Have you experienced a ghost?

Discussions on UFOs, ghosts, myths etc.

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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#141  Postby Farcus81 » Apr 19, 2011 6:12 pm

Will S wrote:
Farcus81 wrote:There is really no way to know how much of it is true and how much of it is embellished. However you have to admit, it is an interesting story :lol:

Oh good! I'm glad not to have caused offence! A splendid story, as you say. :smile:


I am very difficult to offend :thumbup: :lol:
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#142  Postby jerome » Apr 19, 2011 6:15 pm

Farcus81 wrote:Ok, I'll jump into this one.

My grandfather and his girlfriend both swear this is true as do various other members of my family who experienced things directly... My grandfather got "a deal" on a house in Louisville Kentucky. He and his girlfriend moved into the house and for the first few months everything was.


OK, so the story is told as a ghost story: but Farcus heard the story as a ghost story, so that tells us nothing as to its authenticity. The "deal" signifies something was wrong with the house, hence cheap price - it acts as a foretelling motif, and also by implication strengthens the supernatural narrative. These are techniques used in fiction - but they can also be used by people recounting their own experiences after long periods of time and many retellings. So this gets us no further.

Farcus81 wrote:
Grandpa had an old oil lamp that sat on the mantle over the fireplace as a decorative piece.


Yet at the end of the story, with the new tenants moving out yard sale, the oil lamp is still seen in the house - it acts as a framing device, and the implication is it is in some way associated with the haunt. This leads tot he obvious question - why not take the lamp when grandpa moved out as it was his possession???

Farcus81 wrote:
One day he happened to notice it wasn't on the mantle. No big deal, he just assumed Caroline had taken it to the kitchen to wash it or something. A few days later it wasn't back on the mantle and he hadn't seen it so he asked her if she was going to put it back out. She said that she hadn't touched it and thought he had moved it. He simply said, thats weird, I wonder were it went? A few hours later they were both sitting on the couch watching TV and heard a clank behind them. It was loud enough to startle them both so they turned around and looked and the oil lamp was sitting in the middle of the dining room table. It hadn't been there before and they both swear they didn't move it.


Now unless Farcus's grandpappy or Farcus is knowledgeable about alleged polt cases he is unlike to have come across the notion of SOD - small object displacement. Here is a quote from my blog, from my review of the Science of Ghosts event with Wiseman, Watt et al at Edinburgh Uni in April 2009

Jerome wrote:( SOD is an acronymn for small object displacement. A good example is a craft knife which vanished while repairs were underway at The Bell in Dursley, and reappeared a few minutes later on a table where it certainly was not a moment before. SOD is easy to explain away as misperception but I am personally convinced by the fact this phenomena has been mentioned to me on almost every case I have investigated without leading questions, yet it is not considered part of the traditional repertoire of a haunt. SOD is easy to remember; indeed rarely has a technical term been so appropriate. The mnemonic to recall this is “Where’s the sodding ghost put my car keys/cufflinks/whatever?!”)


You can find several similar reports in the case write ups in my other blog POLTERWOTSIT.


Farcus81 wrote:
The cat was sitting on Carolines lap and there was noone else in the house so there was no one else to make the noise.


Note Farcus here introduces the previously unnamed girlfriends name - something people do in recounting true stories, but is less common in fiction, so an indication of Farcus' sincerity? ( I think Farcus is sincere anyway, but one has to be cautious! :))


Farcus81 wrote:
Over the next few months the lamp would disappear for a few days at a time then show back up while they were both doing something together or when no one was at home. More often then not it would "appear" on the window window sill of the bay window in the front of the house and it always appeared without a spec of dust on it no matter how long it had been missing. It became a joke in their house that at least they were being haunted by a clean ghost. :lol:


Compare with this from a 2009 East Midlands case
Acc_Census_Case_28 wrote:
Items will often go missing and then turn up in random places months or even years later. It's not just that they have been lost or anything because we have often turned the house upside down loooking for these things and then they will suddenly be like right in the middle of the kitchen table or something one day. The items that I can remember is my ring from when I was little, went missing when I was about 10 and it turned up a couple of months ago. A top of mine, a top of mums, trousers, jeans, an envelope with money in.


