Believe in ghosts? You’re not alone. The history of host hunting – and ghost stories – goes back as far as human history. The afterlife is a great unknown, so humans for millennia have devised stories of what happens to the soul and body after death.
But does any legitimate proof exist of the presence of ghosts? Are ghosts real, or a creation of the imagination? Let’s look at whether proof of ghosts has ever been found, and why people believe in ghosts to begin with.
Why Do People Believe in Ghosts?
The thought of an afterlife is very comforting. What happens when you die? Where does your body go? Do you have a soul that continues on after you stop living on this plane?
For many, the idea that the soul continues on is something very real. Those people may believe in ghosts for a number of reasons, whether they be religious or simply because the thought of an afterlife makes them feel better.
According to a Harris poll, 42% of Americans believe in ghosts. And 52% of those in the UK who were surveyed responded that they, too, believe that specters exist. Those ghosts can take the form of visible spirits to tangible entities. They can exist in mental imprint only, or may manifest as haunted, non-living items such as dolls.
If you believe in ghosts, you’ve likely had your own experiences. Maybe your deceased aunt visited you in a dream. Maybe you were in a dangerous situation and you heard a voice of warning. Maybe your specter is playful, turning on the television while you sleep.
Around 30% of people report having had a paranormal or supernatural experience. But is there proof? Sure, there are photographs, but those can easily be explained by overexposure or another cause. There are videos, but what can’t you do with special effects these days? And those television shows – aren’t they just about the ratings?
Does Legitimate Proof of Ghosts Exist?
Does legitimate ghost evidence exist? Well, no. Not really. Ghosts, it would seem, are logical creatures. They only come out when no one is looking. That camera recording in an otherwise empty room probably won’t fool them either. They’re certainly not going to jump out and shout “CHEESE!” when you hold your iPhone up for a spectral selfie.
But the research goes both ways. On one end of the spectrum, you’ll find the skeptics. Those non-believers will go out of their way to prove that ghosts aren’t real. They’ll explain it in terms of physics – that when the body dies, the energy will simply change forms. What was flesh will become dirt.
Those who are believers are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They’ll do just about anything to convince others that ghosts are real. There are hundreds of pieces of ghost-hunting equipment on the market as proof of that. That equipment is used to collect evidence of ghosts.
Technology today can be easily manipulated. And, of course, most humans were blessed with a healthy dose of showmanship. So the shows that you’ll see on television and the photos you see on the internet may or may not be real.
Ghosts and the Human Mind
You might assume that those who say they’ve had an encounter with the supernatural will, by default, be believers in the paranormal, right? That’s not necessarily true. There are some people who will swear that they’ve been in contact with a ghost, yet still say ghosts don’t exist. Likewise, there are those who believe in ghosts who have never had an encounter at all.
It’s rare that scientific studies are conducted to evaluate the paranormal. But back in 2011, research was performed which showed an interesting phenomenon. Simply reading about or discussing the paranormal was shown to be enough to increase the likelihood that a person believed in ghosts. In other words, reading this article may make a believer out of you!
It’s also true that if a person is told a place or object is haunted, he or she will be more likely to believe that that’s the truth. For example, if you’re told that Severalls Asylum is haunted before you visit, you’ll be more likely to experience something paranormal once you arrive.
But what does that mean? Could discussing the paranormal simply open your perception, allowing you to watch more closely for supernatural? Or does it just mean that people are likely to be swayed by the thoughts and opinions of others? That research hasn’t yet been conducted, but it may be a bit of both.
Proof of the Paranormal
We can only speak of recent history, as accurate records may not have been kept in the past. But over the past century, there have been many rewards offered for any ghost evidence. Those rewards have been offered by skeptics and by paranormal experts.
In fact, there are a few outstanding offers even today. For instance, the Tampa Bay Skeptics has had an outstanding offer of $1,000 to anyone who can demonstrate “paranormal phenomenon” under viewing conditions that both parties agree on. So if you know how to lure a ghost, why not head down to Tampa and earn a bit of cash.
Does legitimate proof of ghosts exist? It’s hard to say. Only the producers of those YouTube videos know whether special effects were used. And only the people who took those photos know the truth about the apparitions in the background.
If you’ve had a paranormal experience, there’s a good chance that you take that as your own proof of the supernatural. But as for scientific evidence of ghosts, so far no definitive ghost evidence exists. It is also worth noting that even those who claim to have see ghosts are happy to admit that what they have seen might not necessarily have been a result of the paranormal, such is the case with one of our own writers here on EnfieldHaunting.com. And if even the ones who have seen it don’t quite believe it, then it’s fair to say that this is neither an open or closed book.