I’ve been fascinated with ghosts and paranormal phenomena for over 20 years, however in the past 5 years I began to get annoyed with how the field was progressing. It was the same old “evidence” and theories on ghostly encounters. Paranormal conventions were also becoming dull as the same 20 people were traveling the country talking about the same things, which usually involved their personal experiences. Granted these speakers, podcasts, and televisions shows are entertaining but there was nothing new, fresh, or exciting. While I love hearing personal encounters and ghost stories the field was missing something. There are millions of us who are looking for more than just ghost stories, tales of haunted locations, or descriptions of personal experiences that para-celebrities had on TV, which led me to delve deep into the depths of ghostly encounters. In doing so I wrote a book with two new perspectives or theories on crisis apparitions and hauntings called The Ghost Studies: New Perspective on the Origins of Paranormal Experiences. Let me briefly introduce you to one of my theories called Spontaneous Apparitional Trace Theory (SATT)
Spontaneous Apparitional Trace Theory vs Imprint Theory
One of the most popular theories on ghostly encounters was developed in the 1920s and is called place theory. Other terms, which are essentially the same idea, are stone tape theory and imprint theory. Place theory states that the environment can hold the memory of past events, which can be viewed, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt at a later time by a person with sufficient sensitivity. This theory is often used to explain residual hauntings. In these hauntings, the ghost is not conscious and is more like a recording that is being replayed. These are not conscious souls, but rather a type of environmental imprint or video. Although there is no specific explanation or mechanism which explains how the environment could hold such events or recordings, the general belief is that there is an extreme amount of energy released during tragic events or deaths that is somehow burned into the environment.
A flaw with this theory is that a tragic event or violent death must have occurred at a location for a haunting or haunt-type phenomena to occur. Therefore, if a location doesn’t have this violent history nothing could have been burned or imprinted into the environment which limits the haunting to one particular location. Unlike place or imprint theory, I don’t believe that the event (violent death) is what causes an imprint into the electromagnetic tracings, but rather the telepathic distress message an individual had sent during the traumatic event or violent death, which is subsequently imprinted into the environment.
Spontaneous Apparitional Trace Theory (SATT) contends that in every haunted location there was an individual who sent a telepathic distress call to someone with whom they were emotionally linked that has been stuck at that location. Perhaps this telepathic distress call is what sensitives and ghost hunters are encountering in these locations. I think that this hypothesis can account for a great deal of recurrent apparitions and hauntings. According to SATT, a haunting doesn’t have to coincide with the location or origin of the tragic event or telepathic distress message, but can occur at the destination or endpoint of the telepathic message. This accounts for why apparitions of deceased people who never resided in or visited a haunted location appear there. Let’s look into telepathy and then we get back to my theory.
What Is a Telepathic Distress Signal?
Telepathy is defined as the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another, independently of recognized channels of the senses. What is often not discussed is that there are many cases of telepathy which are visual, as well as other cases, which involve hearing sounds and sudden overwhelming feelings of fear, concern, or alarm. For example, having a vision of a friend in trouble or in an accident, experiencing a feeling or hunch that something bad is happening and then later finding out it did, or perhaps seeing a vision of your mother and then later finding out she died at the same time you had the vision.
Here is an example of tactile telepathy from Dr. Ian Stevenson’s book Telepathic Impressions;
“My daughter was away at college and I started to write her as usual. When I had about finished, my right hand started to burn so intensely I couldn’t hold the pen; the pain was terrific. Less than an hour later we received a telephone call from the college telling us our daughter’s right hand had been severely burned in the laboratory with acid at the same time I was feeling the burning in my own right hand.”
This case has no reports of apparitions, auditory phenomena, or other “sexy” haunt-type phenomena. What makes this case interesting is that the mother experienced a pain sensation directly related to her daughter’s accident. There are several cases in literature involving the transmission of physical symptoms and even illnesses. I recall a mother reporting a severe headache and an apparition of her son lying in a river. She later discovered he fell, struck his head, and drowned in a river. What is fascinating in the above case example is that the distress signal is received by the mother and somehow through unconscious processes; this biological or telepathic message is then translated into physical symptoms (pain in hand). Let’s consider that someplace in the mother’s internal cognitive processes, this external message of distress from her daughter was received by her brain, interpreted, and exhibited in the same pain the daughter was experiencing. Can you imagine the tremendous coordination and great amount of cognitive and bodily processes and transmissions that occurred in this situation? You may be thinking people burn themselves, break or strain a joint, stub their toes, and hit their hands with hammers all the time; why aren’t there more reports of transmission of these experiences to others? I suspect that many other variables lined up for this specific telepathic
communication to occur. For instance, in this case the mother was thinking about the daughter and focusing on her through writing a letter when the accident occurred. This could have increased the likelihood of resonance or synchronization
Telepathy is communication at a distance. Telepathy and thought transference being linked with ghostly encounters isn't new and dates back to the 1800's. This theory is called the Psi hypothesis. The Psi hypothesis contends that ghosts are not so much discarnate beings, but rather, the workings of ESP, telepathy, thought transference, or communication at a distance among the living or recently deceased. The general idea is that person A (agent/sender) sends a telepathic message, usually during a distressful event, which is picked up by person B (percipient/receiver). The message can be interpreted as a hallucination (auditory, visual, tactile, etc..) or as an emotional impression or “feeling”. Crisis apparitions and death bed visions are often times linked more with the Psi hypothesis than with ghosts or survival after death.
