Ghosts and people

I’m a little guarded here – I hope you will all be sensitive to my query:

Has anyone spent any real time with a ghost or ghosts?

There’s a personal stake with the question. Thanks.

There is no independent evidence whatsoever which supports the existence of ghosts, after hundreds of years of rigorous dearching by dedicated ghosthunters. The entire idea begs some important questions:

Can ghosts be detected by a camera or microphone? If so, what is the nature and the source of the light or sound they radiate?

Do they appear a specific age? If so, why should the “soul” appear that old rather than older or younger?

Can they interact with physical objects a la Poltergeist? If so, why cannot physical objects interact with them? {bashes ghost over the head with a shovel. “OUCH!”}
Most believers in ghosts would say something to the effect that ghosts bypass the physical world and communicate directly via the person’s mind.

I would agree with this completely, since it is the very definition of a hallucination.

Erratum: rigorous searching

**Mr.B. ** - I live in Connecticut, a very old US state - I think we can all agree on that - I have been in houses dating back 3 to 4 centuries. I’ve been in areas said to be haunted. I will not say I have ever had a conversation with a Ghost. But I have certainly been in areas, where for no particular reason, my hair stands on end, the temperature gets very cold, and I feel like there is someone there. When I look around I see nothing.
I do not have an exceptional fear of ghosts, not at all, quite the contrary. I am fascinated by the idea a soul can live on, can want to for one reason or another stay behind and watch over things. Why do you ask?

Considering the nature of the question, I somewhat expect this to get moved to IMHO… So with that in mind let me answer the question:

Yes, I have.

Kind of.

Even though I’m a student (graduate school) I have my own desk in it’s own room, which is itself adjacent to a small recording studio. The building is about 50 years old, which for a non-religious building in Japan is pretty old, especially a school.

Schools, in Japan, for some reason, have bad reputations for being haunted. Here it’s not so much the old abandoned house (there are none) as much as the old school, or, worst, the old tunnel.

My room, along with the fourth floor (where no one hardly goes) is believed by most people at school to be haunted. On the fuse box next to my desk there is a mamori (a Shinto charm) and some pebbles. Those were put there when a priest exorcised the room a few years ago.

Actually, I’m supposed to share the room with another student (the guy with the tamagochi) but he’s never there. The reason? Afraid of the ghost.

No one can deny that neither my room, nor the studio are pleasent places to be in. Bad feng shui, at the very least. But are they really haunted?

The studio is notorious for its creepy noises at night. One night when I wasn’t there, a huge man-made-like sound came out of the speakers. The two students working there at the time ran away and I haven’t seen them here since. The way they explained the situation to me the next day, it would have been impossible for that kind of sound to come from the speakers with the setup they had. A few months later, the same thing happened to me. I was a bit more levelheaded than they were and figured out that it was the computer’s audio driver acting up. Nothing supernatural alas.

The a.c. unit makes some really creepy noises, when it’s off, and there are water pipes in the ceiling that make equally eerie sounds.

Up to now, I’ve found simple physical explanations for every weird thing that happened in that room.

Would I go there now? (It’s almost midnight.) No. The studio door is only about two metres from where I’m sitting, but I won’t go there unless I really, really, really have to. It’s that creepy, and yes, not kidding, I have a vague feeling someone is watching me as I type this.

Has the studio “ghost” ever exerted some influence on material objects? Yes, all the time: it keeps people from coming here. That might seem like a stupid answer, but in the extent that something can be seen as influencing the material world (and that includes people) than that something can be considered to exist, even though it might be, as is probably the case here, merely a perceived, imaginary phenomenon.

There is no one watching me as I type this, but yet I cannot deny that I am a bit uncomfortable. Which only highlights that we’re not as rational in our actions, and certainly not in our perceptions, as we think we are.

I see the “ghost” in my room as a meta-phenomenon that helps me explain why people don’t come here much. That this phenomenon can be fully explained by old water pipes, bad software and the primitive survival instincts of a diurnal mammal does not make it less useful for describing the situation I’m in.

Did that make sense?

Phlosphr and jovan, thank you for sharing your experiences.

>>>Did that make sense?<<<
Yes, jovan, it does make sense. I wonder if you’ve ever actually seen an entity?

