Haunting Ghosts

Haunting Ghosts : are considered by psychical researchers to be different in kind to apparitions. Generally apparitions only tend to appear once, sometimes in a place unknown to the agent and usually to someone with whom the apparition has some relationship.  Often the apparition will seem to communicate with the percipient in some way, by means of a look, touch or even speech.  A haunting ghost however almost always appears to be unaware of the people around it and also it appears to be more connected with a place as opposed to a human. Although there are exceptions to the rule the majority of haunting ghosts haunt alone.  Occasionally groups of phantoms are seen, for example processions of chanting monks or spectral armies, but these do tend to be the exception. There have been many theories put forward to explain haunting ghosts.  Some evidence suggests that 'one's ability to see a phantom or sense a presence depends partly on some lingering aspect of the person seen or sensed'.

In one study a dog, cat and rattlesnake were used to investigate allegedly haunted rooms in a house in Kentucky where a tragedy had occurred.  The animals were brought into one of the haunted one at a time and the following was reported:

"The dog upon being taken about two or three feet into the room immediately snarled at its owner and backed out the door.  No amount of cajoling could prevent the dog from struggling to get out and it refused to re-enter.  The cat was brought into the room carried in the owner's arms.  When the cat got a similar distance into the room, it immediately leaped upon the owner's shoulders, dug in, then leaped to the ground, orienting itself towards a chair.  It spent several minutes hissing and spitting and staring at the unoccupied chair in a corner of the room until it was finally removed."

The rat showed no reaction to whatever had disturbed the dog and cat, but the rattlesnake "immediately assumed an attack posture focusing on the same chair that had been of interest to the cat.  After a couple of minutes it slowly moved its head toward a window, then moved back and receded into its alert posture about five minutes later."

The four animals were tested separately in a control room in which no tragedy had occurred.  In this room they behaved normally.  Apparently they were reacting to some invisible presence in the first room.

To what the animals were reacting remains unknown.   The lingering aspect of a person that is capable of being perceived by some humans and animals also remains a mystery.  However according to Reverend Neil-Smith, it represents the soul of that person.

"For the most part," he says, "I believe that the soul of a person who dies a natural death leaves the body for another place.  The soul, or spirit of one who dies violently may not do so; it is bewildered by the sudden transition, and remains earthbound.  If you examine cases of haunting which are well authenticated, you generally find that a sudden or unnatural death lies behind the events."  He went to say ".you get the distinct impression that the apparitions are pointless, rather stupid.  They wander around, don't say anything in particular, and for the most part don't really frighten anyone.  In these cases, I believe, the ghosts are merely trying to call attention to their trapped plight."  See also the section on ghosts.

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