Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The case for and against Ghosts as Souls

I’ve never really sat down to explain the dichotomy inside of me. Oh, no, I’m not talking about the lover of all things horror who is also bubbly and friendly, but the two warring sides of the ghost hunter within.

I use the term "ghost" like people use "UFO." When a person says "UFO" they could mean alien spacecraft or simply unidentified flying object. When I say "ghost" I don't necessarily mean "the soul of the deceased," I simply mean paranormal activity. What causes it, like the UFO, is still just conjecture.

I always said when I started out in the field officially in the early 2000s that, given what day of the week you ask me, I either believe in ghosts as souls or not. That much hasn’t changed so much after almost 8 years of hunting.

Let me begin with some impressive paranormal activity I have experienced that I refer to as "ghosts:"

*Being touched; having my clothing pulled at, hair stroked and pulled, hand held, rubbed up against, pinched, toe tugged.

*Seeing shadow forms and entire full-body apparitions.

*Hearing hushed conversations in an entirely empty house.

*Carrying on an impressive 15-minute KII session in which I was unable to trick it into showing it was purely electrical interference, i.e. putting long pauses in the questioning, rewording questions, rapid fire questioning and waiting for a half hour after contact ended--when others entered the room--and getting nothing at all, not even a blip.

*The repeated sounds of footfalls with heavy boots in the house I grew up in.

*A man whispering in Latin in a Catholic Cemetery that was completely empty.

*Two incidents of levitation I witnessed; one the launching of a cigarette from an ash tray 6 feet in the air as if flicked and a broom standing upright and moving a few feet on its bristles before it fell over.

*Physical tingles, hair raising and the sense of something cold and electrical running through one side of my body and out the other with the hairs on my head standing out as if rubbed by a balloon.

*Poltergeist activity that defied any laws of physics I know of.

*Doors opening and closing on their own from a securely closed position.

*Odorless and heat-less smoke arising and dissipating.

*Dancing blue balls of light in a cemetery.

*The visitation of my father at the time of his death.

*The movement of objects from one location to another that are fully accounted for.


*Haunted sites appear to be locations associated with death.

*Apparitions are often dressed in garb from their era and match the description of people who passed on there.

*Many people witness loved ones after their death. I have had this happen to me when I was 16 and my father died. I didn't know he died in the hospital. I thought he was doing well and stronger when I left visiting him and came home to go to bed. I went to bed knowing he'd be okay. I woke up to see his dark outline at the foot of my bed, pulling at my big toe. He used to do that before he left on a business trip or came home from one since my mother wouldn't let me stay up. The phone rang soon after and the hospital announced he had passed on.

*People experience near-death experiences. My father described when he died for 4 minutes in our kitchen that he was at a fiord (he was from Norway) and his family was there and there were flowers that don't exist and colors that don't exist. Others describe seeing the scene from outside their bodies.

*I personally witnessed things where I grew up that I cannot explain and my friends in the suburbs did not experience such things, but I grew up in a Civil War Hospital building. It seems a rather natural conclusion that the deaths there created something.

*When my father died, the people who had bought our home called us in Arizona to tell us that they were having a party and saw my father outside. He was dressed in a pale gray suit and a gray and pink striped tie. They went to ask him in to the party but he was gone. My mother had to tell her that he passed on a few days prior.

**Although I am psychic, I will not take reads I make or Ouija, Seance, automatic writing, Mediums to be reliable sources of speaking to the dead as there is no way to differentiate if they are simply picking up universal knowledge of history that has passed or active souls. I also will not include EVP findings as I'm not impressed with their validity or content as being interactions with the dead, as these are receiving devices that can pick up other signals. I myself have had my answering machine pick up a cell phone call someone was making as she drove down the street.**


*There is consciousness and a mind, but when put under anesthesia for surgery, no soul is alert and hovering about and if it is not self-aware during surgery then it is mortally vulnerable to anesthesia and not spiritual in content.

*Given these supposedly anguished spirits malinger, why aren’t they working harder to get their point across and why aren’t dead parents haunting their children with worry and concern for the rest of their days? Why isn't our mortal world filled with the spirits of the dead unable to let go of life?

*Nearly all ghostly activity can be explained by residual or the replaying of past events or scenes in the environment under, as of yet, unknown conditions.

*Why aren't we haunted by cavemen and medieval knights and the billions who have passed on? Why do some get to linger? Why do some get to show themslves?

There is no freaking book of ghosties that can confirm that ghostly activity is the presence of the souls of the deceased. It's also likely we’re dealing with only residual events replaying, a life form we cannot see, an energy that can affect things, another dimension, a crossover of time periods, a psychological projection and any other fantastic possibilities. It doesn't make me popular in the ghost hunting world to say I'm open-minded. Unfortunately, ghost hunting has become another form of religion for most and you must believe in the doctrines to be part of the club. No questioning allowed.

You either believe or you don't believe.

The only problem is, yes, I believe in ghosts, but I do not believe necessarily in the definition of what a ghost is, i.e. a trapped soul. I am open to that concept but I will not take it on "faith" from other hunters that they know what the hell a ghost is and how it operates.