I guess I need to grit my teeth and tell you what’s been happening. I have been regularly conversing with a person I know to be dead. He has “latched onto me” and has been making cryptic suggestions for a little while now. He wants something from me, but I don’t know how to go about it – I’ve considered contacting his family, but you all can guess where my reluctance comes from…

At any rate, he’s responsive to my requests for peace and goes away when I ask. He does not try to frighten me (anymore) and is generally kind in nature. He has no apparent control over objects on our plane.

I must add this is not my first encounter. I had two notable ones when I was a child – and another one recently while at my in-laws’ ranch. That one was most unpleasant.

Hope it doesn’t sound crazy. I can expound as needed, but I find myself still guarded due to common snipes 'round here.

Snipes (malicious, underhand remarks or attacks) are expressly prohibited on this board according to the forum rules.

Having said that, you must understand that you posted this question in a forum which demands that replies adhere to a certain amount of investigative rigor. Perhaps you meant to post in IMHO.

May I ask what led you to conclude that the simplest & most rational explanation for what you are experiencing is that you are being contacted by a ghost?

No, I’ve never seen, felt, smelled, tasted, or heard a ghost, nor I have experienced one on any other sensory level. Nor have I encountered one on a extrasensory level, whatever that might mean.

As SentientMeat quite properly said, we don’t even have a basic definition of what a “ghost” might be, a theory for how anything can survive after death, or a physical explanation for how communication might manifest itself. As soon as you use the word “ghost” you leave the realm at which words function.

We’re left with nothing but bumps and shakes and spooky noises in the night. I believe in those. I do not believe in ghosts.

On preview, I see Mr. B’s newer post. What he says is consistent with schizophrenia.

Please do not take this as a diagnosis. I do urge you, however, to get this checked out professionally and immediately. There may be nothing organic to it at all, but if there is medical attention is required.

>>>you must understand that you posted this question in a forum which demands that replies adhere to a certain amount of investigative rigor<<<
Very well. (And this is why I posted to THIS board in particular.)

>>>what led you to conclude… you are being contacted by a ghost?<<<
It’s not a hallucination, I am certain, (and yes, I know it’s subjective) because I am very aware of the conditions under which I have had past hallucinations. Those conditions have not been met at any time during a visit by the apparition.

Its appearance defies all generally-accepted laws of physics for our current plane.

Its “true form” is definitely spectral in appearance, although I believe my personal apprehension makes it sometimes look like the former mortal housing.

It appears in my living room, or the bathroom of my work without passing through human doorways. (An aside: the man died very near my office – I was there while his body was processed and recovered.)

I have seen spirits before – when I was a child, I saw a huge, disembodied human head floating in a doorway while my mother sat at a séance in another room of a friend’s house.

The apparition can appear and disappear seemingly at will.

The apparition has no apparent “substance” on our current plane: other people have simply walked right through it/him.

Well, no offense, Mr. B, but why don’t you just come right out and tell us all the details? Why the tiptoeing? Specifically, what has the apparition asked you to do? (If he’s saying “Kill my family,” then I’d definitely heed Exapno’s advice. Otherwise, just tell us.) What was the living’s relationship to you? Etc.

No. Not unless we know what cryptic requests he’s been making.

Is it b/c it would require you to tell his family that you’ve been speaking with his phantom?

There has been some research in the field of parapsychology. Personally, as a psych instructor at a colelge I tend to cover it only slightly. I do not have much experience in the field outside of some tapes I sent away for for one of my classes - Irrational Behavior BTW - they are decently thorough but always leave much to be desired. I’d recommend Mr.B you delve into whatever you think the entity wants. And explain your side of a bargain. Make sure you know what you are willing to do, and what you are not willing to do. Does your wife know…you mentioned in-laws…
Exapno Mapcase - I’d be carefull handing out online diagnoses.

From A Spaceman Expo >>>On preview, I see Mr. B’s newer post. What he says is consistent with schizophrenia.<<<
Thank you for your concern. Have previously been shrunk and have been given a clean bill of mental health by two separate, independent clinicians. There is no family history of schizophrenia or other serious mental disorder – not even BPD. Res ipsa loquitur.

I sincerely hope we can address the question objectively without again playing the “nut” card. I am attempting to evince a positive discussion about ghosts or apparitions. Remember, many people in the past have been ridiculed or even purged because they were able to perceive things not yet scientifically proven. Just because we have no tools to identify, measure or quantify ghosts, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Toadspittle: My family is aware of my perception of the apparition. And I am tap-dancing, not tiptoeing… The reason for my reluctance to come forward with all the details is because of people like exapno attempting to de-rail the question.

