Below I've listed some theories I've developed over the years of investigating haunted places. These will not and can not be applied to every case of spirit activity, but they can be applied to most. There are exceptions to EVERY rule! These are not fact. That's why they're called theories. So far, there is no "solid" theory for the existence of ghosts. Since we can't sit one down and have a quiet little chat with them, we may never know exactly why they stay behind. But for now, we have ideas, thoughts and "wish lists" for the WHY. That's what this page is for. All of you out there that have an idea that you feel could be a good, SERIOUS reason for spirits to stay behind, send them to me and I'll post them for everyone to read, think about and comment on. If you have had an expierince, and one of these theories helps to make sense of it, please let me know.
Feel free to comment on any of the theories below as you wish. I'll include various theories from other members and anybody else as they come in and I build up this site.
Magnetism and Energy
I recently watched a show on the Discovery
channel about levitation and magnetism. The main subject was about human
levitation, but it went into the different ways that man have attempted and/or
succeeded in levitating objects. The show began with the old Indian rope trick
in which a man could cause an ordinary section of rope to rise up into the air
and stiffen enough to allow a small child to climb up to the top and then back
down. Another segment profiles a man who found a way to use magnetism to propel
a train. This train actually rides about 1 cm above a track and is propelled by
electromagnets rapidly turning on and off, thus throwing the train forward. The
last segment of the show is what really caught my attention. I watched as
scientists used an extraordinary large magnet that uses about 20 megawatts of
power to magnetize a 2-inch area. Because of the amount of power they were using
in such a small area, they showed the viewer that almost anything could be
magnetized. Among the items they showed were glass beads, water, a strawberry, a
spider and a small frog. All of which were held in midair due to the magnetic
This is what got me thinking about ghosts, how they affect their environment and most of all, and their ability to move objects. Now, it's the common belief among ghost hunters that spirits can move objects up to about 5 pounds. The old saying is that there's an exception to every rule. In this case, it's accounts of beds shaking and/or levitating and other larger items that have been reported to move of their own accord. These items weigh far more the 5 pounds and many are hard to move by us "living" beings!
My theory is that spirits may have more control over more powerful magnetic fields then we originally thought. The large magnet I watched on this Discovery show used 20 megawatts of power-that's enough to power a small town! Now think about how all that power went into levitating very small objects that weighed less then a single pound. Imagine the power one would need or the magnetic field we would have to generate to move a bed or a couch or a chair. With the reports I've read and the interviews I've done, I have the idea the ghosts posses this kind of control, but for only a short time. Otherwise things might be flying all over the place all the time! I'm guessing here, but I think that such an effort taxes their strength to the point that they need rest, since we do not see this sort of thing all of the time. The lack of witnessed experiences (as in when someone leaves the room and finds things moved or change when they return) may be due to timing. Let me explain what I mean. Let's say a spirit wishes to move an object, it might need time to build up the energy need to do the act, much like a track runner or swimmer needs to warm up and stretch before they race. When the spirit builds up sufficient energy, they can release a magnetic field, "pushing" an object. The time it took to build up the energy may have been enough for a living person to get up and leave the room, thus unable to witness the event.
The shaking of objects, such as the classic shaking bed, could be the result of a spirit alternating the magnetic field, from positive to negative, or repelling and attracting an object. The same event could also be from a rapid pulsating of a magnetic field. By releasing short bursts of magnetic fields, a spirit may be able to lift an object and drop it, over and over quickly. This would simulate the bed "rocking" or "shaking" on it own.
The levitation of an object could be caused by a constantly energized magnetic field repelling the object enough to keep it up in the air for a short time. I would imagine this would take a lot of energy on the part of the ghost. Just moving an object would require a short burst, while holding an object steady would obviously require more energy. This is much like when we move things. For an example, let's use a regular bed. To move it, most of us need only to nudge it with a leg and it'll move a bit. Give it a push and we can move it around the room fairly easy. Now try to get under it and hold it off the ground for a few minutes. It's not as easy. I would guess that the same would hold true for our invisible friends.
