Have you ever walked down a dark alley at midnight? If so, maybe you started hearing strange sounds or voices without seeing someone there. Suddenly, a dog starts barking at nothing and you felt a cold shiver down your backbone for no apparent reason. If you experienced these things, it could be a good reason to believe in ghosts. Theoretically, a ghost is the soul of a person who has died and somehow has gotten stuck between two worlds. Normally, they do not know that they are dead and they still live amongst us. A ghost can be perceived by the senses of living people, such as by sight (apparition), hearing (sound, voice) and touch. Many stories have documented that ghosts are real but many people think they are just people’s illusions. Ghost is a popular topic throughout the millennium. They have appeared in numerous works and art forms, from the play “Macbeth” by Shakespeare to the Christian Bible and even some folk ghost stories have been released. The existence of ghosts was still a big mystery of mankind over hundreds of years. Some people believe in ghosts while others do not. To convince people of the existence of ghosts, there are several stories that can be told.
One of them is the United States White House’s haunted story. The White House, where the United States President lives and work, has long been considered as the worst haunted place in that country. Harry Truman, America’s 33rd president, had affirmed that the White House has a ghost. The ghost, or soul, which was seen most often hiding around the White House, is that of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Stephen Wagner found the following: Eleanor Roosevelt once stated she believed she felt the presence of Lincoln watching her as she worked in the Lincoln bedroom. Also during the Roosevelt administration, a young clerk claimed to have actually seen the ghost of Lincoln sitting on a bed pulling off his boots. On another occasion, while spending a night at the White House during the Roosevelt presidency, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was awakened by a knock on the bedroom door. Answering it, she was confronted with the ghost of Abe Lincoln staring at her from the hallway.
Another true story about a ghost is Room 252. It is a true ghost story at Mount St. Mary’s College. The story has become a part of the school’s history. It is all about President Simon Brute, one of the earliest presidents of the college who died in 1839. The soul of Mr. Brute is seen wearing long black coat and still glides about the campus. People who have seen his ghost describe the same appearance and other features. He usually nods and smiles and moves between places. Room 252 is his room when he was alive so no one is surprised that the room was obsessed by the ghost of Mr. Brute. Several witnesses have said that strange things happen such as the lights and television flashing on and off at random times. Some students who have stayed in room 252 said that the television changed from channel to channel at night by itself. Therefore, these two ghost stories could make us believe that ghosts do exist. According to Radford (2013), a survey worked out by Gallup in 2005 showed that 37 percent of Americans believe in ghost and something like haunted house or fall into trance and about one third of the result believe in ghost. Tens of thousands of people around the globe keen on ghost hunting.
A survey carried out by the researcher Sharon Hill confirm there are about 2,000 amateur ghost hunter groups in America. Besides, ghosts are found within many religions from western cultures to oriental cultures. People strongly believe in ghost because of their religions. Most religions teach people that a soul is a part of human energy after death and sometimes appear among living persons. Moreover, there are some traditional activities to express people’s belief in ghosts in some countries in Asia like worship or requiem. For instance, on the Lunar New Year festival, Vietnamese not only have traditionally hung a piece of cloth on the highest bamboo but also put eight coins under the children’s pillow to dispel evil spirits. Furthermore, the existences of ghosts are not a new concept since it had appeared long time ago. Ghosts have been used in many of Shakespeare’s plays such as the ghost of Hamlet’s father and even appearances as far back as the first century AD. According to the History: The great Roman author and statesman Pliny the Younger recorded one of the first notable ghost stories in his letters, which became famous for their vivid account of life during the heyday of the Roman Empire. Pliny reported that the specter of an old man with a long beard, rattling chains, was haunting in his house in Athens.
Other example of ghosts found in the 852 AD “the first poltergeist—a ghost that causes physical disturbances such as loud noises or objects falling or being thrown around—was reported at a farmhouse in Germany”. For those Christians who base on the Bible for information about God, it mentions ghosts more than one time to prove their existence. For example, Casper (2009) in Luke 24:39 it reads, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have”. That is the reason why religions play an important role in making people believe in ghosts. In addition, one of the smartest men in the world, Albert Einstein, had argued that the existence of ghosts is generated from the energy of the body. When people die, their bodies begin to decompose but the electrical energy in their body cannot be destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another. Another scientific method to prove that ghosts exist is temperature changes in a room. For instance, we put the scientific equipments such as EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) in the haunted room, if there are any place changes temperatures that we can believe in ghost.
