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Lexilogio

Do you believe in Ghosts?

One of the tweeters I follow spent a night in a haunted house last week. Being a sceptic - he reckons nothing happened. But those with him (mediums, neighbours) were adamant they heard, or saw things.

So it got me thinking.

Does anyone here believe in ghosts?

I admit I'm a real sceptic here. I think a lot of things are easily explained.
trentvoyager

No, no, no!

A true story though.

My partners mother died in 2006. Later that year his cousin moved to Glasgow with her 2 children to live with her new man. She claims that mother in law made herself known by causing sudden drops in temperature (in Glasgow !) And gusts of wind in the house.

My partner rather acidly replied to this claim "of course the ghost of my mother would travel all the way to Glasgow to let you know that there is an afterlife. Why would she bother contacting her own children who are still grieving for her?"  There was a certain emphasis on sarcasm that you have to factor into that quote.

That cousin hasn't raised the issue since.

Anyway sceptic central here....ghost stories are just that. I know some people who genuinely believe they have encountered ghosts.....I just think there are other explanations.
Shaker

It depends on how you define 'ghost' of course ... a lot of people - perhaps most - will interpret the word as meaning the supernatural, disembodied soul or spirit of a dead person, which of course relies on believing that such a thing can be true in the first place, which I don't. Apparently though there are plenty of paranormal researchers who don't believe this either: they still use the terms 'ghosts' and 'hauntings' and the like but resort to sceptical and rationalistic explanations (such as the fairly well-known 'Stone Tape' theory) to explain them. This, on its face potentially plausible-sounding theory says that ordinary material such as brick walls, stones and the like can absorb some kind of energy from human beings much as sounds and images can be stored on a thin sliver of black, plastic magnetic VHS tape (remember them?) or, as we would now say, on the flat plastic surface of a DVD, and that other human beings, much later and perhaps in the right frame of mind (literally: with the right brainwaves, or something along those lines) can see a 'playback', operating endlessly over and over again on some kind of loop. A person isn't seeing the disembodied spirit of a dead person but are watching, in effect, a constant playback rather like a cinema projection on a screen. You can't interact or communicate with such a 'ghost'; they're of the same order as the images on a TV. These are known as residual hauntings and I used to think that this offered a possibly plausible, sceptical and rational explanation for ghosts. Admittedly there are other cases, known as intelligent hauntings, where the 'ghost', instead of being a simple playback, appears to be aware of and able to interact in some way with its surroundings and with living human beings, and these are very much more difficult to account for in the stone tape account.

The short version is that of course there are any number of what might seem to be anomalous phenomena, but as a sceptic too I think that these are explained better and more parsimonously in rational terms. As with anything else, if there's no current rational explanation there's no current rational explanation - that's indicative of a current lack of knowledge and not a licence to fill in the blanks with whatever you like. If something is currently not understood, fine - call it that, leave it at that and keep working on it.

And no: I can't say that I've ever experienced anything that might be construed even slightly as a 'paranormal' experience. Nothing at all. I slightly regret this because going by so many accounts people do have what they take to be extremely powerful and vivid experiences sometimes and that would be fascinating to undergo from the inside from a psychological angle. But I can't think of a single instance in all my advancing years when I've had some kind of experience that I could have labelled as eerie, mysterious or inexplicable.
Leonard James

What about the 'Holy Ghost'? Has anybody ever seen or heard it, or is it just an unfelt phenomenon that is assumed to guide your thoughts?
Jim

Hi, Len.
As per John 3: 3-9, the Holy Spirit cannot be seen.
But His power can be felt, and His voice 'heard'.
I'm not going to waste space quoting scriptures to back this up - though if you're REALLY desperate, I will - but essentially, the Holy Spirit is God as an active force in the world and in the lives of those who follow Him. Those who claim adherance to charismatic theology, and I'm one - claim to have had such experiences.
Leonard James

Jim wrote:
Hi, Len.
As per John 3: 3-9, the Holy Spirit cannot be seen.
But His power can be felt, and His voice 'heard'.
I'm not going to waste space quoting scriptures to back this up - though if you're REALLY desperate, I will - but essentially, the Holy Spirit is God as an active force in the world and in the lives of those who follow Him. Those who claim adherance to charismatic theology, and I'm one - claim to have had such experiences.

Hi Jim,

So are you saying that you have actually felt and heard the HS?

Can you tell me how you know it was the HS, and not just an auto-suggested phenomenon?
gone

Having been subjected to strange unexplained activity in my childhood home, and latterly in our former property, which we have just sold, I should believe in ghosts etc as supernatural entities. However, I am firmly of the opinion science will one day explain what is at present unexplainable. I like the 'stone tape' theory, but not sure if it is credible.
Shaker

Willow wrote:
I like the 'stone tape' theory, but not sure if it is credible.


