctive fear of death and an inbuilt ability to see patterns in random noise.
Also, the reappearance of departed loved ones in dreams. To us, sophisticated moderns, we know that dreams are just...dreams. No biggie. But to early humans, dreams were prophetic windows into the never-never, and dreams of dead friends and family must have seemed as proof that "we live on after death."

(I've experienced this phenomenon myself, and, even knowing about how dreams work, it's flippin' eerie.)
  #14  
Old 06-20-2016, 02:33 AM
standingwave standingwave is offline
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Well, there's all sort of ghost-related programming on the History Channel and they have no reason to lie about something like that so...
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:08 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Originally Posted by Flare4roach View Post
However, If just ONE of these reports is correct then there is such a thing as ghosts, right? Doesn't the overwhelming number of reports indicate that there is a good likelihood that ghosts exist?
You're taking logic down the wrong path. The question you should be asking is this: If ghosts exist, why isn't there any objective evidence of their existence? (And people thinking they encountered a ghost isn't objective evidence.) Evidence is the difference between believing in the existence of unicorns and believing in the existence of zebras.
  #16  
Old 06-20-2016, 04:26 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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Originally Posted by Flare4roach View Post
...I understand many of them misidentified something, others terrified themselves during sleep paralysis, some hallucinated...
Sleep paralysis and hallucinations can seem so real, especially if you have no understanding of what's happening to you. The concept of "seeing is believing" is hard to shake, no matter how much incomprehensible gobbledegook science is explained to you. Tangible evidence: non-existent. First-hand eye-witness anecdotal evidence: shitloads.

Plus, as Fox Mulder says, they want to believe.
  #17  
Old 06-20-2016, 04:51 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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There have beed proper scientific investigations, but no evidence for the actual existance of ghosts outside of our imagination.

This is from a properly conducted investigation in Edinburgh by Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist based at the University of Hertfordshire.

Quote:
For Wiseman, the psychological model, which has evolutionary roots, is of interest. "You become afraid, you become hypervigilant, you detect something and then you become even more afraid," he says. "When we're afraid we suddenly become very good at monitoring our environment and our own physiology. That creaking door suddenly becomes important when normally you wouldn't notice it. And once that's happened it becomes a positive feedback loop; you become even more scared, so then even more hypervigilant.

Read more: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/a-...#ixzz4C6z7Aruf

Last edited by bob++; 06-20-2016 at 04:53 AM.
  #18  
Old 06-20-2016, 05:05 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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Originally Posted by Flare4roach View Post
Doesn't the overwhelming number of reports indicate that there is a good likelihood that ghosts exist?
No. This is a logical fallacy called Argumentum ad populum (Latin for appeal to the people). Read more about it here.
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:20 AM
duncs duncs is offline
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Over 100 billion humans have ever lived and they have all died. If there were ghosts, we would be seeing them everywhere, all the time
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:36 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Quoth Richard Pearse:

Stemming perhaps from an instinctive fear of death and an inbuilt ability to see patterns in random noise.
Our tendency to form strong social bonds probably has something to do with it, too.
  #21  
Old 06-20-2016, 05:40 AM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is offline
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Over 100 billion humans have ever lived and they have all died. If there were ghosts, we would be seeing them everywhere, all the time
And of the billions who died, not one came back to complain !
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:05 AM
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I liken ghost sightings to UFO sightings. If something like 90%* of them can be easily explained as mundane phenomena, then the remaining 10% are surely mundane but we don't have enough info to say what particular phenomenon it is in each case.

If anything ghosts are easier. Hallucinations and fiction are probably even more common.

* Or whatever high percentage it might be.
  #23  
Old 06-20-2016, 07:16 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Where ghost hunters fall down.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flare4roach
However, If just ONE of these reports is correct then there is such a thing as ghosts, right?
Trouble is, not one of the myriad ghost reports has been substantiated. So, fail.

While it's a rambling and at times boring book, "The Witch Of Lime Street" cites good examples of how deception and credulity combine to create ghost stories.
  #24  
Old 06-20-2016, 07:45 AM
puzzlegal puzzlegal is offline
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You're taking logic down the wrong path. The question you should be asking is this: If ghosts exist, why isn't there any objective evidence of their existence? (And people thinking they encountered a ghost isn't objective evidence.) Evidence is the difference between believing in the existence of unicorns and believing in the existence of zebras.
Hey, unicorns exist. I have seen one in the flesh.