I could give other examples, but time means I'd best come back to this later

Farcus81 wrote:
However as time went on both Grandpa and Caroline both assumed that it was the other one playing a trick on them as neither believes in ghosts. Nothing else ever moved "on its own" besides that lamp. After a few months of the lamp moving around on its own things started getting weirder.


OK I'll pause here as I have to get ready for my game.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#143  Postby Farcus81 » Apr 19, 2011 6:35 pm

jerome wrote:OK, so the story is told as a ghost story: but Farcus heard the story as a ghost story, so that tells us nothing as to its authenticity. The "deal" signifies something was wrong with the house, hence cheap price - it acts as a foretelling motif, and also by implication strengthens the supernatural narrative. These are techniques used in fiction - but they can also be used by people recounting their own experiences after long periods of time and many retellings. So this gets us no further.


Just to explain this part of the story a little better, grandpa made his living by buying cheap and selling high. Storage Sheds, garage sales, flipping houses etc. If you've seen the new storage wars TV shows that have poped up in the last year or two, grandpa was doing that 30 years ago :lol: He actually found a Ferrari 308 parked in a storage shed that he paid $100 for once. Made a nice profit off that one :lol: But anyways, Getting a deal on something like a house wasn't a rarity for him. He knew the market, what to look for and how to work out a good deal. He probably flipped 2-3 houses a year. This particular one he like enough to at least try to live in... :lol:

jerome wrote:Yet at the end of the story, with the new tenants moving out yard sale, the oil lamp is still seen in the house - it acts as a framing device, and the implication is it is in some way associated with the haunt. This leads tot he obvious question - why not take the lamp when grandpa moved out as it was his possession???


After the "break in" the lamp was sitting on the mantle over the fireplace. I actually forgot about that part before. lol It and the cat were the only things not in some way damaged when everything else in the house was pushed up against the door and slashed. The cat was hiding under the pile of stuff. I never thought to ask why they hadn't taken it with them when they left but my guess is that it was either missing again or they figured that the ghost liked it and they didn't want it following after them so they left it on purpose... :lol: I'm only speculating there though...
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#144  Postby tnjrp » Apr 20, 2011 6:07 am

jerome wrote:Now unless Farcus's grandpappy or Farcus is knowledgeable about alleged polt cases he is unlike to have come across the notion of SOD - small object displacement
SOD is a fairly typical element in many famous hauntings and ghost stories tho so while the term is prolly new, the notion may not be.

One of my socks SODed off from the bathroom table last January incidentally. Haven't seen it since. The resident wotsit must be really partial to it -- even tho it was unwashed, smelly and dirty :mrgreen:
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#145  Postby trubble76 » Apr 20, 2011 9:54 am

Here's my problem with this and similar stories; let's assume every word is completely true, we know where there is a place on Earth that is home to an active ghost. Anyone of us can go and examine the phenomenom of all the furniture pilling itself against doors, or messages from beyond the grave being written in flour. And yet, what would be undoubtably one of the greatest discoveries of humankind, more important even than the Irish peace process or the Moon landings, remains undocumented.

It's like someone telling me that they dug up a pre-Cambrian fossilised rabbit but haven't bothered to show it to a paleontologist. It makes no sense. Having said that, a cracking good campfire yarn is a good thing as long as people don't accept it as fact.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#146  Postby tnjrp » Apr 20, 2011 9:59 am

trubble76 wrote:what would be undoubtably one of the greatest discoveries of humankind, more important even than the Irish peace process or the Moon landings, remains undocumented.
Yep, it might even be more important than findinf a (diminutive) dead alien in rural Russia :levi:
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/paran ... ml#p811698
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#147  Postby HPrice » Apr 20, 2011 10:10 am

Will S wrote:You can't rubbish ghosts (or anything else!) as non-existent, unless you first state what you mean by the word 'ghost'.

It seems that, central to your definition of the word 'ghost' is the idea of 'an occurrence for which there's no plausible explanation.' I think that if you use a definition of that kind, you'll create a great deal of confusion, especially amongst people who are not accustomed to think clearly or to distinguish between words and ideas.