Keep in mind that I have only a basic knowledge of magnetism and this pretty much just flowed out of my head after I saw the show, and as the title of this page says- it's a theory!
Spirits and Children
I think a spirit may become attached to a baby because the baby may be the only one who can see it. A baby's, or small child's perception of a spirit may be more finely tuned then that of an adult. With no "rules of life" programmed into the baby...( such as there are no such things as ghosts, UFOs...etc.)..the baby isn't limited to what is "supposed" to be there. So who better for a spirit to take a liking to than the only one in the house who acknowledges its existence, simply because they're to young to be trained to ignore them. This may also be the reason why some ghosts become so protective of children. The spirit is quite possibly protecting its only form of interaction among the living.
Now, I've heard stories where people have lost things and found them later in different spots, but when there's a baby involved, I have usually read that the child always "gets" toys and things when they couldn't have possibly gotten themselves. Parents leaving car keys on a desk only to find them in the crib with the baby. I've read that ghosts like to play pranks or tricks on adults but never to a little one. Usually when ghosts play a prank on an adult it's to get their attention and to let them know that they (the ghost) are present. Maybe they don't do this with children because they can already see them (ghost). In turn the ghosts' "need" to be noticed isn't there. Little pranks may be a spirits way to let parents know that their child needs attention.
--- This was
E-mailed to me a few days after the above theory was posted on the
I told Kenny this story after reading what he posted on the page about ghosts and children. Thought you may be able to use it - I promise it's 100% true; actually my family would sort of like to forget it. They are uncomfortable with the implications of the occurrence. Here goes: My mother has told me stories of things that happened to me when I was a baby. Here's what she said: When I was about 4 weeks old (certainly not old enough to do any climbing or jumping or even picking my head up very well), she placed me in my crib for a nap. I had no siblings at the time, and it was during the day so my dad was at work and there was no one else in the house. As she was in the next room reading, she decided after my long nap that it was time to wake me up. Upon entering the room, she found me laying in the center of the room, fast asleep on the floor, secure in my blanket. I had not made a thud (surely mom's radar ears would have heard that right away) and not even a whimper. But sure enough there I was, absolutely no explanation for how I had gotten there. We still suspect something paranormal, but nobody likes to dwell on that subject. But there really is no WAY I could have climbed out of my crib without a sound and ended up in that position, and stayed asleep. Ok so ruling out the impossible (there was no mobile or anything for me to climb in the crib, nobody broke in, I had no ability to climb as a newborn, and my mom is not delirious), I do tend to conclude that there was something "funny" going on that day, like it may be possible that a ghost was having a little fun with me and more likely, with my mom. I will say that I have always been sensitive with psychic phenomena, though - not a prodigy, but I get certain feelings others sometimes miss. Well, that's my story - of course I could not remember seeing anything, but it is a little in keeping with the theory.
Intelligence of Orbs
First, let me comment on orbs. My idea is that orbs represent the spirit or soul of an individual that has died, leaving the physical body behind, just as a person would get out of a car. The orb is made up of the life-force, essentially energy, that originally powered the body. Since energy cannot be destroyed, I must assume that life does go on after the physical body ceases to function.
Now, being free of the physical limitations of the human body, we may very well have more control over our life-force energies. Containing it in an orb, would probably be the simplest form to travel in. We may form a barrier around our energy and as air in a bubble, our energy gently pushes against all sides equally, effectively creating an orb shape. We may also have control over our density and size.
When pictures are taken and orbs show up, we
get faint orbs and bright orbs. Sometimes we have strong feelings at the time,
but get nothing on film. Why the difference? Perhaps this is entirely up to the
spirits. I have witnessed an orb, through the use of night vision, fade into a
solid ball of light just before a picture was taken of a group of people. I
watched it do it a second time for another picture. The orb appeared before a
flash went off. It was there before the camera was lifted to take the picture.
Seeing this gave me two distinct impressions.
1- That this orb was an intelligent entity.
2- That most of the time, they decide when they want to be photographed.
Let me explain.
