Since most people haven’t witnessed an apparition, I’m going to use an example for this post so we can break down the anatomy of an apparition. On the SyFy show “Ghost Hunters,” the TAPS investigation team went to the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone, Arizona. While there, they had a very active night. At one point, Jason and Grant climbed up some stairs to another level and when they rounded the corner and looked across the room towards another set of stairs, they saw an apparition gliding towards and down those stairs. They gave chase, but found no one anywhere. They later described the same woman with a white gown and a hat.
Here are the features we can discern:
1. The apparition did not acknowledge them or seem to know or care they were there.
2. They had no precipitating “aura” that this was about to occur, i.e. chills, hairs standing on end, or other usual bodily signals.
3. More than one person can see the same thing, so it is not something created by an individual’s mind.
4. Later that evening and earlier that evening, no one else saw the same thing.
5. The apparition had been said to frequent that specific area.
Let's play devil's advocate in regards to apparitions and whether they represent spirits or replaying of a past moment in time.
Case against apparition as spirit: Apparitions are seen in the same places, doing everyday tasks, not necessarily waving their arms or trying to get a person’s attention. They may look in someone’s direction, but they don’t show expressions or signs of recognition. If a spirit had the ability to make itself known visually, why not in the living room instead of the bedroom? Why not inside the house instead of seen through a window from outdoors?
Case for apparition as spirit:
People have seen apparitions who look like family members.
Case for apparition as replaying of past event:
They have a repetitive nature, same activity, same place, doing mundane things. They don’t seem to recognize anyone. They have no typical “ghostly” aura like temperature drops, hair standing on end, et cetera.
Case against apparition as replaying of past event:
The event doesn’t seem to be anything “traumatic” enough to warrant being imprinted in the environment.
Where I grew up the residual haunting was a huge feature of the house. The dark apparition was seen in the same small area. The footsteps were heard on the stairs and down the hall which was a typical pattern used over and over and over again by the 250 years of residents. Lighthouses often report the sound of steps going up and down the spiraling stairway, a path taken several times a day by lighthouse keepers for hundreds of years. Any one of those times, that event might have been recorded.
If we are to believe that apparitions are nothing more than a visual imprinted in the environment, then why don’t we see them all the time, in all places, with all people who have ever been to that place? Why only one apparition in a building, in the same spot, doing the same task over and over. Why did, say, Sally walk down the stairs in a white gown and hat and somehow imprint herself for all time in that spot? But Harry in the kitchen didn't?
I looked up that summer of 2006 when TAPS went to Tombstone. I’m sure you all noticed that the team has gotten basically nothing of consequence this season and if you note geomagnetic activity, 2009 has been a completely quiet year, but 2006 was an insane banner year of activity. Nearly every episode they filmed had exciting action. It was a dream time to film. I do believe bursts of geomagnetic activity correlate with the “recording” of an apparition. Other factors such as geology, emotional state of mind, and unseen forces we have yet to identify could also contribute strongly. It would take the ideal set of circumstances for such a thing to occur and a specific location.
Why location related? Well, if at one moment in time everyone was imprinted doing a task wherever they are, then every building, every city park, should all have apparitions that go off occasionally from that one moment in time. So, we can assume that it is location/timing/earth conditions/physics/perhaps emotionally related, and other unknown.
As always, I hope to get your take on this anatomy of an apparition. I love to get lots of viewpoints on theories.