So, what does this have to do with Hauntings?
Let’s begin with a case example of a ghostly encounter, which could be classified as a crisis apparitions or death bed vision.
"In 1863, Deborah had a 19-year-old son who was fighting in the battle of Gettysburg. According to Deborah, “I woke up one morning around 2 a.m. feeling like I had been punched in the head. I was covered in sweat, had a terrible headache, and felt blood gushing down my face. I couldn’t breathe and was gasping for air as if choking. I felt as if my lungs were filling with water or sludge, so I went to the bathroom to try and cough up the substance. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, sadness, and anger. Feeling weak, I sat down on the bathroom floor while crying. At that moment, I saw an image of my son, in full uniform and covered in blood. I then heard my son’s voice saying ‘tell my mom I love her . . . please tell her I love her.’ The imagine and my physical symptoms vanished within seconds. Picking myself off the floor, I looked in the mirror and saw no blood or bump that would indicate I hurt my head.” A week later, Deborah learned of her son’s death which occurred at the same time as her strange symptoms that evening. According to reports, he died from a gunshot to the chest and severe head trauma."
This is a spontaneous case where the son was a civil war soldier who died in the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Battlefields are often reported to be haunted and Gettysburg is amongst the most haunted. In this case, the soldier was in a life-threatening crisis (gunshot/head trauma) and was able to communicate feelings of distress and tactile phenomena (a feeling of being choked and blood dripping down the head) to his mother who was living in hundreds of miles away. The life-threatening event (gunshot) and ultimate death, as well as the telepathic communication, occurred once between two individuals who were emotionally linked (mother and son) in 1863.
Let’s skip ahead 150 years to the present time where an individual is touring the battlefield in Gettysburg where the son/soldier had died. While walking on the battlefield, the tourist began to have trouble breathing, as if being choked, felt blood dripping down his head, and saw an apparition of a soldier being shot, which are similar experiences that the mother (Deborah) had reported in 1863. These types of haunt-type experiences are commonly reported in haunted locations and ghost stories. Let’s further speculate that other people also had these experiences while visiting that battlefield location for a number of years, which resulted in this battlefield being considered haunted. Is this the ghost of the soldier harassing the tourists to this battlefield? Let’s take another view. Perhaps the haunt-type phenomena reported is instead the soldier’s lingering telepathic communication to his mother from 1863, which certain individuals are tapping into in current time. It is not the event of the tragic death that burned itself into the electromagnetic trace, but the telepathic communication sent by soldier at his time of death, which lingers in this location’s magnetic make-up. This means that the ghostly experiences could be a trace of the spontaneous apparitional experience that occurred between mother and her son/soldier in 1863—and not the result of the soldier’s ghost or the tragic event that was burned into the environment.
According the Spontaneous Apparitional Trace Theory in every haunted location there was an individual who sent a distress call to someone with whom they were emotionally linked that has been stuck at that location. Perhaps this is what sensitives and ghost hunters are encountering in these locations. I think that this hypothesis can account for a great deal of recurrent apparitions and hauntings. You may be thinking that this theory is very similar to stone tape theory, place theory, or imprint theory however, my theory differs from imprint or place theory in that a haunting doesn’t have to coincide with the location or origin of the tragic event or telepathic distress message, but can occur at the destination or endpoint of the telepathic message. This accounts for why apparitions of deceased people who never resided in or visited a haunted location appear there.
Let’s use the same example above with the civil war ghost. Let’s say that a paranormal team was called to the house where the soldier’s mother Deborah lived due to reports by the current residents of ghostly phenomena. For the purpose of this story let’s say Deborah lived in Montana. You are part of the paranormal team and while investigating Deborah’s house you witness an apparition of a civil war soldier, you start getting a headache and feel like blood is gushing down your head, you get overwhelming feelings of sadness and fear, and you capture an EVP of a young man’s voice saying “tell my mom I love her”. You are in essence capturing data of the same experiences that Deborah had 150 years ago. In doing your research on the house you find that no deaths or violent acts occurred inside the house. Also, it highly unlikely that any civil war soldier died in battle in Montana as no wars were fought in Montana. The only explanation for this would be that your paranormal team is picking up on the telepathic distress signal that originated in Gettysburg and ended in Montana. Therefore, a haunting doesn’t have to coincide with the location or origin of the tragic event or telepathic distress message (Gettysburg), but can occur at the destination or endpoint of the telepathic message (Deborah’s house in Montana). This accounts for why apparitions of deceased people who never resided in or visited a haunted location appear there.
In my book The Ghost Studies: New Perspectives on the Origins of Paranormal Experiences I discuss the latest research in psychology, bioenergetics, entanglement, and parapsychology which may help explain how these distress signals are created and communicated. The book also reviews the latest research in ghostly encounters and discussed the role that electricity and energy play.