I am asked by friends why I believe in ghosts. The subtext is why does a smart guy believe in ghosts? I ask them to define what a ghost is exactly. Their answers vary a bit, but the gist is ghosts are spirits of the dead.
I don’t believe ghosts are the spirits of the dead.
I don’t know what they are, but over the years I’ve kept my ears open for scientific explanations. The big culprit so far is a phenomenon called Infrasound. It is low-frequency sound waves which seem to affect people’s minds. The other guilty party is atmospheric contamination. Some of this is due to climate change. These don’t explain all of the aspects to all hauntings, but they seem to be present in the majority of cases. I reviewed my library of true-ghost stories, and I took notes. I found all hauntings had one or more things in common.
The first element is underground water. Most old (haunted) houses are built over, or next to a well. In cold climates it made sense to build over the well to keep from going into the snow for water. Water evaporates creating negative ions. These ions form a field which is sometimes strong enough to influence the atmosphere. Batteries will often drain as the negative ions complete the circuit in flashlights, and electrical gear. Their influence on people is not clear, but I suspect they are behind the feeling of being touched.
Underground streams and rivers compound the ions with additional microwave radiation. These are not high levels, not enough to cook your lunch, but enough to make you feel like you’re being watched. In areas where there is Limestone the water will flow at various speeds generating measurably different fields of energy.
Limestone itself is another suspect. Limestone is prone to caves made by the underground rivers. These caves generate infrasound where they open to the outside. Limestone gives off CO2 when exposed to acids. CO2 in low doses will cause hallucinations such as hearing voices, and seeing shadows. A home built over Limestone can be a ghost-generating factory.
CO2 (the cause behind rapid climate change) is also a suspect in hauntings. The first thing a good ghost hunter checks is the CO2 levels in a home. The housing boom in the 1990s resulted in a lot of poorly installed heating systems which resulted in CO2 poisoning. The symptoms read like a paranormal thriller.
The housing boom lead to another fringe cause which was spurred by toxic sheet-rock from China. The sheetrock seemed to affect electrical wiring, and appliances. The gas caused a list of symptoms, but the CDC made no serious study of the threat to people. There is a correlation between the rises of reported hauntings in brand new homes. Theories of Indian burial grounds were rampant. Now it seems the cause was the construction itself.
The 1990s saw the rise of the McMansion, over-sized single family homes with huge square footage. The large open floor plans generate infrasound in large doses. Then you compound things with a poorly installed heating system, and toxic sheetrock, and the rise in the number of people believing in ghosts makes sense.
These influences don’t explain everything. They don’t explain why people with no knowledge of a location’s history will see the same apparitions, or experience the exact same events that others have. I suspect they enhance these encounters for some people. Not everyone can sing, many people cannot color-coordinate their clothes, and there are a few people who hate chocolate. People are built differently so how they are influenced by the things I’ve listed here will be unique to each individual.
As I said, I don’t believe ghosts are spirits of the dead. I believe they are manifestations of a variety of atmospheric influences we have yet to discover. I plan to keep looking.