Some years ago I had decided to go to a workshop hosted by a local ghost hunter. At this time in my life I had been ghost hunting for a little over a year, but was always looking for new things to learn as well as people to network with. I still do, by the way, I think that there is nothing more important than respectfully knowing and learning, even experiencing, other hunters beliefs and techniques. Only by “freelancing” (as I call it), and seeing others in an investigation, can we learn new things and draw our own conclusions. Sometimes it is an exercise in patients (lots and lots of patients), sometimes I learn something that I still use today.
I RSVP’d for the workshop and headed out there for a nice afternoon of socializing with other ghost hunters in my area. It was a good time, I met some great new people. Some of whom I still keep close contact with today. But there was something about the content of the presentation that still nags at me to this day.
Before I continue with this post, I just want to say that the following blog post is just my opinion. I am not accusing people of being wrong as I have no factual basis to do so. Just like in life, the paranormal field comes with a diverse selection of beliefs and theories. Many of which are deeply tied to ones religious or cultural influence. I am not saying that anyone’s religious/cultural beliefs are wrong, I am just offering my beliefs based on my experiences.
Having said that; the presenter of this particular workshop started talking about interaction with a ghost. He said that common sense should rule in ghost hunting. If you have an intelligent haunting, that ghost is most likely a mirror image of their consciousness when they passed. For instance, if they were killed during the civil war then they probably would not be able to communicate with you regarding the latest summer blockbuster in theaters as they would not know what a movie is. Fair enough, I see the logic behind this. Not sure I agree with it; but it makes sense to me why he believes this.
He went on to say that if a person was of higher intelligence in life, they will be of higher intelligence in death. If they were simple in life, they will be simple in death. They do not suddenly gain some sort of all knowing ethereal genius in the after life. I understand why he believes this, but we are reaching a point in the paranormal path where we start finding forks in the road. Many different theories branch off from here.
Finally he continued to the statements that I have not been able to get over, “When ghost hunting you NEVER ask about their death, when they died, or if they know they are dead. Ghosts don’t know they are dead; so when you perform an EVP session you must make no reference to their death.”
In the years since I heard his presentation this statement has never left me. Again, I understand his logic, but I have come to the conclusion that I disagree. Though this is a touchy subject, and a lot of people have different theories, I believe that this is our subconscious romanticizing the idea of ghosts and our need to save them. I am just going to bullet point why I don’t believe that Ghost’s don’t know they are dead:
- Let’s stick with the example of the civil war ghost. If he truly is unable to absorb information from our time and understand how the world has changed… then how are we “teaching him” to communicate with us through ITC? By lighting up an EMF detector or Rem Pod? We continually go into haunted locations with new tech and tell the “ghost” how to use it. And supposedly we get responses. If we are truly communicating, then is it not safe to assume that we have taught them how to communicate with us. Why is it such a leap to believe that they could see The History Channel playing in the house they are haunting and learn about events that happened after their death? Granted, they may not be able to do this all of the time, and only glean things here and there… but they have all of the time in the world to gather up snippets of information right?
- Carrying on your level of intelligence from life to the afterlife makes sense, but doesn’t that include ones ability to learn and adapt? Highly intelligent, or simple, we all continue to learn and adapt to our environment and situations. Granted… some better than others.
- Which brings us to the 500 pound gorilla in the room. I couldn’t agree with it then, and I still don’t agree with it. I do not believe that ghosts don’t know they are dead. Maybe immediately after death until they acclimate to their new environment, but not forever. Personally I believe we, as a paranormal community, have to much evidence to the contrary. Including the fact that those of us that do not believe they don’t know they are dead have no problem asking about the ghosts death during EVP sessions and get responses.
Obviously, as with in life, there could be exceptions to this rule. There are always exceptions to rules in this world, but I do not believe that everywhere we go are ghosts trapped here who need help to “cross over”. I believe that there is an afterlife that we don’t understand, and it is quite possible that the afterlife is intertwined with ours. I believe that every now and then some in the afterlife reach out to us in whatever way they can. I believe that sometimes they entertain those of us who go seeking them in whatever way they can.
If a ghost has figured out how to communicate with us through EVP, by learning the many different ITC methods, by manifesting to us… then I think it is safe to say that a ghost understands it is not with us. That, by our definition, it is dead… though they may have a completely different definition of what they are…