1- the reason I think that it was an
intelligent entity is that it acted as if it were posing for the picture. It
acted like it wanted to be noticed.
2- I've seen a lot of pictures with orbs. Most are faint and not too close to the camera. There are also pictures with nice, bright orbs with details of what looks like swirling energy inside them. These orbs seem to be almost deliberately in the picture. I believe that orbs are able to control the density of their energy. This may explain the two types of pictures. If an orb wants to be photographed, maybe they can condense their energy, becoming more solid and able to reflect light. Maybe the orb I witnessed condensed just enough for my night vision to pick up the light and amplify it, showing me an orb. But it could be that in their normal, "at rest" state, they do reflect a small amount light. Enough to produce the faint orbs we commonly see. If they want to be seen or make an impression, they become more dense and reflect more light than usual. Thus producing a bright, detailed orb.
There are also those pictures that turn up nothing, but the feelings and sensations are there. So, instead of condensing, maybe they can "thin" themselves out, spreading their energy out enough to allow light to simply pass through.
I tried to apply this thinking to ectoplasmic mists and apparitions. If they have control over their density and can contain their energy, perhaps by allowing their energy to flow out freely, they become the misty form we have also seen in pictures. Ever watch someone blow a bubble with moke from a ciggarette? The smokey bubble float along until its popped, then the smoke slowly spreads out in different directions.
If this is all part of a learning experience for spirits, then maybe they can get better and better at it. Being able to control their form with better detail. With a memory of what they used to be, they may be striving to return to the form they once were and are comfortable with. I gather that this may be difficult or draining because we have so few pictures of apparitions. This may also explain why clothing comes back from the grave. The spirit may be forming what they also remember wearing.
It is believed by many that when a person dies
suddenly, as in a car accident or by a gunshot, they may not be aware that
they died. This is much like when we cut ourselves, but don't notice it until we
see the injury. This sudden death can leave the spirit somewhat confused. He or
she cannot communicate with us and perhaps, has lost the concept of time. This
leaves them to wander the area where they died, not fully understanding the
predicament they are in.
Often times when these type of spirits are encountered, they are dressed as they were when they died and seemed confused as to what is going on around them. These spirits may at times manipulate various objects so they might be noticed, as if they're reaching out for our help. Unfortunately for them, it is believed that they are stuck here until somebody from our side makes contact and informs them that they have died. If they can be convinced they have died, then they move on to the next life or whatever may lie on the other side. But contact , as in interaction with the spirit, is most often not made. People, by nature, fear what they do not understand. So most people will run away or move, leaving the spirit to dwell an eternity wandering the place of their death.
This theory suggests that an intense emotional event, such as a murder, suicide or a tragic loss of a loved one, can cause a person or persons to leave an electrical imprint on the surrounding area. Our brain is constantly releasing small electrical discharges. It is believed that during an intense emotional time, these discharges intensify. They become powerful enough to go beyond the bounderies of our body and imprint themselves onto objects in the immedeate area. These imprints effectively record the details of the event that has transpired. It then takes the right person to come into the area and "playback" the recording.
This works much like a cassette recorder and tapes. Almost all the sounds in the world can be recorded onto a substance called ferrous oxide, or more commonly known as, rust. Sounds are converted into electrical impulses that are placed on the rust. When we put the tape into a cassette player and hit the "play" button, we hear what has been recorded. We can listen to this over and over again, whenever we replay the cassette.
Now imagine the electrical impulses escaping from the body of some pour soul who was murdered. This event happens in an old house. The energy spreads out and imprints itself on rust. Rusty nails, screws, handles, hinges and other metal objects that show signs of rust. The event is now recorded on the house or objects. Now imagine years later a new family moves in and begins some renovations to the old house. Walls are torn down, floor boards are ripped up or perhaps cabinets are replaced. All these renovations disturb the imprinted rust, perhaps sending out small vibrations into the air. Vibrations that go unnoticed by most, but for a few open-minded people, events that transpired unfold before them. This could happen with voices yelling, begging some unseen murderer to spare a victim's life, or the horrid event could play out like a movie before the viewer's eyes.
