Paranormal activity. Residual hauntings. Apparitions. Poltergeists. All are ghosthunting terms with different meanings. Do ghosts exist?
Ghosthunting has picked up in popularity in the past several years. What is it that drives our curiosity? I suspect many want to know what lies beyond life after our days on planet earth are done. Is there life after death? There is no recognized scientific evidence of ghosts or hauntings – or life after death, for that matter. Nevertheless, many believe in the presence of the unexplained.
We live near an historic and haunted tourist site. The area started as a tourist attraction known as Old Cowtown. Later, strange happenings and sightings occurred. Is it haunted? Our local paranormal society and some nationally recognized TV ghosthunters have spent a great deal of time investigating ghosts in the small old west town from the late 1800s. They believe, as do many others who have witnessed otherworldly happenings, that ghosts exist. We have visited several times and participated in ghosthunting. We, too, are believers that something inhabits the buildings and streets of Old Cowtown.
Recently, some friends joined us at an Old Cowtown ghosthunting event. The local paranormal society hosted the event and told of their adventures to the few who purchased tickets to walk the haunted streets and buildings of yesteryear. As part of the adventure, we were allowed to explore and experience parts of the historic buildings not normally accessed by the public. As I said, we are all believers in ghosts and hauntings. Did we simply find what we were expecting to find, or did we experience the paranormal? We believe the latter.
Some of us brought ghost hunting equipment with us. The paranormal society had its EMF (electromagnetic field ) meters, electronic voice processors (EVP), and other digital ghost-capturing equipment placed strategically throughout the buildings we visited. They enthusiastically encouraged us to “play”. With ghosts? Yes, and the adventure began.
Much of what is attributed to ghostly activity is believed to be manifestations of residual energy – what is known as residual hauntings. Paranormal enthusiasts believe that energy is left behind when we pass on into eternity, and it is this energy that is witnessed. The residual energy is simply going through the motions of life as they knew it when they were alive. The activity is likened to a film loop. Residual hauntings are more likely to occur when the death was in some way traumatic. The ‘evidence’ are footsteps heard when no one is walking around, knocks on walls, and sometimes the appearance of ghost-like figures walking through walls or up staircases. Our paranormal hosts told us of two distinct ghost-like figures walking around Cowtown many have encountered. One is believed to be a more recent ghost – the residual energy of a Cowtown volunteer who died of cancer within the last few years. As the story goes, she loved her work as a volunteer and dressed the part of a woman in the late 1800s. It is in these clothes she is seen frequenting the streets and buildings.
What did we experience? Knocks on walls, footsteps overhead, voices from the ghost voice box recorders, and a shadowy figure seen in a second-floor window of one of the houses. Doubting Thomases may say we were set up, voices were recorded and played back for us, and people on the other side of the walls did the knocking. Doubting Thomases aside, we still had fun and left believing we encountered the paranormal.
Scientists say all paranormal activity can be explained. They offer explanations like the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere or low-frequency sound waves that cause feelings of sudden anxiety, dizziness, or nausea people like me pick up at times. What about cold spots? We found a few of those, too. Scientists say cold spots can be due to low humidity. But does that account for specific areas that are several degrees cooler? I suppose the cold spots could be from chimney or window drafts, but what if they occur in one area of an unairconditioned building during the summer? Further, how does one explain brief ghostly sightings in the windows of unoccupied rooms? Lighting? Reflections?
One source I read said that the National Science Board (NSB) indicates a belief in the paranormal is a sign of reduced critical thinking skills and difficulty with making day-to-day decisions. I beg your pardon! On the other hand, that may explain why some people lack common sense or seem befuddled a lot of the time. I know several people who fall into those categories!
At the end of our ghost hunt, the important thing was that we had fun with friends and our encounters with the paranormal. One of our group brought her young son who reveled in the collective search for the unexplained. Kids can say the darndest things! And, they often believe without fear because no one has told them ghosts aren’t real – or are they…..?