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So many people claim to have seen or heard spooky beings that it would be foolish simply to dismiss the notion. Yet, unlike solid objects such as tables and chairs, ghosts do not appear reliably in place and time. They need a different kind of theory from that which accounts for material things.

In search of this account we must, however, guard against a common error of thinking. We must remember that just because there is a collection of phenomena which we call ‘ghostly experiences’ there is not necessarily one story which covers them all.

As far as apparitions are concerned, the most commonly offered explanation, and the most likely one, is that they are ‘record and playback’ phenomena. The suggestion is that objects other than magnetic tapes and waxy discs can record events. Particularly dramatic happenings doubtless become more imprinted than others. For the most part, the recorded message is too feint for us to access and most of us are far too preoccupied to be sufficiently receptive. Sometimes, though, a highly sensitive person who just happens to be ‘tuned’ to the right frequencies, picks up such recorded data.

Another type of ghost experience, which involves the movement of material things, clearly cannot be simply a ‘play back’ phenomenon. We need to explain what causes the hairbrush or whatever to fly across a room.

The most likely hypothesis is that the agency is a human one. Many poltergeist episodes are associated with people who are in mental turmoil. Some humans, it seems, are capable of generating sufficient electro-magnetic force in their brains to project it outwards and to disturb the physical order.

To those many people who have experimented with psycho-kinesis, and concluded that it is not available to humans, it can be said only that we are a very long way from a full understanding of the interaction between the physical and the mental worlds. Both are manifestations of energy. Very likely the circumstances under which mentally generated energy interferes substantially with the physical world are peculiar. Surely, it is far better to see the poltergeist phenomenon as unfinished research business than to invent unverifiable entities. One day, after a doubtless long and tricky process, we will understand how these mental hurricanes can generate themselves from what are normally barely perceptible breezes.

In this, as in several other aspects of Alphomism, the avoidance of irrationality depends upon the assumption that the universe is a very subtle and sophisticated entity. Energy is capable of some astonishing feats.



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