SPOILER:

A few years ago, the Barnum and Bailey circus had a live unicorn in its act. They created it by transplanting the horn buds of a baby goat so that as the goat and his horns grew, they twisted together into a single horn in the center of the animal's forehead. It looked quite good. Really, it was indisputably a unicorn. They got a lot of flack from PETA and the like over it, and I haven't been to the circus in years, so I have no idea if they are still doing that.
  #25  
Old 06-20-2016, 08:02 AM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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... UFO's are only attracted by people with no camera skills ...
... and interesting anuses for probing.
  #26  
Old 06-20-2016, 08:28 AM
Shearer Shearer is offline
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Over 100 billion humans have ever lived and they have all died. If there were ghosts, we would be seeing them everywhere, all the time
And what about all the animal ghosts?
  #27  
Old 06-20-2016, 08:36 AM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is offline
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Feynman made the point well in response to UFOers, but the principle is the same. UFOers would say (as the OP does) "Look, I accept that most supposed UFO sightings are Venus or weather balloons or other easily explained phenomena. But the remnant, the hard core that defy explanation, they must be the real deal, right?"

Feynman's response: "How many armed robberies occur in the US every year? Tens of thousands? More? And in how many of those cases is there insufficient evidence to arrest anyone? 10%? 20%? Doesn't mean aliens did them."
  #28  
Old 06-20-2016, 09:49 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by Flare4roach View Post
I've never seen one so I can't verify or preach to their existence.
If I had seen one, I still wouldn't be able to verify their existence. How would I know that what I saw wasn't my mind/senses/imagination, or another person, playing tricks on me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
Nope. No worthwhile evidence, and no working model.

At least with Bigfoot, there's a workable model. Big animal. But with ghosts, you can't even explain how they're supposed to work.
True, but that cuts both ways. If we don't know, or have an idea, of how they're supposed to "work," it's harder to definitively rule them out. If we don't know what kind of evidence there would be if ghosts did exist, we can't say we've looked for but didn't find what we should have found if there were ghosts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flatlined View Post
I'm quite sure that if ghosts existed, evidence would have been found by now.
And what would that evidence be? I don't know.

I think the OP is suggesting that "the overwhelming number of reports" is evidence. But I agree with Chronos that it's more likely evidence for something about human nature than evidence for the actual existence of ghosts.
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Old 06-20-2016, 11:13 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is offline
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And what about all the animal ghosts?
And plant ghosts.
  #30  
Old 06-20-2016, 11:43 AM
wevets wevets is offline
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And plant ghosts.
And <shudder> fungal ghosts.
  #31  
Old 06-20-2016, 11:50 AM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Over 100 billion humans have ever lived and they have all died. If there were ghosts, we would be seeing them everywhere, all the time
There are a lot of good reasons to not believe in ghosts, but I'm not sure this is one. It's easily explained by whatever hand-waving someone wants to offer like saying that only a tiny percentage of people become ghosts, that only a tiny percentage are seen, that ghosts fade out or move on over time, etc.

The bottom line is that people need to unlearn "seeing is believing." Not only are our immediate perceptions subject to many kinds of errors, but our memories of them can be erased, changed and/or created over time. If there was anything we should keep repeating over and over to our kids, it should be "Never trust your own senses or your own memory. Measure, record and verify, that's believing."
  #32  
Old 06-20-2016, 11:59 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is online now
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Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
Stemming perhaps from an instinctive fear of death and an inbuilt ability to see patterns in random noise.
Agent detection probably figures into it, too. We have a built-in tendency to suspect that there's an intellect responsible for observed phenomena. Random thud/crack from somewhere else in the house late at night? To hell with thermal expansion/contraction, this place is haunted!!!
  #33  
Old 06-20-2016, 12:17 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by duncs View Post
Over 100 billion humans have ever lived and they have all died. If there were ghosts, we would be seeing them everywhere, all the time
Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
There are a lot of good reasons to not believe in ghosts, but I'm not sure this is one. It's easily explained by whatever hand-waving someone wants to offer like saying that only a tiny percentage of people become ghosts, that only a tiny percentage are seen, that ghosts fade out or move on over time, etc.
I agree: this is a Straw Ghost argument.

I don't remember anyone ever claiming that everyone who dies becomes (or comes back as, or engenders) a ghost. Common notions I've seen in fiction and folklore are that ghosts happen when someone dies in a particularly traumatic way, or with "unfinished business," or otherwise under special circumstances.
  #34  
Old 06-20-2016, 12:29 PM
JustinC JustinC is offline
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Five percent of SDMB posters who responded to a poll said they had seen a ghost.
Maybe my maths is way out, but the line;

I have never had any of the above experiences. 102 65.81%

would dispute 5% having had any of those experiences, wouldn't it?

If so, then with around 35% of respondents saying they have had one or more of the above experiences, it's much more common than is being laid out here. Of course, there's still no absolute, hard and fast, scientific evidence to back up a single one of the (probably) millions of encounters experienced by humanity, so they must all be either mistaken, fakers or off their rockers we all know labelling a large mass of people idiots or mad because of their beliefs does the world a power of good.
  #35  
Old 06-20-2016, 01:02 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Maybe my maths is way out, but the line;

I have never had any of the above experiences. 102 65.81%

would dispute 5% having had any of those experiences, wouldn't it?

If so, then with around 35% of respondents saying they have had one or more of the above experiences, it's much more common than is being laid out here.
I was using the the 5% figure for those who saw a ghost only. Other choices included religious experiences, that do not specifically address the existence of ghosts. Lots of people who believe in god don't believe in the apparitions popularly referred to as "ghosts".
  #36  
Old 06-20-2016, 01:11 PM
Fool in the Rain Fool in the Rain is offline
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I think Mr. Dickens has already given us the answer:

Quote:
“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
  #37  
Old 06-20-2016, 01:48 PM
JustinC JustinC is offline
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I was using the the 5% figure for those who saw a ghost only. Other choices included religious experiences, that do not specifically address the existence of ghosts. Lots of people who believe in god don't believe in the apparitions popularly referred to as "ghosts".
Then I was right! My maths is way out
  #38  
Old 06-20-2016, 01:56 PM
Leo Krupe Leo Krupe is offline
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I agree: this is a Straw Ghost argument.

I don't remember anyone ever claiming that everyone who dies becomes (or comes back as, or engenders) a ghost. Common notions I've seen in fiction and folklore are that ghosts happen when someone dies in a particularly traumatic way, or with "unfinished business," or otherwise under special circumstances.
Then victims of serial killers should become ghosts. Not to mention the victims of both A-bombs. But I've never heard of Jeffrey Dahmer's victims being seen. Or, how haunted is Hiroshima? Chernobyl? The Place de la Concorde should be littered with ghosts from the Revolution. Sadly, I didn't see any when I was there.

The thing is, ghosts are whatever you want them to be.

I've also thought about it from the other side, if you will. Why would I become a ghost, and if I did, what would I do? Would I haunt someplace, moaning sadly and knocking things around? That sounds like a dickish thing to do. (I'm sure living people do that, but no one I know would while alive, so why should they when dead?)

Or would I appear to my children, smile warmly, say I love them and I'm happy, then disappear? What would be the sense in that? My kids know that I'd be more likely to give them advice than just say "I'm happy and at peace."

The "rules" for ghosts are the same for Yeti, Bigfoot, Nessie, dragons, etc. Whatever suits the situation. Need vampires to sparkle? Just write 'em that way. Want to explain Bigfoot as a shapeshifting extra-dimensional being? Why not?
  #39  
Old 06-20-2016, 03:08 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Krupe View Post
The thing is, ghosts are whatever you want them to be.
If you're writing fiction, this is correct.

In our real world, ghosts probably don't exist (at least, that's my own working hypothesis); but if we want to seriously consider or investigate the possibility that they do, we can't decide for ourselves ahead of time, or make assumptions about, exactly what they are or what rules they follow. At least not unless we want to limit our investigation to entities that follow precisely those rules.

Last edited by Thudlow Boink; 06-20-2016 at 03:09 PM.
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