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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.


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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
Minty, yes, it did scare me. I've often thought, as Zacs said at the beginning of this thread, about the possibility of parallel universes. It seemed to me that most of what was going on (although not all) was unrelated to 'us' as such - but something quite separate.

Cloverjo, I am the first to seek rational explanations - but in this I failed.

Slaney, my guests didn't see anything, nor were their pillows moved. That could be an explanation, but they have not experienced it at any other time - only in that house.

We actually got quite used to it to the extent that when the heavy 'footsteps' were heard above us in the upstairs rooms, we’d look at each other and say “There ‘he’ goes again!” It was a strange house - no doubt about that.
Naomi - I didn't actually see anything, nor indeed had the pillows moved. My brain was playing tricks on me.
I wonder if your guests were anxious when they went to bed knowing that the house had a reputation for strange happenings, and this precipitated the sleep paralysis.
Slaney, they didn't know. As I said, we didn't tell anyone. Well, you wouldn't, would you! Just look at the reaction here. :o)
jim360........I now regret my posting yesterday afternoon. It was wrong of me to say what I did and apologise for my comments.

Having re-read a number of your entries in this thread, I realise that you are correct in what you are saying on many points which have arisen.

Thanks for that, Alston!
//Hypognosis, the recording was a piece of music appropriate to some happy news we'd just received which wasn't yet widely known. There are no practical jokers.//

Thanks Naomi. Just acknowledging that I saw this reply. I thought the thread had fizzled out and then stopped using AB for several days. A few more pages have been added, in the meantime, including the above. Reassuring to note that a possible angle had been tackled. I also like the additional details from a few messages further on.

Anyway, I was waiting for a suitable moment to drop the word 'priming' into the discussion but slaney has beaten me to it and both Naomi and other contributors have averted it by way of story details specifiying that no priming occurred. At least, none that they knew of or participated in personally.

Just remember that all haunted locations necessarily have neighbours, or chatty locals who may bring it up as the opening conversational gambit at the slightest sign of passing tourists or furniture being moved in...

Also, without wishing to cast any aspertions on the first-hand witnesses of strange phenomena who have posted so far (as I said, earlier, I can't learn anything new if people refuse to speak to me!) , here is an intriguing sidebar about the possibility that believing might be seeing

Dr Susan Greenfield did some experiments with electrical brain stimulation and reported quite vivid sensory responses. It would be intriguing if there were underground/overground power lines, nearby or geological features aligned in such a way that one property is affected but not the ones next door.

Positional specificity is a feature I find intriguing. 'Ghosts' always seem to 'go with a place'.

But if they wandered around and people didn't "compare notes" effectively enough, how would we prove the above notion false?

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