Nevertheless, if that's how you choose to define ghost, then of course you're right when you say that ghosts exist - everybody agrees that there are, sometimes, occurrences for which there's no plausible explanation! Only an idiot would try to 'rubbish' the existence of ghosts as so defined.


My definition of ghost is someone seeing a human figure that can't physically be present.

Firstly, the bit about 'can't be present' is AS DEFINED BY the witness. So if they see someone in a locked room, it does not exclude the possibility that they are seeing a real person and the room is not actually locked. Someone may think a room is locked but it does not mean it is so. I have come across endless numbers of cases where someone says something like this and if you ask them 'did you actually try to open the door at the time', they will reply 'no, because I know it was locked'.

Secondly, it is perfectly possible for a figure not to be present but for it not to be paranormal either. Most cases turn out to be misperception or hallucination.

Thirdly, the definition does not exclude a paranormal explanation, maybe even a spirit!

But until you say more than that, you're not saying anything interesting or worthy of discussion; the most you're doing is to construct a catalogue of such occurrences.


I am not trying to say anything 'interesting' about ghosts with my definition - that's the point. I am simply describing the basic distinguishing features of a class of human experience. If I was to say any more, it might start to include factors which have not been supported by evidence, such as ghosts being spirits for instance. The 'interesting' bit is the results of such neutral research, which shows that the majority of ghost experiences are misperception and a large proportion of the remainder hallucination.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#148  Postby Fallible » Apr 20, 2011 10:14 am

trubble76 wrote:

My question is really "why do so many people want to have seen a ghost?" I think the answer may be similar to the reason people accept religion (no offence intended), a fear of death and an inability to confront the possiblity of non-existance.


I think there is that, and then also speaking from experience, it's quite exciting to imagine this whole other area which we don't understand and of which we occasionally snatch glimpses. Ah and also scary stories are highly, highly enjoyable and affecting. Being scared shitless is one of life's greatest pleasures.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#149  Postby Will S » Apr 20, 2011 10:55 am

HPrice wrote:My definition of ghost is someone seeing a human figure that can't physically be present.

Firstly, the bit about 'can't be present' is AS DEFINED BY the witness. So if they see someone in a locked room, it does not exclude the possibility that they are seeing a real person and the room is not actually locked. Someone may think a room is locked but it does not mean it is so. I have come across endless numbers of cases where someone says something like this and if you ask them 'did you actually try to open the door at the time', they will reply 'no, because I know it was locked'.

Secondly, it is perfectly possible for a figure not to be present but for it not to be paranormal either. Most cases turn out to be misperception or hallucination.

Thirdly, the definition does not exclude a paranormal explanation, maybe even a spirit!

But if that's how you define a ghost, then I'm puzzled by what you said in a previous message:
HPrice wrote:If you set out to rubbish ghosts as of non-existent, you will also fail.

For, provided that the person you're talking to understands what YOU mean by 'ghost', it isn't really understandable how anybody would want to 'rubbish ghosts as non-existent'. It looks as though you're setting up a man of straw.

Under your definition, it's entirely obvious that ghosts exist. That is to say, people will, quite often, perceive what they interpret as a human figure, under circumstances in which, according to their own beliefs, and their own account of things, no human being could actually be present.

If people do try to 'rubbish ghosts as non-existent', then, pretty clearly, they don't understand what you mean by the word. I'd respectfully suggest that their lack of understanding is partly attributable to you, because you define 'ghost' in a somewhat eccentric way. But, be that as it may, they're not saying anything interesting or important; it's a simple and boring issue concerning the use of words. It's like somebody misunderstanding an evolutionary biologist who talks about 'fitness', using the word in its special technical sense.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#150  Postby jerome » Apr 20, 2011 11:13 am

Farcus81 wrote:
They would hear sounds in the other part of the house when all living things in the house were accounted for. Footsteps, Doors opening and closing, clothshangers would suddenly break causing cloths in the closet to fall on the floor, weird stuff like that. I've had cloths hangers break when i had heavy coats hanging on them and stuff like that but they both swear that one day every other hanger in their master bedroom closet broke at the same time.