Here are the scientific evidences created by modern technology to demonstrate the existence of ghosts. In contrast, other people do not believe in the existence of ghosts. Some mysteries about ghosts are revealed by modern medical symptoms. The story told below is about a man who has a lot of experiences of hallucination. He often has an illusion that there is a person in his house or his room. Also he often hears many strange sounds. Once, he woke up and after that he saw a scary shadow; he did not know what it is. After this story, this is called sleep paralysis in medical terminology. Sleep paralysis occurs when human senses are awake but their body still does not work (Pappas, 2013). This experience becomes scarier when people have the illusion of ghost around them. In addition, people usually have sleep paralysis when they feel uncomfortable sleeping. For example, people feel too cold or too hot, or people sleeping in an unfamiliar or spooky place.
In another case, the victim’s hair was white because of fright. This case can be explained by the low – frequency sound waves (or also known as infrasound) interact with the brain. Infrasound causes feeling of dizziness, vertigo and if it is combined with a suitable light, it will make people have the hallucination of the devil (Odd, 2009). Ultimately, people’s health can create illusions about ghosts by these symptoms and many more. Furthermore, many scientists have proved some evidences that there are no supernatural phenomena. During the war years, there were many stories about will- o’- the- wisp; this is the soul of dead person who is trying to attract others to death. Yet, some scientists found proof that there is not any will-o’-the-wisp. The will-o-the-wisp also known as jack-o’-lantern is sometimes called “spook- lights” or “ghost lights”. This is a kind phenomenon of nature and it usually happens in marshy ground at night. Ghost lights are created by the oxidation of hydrogen phosphide (generated by the decomposition of organic material in wetland) and methane gas (Brock, 2010). The other story is about the appearance of a range of lights in the sky and the Plains Indians believe that this is the soul of their ancestors. Thanks to the development of modern science, a range of color lights called the aurora phenomenon.
It is a collision between the earth’s atmosphere and electrically charged particles. This is the most beautiful phenomenon in nature. For this reason, the non-existence proof of ghosts is proved by modern medicine and modern technology. Many definitions about ghosts are that when someone passed away, they will follow a person who still lives normally and that is why I extremely believe ghosts exist. Over the past few years, the amount of people interested in ghosts had increased through the stories, novels, movies and television programs. One of the most favorite television programs that I watch is “Ghost Hunter.” It is a show in which people use modern technology to demonstrate the existence of ghosts.
Besides, Thomas Edison, a brilliant scientist, firmly believed that ghosts did exist and he was determined to prove this. Scientific confirmations make me totally unsuspicious to the existence of spirit world. Are ghost real? This question has existed for hundreds of years but there is no exact answer until now. In brief, there are many discussions about these problems. Some people said that ghosts do not exist because they believe in science. They use modern medicine and science to demonstrate. On the one hand, some people believe in ghosts because they have had experience with it. Besides, there are many proofs by modern technology such as videos, clips, programs and documents to authenticate. According to the evidences of the ghosts’ appearance I think there is no doubt about the spirit world.
Wagner, S. The White House. The World’s Most Haunted Places. Retrieved from http://paranormal.about.com/od/hauntedplaces/ig/World-s-Most-Haunted-Place/The-White-House.htm
(Anonoymous, 1996). Do ghost mix with students at Mount St. Mary’s College?. Emmetsburg Area Historical Society. Retrieved from http://www.emmitsburg.net/archive_list/articles/history/stories/ghost_at_msm.htm
Radford, B. (2013, 29 January). Are ghosts real? Science says no-o-o-o. Live Science. Retrieved form http://www.livescience.com/26697-are-ghosts-real.html
(Anonymous). Ghost in the White House. History. Retrieved from . Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/ghosts-in-the-white-house
Casper. (2009). DOES THE BIBLE CONFIRM THE EXISTENCE OF GHOST?. Godlike Productions http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message906940/pg1
(Anonymous). History of Ghost Stories. History. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/historical-ghost-stories
Odd, B. (2009, 29 Oct). See ghosts? There may be a medical reason. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/see-ghosts-there-may-be-medical-reason-1C9926902
Pappas, S. (2013, 31 March). Strange sleep disorder makes people see “demons”. Live Science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/28325-spooky-film-explores-sleep-paralysis.html