In honor of the holiday season- aka: Halloween, I found it necessary to do a post about those shadows in the night, that ambient sound coming from only God knows where, that looming figure above your bed, Casper….Yea, this post is about ghosts.
I was recently discussing with my roommate (girl in the top bunk, i’m talking about you) the nature of the paranormal. She is a firm believer in ghosts and I am a skeptic leaning towards i’ll believe in centaurs before i’ll believe in ghosts. So I decided to do my research. Let’s say the information was not easy to come by. You would not BELIEVE how much internet space is wasted on heinous websites on ghosts. The cheesiest and most amateur pictures and websites were the only sources I could come by for what seemed like forever. Seriously, type in ghost in Google (or Bing if you want to be a rebel), and you will be shocked at how poor the sources are. I honestly thought I would become a ghost before I found some good sources.
But then I did, and this is what I found. I will be presenting to you two opposing views of ghosts. The first is the view that ghosts are not real, according to psychological explanation. The second is that ghosts could potentially be real, according to quantum physics.
Let’s start with the psychological explanation. There are two theories that explain why people think they see ghosts. The first is the Terror Management Theory. This theory states that people are so afraid of not existing (death) that they have passed down stories through generations that explain an “afterlife.” The theory also delves into religion being a result of people basically “managing their terror of nonexistence.” The next psychological phenomenon is the Confirmation Bias. This is a proven bias that shows us that people see what they believe. For instance, if you think everyone’s staring at you, well you are going to notice every person who looks your way- and the truth is people are probably not looking at you more than they usually do. The only difference is your perception. This applies to ghosts in that if you believe in ghosts, then you will notice every ambient noise and begin to notice every little thing that appears “abnormal.”
Ok- so are you a nonbeliever with me? Well, there’s still another side to this. The next side is the quantum explanation of why ghosts are real (for those of you who don’t know, quantum physics is the study of the movement of particles and electrons etc.- basically the physics of the really small things). There’s this tricky little theory called the “double slit theory of particles.” What scientists did is they wanted to test how particles moved when they were shot out of a particle shooter and through a slit in a board. Naturally, when the particles went through the slit, they ended up on the wall behind the wall with the slit, in the shape of a slit. (if you can’t picture this, picture a thin board with a slit in it. Imagine bubblegum being thrown through the slit and the gum ends up in the shape of the slit on the other wall that it sticks to). Ok, so scientists wanted to see what happened when they made two slits in the thin wall. They wanted to see what the particles did. They expected the particles to go through the slits and form two lines of particles on the back wall. This is what they ended up with-
Instead of making two lines like expected, it made a multitude of lines (much like a wave would, had it been a wave that went through the slit). The baffled physicists wanted to see how this oddity happened, so they put a camera behind the thin wall so as to observe the particles going through the two slits.
After shooting the particles instead of seeing the multitude of lines (remember, much like a wave?) they saw…….a double line of particles aka: a double slit…..like they originally hypothesized. Physics wise this made no sense. Scientists could not figure out why when they observed the particles going through the slit that they ended up acting differently. That is something they still can not explain. But the double slit theory is now used to explain why there is no physical evidence (pictures or videos) of ghosts- because according to the double slit theory, particles act differently when observed. In a nutshell, ghosts could potentially be protected from recorded observation because the particles that make up the ghost could be protected in a quantum sense, from observation.
BOOM, if you understood that, i’m so glad. Simplifying that was not easy (you should have seen the original article I read on it, talk about a mind bender.) Bending my mind still is that there is sound evidence for both sides of the argument. I can understand how the idea of ghosts came about, but I also understand that they could potentially be real. I guess it’s just one of those things that you either believe, or you have to see to believe. Till then, i’ll be waiting in a state of non-belief (any ghosts reading this, that’s a statement, not an invitation.)
Happy Halloween Everyone :)