Pretty much typical of polt cases as it happens: though could just be misattribution of normal things to an entity. Houran and Lange did a study published in the journal of Perceptual & Motor Skills in which they asked a young couple to keep a diary of anything weird that happened to them, and lots did. I can't really comment on the paper because I have never managed ot get a copy of the article; some of you may recall me trying late last year?

Farcus81 wrote:
They started to get a little scared. One night Grandpa woke in the middle of the night and decided to go to the kitchen to get a drink of water. Caroline says she felt him get out of bed and kind of woke up but was still mostly in a sleepy daze when she heard a single loud thump coming from the kitchen followed by a groan. She immediately started awake, jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen to find grandpa sitting on the floor leaning against the cabnet in front of the sink slightly dazed and mumbling that "The ghost and thrown him across the room" His slipper was just inside the doorway leading from the hallway into the kitchen on the other side of the room apparently indicating where he had been standing when "the ghost threw him" Now they were both scared.


or he slipped and attributed this to the "ghost"? Well, maybe, let's keep reading...

Farcus81 wrote:
Things quieted down a bit for a few weeks then one day Grandpa came home from work and couldn't get the front door to open. It unlocked fine it just wouldn't budge when he tried to open it. He went around the side and looked in the window and saw that literally every piece of furniture in the house had been pushed up in front of the front and back door. The house had those window slats that you have to crank open and closed from inside. Once all the stuff was pushed up against the doors there would be literally no way in or out of the house without causing damage. He went next door and called the police. The cops had to break a window to get him into the house. Literally everything in the house with the exception of the oil lamp was pushed up into a pile blocking one of the two exterior doors. Everything in the pile was destroyed. Cloths looked like they had been slashed, furniture all had what grandpa described as a "claw mark" in it, he even still has a shotgun which had been in the house which was bent in a U shape. The cops told him that someone must have broken in and caused the damage. When he asked how they bent a shotgun into a U shape they said the vandals must have brought a vice with them since he didn't have one. :lol: (I have seen the police report from this incident so I know there is some truth to it)


When you get back to the USA it would be VERY interesting to read the police report if you can still get hold of it. :) This incident sounds like something out of a Hollywood melodrama, though in the Cheshire polt of 2010 a bed moved against a door preventing access to a room. It's certainly not atypical, and my first thought, racoons or some such, does not make sense in light of the heavy furniture being moved. But this could easily be human intruders trying to freak your grandpa. Who knows? The U shaped shotgun rang a bell - I finally worked out from a scenario for Call of Cthulhu the roleplaying game, I don't think I have seen it mentioned in the ghost literature anywhere. The ASPR ( http://www.aspr.com ) would probbaly love to take a look at that gun, as would Dr Barrie Colvin I expect.


Farcus81 wrote:
After cleaning up the house as much as they could they went to sleep on their freshly clawed matress and Caroline decided to do an experiment. She had read somewhere that if you pour flour on a counter and leave a pencil next to it sometimes a ghost will write a message in the flower. She did this then went to sleep. The next morning she found a message in the flour that just said, "Get out". That day they packed what they had that was still useable and moved into one of Grandpa's other properties. They never went back into that house themselves. They had someone else move all their stuff out and throw it all away and sold the house. This all took place over the course of a little less then one year.


How long did they live happily in the house before the disturbances started?

Facinating story Farcus! :)
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#151  Postby jerome » Apr 20, 2011 11:16 am

Will S wrote:
I'd respectfully suggest that their lack of understanding is partly attributable to you, because you define 'ghost' in a somewhat eccentric way. But, be that as it may, they're not saying anything interesting or important; it's a simple and boring issue concerning the use of words. It's like somebody misunderstanding an evolutionary biologist who talks about 'fitness', using the word in its special technical sense.


But Harry is using in a perfectly ordinary sense: exactly the same way I , Sunchime, or anyone post at least Tyrell (1948) uses it -- that is in a technical but very carefully defined way. There is a good discussion of this as i recall in the Apparitional Experiences Primer I linked a few pages back? Ghost research is research in to these experiences. BTW Harry, you SPR? Be good to meet up sometime?

