Paranormal Research FAQ

 




 

The Abridged Maryland Paranormal Research® FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

 


Q: What is a Ghost ?

 

A ghost is a popular term for a discarnate (spirit) being. A common definition usually runs along the following lines:

 

ghost noun \ˈgōst\

 

a disembodied soul; especially: the soul of a dead person believed to be an inhabitant of the unseen world or to appear to the living in bodily likeness (Webster)

 

Ghosts are visually experienced in the form (or projection) of an apparition. Apparitions can be of living or deceased persons, and sometimes of animals or pets. Apparitions may be perceived via sensory, telepathic or instrumental means

 

In practice, a ghost and/or haunted activity is rarely encountered in visible form. A ghost is more likely to be experienced through speech, sounds, or scents

 

In other instances, ghosts may be encountered via electromagnetic anomalies. For some, ghosts might be experienced through movements or displacements of objects or physical contact

 

Hence, dictionary definitions do not account for the full range of potential experiences

 

The survival hypothesis in parapsychology is the notion that the human personality (or elements of the human personality) can survive bodily death at least for a time.

 

Evidence for the survival hypothesis comes from the study of four classes of paranormal phenomena to include:

 

• Mediumship (communication with agencies of the dead)

• Reincarnation (past-lives experiences)

• Near-Death Experiences (NDEs)

• Ghosts and Hauntings

 

In parapsychology, a ghost is a representation of the consciousness of a former person and/or a projection of a former person. But a ghost is one of several varieties of apparitions:

 

Non haunting apparitions are non-recurring. They often are of recognized persons who appear in moments of danger or crisis or are recently deceased. These types of apparitions include: living agency, crisis and post-mortem

 

Haunting apparitions are recurring. They often are of unrecognized persons and have an affinity for a particular location. These types of apparitions are called ghosts

 

 
 


Q: What is a Haunting?  What are the Types of Hauntings?

 

A haunting involves multiple or recurring occurrences of ghost and/or paranormal phenomena. There are several available taxonomies of haunted phenomena. However, most hauntings appear to derive from two basic forms:

 

Residual hauntings are also referred by some researchers as imprints. These hauntings appear to be a replay (or projection) of events that have occurred at some location. These hauntings are popularly thought to be associated with traumatic, tragic, or emotionally charged events (e.g. a battlefield), and such notions are supported in part by parapsychological theories concerning place memory. Residual hauntings can involve apparitions, speech, sounds, as well as scents. In this form of haunting, spirits do not interact with observers or occupants

 

Intelligent hauntings involve purposeful activity. Intelligent hauntings can involve apparitions, speech, sounds, scents, movement of objects or even physical sensations or contact. The spirit appears to interact with, or is attempting to interact with, observers or occupants. The motivations for interaction or communication on the part of the spirit will vary with the communicants themselves. Because of apparent purposeful interaction, this form of haunting is more supportive of the survival hypothesis

 

Poltergeists involve manifestations of unexplained kinetic activity to include pronounced object movements and displacements or unexplained patterns of sound, such as knocking

 

The term poltergeist is German for “noisy or unruly spirit.” Unlike hauntings which can span long timeframes, poltergeist activity is usually short-lived and intense

 

Modern studies of the phenomena suggest it is more person-centered and could reflect extended human capacities known as psi, more specifically psychokinesis (pk)

 

However is not uncommon for poltergeist activity to accompany hauntings

 

 
 


Q: What are Electronic Voice Phenomena?

 

Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, refer to electronically generated sounds that resemble speech, but are not the result of intentional voice recordings or renderings. EVP often provide the most compelling evidence for a haunting

 

An early pioneer, parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, popularized the notion that EVP were communications with discarnate people in his 1971 entitled “Breakthrough.” Shortly thereafter, the specific term, EVP, was coined by Peter Bander in 1973

 

Sarah Estep, who founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena in Severna Park, Maryland, popularized the EVP classification system originally developed by Raudive, that is used by paranormal investigators today:

 

Class A: Messages that can be clearly heard without the assistance of headphones; listeners agree on message content

 

Class B: Messages that require careful listening to discern message content, usually with the assistance of headphones; listeners will not always agree on message content

 

Class C: Messages that require filtering and amplification, requiring the assistance of headphones; message content may not be fully discernable

 

Critics of Konstantin Raudive faulted him for an uncritical approach to EVP research and for mistaking radio broadcasts or background noise for EVP in his recordings. These legacies continue to overshadow present-day EVP research.

