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Can ghosts be explained scientifically?

By Kelli Tipton

Are there scientific explanations for many of the phenomena associated with hauntings?

According to actual ghost hunters, there are. They know many possible explanations for spooky noises and things that go bump in the night. After all, they must rule out everything else before they can determine if a place is really haunted.

According to Peter Underwood, author of The Ghost Hunter’s Guide, geological factors can explain some happenings. Occasionally, the movements of objects and noises can be caused by slight earth tremors and pressure of underground water.

Tapping noises, footsteps or noises that sound like furniture being moved might be accounted for by these, as well as the movement of objects on shelves or mantles. Such geological movement could also account for doors opening and shutting by themselves. Heavy rains often cause water pressure in underground sewers and pipes that could cause earth tremors.

Loose floorboards can cause groaning sounds when the wind blows. Rats, mice, squirrels, birds and opossums in an attic, under floorboards or in a wall can produce strange noises.

Faulty electrical wiring can result in odd happenings, such as a light, television or radio being turned on and off. A railroad track nearby can cause rattling of objects and sounds, as can passing traffic, wind, or doors and windows that are not sealed properly.

An English expert in paranormal research, Guy Lambert, published a report stating the appearance of ghosts can be explained by mists or vapors that occur naturally when there is a difference of temperature in the room due to cooking or other heat sources. Luminous appearances could be the result of phosphorescent gases given off by decaying matter from cracked or broken drains.

Other well-researched theories state that happenings such as noises, the movement of objects and other phenomena may scare people to the extent they have hallucinations and think they see or hear a ghost.

Other explanations for paranormal activity include electromagnetic fields and low decibel sound waves.

But for those who are interested in proving the existence of spiritual entities, there are several books on the market to help with the investigation. The Ghost Hunter’s Guidebook by Troy Taylor, The Ghost Hunter’s Bible by Trent Brandon, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and How to Be a Ghost Hunter by Richard H. Southhall are reference manuals for the amateur ghost hunter. They are available at major bookstores or online at Amazon.com.

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