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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#152  Postby HPrice » Apr 20, 2011 11:28 am

Will S wrote:If people do try to 'rubbish ghosts as non-existent', then, pretty clearly, they don't understand what you mean by the word. I'd respectfully suggest that their lack of understanding is partly attributable to you, because you define 'ghost' in a somewhat eccentric way. But, be that as it may, they're not saying anything interesting or important; it's a simple and boring issue concerning the use of words. It's like somebody misunderstanding an evolutionary biologist who talks about 'fitness', using the word in its special technical sense.


Obviously I realise that most people don't use my definition (though it, or something similar, is shared by some others in the field) when they talk about ghosts. But even if they accept a traditional definition, they are still wasting their time.

The central confusion arises because the traditional definition mixes a theoretical agency, a spirit, with a very real experience, someone seeing an 'impossible figure' that they believe cannot be physically present.

So anyone keen to rubbish ghosts will simply say that there is no compelling evidence for the existence of spirits, which is perfectly true. But that does not stop people seeing 'impossible figures'.

Similarly, anyone who believes in spirits will say that people seeing 'impossible figures' supports their case when, in reality, it does no such thing.

Both 'sides' are on a hiding to nothing. It would be far better if they adopted the neutral approach of simply acknowledging that people see 'impossible figures' from time to time and discover any explanations. If spirits really do exist, this should become apparent in the evidence from sightings. This is why basing any argument around the traditional definition of ghosts is a waste of time.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#153  Postby Will S » Apr 20, 2011 12:09 pm

HPrice wrote:Both 'sides' are on a hiding to nothing. It would be far better if they adopted the neutral approach of simply acknowledging that people see 'impossible figures' from time to time ...

It's that 'man of straw' again! Who doesn't acknowledge it? (Once we admit your very important proviso: 'impossible' in the opinion of the person making the claim - not necessarily 'impossible' in the opinion of impartial investigators.)
HPrice wrote: ...and discover any explanations.

Fine - that's a perfectly legitimate field of research.
HPrice wrote:If spirits really do exist, this should become apparent in the evidence from sightings.

Indeed! You never said a truer word! :angel: But don't you draw any conclusions from the fact that, in over 100 years of psychical research, it hasn't become apparent? For how long do you have to go on searching the dark room before you conclude that any further attempts to locate the black cat are a waste of time?
HPrice wrote:This is why basing any argument around the traditional definition of ghosts is a waste of time.

I don't see that your argument leads to that conclusion. Roughly speaking, most people would define a 'ghost' as a shadowy 'something' which has some of the characteristics of a person who was once alive but is now dead: appearance, or voice, or memory or consciousness, or some combination of these. It seems perfectly reasonable to ask whether such entities exist, and equally reasonable to conclude that there's not a shred of decent evidence that they do.

Since many people are either muddled in their thinking about this, or else they genuinely believe that ghosts, thus defined, do exist, I can't see that it's necessarily a waste of time discussing the matter with them.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#154  Postby jerome » Apr 20, 2011 12:30 pm

trubble76 wrote:Here's my problem with this and similar stories; let's assume every word is completely true, we know where there is a place on Earth that is home to an active ghost. Anyone of us can go and examine the phenomenom of all the furniture pilling itself against doors, or messages from beyond the grave being written in flour. And yet, what would be undoubtably one of the greatest discoveries of humankind, more important even than the Irish peace process or the Moon landings, remains undocumented.

It's like someone telling me that they dug up a pre-Cambrian fossilised rabbit but haven't bothered to show it to a paleontologist. It makes no sense. Having said that, a cracking good campfire yarn is a good thing as long as people don't accept it as fact.


That's a pretty good point Trubble, indeed a vital one. Given such cases supposedly do exist, and given the tremendous importance they would have if proven legitimate, why do people not investigate them? Well I guess Sunchime I and HPrice (the poster or the original Harry Price) do, as do many others. However, there is a "common sense consensus" such cases are bollocks, and scientists in particular work in a hegemony that says these things don't happen, so why look? Of course there are exceptions -- including a few Nobel winners -- http://www.spr.ac.uk/main/page/past-pre ... psychology - gives the past Presidents of the SPR, a rather fun and surprising list -- but most people don't.