 

However modern professional sound components, to include preamplifiers/mixers, are engineered to reject radiofrequency interference and unwanted background noise. Moreover signal conditioning involving active or passive bandpass filters can be employed to attenuate undersired frequencies or noise.

 

 

A related term, Instrumental Trans-Communication (ITC), refers to communication with spirits or discarnate beings through any sort of electronic device/medium such as tape recorders, fax machines, television sets or computers. EVP are a trans-audio form of ITC.

 

The most common ITC devices employed by paranormal investigators include the P-SB7 (Spirit Box) radio and the Ovilus. Both devices provide results in real time. However because they introduce white noise, radiofrequency artifacts or generate synthesized phonemes of speech, they are considered to have low evidentiary value. However, radio methods for ITC date back to 1949 with the public radio experiments hosted by Marcello Bacci

 

The consensus view from decades of field research is that EVP primarily are electromagnetic phenomena in the audio frequency range (20hz-20khz). Some researchers have demonstrated this through cross comparisons of time-coincident waveforms obtained from audio and electromagnetic field (EMF) sensors.

 

Other researchers prefer to demonstrate the phenomena through pure electromagnetic induction methods involving direct audio coupling with induction sensors, pickups, or diodes as well as with aforementioned ITC devices.

 

To demonstrate that EVP are speech, linguistics analysis can be used to identify the phonetic, syntactic and semantic components of the speech in question. Voice prints of EVP help enable this analysis. Oftentimes voice prints of EVP have formants but lack harmonics making them sound hollow.

 

Automated speech recognition capabilities also show promise for removing subjectivity from audio analysis. Accuracy, although not perfect, is improving for paranormal use-cases.

 

Maryland Paranormal Research® collects audio using conventional and induction techniques. We prefer audio findings involving contextually relevant, direct, specific and sentence and/or phrase-length responses to questions and controls. We also strive to present EVP evidence that is well above the electronic noise floor.

 

 
 


Q: Can Ghosts be Seen, Heard or Experienced only at Night?

 

No.  Ghosts, hauntings and associated phenomena can occur (and have occurred) at any hour. Parapsychology research has indicated that the apparitions are most often witnessed during daylight or normal lighting conditions.

 

Many ghost hunting groups prefer to investigate at night. This perhaps owes much to ghostlore and tradition. An example is the witching hour, which refers to the time of day, generally past midnight or 3AM, when supernatural creatures or forces are thought to be at their most powerful.

 

There are some practical reasons for conducting paranormal investigations at night. Night conditions minimize man-made background sounds, movement, and electromagnetic influences or noise.

 

There may also be environmental rationales for investigation during night conditions. At night, the ionosphere expands, this expansion is conducive to the propagation of some forms of electromagnetic energy (e.g. radio waves). Cool and dry night conditions are conducive to transfer of electrical charges.

 

Some investigators prefer not to limit themselves only to night conditions but to investigate the phenomena within the timeframes reported by clients

 

 
 


Q: Can You Prove the Existence of a Ghost or a Haunting?