It seems superficially plausible on account of the analogy between it and images and sounds being captured on magnetic tape or on a plastic disc. The latter examples are well understood, however, whereas at present there's no known plausible mechanism for how the stone tape theory might work. That in itself doesn't mean it's wrong, necessarily: it simply means that we need to know a hell of a lot more before we can stay to say even tentatively that there might really be something in it.
Jim

Yes, Len, i am making that claim.
Before I go any further, though, I am not an advocate of the 'toronto blessing' - I have no wish to bark like a dog for Jesus.
    Many people have experienced the 'baptism', 'filling', 'anointing' of the Holy Spirit ( the terms are interchangeable ). Some have had this experience only once, in a church situation, when worship gets 'intense'. Were that a one-off situation, I would indeed put it down to auto-suggestion, masshysteria, mass hypnosis or whatever. However I have had the same experience many, many times, in church or at home, in congregations or alone.

   How to describe it? well an overwhelming, compelling awareness that I am not alone, accompanied by a joy that makes all the malt whiskys I've tried ( and that's a few) pale into insignificance, without the resultant hangover. And, the after effects are a lingering sense of 'presence' in whatever situation I find myself.
I won't go into glossilalia or the other gifts of the Spirit here, because that'll derail Lexi's thread, but if you want to open a new thread on the topic, I'll jump in.
Yet when such an 'event' -experience - whatever - happens, there is no sense that I am not in control, that I am not aware of my surroundings or situation. And when it DOES appen, it happens for a purpose; not a random joy trip. If this was only a self gratification exercise, I'd be both alarmed and worried - however it is no such thing; instead it is an enervating, invigorating, fulfilling action which strengthens me for whatever purpose God had/has in mind.
gone

Jim the brain  is a very complicated organ and people can experience things which are hard to explain but are generated by the mind. A lot is attributed to the HS, and one can only think if it exists, it enjoys having a 'larf' at the expense of humans, under its influence.
Powwow

I absolutely believe in ghosts and they are not the spirits of dead people.
Shaker

Right, so now that we've established what you think they're not, how about sharing with us what you think they are?
Farmer Geddon

pow wow wrote:
I absolutely believe in ghosts and they are not the spirits of dead people.


OK - so what do you "absolutely" believe they are then?
Powwow

It is my opinion that they are evil spirits, fallen angels who have a satanic non-corporeal existence in the earth. They are deceivers.
Leonard James

pow wow wrote:
It is my opinion that they are evil spirits, fallen angels who have a satanic non-corporeal existence in the earth. They are deceivers.


     
Leonard James

Thank you for your explanation, Jim ... and I quite understand it, for I have experienced a similar phenomenon many times too, both as a believer and non-believer.
Lexilogio

pow wow wrote:
It is my opinion that they are evil spirits, fallen angels who have a satanic non-corporeal existence in the earth. They are deceivers.


So what about manifestations of the Virgin Mary, or saints?
Ketty

Lexilogio wrote:
pow wow wrote:
It is my opinion that they are evil spirits, fallen angels who have a satanic non-corporeal existence in the earth. They are deceivers.


So what about manifestations of the Virgin Mary, or saints?


I tend to agree with pow wow, so my thoughts on 'manifestations' of Mary or dead saints is the same but with the added need-projection of the person doing the seeing.
gone

Well if the 'ghostly' goings on I have experienced are fallen angels influenced by dear old Satan, they are more fun than the deity's unfallen angels!        
Jim

How do you know, Willow? Have you had experience of 'unfallen' or indeed 'fallen' angels?
I'm not being flippant here, I know someone who claims to have experienced some sort of angelic manifestation. She isn't a believer, though, but interested in "angelolatory".
gone

Jim wrote:
How do you know, Willow? Have you had experience of 'unfallen' or indeed 'fallen' angels?
I'm not being flippant here, I know someone who claims to have experienced some sort of angelic manifestation. She isn't a believer, though, but interested in "angelolatory".


My dear Jim I have experienced plenty of what some would call 'supernatural' experiences since I drew breath. My childhood home hosted a 'poltergeist' and some of what went on there was very weird, and it could be scary. Then when we moved into our former home 15 years within two weeks the strangest of activity kicked off and was almost continuous for 11 years. You name it we seemed to attract it. The house hadn't a reputation for being 'haunted' until we moved in, make of that what you will. Far from finding it scary we almost enjoyed it, and missed the activity when it ceased abruptly in January 2008.
Powwow

Sorry Lexi but I'm no Roman Catholic. Don't have any use for the pope nor a soap pope on a rope. These visions of Mary are NOT Mary.
Lexilogio

pow wow wrote:
Sorry Lexi but I'm no Roman Catholic. Don't have any use for the pope nor a soap pope on a rope. These visions of Mary are NOT Mary.


Ok. So your views are consistent.

I have no idea on that front either way. I have never seen a ghost, saint, Virgin Mary or anything like that.
Jim

errr....
If you go to the Ship of Fools site, click on "Gadgets for God", you'll find a "Pope on a rope"......
IvyOwl

Quote:
I tend to agree with pow wow, so my thoughts on 'manifestations' of Mary or dead saints is the same but with the added need-projection of the person doing the seeing.


And your need to see ghosts or 'manifestations' as  
Quote:
evil spirits, fallen angels who have a satanic non-corporeal existence in the earth. They are deceivers.
is nothing to do with your needs for your beliefs to be true?