So maybe these cases just don't exist? Yet I can think of quite a few from the last two years that I dissected on my blog --

Coventry 2011
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2011/ ... ltergeist/

Pembrokeshire 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -haunting/

Doncaster 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... yre-depot/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... ot-part-2/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... st-part-3/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... 93-part-4/

Romiley 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... ture-pose/

Cork 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -part-one/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -part-two/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... st-part-3/

There were undoubtedly more but I have been so busy I don't always write them up...

j x
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#155  Postby Will S » Apr 20, 2011 12:46 pm

jerome wrote:So maybe these cases just don't exist? Yet I can think of quite a few from the last two years that I dissected on my blog --

Coventry 2011
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2011/ ... ltergeist/

Pembrokeshire 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -haunting/

Doncaster 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... yre-depot/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... ot-part-2/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... st-part-3/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... 93-part-4/

Romiley 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... ture-pose/

Cork 2010
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -part-one/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... -part-two/
http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... st-part-3/

There were undoubtedly more but I have been so busy I don't always write them up...

j x

Jerome -

I haven't been through all the examples you've selected, but are there any cases in which the phenomena (picture falling off the wall, drawer opening spontaneously, piece of crockery leaping off the table and flying through the air ...) have been videoed?

Because, if there are any, then these would be the ones to look at closely, since the number of possible explanations would be very strictly limited; the two main options would appear to be genuine paranormal phenomenon, or deliberate, and skilled, fraud.

Or, if none has been videoed, then isn't it fair to ask why not? After all, these days, literally millions of people walk around with video recording facilities instantly to hand in the form of their mobile phones and cameras.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#156  Postby jerome » Apr 20, 2011 12:58 pm

There is footage from Rosenheim for example, and still photographs - the latest claimed video which looks immensely fake, and is easily so is from the Coventry case above - gives the video, and a link to Hayley Steven's excellent and simple replication using easily available materials. Probably the best collection of interviews I have seen is this -- http://www.channel4.com/programmes/inte ... oltergeist on the famous (and highly controversial) Enfield case. well worth watching :)

Is there poltergeist footage that shows something real? I have not been convinced. I'll give my experience of such though. In the early 90's I was on a case in Warwickshire, when a coffee cup on a restaurant table started to vibrate. There were two other witnesses, Derek Newman and Matt Savory. Derek and I turned to grab the video camera, and the coffee cup appeared to fly at Derek's crotch, then drop vertically just before impact. You can read comments about the incident in the comments to part 3 of Cork here -- http://polterwotsit.wordpress.com/2010/ ... st-part-3/ - just scroll down to the comments at the end of the pierce for a discussion between Matt and I.

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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#157  Postby jerome » Apr 20, 2011 3:41 pm

jerome wrote:Trubble asked about the experient's gender. In the 1948 it was 72 males and 138 females. In 1894 it was 653 male to 1,029 female. In both cases the gender difference is highly significant based on a chi square test? So for example using the 1894 data we would expect 841 men based on equal gender figures: the observed number was 653. Chi squared equals 84.052 with 1 degrees of freedom. The two-tailed P value is less than 0.0001. By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be extremely statistically significant. So it is safe to say that people answering surveys relating to ghosts positively are more likely to be female than male; that may tell us little about actual experiences though really...



Just a quick update on this as I have finished a first sort on the 2010 Accidental Census data

1894 male 38.89% female 61.11%
1948 male 34.29% female 65.61%
1995 male 45.93% female 54.07% (BBC phone survey, questions by DJ West)
2010 male 34.48% female 65.52%

That seems pretty solid as an effect, whether caused by the experience or by a reporting bias, gender is clearly a significant factor. Wait to see what Becky has when she closes her data collection now I guess.

EDIT: I added the West 1995 survey which used the same question but a telephone call methodology. Interestingly it shows a more equal distribution of positive replies by gender.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#158  Postby HPrice » Apr 20, 2011 4:32 pm

Will S wrote:It's that 'man of straw' again! Who doesn't acknowledge it? (Once we admit your very important proviso: 'impossible' in the opinion of the person making the claim - not necessarily 'impossible' in the opinion of impartial investigators.)


Good, so that means everyone agrees with my definition of a ghost! Hurrah!