 

In contrast to extra-sensory perception and mind-matter interaction, parapsychology regards the question of survival (of consciousness) as unproven

 

Proof depends on the standard of evidence applied. Haunted activity involves transitory and low-observable events, with no unambiguous signatures, that cannot be reliably replicated in laboratory settings

 

Proof to a scientific standard involving results well beyond chance outcomes will be difficult to establish. Moreover, findings from field research will not meet the highest legal standard of proof which is beyond reasonable doubt

 

If a lesser standard of proof i.e. preponderance of evidence is applied then the case for psi and survival of consciousness has been indicated through over a century of field and laboratory research

 

Some apparent paranormal experiences are more commonly encountered than others. Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), for example, are primarily instances of audio in the vocal frequency (VF) ranges

 

To make the case for proof of trans communication, a researcher should be prepared identify, isolate, or track the origin of paranormal communication event as well as the syntactic, semantic and statistical elements of what is believed to be a paranormal information exchange

 

In modern times, proof will likely require systematic and recurring observation involving multiple and preferably collaborative or networked sensors that provide continuous monitoring of environmental conditions and trans communication signatures that convey meaningful and relevant content

 

The end goal is to provide a layered and integrated description of possible paranormal events or event horizons. Automated data collection/tagging methods should be used wherever possible

 

In laboratory environments and in field conditions, theorized aspects of paranormal event/event horizons could be replicated or modeled (such as electromagnetic or acoustic transmission paths for EVP)

 

Over the course of time, proof might be found for discrete questions in connection with paranormal event horizons. Probability and statistics already provide useful tools in this regard

 

Paranormal research often relies on an observer-participant approach. Data acquisition technologies can help reduce observer bias, but not eliminate it, as there may remain disagreements over what the data mean

 

As better progress is made explaining processes and signatures believed to be associated with paranormal events, proof will follow. That goal is not impossibly far away

 

Meanwhile discovery and exploration rather than finding proof would be better words to describe what paranormal research does

 

In the end, substantial numbers of people do not need to be convinced of the existence of ghosts. According to various polls anywhere from a third  to a majority of Americans believe that ghosts exist

 

 
 


Q: I Think My Home is Haunted. What Should I Do ?

 

As much as one can under stressful circumstances, try to calmly observe the ongoing situation. A haunting involves recurring and observable and seemingly unexplained events.

 

Keep a journal to document unexplained events, taking note of where and how often they occur and in what forms (sounds, speech, scents, apparitions, object movements/displacements, unusual temperature shifts and electromagnetic disturbances, etc).

 

However, also bear in mind there may be natural explanations for some seemingly paranormal events:

 

Rustling sounds in an attic may be an animal. Cracking sounds in a basement often owe to the expansion and contraction of wood or ceramics with changes in relative humidity.

 

Exposure to harmful invisible gases (such as carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and radon) can have adverse health consequences and symptoms (such as headaches, dizziness, weakness/fatigue and nausea) that are perceived to be paranormal in origin, but in fact are not.

 

Indoor exposure to black mold can lead to nasal, eye or skin irritation and in some cases result in respiratory issues.

 

Rashes like hives can arise as a consequence of the body’s adverse reaction to allergens such as certain foods, food additives or medications.

 

Insect or spider bites and stings can also cause rashes, blisters or other lesions that can lead to skin infections or hair loss if these areas are scratched. Some bites can result in muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting.

 

Prescription medications, in particular psychotropic medicines while improving the quality of many lives, can have side effects and/or interactions resulting in sleep disturbances, agitation and nausea.

 

Insufficient electrical insulation may entail higher than normal electromagnetic fields (EMF) in a client’s home. Exposure to elevated EMF levels may affect sleep patterns, and may suppress production of melatonin, which controls the sleep-wake cycle.

 

Infrasound cannot be heard, but it can be felt. At levels above 48 decibels, infrasound is believed to induce feelings of anxiety, stress, restlessness and perceptions of paranormal phenomena.

 

If there are no apparent plausible and natural explanations for what appears to be haunted activity, then you should request a paranormal investigation.

 

A paranormal investigation involves a search for answers and not just a search for ghosts

 

 
 


Q: How Do I Find a Paranormal Investigation Group? What Services Will They Provide ?

 

There are a number of online directories for paranormal investigative groups. An excellent resource is ParanormalSocieties.com. Most groups operate on a pro bono basis i.e. they do not charge for services provided.

 

You will want to ascertain the overall experience level of the team, and whether the group has done background checks on members. You will want get a sense of whether the team is sufficiently equipped to verify the events in question.