This type of encounter always unfolds in the same way, replaying the exact same occurrences. In most cases, there is no interaction between the living and the dead. But, like I mentioned earlier, there are always exceptions. Some cases have reported the replay ending suddenly, usually if a living person gets too close or enters the room where the event is replaying. A few even report that when viewing a apparition, it may notice the viewer and then suddenly disappear.
Another theory is that a spirit will stay behind after the physical body dies if they have unfinished business. We can apply this theory to many examples, such as a soldier standing guard years after his division was wiped out. Perhaps an old field doctor still trying to save the casualties of war long after peace has been declared. Perhaps a mother on her way home to care for her children, but doesn't make it home because of a car accident that took her life.
All of these things may seem like a very inadequate reason to give up the afterlife in favor of an eternity of guard duty, but if you think about it, how many times have you said " I have got to get this done." How many times have we all said " If I just get this done, I can rest" or " If I just get here, I'll be done and home soon." I know I've said it a million times. All we think about is completing that task. So what happens if we die before getting it done? What if our death is quick and we don't even realize it, as in the third theory I listed? Many believe we continue trying to complete that task into the afterlife.
Many cases, including one I'll write later on this page, document soldiers being seen at forts, still standing guard or performing their duties as they did many years ago. Gettysburg is an excellent example of soldiers and field doctors still carrying out their orders and operations. Many of these stories can be found in Mark Nesbitt's Ghosts of Gettysburg books. He currently has 4 books that not only give great stories about the ghosts that dwell in Gettysburg, but they also provide a detailed history of the events that transpired in these haunted areas.
A mother's love may also keep her behind, protecting those she loved and those who resemble the ones she loved. In many cases, a family living in an old house have found they live with a helpful spirit. Perhaps picking up objects and putting them in their proper places or even warning a family of a fire starting in the late night hours. One case in particular documents a mother who was awakened in the middle of the night by the figure of an old woman. This figure had motioned the mother to follow, which she did. The mother followed the spirit into the children's room where she had found that a small night-lite had sparked a small flame that was slowly moving up the wall. The mother was able to snuff out the fire without anyone getting hurt. When she remembered the figure of the old woman, she found the figure had vanished. Later, it was discovered that an old woman had died in the house with her three children. The cause of their deaths had been a fire in the house.
Perhaps the human will to get things done is strong enough to stop our journey into the next world. Perhaps these are also imprints that are another exception to the rule, interacting with those of us who still live on this world.
One theory that I hear every now and then is that we are not seeing ghosts, instead we live in one of thousands of dimensions that are seconds apart. In theory, every event in history and the future is taking place all the time, just in different dimensions. There is no past or future, but rather it is always the present. Different timelines working at different speeds, right next to each other. So let's speculate that if the conditions are right ( perhaps a catastraphic event as in a nuclear blast or a war killing thousands at a time, caused a ripple in one of these time lines) then maybe two dimensions briefly cross each other, allowing us to ever so briefly interact with those of the past.
I've wondered about this theory after hearing several stories of people literally walking into the past. One story involved two female employees that took an unusual elevator ride. The event took place in a dorm in Gettysburg. Instead of the elevator opening at their intended destination of the first floor, the elevator doors opened when it reached the basement. What the employees saw was more then they bargained for. They saw a room full of wounded soldiers and a doctor performing the horrible amputations that were considered medicine in those days. According to the storie, the doctor looked up at the students and beckoned to them, possibly to help with treating the soldiers. Fortunately, after some histerical punching of buttons, the doors again closed and took the students to the safety of the first floor and thier own time.
Now here is what I have wondered about this theory. Did the doctor actually see those two ladies in the elevator? If he did see them, did he notice that their clothing was different or the fact that they were in a small room that was lighted without candles or a lantern and had doors that opened and close by themselves. Perhaps he did wonder about this, but only late at night when he did not have screaming men clutching at him as they died. I've also wondered what would have happened if the two ladies stepped off the elevator into that nightmare. Would they have been able to cross the barriers of time, stranding them in the year 1863.
