So, you want to be a Ghost Hunter?

 By Donn Shy icon6.gif

The focus here is not on whether spirits exist but on why we feel fear when we think we have encountered a spirit or something from beyond.  When we feel a cold spot, hear an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), or see orbs or ectoplasms in our photos, we get a rush of exhilaration—and fear.  The same is true whenever we experience strange knockings on the walls, lights and televisions turning on by themselves, water from a faucet starting to run when turned off.

As investigators, we feel a chill or fear if we are the victims of a haunting.  If we believe spirits exist and are, in fact, looking for them and looking for answers, why do we fear them when they seem to appear?

There are literally hundreds of Internet sites regarding hauntings and spirits with thousands of pictures captured by people believing their photos show spirits and ghosts.  Millions of stories related to hauntings and spirits abound and still the existence of spirits and ghosts can’t be scientifically proven.

Research is ongoing to discover new technologies to help prove that communication from the other side does exist.  There are “Sensitive Individuals” with unusual behavior and investigators with tough as nails exteriors (always debunking the evidence), and then you get the “victims” along with their fear, and people claiming that they want to understand what is going on.  Many people feel they have actually been attacked by something beyond life as we know it.  Psychics feel what spirits feel and can even explain the reason a spirit is around.

Why would so much time and effort be concentrated on what science thus far indicates doesn’t exist?  The answer is not only within the people who have experienced the hauntings, spirits and paranormal activity, but also within the people who investigate all the aforementioned aspects of the paranormal.  They will all tell you with little room for debate: Something’s out there.

There are various types of hauntings, not to mention various types of spirits.  Residual energy is one form of haunting.  This occurs when energy from a past incident is so intense that it (be it violent or created by a strong bond of love) plays back—like a film re-playing.  This is witnessed by the living, so immediately those witnesses feel they have experienced a haunting, which is exactly what it is.

Consider these descriptions of the word “haunting” from the dictionary:

  1. To inhabit, visit, or appear to in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being.
  2. To visit often; frequent: haunted the movie theaters.
  3. To come to mind continually; obsess: a riddle that haunted me all morning.
  4. To be continually present in; pervade: the melancholy that haunts the composer’s music.

Why would we be frightened by a “film re-playing”?   With a residual energy type of haunting, the “spirits” maintain the human form, but are opaque, see through, without color or mass.  Then you have “the spirit that wouldn’t die” type.  These are explained as spirits of people who have died and do not know they have died.  They died in a violent way, before their time, or with unfinished business.  Nevertheless, they haven’t totally left.  This type of haunting can be distinguished by a scent, a temperature drop, a seemingly foggy appearance known as ectoplasm.

EVP demonstrates the existence of intelligence without form of any kind.  Some EVPs even have recorded the spirit as saying, “Am I dead?” or “I’m dead!”  Or, as some recordings have indicated, they have been feeling that they are part of whatever is going on in the living world don’t know they are dead.  They’ve been recorded as sending a message to their living counterparts, such as, “I love you.”  Why be frightened by something that has no mass, like a smell, or a fog…or a recording?  Answer:  As humans, we tend to be frightened by anything we do not understand.

There is another form of haunting which involves a demon or something that was never from this world in the first place.  This type of haunting can involve “demonic possession” of a person or object, or violent actions on the part of the demon in a haunting.  There have been reports of hauntings involving physical action taken against the living.  Markings can appear on victims, such as scratch marks with welts on the skin, victims can be pushed down stairs, their hair can be pulled, they can be pushed and held down against their will or be strangled.

Other hauntings that would fall in the realm of being dangerous to victims would be the category of poltergeist where there is a manifestation of objects being moved, thrown or broken.  The victims are not merely being visited by a spirit or experiencing a residual energy.  The manifestations are the types of hauntings where there can actually be damage to property or physical injury.  Even with the physical evidence of this type of haunting, though still not proven by science, it is unrecognized as reality.  With our understanding of demonic hauntings and poltergeist activities, we feel extreme fear when we encounter any of these manifestations.

These entities do not exhibit super human powers.  They only do things that live humans can do on a daily basis, such as push someone, scratch someone, throw things and break them—nothing supernatural.  But because it is being caused by something we can’t see or explain, we feel the fear.

Following are descriptions of “fear” from the dictionary:

  1. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence of imminence of danger.
  2. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
  3. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
  4. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
  5. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.

There are stories of playful ghosts haunting properties, such as restaurants or hotels, where ghosts perform pranks on employees or guests but do not harm anyone—in fact, they delight in being recognized as part of the present.  There are also hauntings by spirits who are protective of the living.  Both of these types of hauntings, no matter how harmless they appear, evoke fear in the living.  Why would we be frightened by something playful or protective?  It seems because we don’t understand or can’t explain and that is why we fear it.

Some victims of paranormal activity, in the hopes of finding peace with the hauntings they experience, call in help to find evidence of their experience and thereby prove their own sanity.  There are some that call in help to banish spirits or haunting because they can’t explain it or they don’t understand it, harmless as it may be.  Then there are some who call for help because there is a genuine danger in what they are experiencing, and they definitely want it removed.

Spirits are around all of us at all times.  The areas where we live, work, and play in were inhabited by others in the past, generally speaking.  There are things that occur everywhere, some of which are just ignored by unbelievers or those who do not want to be bothered.  But once they themselves have passed, they might offer a different story.

Ghost hunting is a science of sorts.  If there is no proof that the scientific community accepts that “something is there,” there is a definite need for that proof.  Many things in our world cannot be explained, but there always needs to be someone people can call upon to ease their anxiety or fear about paranormal experiences.  Ghost hunting is rewarding, helping people in need of an explanation or removing demons and possibly uncovering mysteries to an occurrence.

With all the speculation about life after death, looking for life in the dead seems strange.  I wouldn’t consider residual hauntings or orbs and ectoplasms as life after death but rather an existence between two worlds.  Finding out about that other world is what I think could give insight to life after death.

The question comes up again:  If we are looking for proof of life after death through the experience of ghost, why do we get frightened by what we are looking for?  Are we afraid of finding what we are looking for?  I’ll say it again:  Human nature has always been afraid of what cannot be explained.

Professional investigations are organized, and the hunt begins.  It seems that usually something is found on these hunts.  People love to make what they found a sign of an actual haunting but then they explain how frightened they are.  Someone usually “feels” or “hears” more than anyone.  After the investigation and evidence is reviewed no matter what is found, someone will always tell their story.  Even if nothing is found, someone has a story.  If something is found in the evidence then everyone expresses that they had known there was something there all along.  It may not be presented as fear, but as excitement or chills.  To me, that all culminates into a fear of different sorts.

With or without verification of evidence, there are the fear stories.  Why do we always have a fear story involved with something we went looking for in the first place?  I’m beginning to believe that this fear is necessary to some people.  This is their validation, in a way.  Being involved with a group and then having people listen to what they have to say is important.  Nevertheless, there is the fear, no matter how it is described.  We involve ourselves with something that we know will cause fear.  Now, think about why you are afraid.

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