A ghost is perceived as being an apparition of a deceased person, and it is believed to be the same as the person who died. A ghost of the deceased is found in the place where the person died and in most cases in places where the persons used to visit during his or her lifetime (Greer 21). However in the other application of the term, the term ghost is used to imply a deceased person’s soul or spirit. The locations at which ghosts are expected to appear are regarded as being haunted places. Ghosts are however perceived to be of different types, where poltergeist is one of the types. Poltergeist implies ‘noisy spirits’ which is used to describe ghosts that have movements and also influence physical objects.
The truth about the ghost is problematic following the opposing explanations that are provided by different groups. There are groups that belief in the existence of ghosts and also another group which do not belief in the existence of ghosts. There are also divisions among the believers and the skeptics concerning the features of the ghosts. The study of ghost phenomena is a task that has been taken by both the folklore and the parapsychologists who have been making an attempt of defining the concepts associated with ghosts. The concept of exorcising the ghosts is a common practice that is observed as part of the beliefs and religious practices more especially among the spiritualists and the persons who perform ritual magic (Barnard 54). There are however a number of ghost phenomena concepts that have been proved fraud, while having the other concepts not yet explained. There are also a number of conflicting explanations about the ghost phenomena. There is no universally accepted explanation of ghost phenomena.
The belief in the existence of ghosts as a soul for the deceased is associated with the ancient opinion of animism. The animism associated soul to everything in nature that included also human beings. According to the animism, the soul is separate from the body, and it’s the soul that determines the activities of the body. Thus is perceived as being a man inside the man, which implies that death is caused due to the absence of the soul. Sleep is just a temporary absence of the soul (Flew 102.). The souls of the deceased are therefore what forms the ghosts, hence the existence of ghosts. It was believed in the ancient times that, the soul was the one that was responsible on determining every feature of man. The idea of the soul determining the activities of persons was reinforced following the nature of a deceased person. A diseased person is insensitive and can not do anything because he or she does not have a soul. This implies that after the death of a person, the soul lives alone a ghost. Ghosts in their own nature, they take shapes of misty, airy or subtle material, which provided some other, cultures a basis to associate it with breath. For example, in the Bible, God is perceived to have animated Adam by a breath, meaning that soul is breath and it is separate from the body. Soul is a ghost in a living person.
In the western culture, the first apparition of a ghost was witnessed and recorded in 1211 (Robinson 2). It arose in the Albigensian crusade. A boy who was murdered appeared to his cousin, and frequent visits lasted for the whole summer where the boy was ready to speak to anyone. The boy explained how death was bitter to him. The boy also spoke of spiritual issues about other spirits and the attitude of God on events that were taking place at a time. This boasted the belief for the existence of ghosts in the western culture and also the theological understanding of ghosts (Warren 34). In many other cultures, ghosts are perceived as the deceased persons who are on earth looking for vengeance or imprisoned for the bad things that they did when they were a life. Therefore, the presence of ghost was perceived as a threat of death. That is, they are not associated to good things. There are as many ghost stories equivalent to the different cultures, as different cultures perceive ghosts in varied ways and associate them to varied features.
Cultures that belief that ghosts exist, they also believe that ghosts are able of undertaking actions like the turning of tables among other actions that man can do, which means that they take a form of human being. They believe that they exist as souls as mentioned early. On the ghosts materializing, they allegedly ooze a stuff known as ectoplasm which enables them to materialize on performing the feats of telekinesis (Payne 96). The feats of telekinesis imply the events of moving the physical objects by using only the mind without necessary making any physical contact with the objects.
There is a controversy over the existence of ghosts, other groups belief that ghosts exists in real, while other groups belief that they do not exist in real other than just imaginations of creature that do not real exist. There have been a large number of eyewitness ghost sightings over times which are used as an evidence for the existence and the nature of ghost on explaining the ghost phenomena. The argument that many people have seen ghosts all over the world makes it possible for the other persons to believe in the existence of the ghost, on the reason that many people have seen them. This is however refuted by other people who do not believe in the existence of the ghosts. The refuting of the sightings by the skeptics is based on the reason that human perception and ordinary physical explanations are not valid on explaining the ghost phenomena (Robinson 89). They argue that, activities like the change in the air pressure in a house may cause the doors of the house to bang. From the use of the limited human perception and ordinary physical explanation, one is likely to associate the event as an action of the ghosts, which is not the case because the ordinary explanations and perception can not identify the cause as it’s beyond its recognition. Therefore, the eyewitness sightings can not adequately explain the ghost phenomena.
Pareidolia is also another explanation that is provided by the skeptics over ghost phenomena. Pareidolia involve the recognizing of patterns in a random and vague stimulus, which do not real represent reality (Warren 56). They make people to believe that the have seen ghosts. Therefore, they refute the sightings following the possibility of the sightings being as a result of pareidolia. The skeptics argue that what is real should be common to all human beings but not just to individuals following the tendency of pareidolia.
Bernard, Gold. Psychic Phenomena: Clairvoyance, Ghost, Precognition, Telekinesis, Telepathy. London: Senate press, 1997.
Flew, Antony. Readings in the Philosophical Problems of Parapsychology. Stanford: Prometheus Books, 1987.
Greer, John. Monsters: An Investigator’s Guide to Magical Beings. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2001.
Payne, Daniel. The Ghost Master: A Treatise on Ghosts, Apparitions, and Other Unusual Phenomena. New York: Lightning Source Inc., 2004.
Robinson, Daniel. Philosophy of Psychology. New Delhi: CRC Press, 1985.
Warren, Joshua. How to Hunt Ghosts: A Practical Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.