So far, this theory seems to only work in one direction for those of us here in this dimension. All of the cases I have read or heard about , they detail someone from our time witnessing the past, never crossing paths with future. Perhaps it takes a major event, such as the battle of Gettysburg, to cause a ripple large enough to interfere with another time.
One theory I've developed concerns the imaginary friends of small children. I believe that spirits are all around us, we just lack the open-mindedness to acknowledge that they are with us. I feel that this is because we are "programmed" when we are young by adults, that told us that there are no such things as ghosts. I was taught that when we died, we went to heaven or hell. The subject of ghosts never came up. Imaginary friends fall under this same programming. Parents will teach the children that their "friend" is not real, and they should stop talking to themselves. This is the kind of thinking that closes our minds to anything that is not flesh and blood or solid as a rock.
When we are born, we know nothing of the concerns and worries of the world. We have no rules to abide by, thus we have no preconcieved notions of what is supposed to be real and what is supposed to be imaginary. We don't even know what imagination is. So, I believe that babies and small children are the best chance a spirit has to communicate with the living. There have been numerous documented cases where a child or baby has been moved from one spot to another, or an infant has gained posession of toys that were no where near them. Many people have watched a baby move it's eyes around, as if following someone or a child suddenly laughing for no obvious reason. Perhaps that child is seeing a grandparent who passed on before getting a chance to see their grandchild.
What about children who are heard having long conversations with an unseen friend? Most can be attributed to an overactive imagination, but there are a few cases in which children have gained information they could not have known. A woman once wrote me about her son. Apparently the young boy had an imaginary friend. One day the boy told his mother that her stomach was glowing. His friend said that his mommy was going to have another baby and the he would have a sister. The next week the woman found out that she was indeed pregnant. Sometime later, a baby girl was born.
Perhaps imaginary friends are more real then we give them credit.
Perhaps the most common, but overlooked paranormal experience is the dream. People have had dreams where loved ones have come back to guide us through some problem or to simply say goodbye after they have passed on. Many of you who are reading this have had these kind of dreams. Many people have awoke from dreams and changed travel plans or called in sick to work. All because they said they're mother, grandparent or brother who passed away long ago told them to. It sounds silly, but it has happened. A mother of a friend of mine cancelled a trip to Atlantic City one summer. She said that her brother came to her in a dream, warning her to stay home. She did. Later the next day we found out that the bus she was to be on was involved in an accident. No one died, but a few were hospitalized due to some serious injuries. Good thing she listened to her brother.
Other times those who have crossed over simply want to assure and comfort those they left behind, as in the woman I met at a seminar hosted by the PGHA. She had been worried about her grandmother who had recently passed on. Granny put her grandaughter's fears to rest by coming back and telling her that she was alright.
When I was young and my own grandparents had passed away, I would often dream of them when I had been thinking about them. Most of the dream was of times we had spent together in there house, when they used to visit me at my house or when my grandfather lived with us for a time after my grandmom passed away. It all had the charateristics of a normal dream, with everything just happening without any thought about what I was doing. The only difference was at the end of the dream when it was time to go. I remember saying that I miss them. My grandfather would turn and say "Don't you worry about us, we're fine." This part always seemed the most real. I've always taken that as a message from them. So I don't worry.
A Familiar Place
A spirit may choose to dwell in a place that was familiar to them during their life. Try this for an example. After a hard day at work you get into your car. Where do you want to go? Some people want to go home. For them this is where they can sit down and relax for a little while, eat dinner in peace and watch a little TV before turning in for the night. Perhaps it is a favorite watering hole for happy hour. Surrounded by good friends, food and drink. This is where they like to be because they're happy there.
Where I'm going with this is that after one dies and stays behind, the world often changes around the spirit. They want to go somewhere they feel comfortable, where they can feel happy. With the inability to be seen or heard by most, a place like that is where they may spend much of their time. This could be the reason behind many restruant and bar hauntings. Many soldiers may return to their fort or camp because that was their home before they died and that is where they feel comfortable. So why not spend most of your time there?