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If Poltergeists be ghosts....
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gattinoOffline
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PostPosted: 20-11-2012 18:02    Post subject: If Poltergeists be ghosts.... Reply with quote

I'm starting from the assumption that most people on here accept that poltergeist activity - given its near utter consistency across time and space - is a real (ie not mainly down to hoax or delusion) phenomenon.

And while the telekinesis theory is probably the more popular one it too has a great number of infuriating exceptions - the activity taking place when the alleged catalyst is away, or after the family have moved on, and the "polt" often seeming to show intelligence, selection and personality (principally mischief, sometimes malice) as well as answering questions unknown or unknowable to the alleged source. All of which leaves the other main explanation...that they are indeed "spirits". "Discarnate entities" as its sometimes phrased.

When you hear the term discarnate entity most of us, I imagine, at least assume we're talking about the surviving personalities of formally living human beings. Ghosts. And that is what the entity often claims to be.

But I don't think I've ever read much about the consequences or implications of that explanation.
What bothers and intrigues me is that very same consistency which seems to prove they are real also seems to undermine any sense of individuality at all. Whether its ancient Rome or modern China the stories are more or less always the same.. the raps, the moving of objects the throwing of stones from nowehre that seldom actually hit anyone, the only performing when you don't look, the stacking or upturning of objects...the same "tricks" and the same personality over and over.

If these were individual ghosts of dead people, why would they all act in the same way? And who is teaching them the correct order of behaviour and how to do it? Do they live in an invisible world in which they can see and interact with each other?

Is it possible "they" are all the one...or one of only a small few..."entity" turning up in different places and times?

Or could "discarnate entity" imply something very different from a human ghost? If so what?

Delight me with your speculations.
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 20-11-2012 21:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I think one of the obstacles to studying ghosts (across the whole field that covers) is that many researchers are tempted to look for, or ascribe blanket explanations, often in line with their own pet theories.

For me, I believe there is a massive spectrum - and crucially, that many different kinds and causes can manifest in seemingly similar ways, like a cough could be any number of ailments, all of which manifest similarly but have a multitude of root causes. Thus a glimpsed phantom could equally be a stone-tape, a psychic imprint, an emotional echo - a polt could be a troubled teen, a subconcious mainfestation of repressed emotion, an elemental, a concentration of subsonic or electro-magnetic energy.. or indeed any could be a combination of any of the above (subject to usual codicils and cautions about misidentification and fakery.)

So yes, some polts may well be discarnate entities. I'd just be cautious of ascribing every case to the same cause. Context is everything, and each case on its own merit.

That's my view, anyway.
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graylien
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PostPosted: 21-11-2012 02:51    Post subject: Re: If Poltergeists be ghosts.... Reply with quote

gattino wrote:

Is it possible "they" are all the one...or one of only a small few..."entity" turning up in different places and times?

Or could "discarnate entity" imply something very different from a human ghost? If so what?
.

Maybe just gravity 'going wrong' intermittently? Had I the correct terminology, I daresay I could have phrased that a lot better. But you get the jist, I daresay.

Here's an analogy. Suppose - for whatever reason - we were incapable of perceiving the wind. A totally natural phenomenon, but nevertheless one beyond our hypothetical range of perception.

Imagine the passionate debate, the wild speculation, the endless arguments, about why trees suddenly swayed for no reason, why small objects suddenly took flight, why people felt they were being pushed along the street by a disembodied force.... (Not to mention all the skeptics and the rationalists kindly explaining that the whole phenomenon was nothing more than an extraordinary popular delusion and the madness of crowds... )

And so on and so forth...
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 21-11-2012 07:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

So polt behaviour may be a psychic wind? But if it's gravity 'going wrong' intermittently, it's probably to do with the Higgs Boson! Wink
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AMPHIARAUS
PostPosted: 21-11-2012 23:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that they do all act in the same way or are consistant. If we believe reports some only throw or materialise stones, other water, some stack chairs and others are physically hostile or abusive etc. etc.