Indeed! You never said a truer word! :angel: But don't you draw any conclusions from the fact that, in over 100 years of psychical research, it hasn't become apparent? For how long do you have to go on searching the dark room before you conclude that any further attempts to locate the black cat are a waste of time?


Sience is an on-going process. The current theory of gravitation is relativity. However, that doesn't stop people testing it, to higher and higher standards. Nor does it stop them looking for more general theories to replace it. There are no final conclusions in science, only a provisional understanding.

Regarding ghosts, I don't subscribe to any particular theory except that these sightings have several different causes. I don't think that there is any evidence that 'spirits' is one of those causes but I cannot speak for others. What I do know is that there is a lot to be learned from understanding how these sightings occur, including brand new science.

For instance, it has only recently become apparent why it is that someone can visually turn a poorly-seen tree stump into a 'human figure', complete with clothes, facial features and other details that cannot possibly be physically there. It is because their brain takes a 'short cut' when it cannot resolve a poorly seen image and essentially makes a best guess. It puts the image of a human figure, taken from visual memory, into the witness's visual field, instead of a tree. Such substitutions, which happen before the witness is conscious of seeing the object, are part of normal visual perception, so it looks perfectly real to the witness.

As the witness looks more closely at the object, their brain gains more information about it , realises its mistake and turns the image into a tree stump. To the witness, they first saw a person and then it vanished! It is no wonder they think it is a ghost! No one even realised this was how perception worked until recent developments in neuroscience. It explains why witnesses can see, and remember, such detail in a figure that they cannot then believe it was ever really a tree. It has opened up a whole new line of research into ghosts. For instance, working out how to recognise such misperception from a witness account.

I don't see that your argument leads to that conclusion. Roughly speaking, most people would define a 'ghost' as a shadowy 'something' which has some of the characteristics of a person who was once alive but is now dead: appearance, or voice, or memory or consciousness, or some combination of these. It seems perfectly reasonable to ask whether such entities exist, and equally reasonable to conclude that there's not a shred of decent evidence that they do.

Since many people are either muddled in their thinking about this, or else they genuinely believe that ghosts, thus defined, do exist, I can't see that it's necessarily a waste of time discussing the matter with them.


People can make up any kind of bizarre mythical being and decide it cannot exist, if that is how they want to spend their precious time. However, if they want to know what causes people to report seeing ghosts, they need to examine the evidence before reaching any conclusions.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#159  Postby Farcus81 » Apr 20, 2011 5:44 pm

jerome wrote: or he slipped and attributed this to the "ghost"? Well, maybe, let's keep reading...


Thats pretty much what I think happened too :lol:

jerome wrote:
When you get back to the USA it would be VERY interesting to read the police report if you can still get hold of it. :) This incident sounds like something out of a Hollywood melodrama, though in the Cheshire polt of 2010 a bed moved against a door preventing access to a room. It's certainly not atypical, and my first thought, racoons or some such, does not make sense in light of the heavy furniture being moved. But this could easily be human intruders trying to freak your grandpa. Who knows? The U shaped shotgun rang a bell - I finally worked out from a scenario for Call of Cthulhu the roleplaying game, I don't think I have seen it mentioned in the ghost literature anywhere. The ASPR ( http://www.aspr.com ) would probbaly love to take a look at that gun, as would Dr Barrie Colvin I expect.


I have no idea if they still have a copy of it or not or if they would even be able to find it if they do. Next time I go back to Louisville I see if I can come up with a copy. I'd try to get Caroline to scan and e-mail me a copy but theres no way I could talk her through anything that technilogical. :lol:

jerome wrote:
How long did they live happily in the house before the disturbances started?

Facinating story Farcus! :)


I think they were in the house for just about a year. Might have been a little over or a little under. According to them the first thing they noticed was the lamp disappearing and reappearing a few days later. They didn't notice anything before that but that doesn't mean they didn't just attribute weird sounds to the house settling and traffic passing by like most normal people would. That first incident with the oil lamp was maybe 6 weeks to two months after they moved in give or take and everything escallated from there getting steadily worse as time went on. There we also weeks at a time where they wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary at all.
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Re: Have you experienced a ghost?

#160  Postby Fallible » Apr 20, 2011 5:46 pm

How did the burglar get out if both doors were blocked?
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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