There was a fleeting conversation that got me thinking again on something I have pondered over for a long time. There are lots of ghost stories flitting about, wafting their sheets for our delight, some making us shiver even more as they approach the reality with which we are more familiar. Somewhere in the back of our minds lurks that question… ‘What would I do if I saw a ghost?’
There is, perhaps, an even better question. Who says you haven’t? How would you know? Unless they adapt their appearance to our preconceptions, how can you be sure that the person you pass in the street is real?
We don’t even know what a ghost is. Everyone seems to have an opinion. Are they the shades of the departed? Undispersed etheric energy, some form of earth energy? Optical illusion or a vision of the soul? Phantom memories of past events imprinted on the ether? Figments of our imagination, created from within our own minds somehow? Or just plain bunkum. There seems to be a general consensus that they are something…
Perhaps the most equivocal, but strangely accurate definition I’ve heard is that they are perceived figures that cannot be physically present. That just leaves it wide open as far as definitions go…
There are the classic signs, like temperature drops and the hairs on your neck standing on end… but does that happen every time…or only sometimes? Unless a ghost does something fairly obvious… like walking through walls, dripping gore or tucking its head under some other part of its ectoplasm, we really can’t know whether or not what we think we see is actually there.
For starters…it isn’t. Nothing is what we perceive it to be… walls are not solid… we know there is space between the various particles that make what we see as a wall and, were we to drink Alice’s potion and become small enough, we could walk right through solid reality. Equally, were our own particles to disperse, we could, in theory, flow through the spaces between.
The ‘space between’ is a good phrase. It reminds me of a conversation shared up on the moors. It is a long story… but to be brief, we wondered about the reality of time and whether ghosts were not perhaps due to a glitch in the veil between ‘nows’… perhaps heightened emotions alter something… When we see phantoms, are we actually seeing reality, but across the veil of time… and would we appear to them as phantoms too?
Time, space, physicality and the true nature of reality comes into such discussions and as soon as you ask one question, another half a dozen appear. And there are no objective answers… only empirical ones. Except for one that seems to make its presence felt fairly rapidly… that we do not fully understand either the nature or extent of reality. Not by a long way.
Which basically means that just about anything is possible. I rather like that idea.