Telekenisis doesn't fit the bill always as artefacts appearing from the past tend would seem to discount a simple transposition and clever stacking would require the unwitting cause to be able to see what they were doing.

It could be greyliens wind / gravity analogy, but natural forces such as the wind tend to be simple and create disorder not order.

Maybe the 'substrate' that produces these anomalies is common but the cause is varied.
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Mouldy13Offline
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PostPosted: 30-11-2012 17:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

in many polt reports there does seem to be an intelligence at work. Colin Wilson eventually came to believe they were discarnate entities with, as he put it "the level of intelligence and sense of humour one finds in 13 year old boys"

Last edited by Mouldy13 on 23-09-2013 20:19; edited 2 times in total
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PaulTaylorOffline
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PostPosted: 10-02-2013 10:18    Post subject: Re: If Poltergeists be ghosts.... Reply with quote

gattino wrote:
When you hear the term discarnate entity most of us, I imagine, at least assume we're talking about the surviving personalities of formally living human beings. Ghosts. And that is what the entity often claims to be.

But I don't think I've ever read much about the consequences or implications of that explanation.


It seems to me that cultural assumptions about phenomena hold back sensible investigation and discussion time and again. That comment about the consequences and implications of explanations is one we should all keep in mind. I've heard it said that Occam's razor implies ghosts as the most likely explanation for spectres and poltergeist phenomena because it's the simplest. Of course, it isn't, because it brings with it vague, otherwise unproven dimensions, some unaccountable survival of personality after the death of the brain, and abilities possessed by that personality which we strangely lack in life, in spite of us presumably containing this astral form as a component. The idea of ghosts as an explanation seems a viable possibility to us simply because history, culture and the beliefs of those around us make it so.

gattino wrote:
What bothers and intrigues me is that very same consistency which seems to prove they are real also seems to undermine any sense of individuality at all. Whether its ancient Rome or modern China the stories are more or less always the same.. the raps, the moving of objects the throwing of stones from nowehre that seldom actually hit anyone, the only performing when you don't look, the stacking or upturning of objects...the same "tricks" and the same personality over and over.

If these were individual ghosts of dead people, why would they all act in the same way? And who is teaching them the correct order of behaviour and how to do it? Do they live in an invisible world in which they can see and interact with each other?


True, and someone who believes in ghosts would ask, "Why do the spirits that become poltergeists all act alike?" And that person would come up with explanations for it involving psychology perhaps. But, as you've shown, if poltergeists don't act in ways that discrete people would act, there is a problem with the assumption that they are the residues of people. But, our cultural environment adds a lot of weight to the idea that they are the spirits of the dead in the minds of many of us.

A friend of mine believes in ghosts, and one of the reasons for this is that while using a glass and letters on paper as a makeshift ouija to contact the dead, the glass flew off the table and across the room. My response was to ask why he assumes that the spirit of a dead person, which seems to have little or no physical presence discernible by science, was responsible for the effect when the room contained living people with physical brains and personalities. The manner in which physical humans can move a glass without touching it is still unexplained, but at least that scenario doesn't involve whole dimensions and non-physical entities with personalities that exist discarnate through some totally unaccountable method.
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titch4Offline
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PostPosted: 22-02-2013 11:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to go along with the "brain fart of teens" theory, but in the Enfield case people living in the house are still having strange experiences, long after the affected family moved out, plus there is a long tradition of ghosts being seen in houses affected by polts, so any one theory will probably be found wanting.
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ThaurmaturgeOffline
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PostPosted: 04-03-2013 10:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course all theories regarding such phenomena are conjecture, but my current feelings are that they are similar to the forces that may be contacted via the Ouija board - I do not think that they are definitely formerly corporeal entities, in fact I think it likely that they are some form of elemental spirits - for want of a better phrase - that cannot normally manifest (although they may constantly cause clumsiness or little accidents that we shrug off as Sod's law or just one of those things - a run of lightbulbs blowing, a picture that occasionally falls off of the wall - minor irritations that rightly we just accept as within the bounds of normality, things that are not statistically significant). Open the door for them though and we seemingly give them access to a significantly greater quantity of energy.

Of course then we are faced with: where does the energy come from? How is the door opened?
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PaulTaylorOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 07:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thaurmaturge wrote:
Of course then we are faced with: where does the energy come from? How is the door opened?


The "where does the energy come from" question plagues any explanation for poltergeists and entities. Humanity's science has discovered many energies, and none of them account for these effects. The idea that poltergeist phenomena are the product of teen angst suffers especially from this problem. My brain has never been capable of physically manipulating the world around me except through my body. I've often wondered, if it's possible for the brain to unconsciously manipulate the physical world without a physical connection, how come evolution hasn't caught on to this? I don't buy that it's a product of the larger human brain. How come birds need wings to fly, and shrews don't distract predators by moving nearby objects while they scarper? This kind of ability would be the first thing evolution would exploit, I'd have thought.
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garrick92Offline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 11:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

PaulTaylor wrote:
I've often wondered, if it's possible for the brain to unconsciously manipulate the physical world without a physical connection, how come evolution hasn't caught on to this? I don't buy that it's a product of the larger human brain. How come birds need wings to fly, and shrews don't distract predators by moving nearby objects while they scarper? This kind of ability would be the first thing evolution would exploit, I'd have thought.


That's a whole thread on its own, I reckon.
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ThaurmaturgeOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2013 15:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps we do actually have some evidence as to where the energy comes from: firstly, in many cases of hauntings and also in a number of poltergeist cases (see for example the Pontefract poltergeist) there is a drop in temperature preceeding or during a manifestation, secondly, there is the draining of electrical equipment (see Enfield poltergeist) - although given the interest that poltergeists have in electrical equipment (see Rosenheim poltergeist) the energy loss might be simply to prevent capture of evidence - often recording equipment is involved - or just to irritate and frustrate in which the poltergeist seems to delight.

Although the very fact that they are capable of draining batteries seems to indicate that they can extract energy from their surroundings - whatever the type or source of that energy - although, if you can have an unlimited supply from the mains electricity why exhaust a camera battery?

As to the evolution question, which is an eminent point, why aren't our eyes capable of magnification (without moving closer to the object) so that the police can determine whether I am carrying an umbrella or a shotgun (I apologise for the flippancy, but couldn't resist)? Why don't the prey of sharks become armoured against shark attack? Why do scorpions have an entire arsenal of weaponry and we have only the ability to throw rocks, many of us badly?

I find the whole evolution theory interesting and believable, but only up to a point. I know that nowadays not wholeheartedly accepting evolution is tantamount to social suicide but from my perspective, evolutionists expect us to swallow as much conjecture about the mechanisms of said theory as others do about the reality of ghosts and yet I suspect that millions more people would claim to have seen a ghost than to have noticed a mutation in a species.
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PaulTaylorOffline
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PostPosted: 08-03-2013 20:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thaurmaturge wrote:
Perhaps we do actually have some evidence as to where the energy comes from: firstly, in many cases of hauntings and also in a number of poltergeist cases (see for example the Pontefract poltergeist) there is a drop in temperature preceeding or during a manifestation, secondly, there is the draining of electrical equipment (see Enfield poltergeist) - although given the interest that poltergeists have in electrical equipment (see Rosenheim poltergeist) the energy loss might be simply to prevent capture of evidence - often recording equipment is involved - or just to irritate and frustrate in which the poltergeist seems to delight.

Although the very fact that they are capable of draining batteries seems to indicate that they can extract energy from their surroundings - whatever the type or source of that energy - although, if you can have an unlimited supply from the mains electricity why exhaust a camera battery?


Excellent point! Although, it doesn't answer how ambient energy is absorbed and manifested into some kind of inertia producing(?) energy, such interference with electrical systems and temperature is as consistent as any part of the polt phenomenon.

