by Timothy Chilman
<I’m starting to run out of conspiracies. If I don’t get more ideas, weekly updates will cease in a month or two. If anybody can think of a conspiracy they’d like to see examined in detail, I’d like them to email me.>
Anybody who says there is no scientific evidence of ghosts should be corrected: there is evidence, and it was provided by none other than Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Time magazine’s Man of the Century, and one of the most brilliant humans ever to have lived. He said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and only ever changes form. The human body contains electrical energy. Upon death, bodies decompose, but the electrical energy also has to go somewhere.
The Italian scientist, Luigi Galvani, discovered that nervous tissue contains electrical activity in the shape of nerve impulses, a flow of electricity through the cell membranes of a neuron. This electrical activity results from the movement of ions – charged particles. Sodium (Na+) ions move out of cells and potassium (K+) ions move in. The brain uses ions to operate. These are possibly the power source of ghosts, in which 32 percent of Americans believe, according to a 2005 poll by Gallup.
Thunder, lightning, and fire can generate positive and negative ions. Radioactivity produces negative ions. Evaporating water sends negative ions into the air and leaves positive ions in water which has yet to evaporate. Hot objects usually emit an equal number of positive and negative ions. Voltage of more than 1,000 volts produces ions of the same polarity as the voltage source, a phenomenon employed by home ionizers.
There are almost eight million results turned up by Google which suggest a connection between ghosts and the conservation of energy. One who was convinced was ghost researcher, John Kachuba. In his book, Ghosthunters, he said, “Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed… So, what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy. What is that new energy? …Could we call that new creation a ghost?”
Temperature changes can be used to detect ghosts. In many sightings of ghosts, witnesses reported feeling cold. Fluctuations in excess of ten degrees have been recorded in rooms, and some energy presence must have caused this. Batteries can be drained. Light does not reflect from ghosts, giving them a dark form. Light appears to be absorbed by ghosts. Heat has also been reported, when ghosts reflect light. Almost every haunting has been accompanied by certain electrical phenomena. Ghost hunters monitor these.
Some factors make the presence of ghosts more likely. Quartz stores and amplifies energy, and is so used in wristwatches and other devices. A haunted house is likely to have a fieldstone foundation, rich in quartz. Running water and a high electromagnetic field also facilitate ionization.
The film, 21 Grams, kicked off with the sentence: “They say that we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of death.” This goes back to the work of Dr. Duncan MacDougall in 1907, who set up beds connected to scales which, he said, were accurate to two tenths of an ounce (about 5.6 grams).
Because dying people could thrash about and upset surrounding equipment, the thoughtless buggers, MacDougall selected six patients dying from diseases which left them immobile. The weight of a tubercular patient decreased by an ounce per hour as his death approached, due to evaporation of perspiration and evaporation of moisture in respiration. The patient’s weight decreased by three quarters of an ounce (about 21 grams) in an instant upon his death. The patient’s bowels did not move, although he did emit “one or two drams” of urine, whose evaporation would have been slow.
A second and third patient were also tubercular, and lost half an ounce upon death. The second patient lost a further ounce a few minutes after. The fourth patient was a woman dying of a diabetic coma, but her data was omitted on account of “technical difficulties”: the scales were not finely adjusted and there was “a good deal of interference by people opposed to our work.” The fifth patient lost three eighths of an ounce, but this was later reversed. MacDougall disregarded the sixth patient, who died less than five minutes after being placed on the bed, before MacDougall had adjusted the beam. The experiment was repeated with 15 dogs, who showed no weight loss – but animals lack souls, right? Before an article by MacDougall appeared in the April, 1907 issue of American Medicine, the New York Times ran a story entitled, “Soul Has Weight, Physician Thinks.”
There were some shortcomings to the study. The sample size was too small. It is statistically significant when 16 out of 20 people prefer Pepsi to Coke, but not when only eight out of ten do. There is also the problem of ascertaining when death occurs, which is difficult even with the technology of today.
When Einstein was asked if he believed in ghosts, he said, “When twelve other persons have witnessed the same phenomenon at the same time, then I might believe.” He certainly believed in dowsing: “I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time.” The belief of Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was more clear cut. His 1,093 patents included the light bulb. To the end of his career, he labored on a machine that would allow the living to communicate with the dead.
Mom and Dad may have told you there was no such things as ghosts, and they were, to your knowledge, the two smartest people in the world. But they turned out to be wrong about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, and they were wrong about ghosts, too.
“The energetics of ghostly phenomena.” Southwest Ghost Hunters Assocation. n.d. 17 December 2011. <http://www.sgha.net/articles/ghostenergetics.html.>
Brandon, Trend. “Science and Ghost Hunting.” Hamilton Paranormal. n.d. 17 December 2011. <http://hamiltonparanormal.com/science.html.>
Kruszelnicki, Karl. “21 Grams.” ABC. n.d. 17 December 2011. <http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2004/05/13/1105956.htm.>
MacDougall, Dr. Duncan. “American Medicine, April, 1907: Hypothesis Concerning Soul Substance Together with Experimental Evidence of The Existence of Such Substance.” n.d. 17 December 2011. <http://www.ghostweb.com/soul.html.>
Pann, Tony. “Ghosts… and things that go “bump” in the night…” Examiner.com. 20 October 2011. 17 December 2011. <http://www.examiner.com/metaphysical-in-baltimore/ghosts-and-things-that-go-bump-the-night.>
Radford, Benjamin. “Do Einstein’s Laws Prove Ghosts Exist?” MSNBC. 11 December 2011. 17 December 2011. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45255505/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.TsaXgPIzQiw.>
Wagner, Stephen, “All About Dowsing.” About.com. n.d. 17 December 2011. <http://paranormal.about.com/od/dowsing/a/All-About-Dowsing.htm.>
Weisberg, Tim. “Why I believe in ghosts.” South Coast Today. 31 October 2008 17 December 2011. <http: