In Part 1 of this subject the Traditional Ghost theory was questioned and some serious problems exposed related to why it may be in error. Part 2 will offer some alternate explanations for paranormal events that could account for some of what we encounter.
The first part of this essay dealt with the contradictions between the Traditional Ghost Theory and Christian beliefs. But certainly that does not preclude that paranormal events happen. Rather it simply means that some other explanation be proposed to account for those events. Part 2 will put forth some possibilities. Certainly they are not all inclusive, and in fact none may be correct. But each could explain what we investigate and none will run counter to direct scriptural teachings. In compliance to Christian teachings, each assumes the soul of the departed moves on at death.
One alternative thought is the residual haunt theory. This involves energy left behind from the living. Assuming this to be the case whether the person leaving the energy is living or dead becomes irrelevant. Consider a scenario many of us have encountered.
Have you ever been preoccupied doing something, fully engrossed in the project? Maybe reading a good book or caught up in the story line of a movie. Suddenly you become aware that a family member has walked up behind you or entered the room. You look up only to realize they aren't there; They are still in the other room doing something else. So you go back to your project. You just write it off as an over active imagination, and that is as far as it goes.
But is that really what happened? Might it be possible you actually picked up on the energy field your family member left behind earlier in the day? Or maybe from when they walked in last week, or last year? This could explain your impressions if such a force existed. Now let's suppose the energy was left behind by a recently departed family member. Suddenly it goes from just an odd occurrence to a haunting; You have felt the presence of the ghost of your relative. It has just become a haunting.
This type of haunt is actually reported frequently and is often connected with some traumatic event. One possible explanation might be the strong emotional factors that took place. For instance, a battlefield is thought to be a good location for residual activity. This could in fact be true since the strong emotional responses may come from both the living and those wounded or dying at the time the energy was imparted .
Of course this is simply a theory that might explain some of these claims. There is no solid evidence such an energy field exists. It has not been detected with any of our measurement devices. But I should point out that since death or the spirit of a departed person need not be present the possibility does not go against any Christian principle regarding soul not passing on immediately upon death.
Another possibility brings in the UFO / Alien angle. Consider the possibility that ghosts are actually observers watching or studying us. One method might be to observe from an alternate dimension. We are currently speculating on the possible existence of these dimensions; why could they not be inhabited by beings who are interested in us?
To expand a bit on this consider, Might these visitors interact with us at times? Maybe they are the ghosts, studying our reaction when they respond as a spirit. They may even impart certain things to us to manipulate our life paths for good or evil. Of course there is no real proof of any of this either, we can't cast them as our benefactors or those bent on our destruction. But for sake of discussion it should be pointed out that we do the same thing as we study animals here in our world. We manipulate them; they are lower forms of life and we are above them. But what if we are only animals being observed by a still higher life form?
Or better still, what if we are only the ants in some cosmic ant farm. The aliens are amused by our preoccupation with ghosts and haunting. When one alien looks to the other and says, "Let's poke 'em with a stick, make 'em think they see a ghost, and watch what happens..."
Demonic / Angelic visits
Demons and angels again raise the religious connection. There are many references in scripture regarding angelic visits and demonic possession. I include both together here because scripture points out that both demons and angels share the same roots.
Revelation 12:7-9 (NIV)
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
This passage illustrates that demons are angels which rebelled against God and were cast out from heaven along with satan. Thus in that regard their powers are similar; it is simply a matter of allegiance as to which we are dealing with. It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with how to respond to demonic cases. But based on scripture demons are not as common as some would have us believe. In fact, in the course of my investigations over nearly 40 years I have encountered only two cases that possibly could involve some form of possession. And even those are not certain. So suffice it to say the demonic influence is overblown in this field.
As an aside here, it is sometimes considered to be sacreligious for a Christian to have anything to do with study of the paranormal because of the demonic influence. But I would ask those who believe this if it is wrong to study your enemy? Scripture teaches that we are in a war with evil and are trying to promote God's will. But as soldiers in that battle where is it wrong to understand your enemy's battle plan? How else will you recognize something evil when it manifests itself? Rather than condemn this field they should embrace it if for no other reason to recognize the methods of the demons they claim are behind it all.
What about angels? To that we can also refer to scripture.