Thaurmaturge wrote:
As to the evolution question, which is an eminent point, why aren't our eyes capable of magnification (without moving closer to the object) so that the police can determine whether I am carrying an umbrella or a shotgun (I apologise for the flippancy, but couldn't resist)? Why don't the prey of sharks become armoured against shark attack? Why do scorpions have an entire arsenal of weaponry and we have only the ability to throw rocks, many of us badly?


Well, there are compromises to every advantage, and the balance always has to be in favour of preserving genes in a species. Too much armament may impede, for example, and speed may be more useful. (Although, some species are heavily armoured.) Increased venom is an expensive product, and other means of defence and predation may be an advantage. I'm not sure of the mechanics involved in producing a zoom feature in our eyes. I am sometimes puzzled that our senses of smell, hearing and vision don't match those of many other animals. But, again, all these things require brainpower to interpret, and our brains are perhaps more devised for thinking than interpreting how best to jump between branches. You may read this and question whether I'm qualified to make these arguments. You'd be right to do so. I'm sure Richard Dawkins could put it better. Laughing There is an element of chance in which strategies a species chooses to survive, no doubt. But there is also an evolutionary history in those choices. A species may adapt for one environment building on adaptations already made for another environment.

But, in a hypothetical universe where telekinesis and telepathy are possible, I don't buy that it wouldn't sometimes be a solution to some environmental pressure. I feel there would have to be a bloody good reason for that.

Thaurmaturge wrote:
I find the whole evolution theory interesting and believable, but only up to a point. I know that nowadays not wholeheartedly accepting evolution is tantamount to social suicide but from my perspective, evolutionists expect us to swallow as much conjecture about the mechanisms of said theory as others do about the reality of ghosts and yet I suspect that millions more people would claim to have seen a ghost than to have noticed a mutation in a species.


As forteans, I'm sure we won't think any less of you for not being entirely persuaded by any scientific theory. Wink Rather that than blindly accept it! While many more may be certain they've seen ghosts than noticed mutation, in fact every variation in any species (our own included) is evidence of mutation, and under environmental pressures those mutations may be a factor in evolution.

A more interesting point you made, though, is about the evidence we're asked to accept for any viewpoint. Richard Dawkins would perhaps say that evolution is supported by a mass of mutually supporting evidence, unlike the Bible, for example, which is a bunch of bronze age myths (or whatever!). The point is, we can't actually see all of that evidence! We can't see all of that evidence for ourselves, plus all the evidence from genetic science, plus all the evidence supporting the big bang theory, plus all that supports the belief that the Earth orbits the Sun, etc. Even all the scientists can't see all the evidence for themselves in even their own fields. Ultimately, at the level of the individual, we're all being asked to believe the opinions of others. Being told, "this is what we know, based on this," means little different coming from Richard Dawkins or Abu Hamza, except in reference to your culture and previous beliefs.
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ThaurmaturgeOffline
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PostPosted: 08-03-2013 21:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is perfectly fair, although I think scientific research has proved that ESP is a part of our makeup & also possibly PK - but perhaps this only kicks in for some people & only then under extreme duress, for instance when a life is threatened. Having had many relatives who have lived alongside non-western cultures, it does appear that industrialisation or some other mechanism has reduced our need and hence ability to achieve these effects, at least compared to less industrialised cultures. Although of course this last statement is entirely subjective! Very Happy
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sybilOffline
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PostPosted: 22-09-2013 07:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had my poltergeist(for want of another word) for many years,but am still unsure of his exact nature.am reading up on left/right brain cases now.i have many gifts he's left here,a five shilling coin,an alien jelly doll that fell into the car with my old army mate in it too.latest item,i woke up,went to make coffee,saw my side door with abot 20 ft of telephone cable and a long extention lead i'd never owned(had been meaning to buy one for the last year) all strung up on a nail at top of door,and hanging down.i allways take pics,but can't seem to put the rest on my fb now.it's changed,and too hard.
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