IO
Powwow

Thank you Ivy.lol
IvyOwl

Quote:
Thank you for your explanation, Jim ... and I quite understand it, for I have experienced a similar phenomenon many times too, both as a believer and non-believer.


Me too Len. In my days of being a 'born again' I would have interpreted such feelings and any related 'coincidences' after praying for guidance as being of the 'holy spirit' or of god. However I was also aware of this sort of thing happening to most other people from time to time and realised that  it was just part of how things were. part of being human. We interpret them according to our needs.

That a lot of these will seem to be coming from Bible passages says more about the culture we live in than the validity of the Abrahmic God and Christianity.

If that's how some wish to interpret it then fine but for them to turn round and say that other peoples 'experiences' are the 'devil deceiving' or to say that our feelings of 'oneness and peace' are not of the same order is sheer arrogance!

IO
Ketty

IvyOwl wrote:
Quote:
I tend to agree with pow wow . . .


And your need to see ghosts or 'manifestations' as . . .


I've never felt the need to see ghosts nor manifestations.  
Powwow

Me neither Ketty. I have never asked God for a manifestation. I have never prayed and asked God to see a ghost nor a vision of Mary or saint. Have never experienced such a thing after praying.
IvyOwl

Oh right then do I believe in ghosts?  I pretty much go along with Shaker and Willow as to the interpretation of what they are. We don't know everything about how the world around us works although we are finding out more each day. Ditto the brain. Some haunting happenings have an obvious everyday cause and other events as yet don't, such as some of the things that happened in Willows house.

I can't claim to have anything quite as spectacular happen to me but I've had my fair share of weird events and amazing  coincidences.(Sorry to hear you've never had one Shaker they can be very intriguing) I'm of the mindset that looks for rational explainations and the fact that I don't find them doesn't mean that there isn't one.

Some relatives of mine (Christians of the BA variety as it happens) lived in a haunted house. They had reason to think it was the previous occupier who's soul was still hanging around and therefore nothing to be frightened of. They didn't complicate things by assuming it was the devil. In fact they'd talk to him. I used to visit often and just accepted what the adults believed.

Now I'm not so sure and look at some of the things that happened through a different lense. Some seem to have an obvious possible cause. For instance the odour of his pipe tobacco could well have been that he smoked so often in that room that the walls soaked it up and then in certain atmospheric conditions released it. But there were other things not as yet ameniable to a ready re-interpretation.

The only thing I really saw was the loo roll unwinding itself when I hadn't touched it. It carried on until it was all unrolled. It wasn't scary I just thought maybe this was something that happened with these modern things (our loo at home wasn't a modern bathroom with plumbing and stuff but a backyard privvy and loo paper was cut up squares of newspaper) So I called out to my aunt who told me not to worry about it as it was just George up to his tricks! (They believed that he was't too happy at them having installed such modern conveniences in his house).

IO
IvyOwl

Ketty wrote:
IvyOwl wrote:
Quote:
I tend to agree with pow wow . . .


And your need to see ghosts or 'manifestations' as . . .


I've never felt the need to see ghosts nor manifestations.  


You missed out the 'as'. I wasn't saying that you needed to see them for yourself! Norty Ketty pay attention.

The delights of the English language. 'See as'  = 'understanding as'

IO
Powwow

Many Pagans/Wiccans not only believe in ghosts but also use them as spirit guides. Reiki or ghost energy. They use Reiki for psychic communication and verbal conversations with ghosts. This is the occult.
Ketty

IvyOwl wrote:


You missed out the 'as'. I wasn't saying that you needed to see them for yourself! Norty Ketty pay attention.




It's my age you know.  Plus, paying attention was never my forte.  You should see my school reports.  
Ketty

pow wow wrote:
. . . This is the occult.


Again, agreed.
Shaker

Ketty wrote:
pow wow wrote:
. . . This is the occult.


Again, agreed.

'Occult' isn't a special mysterious word: it merely means 'hidden,' and in that sense applies as much to the bizarre tomfooleries of what is laughingly referred to as organised religion as well as other, more individualised beliefs such as Tarot cards and crystals and astrology and the like.
IvyOwl

You beat me to it Shaker!
Shaker

Great minds, Ivy ...  
Ketty

   
gone

Shaker wrote:
Ketty wrote:
pow wow wrote:
. . . This is the occult.


Again, agreed.

'Occult' isn't a special mysterious word: it merely means 'hidden,' and in that sense applies as much to the bizarre tomfooleries of what is laughingly referred to as organised religion as well as other, more individualised beliefs such as Tarot cards and crystals and astrology and the like.


Spot on!

Some Christians criticise the practices of other religions and belief systems, when some of their own are just as silly. The so called 'spirit filled' lot can behave in a really crazy way, which would outclass the shenanigins of any witchdoctor!
trentvoyager

Shaker wrote:
Great minds, Ivy ...  


Ah but..... fools seldom..... sorry - just had to - if I hadn't somebody else would have. You know that.  
Shaker

trentvoyager wrote:
Shaker wrote:
Great minds, Ivy ...  


Ah but..... fools seldom..... sorry - just had to - if I hadn't somebody else would have. You know that.  

Shall we open a book on who it might have been?  

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