Ghosts, are they real?

Ghost: definition.

The spirit of a dead person, sometimes represented as a pale, almost transparent image of that person that some people believe appears to people who are alive: Oxford English Dictionary

Ghosts, are they real?

Some people claim to have seen ghosts, over the centuries there have been many documented sightings of, for want of a more suitable word, ‘ghosts’.

I believe that ghosts or apparitions may have something to do with some form of negative energy, energy that has been left behind after a traumatic event. We have all heard of cases where the same ghost appears at the same place over and over again.  Are these incidents a replaying of a past event, are the events somehow embedded and absorbed into the fabric of the place where they happened? The reports of these recurring incidents have one thing going for them and that is the fact that the sightings are reported as being exactly the same each time.

Your local police station will have many documented files on encounters with drivers who swear that they have just run someone over only to find that there was no one there. It’s what parapsychologists refer to as stone tape theory. Police files will bear witness to the fact that a person was killed on the same stretch of road many years before. In these numerous cases of ‘haunted highways’ the description of the ghost and the person who was killed are chillingly accurate and the drivers have actually seen a recognisable person. Incidents involving the police as witnesses to paranormal activity are very interesting.

The one that springs to mind is the encounter that happened in the late 80’s at the A616 Stockbridge Bypass where two police officers came under attack from a monk like figure? Apparently people are still encountering the disturbing, violent apparition to this day.

There are many reports of people stopping to give lifts to lone hitchhikers in the dead of the night only to find that as they turn to make conversation with the person they find that they’ve disappeared.  A classic documented example of this involves a man called Roy Fullerton. Roy was on his way home after work one dark evening, he stopped to give a lift to a hitchhiker who was standing by the roadside, the young man gets into Roy’s van, closes the door and Roy asks him where he’s going. The young man says nothing, raises his arm and points dead ahead. Roy starts the van and moves off, a couple of minutes later he leans forward to grab a pack of cigarettes from the dashboard, turns to offer a cigarette to the hitchhiker only to find the seat empty?

Are these encounters with apparitions real or imagined? Some say that they are possibly the product of an over active imagination or the consequence of sleep deprivation, or some kind of stress related problem which manifests itself in the form of hallucinations? In A Christmas Carol  when Scrooge encounters the Ghost of Marley for the first time, he desperately tries to rationalise the vision and dismisses the presence as possibly being something to do with the supper he’d just eaten.
“Why do you doubt your senses says the ghost of Marley?”
“Because,” says Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

The brain will always try to explain these visions to make sense of them, because our minds have been crammed with science and reason all of our lives.  Perhaps there’s no rational explanation, and never will be, so we may have to accept the fact that these encounters, even though they defy all logical explanation, are real?

I often add a little of the supernatural into the mix when writing my crime thriller novels. In my crime thriller Dark City, for example, private detective Nick Harland encounters a good deal of paranormal activity when on the trail of a serial killer. And again in my latest crime thriller Death Sentence we see Nick Harland encountering the ghost of his dead wife.

Extract from Death Sentence. “From the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of a slender, fleeting figure in the doorway. It looks like my wife, Anna. A gentle silver radiance surrounds her.  Softly I call her name, but she disappears into the next room. It's all in my head, because she's been dead for over a year now.”

There have been sightings and encounters with ghosts for thousands of years, so many, in fact, that I find it almost impossible to believe that they can all be attributed to our cultural imaginations, stress, tricks of the light, reflections, low frequency magnetic fields, powers of suggestion, poor air quality, toxic mould, carbon monoxide and naturally occurring phenomena as the sceptics would have us believe. The Parapsychological Society suggests that some people’s brains can receive or tune in to psychic information, and that it is your own psychic energy that allows some of us to see ghosts and sense paranormal activity, receive premonitions and experience extra sensory perception?

There are many things we still don’t understand about the world around us, and so I think it’s safe to say that for the time being we can add the phenomena of ghosts to that long list?

Check out my scariest thriller book yet Dark City