 

Importantly, you will want to get a sense of the investigation team’s methods. Does the group have a techical approach relying on instruments and sensors ? Does the group mainly rely non-techical sensing means such a psychics, empaths, or sensitives? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Many groups have a technical orientation; however, some adopt hybrid approaches.

 

Many groups also have historians who can find documentation on former residents as well past uses/events in connection with the property. The Enoch Pratt Library has provided a guidebook “Researching the History of Your House” with tips, online resources for maps, records and other archives.

 

In any event, the group should be able to clearly communicate its findings, which can take several weeks to compile.

 

The paranormal investigation group may request that you sign legal forms. One critical form is an indeminity agreement (which protects both parties in the event of damage or injury). Some underwriters provide groups with letters of insurance providing for damages up to a specified amount.

 

There may (or may not) be an information release allowing the group to post investigation media and findings, under the constraints you allow. For complete privacy, you can insist the group not disclose any investigation results.

 

 
 


Q: OK. I Have Documented Ghosts and They are a Problem. What Can I Do ?

 

The techniques will depend on the severity of the situation. An excellent reference comes from the respected paranormal investigator Fiona Broome “Dealing with a Problem Ghost” and “Ghost Advice” from renown researcher John Zaffis. “How to Remove a Ghost” is an article from the Chicago Tribune featuring advice from a noted psychic.

 

 

A simple and reliable remedy is to communicate with the ghost in question and ask the entity to leave.

 

Prayer and religion are powerful levers. A house blessing performed by clergy ritualizes the process of helping a ghost to move on.

 

An gifted and/or experienced psychic can be a very effective option in communicating with spirits and coaxing them to move on.

 

There are other folkore remedies such as applying holy water, sand, rice, dry salt in the active or haunted areas as well windows and doorways. House cleansing rituals involve the application of burning sage or other scents.

 

Consider removing objects from the home an entity may have attachments to.

 

 

Another remedy, seen in various cultures, involves the placement of outward facing mirrors at (or behind) doorways, with the intent of deterring ghosts or orienting possible ghost portals away from the home.

 

A science-based remedy offered by paranormal researcher Joshua P. Warren involves placing humidifiers in affected areas. Cool, dry conditions are said to contribute to haunted activity as they foster the cumulation/transfer of static electrical charges. Moisture and humidity increase the dielectric strength of air.

 

Folklore remedies perhaps may have similar electrical resistance effects. Many materials were examples of electrical insulators. Depending upon wavelengths, mirrors can absorb, diffract or reflect electromagnetic energy. Burning sage creates smoke and ash that perhaps has insulating effects.

 
 


Q: I See Something Very Unusual in My Photo. Is it a Ghost ?

 

It is quite rare to capture ghosts in photo or video imagery. Digital image artifacts perceived as ghosts oftentimes have an explainable origin.

 

Modern day digital cameras and camcorders use CCD or CMOS type image sensors. Processors in these sensors translate images into digital data. The resolution quality of the digitized image is expressed as a pixel count.

 

Light Trail Anomaly Light trail (possible insect) due to low light/low shutter speeds. Source: SSPRI

 

One should carefully review fairly commonplace artifacts on digital imagery such as orbs, mists, spirals, flying rods, and moving trails, which should not be automatically elevated to paranormal significance, especially if the image was taken in low-light conditions, with long exposure times and a flash.

 

Lens Flare Orb Lens flare from reflection off internal lens surfaces. From: Luminous Landscape

 

These artifacts often result from the effects of light and/or exposure times on dust, pollen or grain, moisture, camera straps, insects, as well as from hand movement. Lens flare and diffraction produce artifacts as well, including orbs.

 

Insects crawling on/around video camera lenses can create the illusion of ghostly apparitions as demonstrated in the example below.

 

 

Because digital imagery is easily manipulated, it is necessary to have the original image and associated EXIF (image file) data for evidence/peer review.

