Donate SIGN UP


Avatar Image
steveb | 22:37 Sun 18th Aug 2013 | Science
166 Answers
I would never normally consider posting a question about ghosts in this section but I think I'll get the best answer here.

I do not believe in any supernatural phenomena, however I was speaking to some members of a family we have known for years and was very surprised to find that 3 adult members of this family did. They claimed that each of them had independently seen the ghost of an old man in their bathroom, and various other seemingly paranormal events, objects moving, noises etc.

I didn't know what to say to them, I completely do not believe in these type of events yet I consider these people to be completely honest, sane and genine.

Noises and other minor events can generally be explained by logical means, but can anyone offer an explanation for actually seeing ghosts, particularly people seeing the same ghost?

Any suggestions would be greatly received, it's almost enough to make me question my own beliefs.


21 to 40 of 166rss feed

First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next Last

Avatar Image
People can be wrong, the eye in particular is untrustworthy, let alone the brain. Various studies have demonstrated, anyway, that we can be fooled, seeing things that are not there and not seeing things that are. Moreover there is no way for these people to know that they have seen exactly the same "ghost", and it's likely that there was a certain amount of...
23:23 Sun 18th Aug 2013
You'll have to tell me about it some time gness, but I promise you aren't mad! (Probably.)

In the meantime, grasscarp, why can there never be proof one way or another? So far the trend in history is that more and more things are becoming explained to some extent, things that often were thought to be unexplainable beforehand. Anything that is real ought to be explainable, because if it is there it can be examined, observed, looked at. I'm not convinced that ghosts will be any different, and therefore expect that if they do physically exist it will be demonstrably the case that they do -- and equivalently, it should be possible to demonstrate (albeit less convincingly, as you cannot "prove" a negative) that they probably do not physically exist.

Either way, it seems a bad argument to say that you can't prove something one way or another -- at least, without also demonstrating why you can't prove it. Otherwise you just have a belief that is unfalsifiable, and also unprovable, and if so you were just "wasting your time".
On a lighter note,

Everyday a ghost appears in my house and pees on the toilet seat.

Either that or my kids are lying little toads
It's never a "waste of time" to tell a ghost story. Everybody loves to hear a story that they haven't heard before, after all.

Those of us with an analytical frame of mind cannot resist another puzzle to get our teeth into, ask questions about, brew up alternative explanations for and - if it's still unresolved, all the better. Stick it to the bedpost and chew over it another night.

Regular reminders that science hasn't "got it all covered", by a long chalk, can only be healthy.

Personally, I have never seen one. I will confess to having watched a few series of Most Haunted but only because it was hysterically funny at times. Their online forum has to be experienced to be believed, if you are a skeptic. Some people have brains which automatically convert the words "I don't believe you" into "you're a liar".

So I have an interest in the human behaviour surrounding the concept of ghosts and any discussion about them as well as the subject itself.
One should question one's own beliefs from time to time.

You need not say anything to them but if you do then discuss with an open mind and see if there is any common ground between you.
A few years ago I was walking along a railway track with a colleague and about 50 yards infront of us a small blanket of mist appeared from the trees and drifted across both tracks and disappeared into the trees on the other side.

At first we thought it must've been smoke from a tractor or something similar but when we got near there was nothing but trees either side.

I'm not a believer in ghosts but to this day I still wonder what it was
00:11 Mon 19th Aug 2013
If a ghost is a reflection of past life, who is to say otherwise?!
Question Author
Thanks for your answers everyone, certainly some food for thought! I'm surprised by the number of people who do believe in "something".

I do try and keep an open mind, but much like jim, I need to see some evidence.

I've seen and experienced a few things that i think many others would describe as "ghosts". I still don't believe in them though. I think that it's just i don't personally know the explanation.
To be honest, I have very little understanding of how my car engine works, but I'm sure it is "explainable" with the right knowledge.
I have often tried to convince people that their senses are extremely unreliable. It is only when you compare your senses with a dispassionate and disinterested instrument such as a compass or a spirit level that you realise how unreliable your senses are. I once got into a row with a colleague who swore that the theodolite that I was using was pointing at the ground. Fortunately I believed the theodolite so that was a day not wasted.
Funny how people without experience think they know so much about it.
I think everyone has experiences they can't completely explain. It's just we don't put it down to ghosts.
I think the term 'ghost' covers a plethora of experiences, and is used in the absence of a more appropriate word. It doesn't necessarily mean a vision of a figure floating around in a bedsheet.
Sometimes experience clouds judgement, though -- especially in this sort of case, when that personal experience could be down to so many other reasons than that there actually was something to see. And the thing is that everyone would rather trust their own senses. Of course they would -- what else have we got? Yet in many cases our senses, our own brains, deceive us. How easy is it to admit to yourself that you might be wrong about what you saw, or how you interpreted it? As we have seen in this thread, in the other one about ghosts, in the threads about dowsing, and the paranormal in general... people either dodge the issue about their own biases and flawed senses, or turn it into some sort of personal attack: "Are you saying I'm deluded/ lying?"

As it happens, I have had some weird experiences, although not all that many that stick in my head, anyway. As far as I'm concerned these are signs either of my brain playing tricks on me, or coincidences that I read too much into. As long as I haven't had experience of the "truly weird", whatever that means, I suppose it's hard to convince some people that I know what I'm talking about, but I think that's a false argument. I never said I "know" what I'm talking about, exactly, I'm merely offering an explanation that is highly plausible and I think it dismissed too lightly. Witness grasscarp's "It wasn't in my mind, it was there" -- but how does she know this? What effort did she take to rule out that explanation conclusively? I don't know the answer to that one either, I suppose, but it's likely that the answer was basically no effort at all. Because that's what most people do. They hear or see something, they jump to a conclusion, they trust their senses, and rarely if ever think that it might be their brain playing tricks on them. And so these stories continue, and they will always continue.

Your brain might be playing tricks on you, but mine isn't playing tricks on me - and I never jump to conclusions.
Everyone's brain plays tricks on them.
True - but personally, not in this instance.
steveb - "Any suggestions would be greatly received, it's almost enough to make me question my own beliefs."

I think that is the crux of it, its likely that one of those those three people suggested that it was a ghost they saw (couldn't possibly be anything else, right?) and the other two went along with the idea initially (who doesn't want to feel special about a connection to the 'spiritual' world, right, and if Nigel says it was a ghost who am I to argue?) and after a while it became the accepted truth. When they spoke to you about it, they probably discussed it in a corroborative way, but individually - unless they had discussed and agreed at length the finer details - they would probably come out with different features and recollections.

Even intelligent people are open and receptive to suggestive truths, some even believe what they read in the papers!
What about when several people, at the same time, witness 'poltergeist' activity? Still imagination?
Two of us saw the suitcase moving, as i mentioned on another thread. I doubt it was imagination, but even less convinced it was a poltergeist. Just don't know the actual reason.
I still think you live next to a train line. ;o)

21 to 40 of 166rss feed

First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 Next Last

Do you know the answer?


Answer Question >>