I, for one, would love to put the "ghosts are souls" concept in the "yes" column for good and know without a doubt that’s what we’re dealing with, but so far my interactions, numerous as they are, have left me still baffled about what we’re dealing with. As a psychic, I cannot tell the difference between reading a past event and past people in a location from something that could be considered a spirit. And how could I? Any psychic in a location can read the history of the place. If you don't know how to interpret your readings, you may think you're talking to a real ghost. Hell, that was the very moment I started in the biz. I was at a party and read a house perfectly dead on, only problem was that all the people I read were alive on the other side of town. The house was being haunted, but by memories of events that occurred there, not the dead.

I keep an open mind and that is what this blog is about; constantly questioning things so we can go a little bit further and a little bit further. So long as everyone is imitating Grant and Jason, we won’t get anywhere. We need some oddballs and some rebels.

I never did what the crowd does and I won’t do it in this field that means so much to me. I don’t only have over 2 dozen loved ones on “the other side,” but I have childhood experiences I need to find answers for that fit. I'm hardly gullible and I'm sure if my mother was alive today, she'd say that "Sherry could never be spoonfed."


  1. Open mindedness is the key. I have had experiences but have only once that I remember "seen" an entity. My experiences have been either with the recently passed or feelings - strong feelings - in cemeteries. Places I could walk in and out of and the feeling would wax and wane. You have had a lot more experience than me and it was fun to read. Thanks.

  2. Thanks MM. You are a very intuitive man. In fact, I'd probably call you a fledgling. Soon, I'm going to repost my fledgling psychic series and expand on it with how to develop skills to become more full-fledged. It will be part of the book I'm writing "Was That a Ghost?" and I think it's really important for people to have direction. Psychic intuitiveness is a weird and nebulous thing. It's hard to pinpoint, hard to explain and for many hard to figure how to develop it. I'm going to take the mystery out of that for ya'all.

  3. Very nice post, Sharon! I think you nailed it! There's no freakin' way (yet) to prove or discern just what we're seeing and hearing.....

  4. Thanks, Dan. I think for new methods of research to come to be, we have to get outside the classic "ghosts drain your batteries, they're stuck here because they have unfinished business, and they suck the heat out of the air around you" philosophy and really start looking at it as something that manifests in the physical world, so even if it's spiritual, there's a crossover. Let's catch it in our world and see where the hell it comes from.

  5. Yes, completely agree. That's another one of my pet peeves....why do so many feel the need (have the audacity) to "help someone crossover"....sheesh....uh....maybe they like it wherever they are?

  6. Maybe there are cave man ghosts, but they're afraid of the gadgets with the shiny lights? :)

  7. Dan;
    That's true. I've found and you've probably found while hunting that if you just go into a place and go at them, they hide away. If someone came into my home and started tossing questions at me, I'd be like, "get the fuck out of here!" So, it's those moments when it's you alone or maybe shooting the breeze with someone and being casual that they show themselves.

  8. I can relate to this. The only thing I believe with certainty is that people have experiences that can be difficult to categorize conventionally. I don't have the audacity to think I know exactly what is going on. The possibilities just seem so vast and the understanding is so very limited. Additionally, the probability is high that there are multiple answers to the oddness.

    The tendency toward predetermining what activity is going to happen does no hunter any service. People are certainly welcome to speculate but should always be wary of assumption.

    I'm sure it's tiresome for hunters on TV to say things like "we think" and "one possibility is" and the like, but I cringe every time they positively identify a blinking light as the ethereal appearance of Uncle Bob's dead great Aunt who lived and died in this very room 83 years ago. Not only because that can't be known with any certainty given what they do and because they are promoting their behavior as best practices for the hunting community.

  9. Pangs, buddy, I totally get ya. That's why I'm writing the book "Was That a Ghost?" I want to help people discern between all the possibilities before deciding something is paranormal. You go through chapter to chapter and if you are still "onboard" then you reach the end where it can be called paranormal, but at any time given the factors in earlier chapters, you might come realize it wasn't paranormal. It's the process I take clients through constantly. We have to do quizzes and narrowing the field and taking into consideration things like religious background, self explanatory style and sleep factors and other components.

  10. This is a great post and good to get folks thinking! I've had a few experiences, largely with animals showing themselves as shadows but I also remember at 12 years of age the day or so after my Paw Paw (Grandfather) passed away, I was staying with my Nanny and I heard him walk down the hallway. I have seen a "shadow-type" image of a man in a hat and trench coat in the home me and my ex owned in downtown Columbia that was close to 100 years old at the time. In this same home is where I experienced some of the shadow animals, sounds, footsteps and a couple of other MAJOR what I would call Poltergeist activity while we were away on a long weekend....that's pretty long story, and if you'd like I'll email it to you. I've also experienced a strange phenomenon in the back yard of this same home we lived in concerning an angel with a broken wing bird bath we had. Basically, we had it facing the house, but there were times, we sorta half-way figured out, when me and the ex were arguing, the angel would turn completely around an her back/broken wing would face the house! Talk about something that gives you chills when you see it unexpectedly. This was a HEAVY concrete angel and bird bath that no amount of wind could with all that being said, could some of the experiences be souls or was it residual? Some had to have some sort of ability to understand or else it wouldn't have happened on numerous occasions (the angel turning her back on the house). This is an excellent topic to contemplate and I feel like I need to do that some more! If you believe in reincarnation as I do, then they couldn't be souls as they would have moved on to the next physical body.....I am you've really got me thinking!