 

For an unaltered image, EXIF data provide the model and make of the camera, aperture, focal length, exposure times and whether a flash was used. Image file data for a modified photo will lack such details and may indicate the software used to create the image.

 

A caution to keep in mind is that some EXIF data can be/are routinely modified.

 

Several available programs, like Picasa, can change the dates/times of captured images. There are also cross-platform capabilities, like EXIF-Tool, that can entirely modify EXIF data.

 

 
 


Q: I Want to Form a Paranormal Investigation Team and Hunt Ghosts. How Do I Start ?

 

There is a difference between paranormal investigations and ghost expeditions (hunts). In a paranormal investigation, you are working on behalf of a client to examine claims or experiences of haunted activity. In a ghost hunt, participants are simply scouting for paranormal activity at reputed haunted locations.

 

Although similar equipment/skills are used in both, paranormal investigation requires a somewhat higher of level tradecraft/discipline as you must provide accurate findings to oftentimes very anxious and distressed clients.

 

Paranormal investigation also requires basic science/mechanical understanding to recognize potential natural explanations for alleged haunted activity.

 

It is also important to understand what parapsychologists and psychical researchers have learned about apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists.

 

It helps to have limited familiarity with digital photography, along with sound and signal propagation as you review claims of the paranormal in video, still photographs and audio. Your team should also attempt to baseline the client’s environment (temperature, relative humidity, electromagnetic fields, etc).

 

Finally, paranormal investigation is an end-to-end process involving: case management; location surveys; legal releases (and if applicable insurance arrangements); client interviews/followup; and a collection plan/design that optimizes equipment on hand. The most time consuming aspect, but nonetheless critical, is evidence review and reporting.

 

Insofar as most paranormal findings are audio, analysis and production requires audio editing software as well as programs that can display audio signals in the time and frequency domains. Audio signals analysis may also require use of an oscilloscope.

 

Our preferred applications include Audacity, Wavepad, Spectrum Lab and Raven. Garage Band is audio recording software for Apple/Mac systems. SONY Sound Forge is a premium audio production application.

 

A paranormal investigation could entail limited historical research (e.g. genealogical, property etc.), so use your local historical society.

 

Ghost hunts, by contrast, are usually just for fun, requiring little more than a camera or a voice recorder, and lots of patience. Your team might consider using ghost hunts as training events.

 

Some ghost hunts require advance planning, especially for hazards at derelict locations (asbestos, sharp objects, chemicals, mold. etc.). You will need to get legal permissions for access and possibly make security arrangements.

 

Many locations popularized through paranormal television shows are tourist locations that require fees for location access (e.g. Hill View Manor).

 

 
 


Q: Are There Any Science Foundations for the Paranormal ? How Can These Events Happen ?

 

Paranormal occurrences can seem to defy explanation and our understanding and observation of them is incomplete. There is no unified theory to address them. Nonetheless, scientific laws bound paranormal event horizons even if they do not explain them

 

Physics is the science of matter and energy and their interaction and is known as the fundamental science. Classical physics consists of mechanics and electromagnetism. Modern physics consist of relativity and quantum mechanics. All of these branches are necessary for gaining insights into paranormal phenomena

 

Classical Mechanics is concerned with the motion of bodies under a system of forces. The foundations of classical mechanics are expressed in Newton’s laws of motion involving the core concepts of force, mass, acceleration, velocity, and momentum

 

The Law of Conservation of Energy is derived from Newtonian principles and states that energy is conserved over time in closed systems, specifically that energy is neither created nor destroyed. If conservation of energy did not hold, paranormal events would practically be perpetual or unbounded

 

Mechanics remains central to studies of poltergeist and psychokinetic phenomena. Paranormal researchers use force gauging and motion tracking capabilities to make accurate measurements when investigating these cases

 

Classical electrodynamics perhaps carries the greatest potential to explain paranormal phenomena. In daily life, electromagnetic energy is used to convey and carry information.

 

Oscillations of charged particles produce electromagnetic fields (EMF) which propagate from points of origin in the form of waves. In a vacuum, these waves travel at the speed of light.