It’s been saying cryptic things like “Talk to Phil,” “Go down to the boulevard and look to the right,” “Bud” or “Buzz.” This man died near my work and I tried to save his life, directed the ambulance and authorities and helped comfort his friends and co-workers.

At first, he only appeared as his physical form. Now he appears in variable forms. At first, he was quite frantic and insistent. Now he/it is more peaceful and only comes to my home when beckoned. It’s weird, but I think he was a Beatle fan – he shows up regularly when I sing one of their tunes.

DOH!! “College” I meant. Damn where’d I learn to write??

So you have had hallucinations before? What makes you assume that the conditions under which you have had hallucunations in the past are the only conditions under which you are capable of having hallucinations?

Are you assuming that it is a ghost because you don’t want it to be a hallucination? I know that if I ever experienced what you described, “hallucination” would be the first (coherent) thought I would have. And if I had a past history of hallucinations, that would cement it for me.

As has been mentioned before, there is no evidence that ghosts, or anything resembling ghosts, exist. There is plenty of evidence, however, for the existance of hallucinations.

I’m concerned that you might have an actual problem (schizophrenia has been mentioned, as it is the most common hallucination-inducing mental disorder), and that you will neglect to have it examined further because you believe this ghost to be real. You should definitely be checked out by a professional, and the sooner the better. If this is a mental disorder of some kind, things could get much worse.

Not that I know anything about ghosts, but perhaps he’s just in shock? Re-experiencing the trauma of death, etc.? (“Go down the boulevard and look to the right” could have been his impression of the paramedics arriving, etc.?)

Or maybe this intervention is for YOUR benefit, not his. Perhaps you should talk to Phil (I presume Phil is the man’s relative), not mentioning that you’ve seen the ghost. If Phil is a family member of his, say that you’re still troubled by the man’s death, and just want to talk about him. Might help you out.

Sorry, I started my previous post before this post showed up. You have to admit, the schizophrenia issue is a valid concern, since nost people without any mental disorders don’t tend to see and hear things that no one else can.

Not at all. No one has been persecuted for “perceiving” things that were true but not yet proven. For believing things that were not proven, yes. But when someone sees or hears things that no one else can see or hear, well, that’s not even in the realm of science anymore (assuming that mental disorders are not involved, at least).

Might want to try:
The Ghost in My House: An Exercise in Self-Deception by Bertram Rothschild, Skeptical Inquirer, Jan/Feb 2000


Joe said:


I know there are many people who have diagnosed schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, schizoid PE, Multiple Personality Disorder etc…… who have said they are having halucinations, but show me hysical evidence they are seeing little green men jump around the trees and I may recant my asking for a cite.
As a psychologist myself, I do agree Mr.B is saying he is seeing something, and it may infact be a repeatal halucination. But saying there is no way he is seeing a ghost is a misinformed judgement. For all you know *Mr.B has a conversation with Saint Peter every night before he goes to bed. I say let him talk.

The allusion to hallucinations is due primarily to my past vision quests, where no psychotropic substances were used – actually just the opposite, and to extreme dehydration.

>>>No one has been persecuted for “perceiving” things that were true but not yet proven.<<<
Merriam-Webster: Perceive. 1 a : to attain awareness or understanding of b : to regard as being such.

Example: Galileo was plunked on the block for perceiving the Earth’s motion around the Sun, and up to the time of his death, had no scientific data (remember, at the time, his data was not widely held to be valid) to support his perception.

Example: Joan of Arc saw – from God Himself – her homeland under the heel of the Teuts, four hundred years before it was subsumed by Hitler. And we know what happened to her.

According to Webster, I have satisfied the definition. Now I’m not comparing myself to these people, but average Joes who see stuff generally just get thrown in the booby hatch – no vaunted tales and no names on plaques, etc…

Hey Phlosphr: it’s Saint Paul, not Peter.

Are you Mr.B by any chance Native American?

Your mention of vision quest, and your mother’s séance both point to a more traditionalistic, Castoneda type thing.

Having gone to Grad school in AZ I took many things Carlos Castaneda warned against. And that was 12 years ago.

Bottom line is, I and other dopers would like to know more specifics.