  11. Glad to get you thinking, Tara. The truth is that a lot of people experience poltergeist activity and some things can be caused by the living, whether it's sensory conditions, sleep disturbances, mental issues, psychic sensitivity, kinetic capabilities to move things... As well, if an unseen intelligence exists that cannot be detected by our senses but can perhaps sense us, could also mess with us. Sometimes, the right combination of objects or people together can attract (or cause?) phenomena. There's an endless list that always concludes with--we can't prove it's the dead--not truly. We can only make conclusions. So far as past lives--nope. I have experienced such recollections in dream state with details I couldn't possibly know and even speaking French as I was awakening (don't speak it in regular life), but as a psychic, I know I was receiving a psychic vision of a past life that had been lived. Should regular folks who aren't attuned to psychic skills come across such a link to a past life, they would think they actually lived it, but it's really just a psychic memory. That's my conclusion on that subject.

  12. I completely respect your reincarnation beliefs! But you know that! LOL It's all just so fascinating and there are so many possible explanations, but bottom line, we have been unable to fully explain any of it....YET!!!! I'll email you in the next few days my "poltergeist" experience that me and the ex discovered when we came home...and the absurd reasoning the cops chose to explain the occurrence! Remind me!

  13. Tara;
    I definitely want to hear about that. I experienced a great deal of poltergeist activity in my childhood home, but I still do actually from time to time in places that are not haunted, like stores. It's an interesting phenomenon. I've had a hard time pegging what causes it, but I know I'm some kind of catalyst.

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  15. Autumn, Autumn, Autumn. I am just so proud of you. I hear you loud & clear about falling out of favour with the field 'experts' in whose boat you likewise share but tend to rock & cause waves from. Why can't it, like, be all of the above? I'm sure that it is, all depending on the given haunting. I remember your proposed 'recipe' for a haunting. I'd really like to find out whether or not that that can actually be demonstrably repeatable. That'd be awesome. Btw, this particular blogticle is an immediate Facebook re-post. I'll be soooo happy when your writings find the appropriate publishing house & are actually able to be added to my antique barrister book case, where they'll be honourably appointed. You're a beacon in the dark, Baby Girl, you just so totally are.

    Your bror in a very, very rainy Old Dominion,
    A.Q.E. ~ (•8-D

    PS ~ Sorry about the deletion & re-posting, but one of the hyperlinks wasn't properly linked.

  16. Bror;
    Honey, please send the rain this way! Alas, hopefully next summer I will be residing in Oregon and will have all the rain I've missed all these miserable years in this dustbowl (accidentally typed dustbowel--freudian slip?) I will proudly sign my books for you, big brother. I know I'm not saying what people want to hear, but I never have. I would seriously like to finish my haunted formula book but the missing element is a long-term study in which patterns can be discovered and new testing methods adjusted, triggers tried out and learn more about the human element, as well. I was just reading wonderful book I borrowed from a friend and something in the book triggered an idea for a post coming up this Tuesday. It's a concept that works on some interesting scientific finds, along with hauntings and psychics. I think there is a tie between them, what I call the paranormal broth for lack of terminology. So, stay posted, bror. You have inspired me to keep bucking the system and asking questions and not being happy with the answers until they ring true.

  17. I have chatted with the folks over at UFOiconoclast(s) on more than one occasion about phenomena vs. phenomenon. I believe the same applies here. I think there is more than one phenomenon at work that comprises what we lump together as "ghosts" and "hauntings".

  18. Cullan;
    Bravo! Yes. That's really the basis of the book I'm writing. It comes down to doing some quizzes and looking at lost of components from sleep issues to personal explanatory style from religious upbringing to latent psychic skills. There are so many things that can factor into whether something is even categorized as paranormal and then from there, we need to discuss what all the possibilities are on the table. I'm starting a new series this Tuesday called "Mind Fuck Tuesday" where every Tuesday I take readers down a new open-minded path about what phenomena could be. Lots of eye-opening and head shaking and wonder...(I'm a real fire-starter, what can I say?)

  19. If everyone is thinking alike, than only a few are thinking!

    What if we step out of the Aristotlian "excluded middle" this or that type thinking.

    What if both could be true, some ghosts are memories, perhaps it has something to do with quantum physics...

    And some ghosts are actully those who moved on. I would think that the visitation of your father is most certainly more likely to be his spirit visiting you.

    I would think that it is most certainly more likely that a poltergeist is somehow a memory imprint....

    I think that this is probably the most likely, that some are souls some are memories. Perhaps consciousness has a greater effect on surrounding matter in some very dramatic events, this leaves a residual imprint in that area. I suppose if the matter was severely distorted and there were know more ghost than you would have evidence of this.