 

EMF exists in a wide spectrum of wavelengths to include (in order of increasing frequency) radio waves, microwaves, light (infrared, visible and ultraviolet), x-rays and gamma rays.

 

The most common source of EMF in homes and work spaces will come from electricity supplies and appliances powered by them. These kinds of EMFs carry a fundamental frequency of 50 or 60 hertz (hz)

 

Fluctuations and/or disturbances in electromagnetic fields appear to accompany paranormal events. Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are possibly a form of modulated EMF containing/carrying information.

 

The foundations of classical electrodynamics are described by Maxwell’s Equations, which provide a unified framework of four laws that state the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism

 

Previously electromagnetic fields were thought to be tethered to the currents or charges that produced them. Maxwell demonstrated that electromagnetic waves could propagate indefinitely far from their origin

 

In electromagnetism, conservation of energy appears in the form of the inverse square law as the energy density of the wave dissipates the further it travels from the source

 

Electromagnetic Spectrum Source: NASA and University of California, Berkeley

 

The laws of classical mechanics apply only to inertial frames of reference. However bodies are always in motion relative to one another. Although an absolute inertial reference frame does not exist, the laws of classical mechanics hold across simple linear transformations of reference frames with respect to time

 

At one time physics briefly adhered to the discarded notion of aether as an absolute reference frame. Aether was thought to consist of a sea or fabric of invisible electromagnetic waves

 

However experiments would later demonstrate that the speed of light is independent of the motion of its source. Hence an observer accelerating toward the speed of light would not experience events in space and time the same as a stationary observer

 

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was developed to account for motion at any speed up to the speed of light. The theory implies a range of non-intuitive but verified consequences to include:

 

Time Dilation. Time expands (slows down) for an observer in motion accelerating toward the speed of light

 

Mass-Energy Equivalence. Matter and energy are the same as exemplified by the rest energy (or mass energy) equation (E=mc²). A small amount of matter contains enormous potential energy

 

Relativistic Energy. The energy of a system is composed of rest energy (mass energy) and motion energy (momentum energy). Total energy in a system is conserved from the reference frame of any observer although total mass may not be conserved

 

A core implication for paranormal research is that the Law of Conservation of Energy still holds as do the laws of mechanics and electrodynamics

 

Paranormal events and event horizons may be made possible through borrowed energy

 

If survived forms consciousness are able to move at accelerated speeds approaching the speed of light, they would experience time more slowly. However, no one knows this to be the case

 
 


Q: Are Paranormal Events Explained by Quantum Physics?

 

Leading parapsychology researchers seem to think so. As the most successful explanatory framework in physics, quantum is the underlying physical reality of everything. In time it will likely change how we view nature itself.

 

Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics that examines phenomena at atomic and subatomic scales. Quantum objects behave differently than their molecular counterparts in the classical mechanics realm

 

Quantum objects exhibit wave and particle properties. And it is not possible to know the position and momentum of quantum objects at the same time. Quantum objects can tunnel through barriers

 

Entanglement. Quantum particles separated over vast distances can also inexplicably exhibit synchronized behaviors. Quantum Entanglement (also called quantum nonlocality) is a correlated interaction of quantum states between pairs of particles

 

Quantum entanglement can occur across arbitrarily large distances. Renowned physicist Albert Einstein referred to the phenomenon as “spooky action at a distance”

 

Research suggests large scale quantum entanglements are pervasive and indicate interconnectedness among things everywhere there has been interaction

 

Superposition. Due to a principle called superposition, quantum particles exist in every possible state at the same time

 

The Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) holds that all possible states of a system simultaneously occur in a multiverse, composed of parallel independent universes. This view suggests that all possible histories and all possible futures are real

 

The Copenhagen Interpretation is the traditional view which says while all states are possible, the object takes the state in which it is observed. Consequently, an object doesn’t exist in all states while it is being observed. And nothing is real unless it is observed.

 

 

The elementary particles and fundamental forces of quantum physics are described in the Standard Model. Particles are characterized in terms of their spin, charge and mass

 

There are four fundamental forces in the universe: the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and the gravitational force

 

These forces result from energy transfers during exchanges of force carrier particles, broadly called bosons. With the exception of gravity, each fundamental force has its own corresponding boson(s):

 

The strong force (which ensures the stability of matter) is carried by the gluon, the electromagnetic force (which holds matter together) is carried by the photon, and the W and Z bosons are responsible for the weak force (which governs radioactive decay)

 

The Higgs boson recently confirmed in Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments is a short-lived boson responsible for transferring mass to other fundamental particles via a mechanism called the Higgs-field

 

The building blocks of matter are particles called fermions which occur in two types, quarks (which bind together) and leptons (which can exist independently)

 

Quarks combine in triplets (baryons) and doublets (mesons) to form the nucleus of atoms (protons and neutrons)

 

The electron, muon and tau are lepton particles that have an electric charge and sizeable mass. Neutrinos (also called “ghost particles”) are leptons that carry no charge, possess very little mass, and can easily pass through matter

 

If paranormal events are explained by quantum mechanics perhaps experimental designs involving the electromagnetic force and its force carrier (photons) could potentially offer the best framework for understanding.

 

 
 


Q: What is Consciousness ? Does Consciousness Exist Outside the Body ?

 

Consciousness is something we all experience and yet remains elusive to completely explain. This is because consciousness cannot be easily characterized and measured.

 

In the dictionary, consciousness is typically described as the quality or state of self-awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself

 

Other definitions regard consciousness as sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind

 

 

Several theories of consciousness exist but the central debate is between physicalism or dualism

 

Physicalism holds that consciousness is entirely physical. Modern theories of physicalism are largely based on biology and neuroscience. Under this view, consciousness is largely tied to brain function. When a person dies, consciousness no longer exists

 

Under physicalism, near death experiences can be explained by electrochemical processes in the brain to include abnormal releases of dopamine (a neurotransmitter) and noradrenaline (a hormone and neurotransmitter), as well as sleep paralysis, and oxygen deprivation

 

Physicalism however provides an incomplete understanding of consciousness. Research in near death experiences and resuscitation medicine is finding evidence of consciousness in persons who were clinically dead and whose electrical brain activity had ceased

 

 

Dualism is the theory that consciousness falls outside the domain of the physical or is not exclusively physical. The classical formulation of dualism goes back the Rene Descartes, who described consciousness as having a physical and non-physical substance

 

Modern dualism has two strains termed “fundamental property dualism” and “emergent property dualism“, however, both regard consciousness as a fundamental but distinct property of matter. It can be likened to an electric charge

 

Dualism has shortcomings with regards to boundedness, precision and measurement. Consciousness as property can interact with physical states and physical states can influence consciousness

 

 

There are multiple strands of biophysics and noetic science research that attempt to study potential extended human capacities. Parapsychologists generally refer to these non-corporeal abilities and consciousness as “psi.”

 

Traditional study of psionic phenomena include extra-sensory perception (ESP) and telekinesis, the mental ability to induce kinetic effects. Newer strands of this research such as the Global Consciousness Project explore concepts of “group consciousness” or “consciousness fields.”

 

Quantum biology blends quantum physics, organic chemistry and molecular biology and has mainly focused on how quantum effects impact physiological processes such as photosynthesis and magnetoreception.

 

Some theorists in this field have used very controversial notions of orchestrated object reduction (Orch OR) to suggest psi or non-local consciousness may be enabled through quantum nonlocality.

 

 
 

Recommend reading the “Ghost Hunter’s Gudebook” (Troy Taylor), “Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal” (Loyd Auerbach) and “How to Hunt Ghosts” (Joshua P. Warren). “Paranormal Technology: Understanding the Science of Ghost Hunting” (David Rountree) is essential reading for the science, technologies, and analytics of paranormal research. You can also visit sites such as The Atlantic Paranormal Society (Grant Wilson articles) as well as Ghosts101.

 
 

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