'Real' Ghosts As Proof of an Afterlife...

As I’ve said many times before, I believe in God. But I don’t personally believe in an afterlife. But that is not to say sometimes I don’t wonder…

One thing that often makes me think about the matter, is so-called “real” ghost stories. I know many of these stories have logical explanations. Some are hallucinations, which according to a medical book I once read, is actually sometimes a normal part of the grieving process. Some are illusions. Some are likely made up. But some, I just don’t know. The stories are sometimes very credible, told by very credible people that have no reason to lie.

There are many examples of this. And I don’t have the space for all of them. So I will present one case that I have been thinking about of late: Resurrection Mary. She is supposedly a young Polish girl, killed on the way to a dance in metro Chicago. She often (it’s claimed) hitches rides with unsuspecting strangers.

Here is her Wikipedia article. Here is a slightly more biased source. And interestingly, here is ballad written about her.

My question is simple. Do ghost stories like this offer evidence that there in fact is an afterlife? (“Proof” is such a strong word. So I will phrase it this way.)

(BTW, some people actually take this matter quite seriously too. There was this local story about 10 years ago of policeman’s ghost, supposedly haunting a local business. I forget the details now, and have no cite. But some people actually raised a fund to find his killer, reasoning that the “ghost” was restless for this reason.)


Sure. Very weak evidence, the same way me saying “I just saw Elvis!” would be very weak evidence that Elvis is actually alive, but it is evidence.

No. As far as I read, “ghosts” are some kind of recording of someone who was once alive. They do not interact with their observers, and are said to offer the same performance, over and over. They exist only in the minds of the observer.

No, because they are never substantiated. Anyone can tell a story about anything, that doesn’t make it true.

Yes, as Der Trihs says, it’s just stories, not evidence.

The typical ghost story is like the one you mentioned earlier (bolding mine):

You might want to pass that on to whoever wrote your thread title…

Even if you could identify one bona fide, substantiated instance of a ghost - even if we could catch one and keep it in a vault for all to see, it would not be evidence of a traditional (i.e. Christian) afterlife. Of course it would be evidence of a sort of transcendent ‘after’ ‘life’, since presumably being a ghost means your soul/consciousness/something else survives your physical death somehow. But that’s kind of like saying the existence of cars is evidence we can get from one place to another. It seems a bit redundant to point it out.

Maybe it was ghostwritten. :wink:

No. They’re not evidence of anything until there is some sort of independent verification of one of them. Lots of people in the Middle Ages confidently declared that various diseases were the result of inhaling ill humours, but that wasn’t evidence in support of some sort of humour disease theory. It was evidence of a widely held misconception.

There are no real ghosts. The original Scooby Doo taught me that when I was a kid.

About 18 years ago I lived in the garden floor apartment in downtown St Paul. It had one window and was a sad little place. One hot summer morning as I was getting ready for work, I had the window open but the shade pulled down, I watched as 8 long fingernails wrapped around the bottom of the shade and slowly pulled it up. A sneaker appeared on the window ledge and I was soon face to face with a person attempting to burglarize my apartment. She saw me and apologize and ran away. I got a good glimpse of her and then called 911. The police came and took down the description. I mentioned her hair, her shirt, her height, race, age, her jeans, her shoes, and most importantly-those fingernails.

After that, I locked up my apartment and began my walk to work about 10 minutes later. Half a block from work I see her. She’s leaving Walgreens and eating out of a bag of Doritos with just the tips of her long nails. Gross. So I call 911 again and follow her from a safe distance as she’s making her way to a bus stop a couple blocks away. I’m on the phone giving a more accurate description; the hair, those nails, height, race, age, her shoes and her sweatpants.

“Wait, I thought you said she was wearing jeans.” The dispatcher interrupted. I thought back and I realized that I had just filled in the blank instead of actually seeing what I saw or didn’t see. My memory then flipped and saw the sweat pants.

There was absolutely no reason for me to lie. In fact, the opposite would help me. After that, I completedly recognized the fallibility of the human mind. We can create our own altered reality even if the facts aren’t there to support it.

Such is the reality of these “ghost” stories. Embellishments on shadows that have turned into those purple monkey dishwasher stories until they’ve become accepted into the public consciousness.

Frankly, what it comes down to, is that a lot of people have died. A LOT. Millions of people in the most horrific ways. If that’s the case, why aren’t ghost sightings an extremely common phenomenon? I would reckon that former concentration camps would be lousy with them. Places like London, Paris, Rome would have round the clock sightings. Of course, that would assume that ghosts FINALLY would come out during the day. For some reason, the hauntings have to work the night shift.

If a ghost is haunting a gold mine, and there are no meddling kids to unmask it as the mine owner’s cousin, is it still a ghost?

Yeah, but have you seen the new ones? One of my kids was watching the new reboot a few years ago, and now it seems (at least sometimes) the ghosts and supernatural things are sometimes real. :frowning:

Has there ever been a scientifically rigorous controlled examination of a ghost “hot spot?”

That would explain why Old Man Crenshaw was stashing a blond wig while warning me away from there…and having Don Knotts and the Harlem Globetrotters both staying at the maintenance shack for no appearant reason. :eek:

I don’t think this follows.

Ghosts may exist as an objective phenomenon but basically boil down to being some shitty kind of recording. (I don’t believe in ghosts, or that this hypothesis has any support, just sayin’)

Unfortunately ghosts only tend to manifest around unreliable witnesses. I wonder why that is.

If I die and become a ghost I am going to haunt the physics building at MIT so that some grad student can get his PhD studying the physical properties of my apparition.

Even if you could buy the idea of some form of a dead *person *existing, notice that in all accounts the ghost is wearing clothes. Exactly how do pieces of cloth, etc. get incarnated?

A good article about so-called “ghost hunters”.

There seems to be a ton of these sorts of horseshit ghost hunting shows on these days. I think all of the discovery type channels have one (I think even Animal Planet has one, though could be wrong about that one).