Genesis 19:15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
Matthew 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
These four passages (I actually did a search and found 96 references to angels) demonstrate some of what an angel's purpose is. They are servants of God as well as messengers. The first passage relates that an angel came to Lot in the Old Testament warning him to leave the city before it was destroyed. Here the angel served as messenger.
The second illustrates that angels act as judges; they are doing the bidding of God eliminating that which is evil.
In the third case they are gathering the believers together. Again it is a judgmental task, but where the first instance was bent on destruction of evildoers here they are working for the benefit of the believers.
And in the final example they are seen as comforters of the believers. It can be seen then that angels serve many functions. As to whether or not they can account for some of what we are investigating is difficult to determine. But what is shown is the motive for what they do. So we have to ask ourselves, Does the situation we are investigating fall within one of the general purpose of an angel's duty, and is it significant enough to warrant the angel's time and involvement? If the answer is no then chances are we are not looking at angelic activity. And even if it does there still remains the question of Is it really an angel or is it something else?
I am not a strong believer in this aspect. However in fairness it is a belief of some fundamentalist Christians so I include it here. It is usually identified as some violent, negative reaction on the part of its victim. But I will raise another point, even if it is responsible the green vomit and spinning heads of Hollywood are not likely signs.
Consider the Bible describes satan and his follows as deceivers. Their intent is to drive a wedge between man and God. If that is true then how many people would be deceived by such negative outward signs? Rather I contend that deception would be much more effective by taking a more passive role. Raise doubt, make one question their faith. Either would be more effective as a tool for deception. The fundamentalist takes this approach; according to them, all paranormal events are demonic in nature in that they raise these doubts regarding the afterlife. That seems to parallel the Traditional Ghost Theory in a way. Thus the means by which they associate the traditional ghost with demons. Who can say, but it is a theory.
Hallucinations / Energy Manipulations
And now we arrive at what I believe is in fact the most common explanation for most alleged haunting / spirit activity. It is all in your mind. Now before anyone takes offense at that comment consider I am not saying you just made it up. Consider that hallucinations can be the result of some very real influences. Considering how prevalent the Traditional Ghost Theory has become over the years people have been conditioned to "know" what represents a typical haunting. As an example, if you see an abandoned house on a hill, lit by a full moon and the skeletal image of a dead tree beside it, you just know it has to be haunted. This is an example of conditioning. But that is not the only way the mind may be involved.
I am going to consider another possibility that could result in hallucinations. They could be the result of external influences. Research has shown that EM Fields can influence one's brain activity, especially if the frequency falls in the range of normal brain activity. Suppose some external field, either natural or man made happens to be in that range? It can cause apprehension where there is no sound basis for that emotion. It might cause physical problems; headaches for example. It might also compel a victim to respond in ways they normally would not. If an external EM Field can do this might it also cause one to see or experience something which is not really present? People are all different, how one reacts might be entirely different from another. Might this explain why some are sensitive and experience things while others are as sensitive as a rock? It is an area that definitely could use some serious study by qualified medical people.
And let's not ignore the possibility that it could be a combination of factors. For example let's go back to the interdimensional visitor we mentioned earlier. Suppose we are the subject of observation. Now let's suppose that one of their experiments involves intentional manipulation of our thought processes using some sort of EM or similar field. Might they not be able to directly influence our reactions based on a field they could control? Remember all our perceptions are based on something obtained by our 5 senses. We hear, see, taste, smell, or feel it physically. It is all a matter of how our mind interprets what the senses detect. And lest anyone think I have overlooked the psychic angle I haven't. It would likely be the sense easiest to be manipulated since it is directly tied into the mind instead of relying on one of the other five.
Part 1 of this essay looked at some problems resolving the Traditional Ghost Theory. Here in Part 2 we have taken a look at several options that could explain spirit activity apart from the traditional ghost theory. You may agree or disagree with some or all of them; that doesn't matter since none of these have to date been proven. But they have opened options that go beyond the Traditional Ghost Theory that seems so prevalent these days. Might this be why research into the paranormal field seems to be going nowhere? We may be so hung up trying to find evidence of the dead when the dead may have nothing to do with ghosts or hauntings. We may simply be asking the wrong questions and expecting certain answers that fall withing our failed preconceptions. When they don't come we continue to spin our wheels rather than considering the problem may be in our failure to consider all options.