If the spirit is the essence that gives us life, and if it does survive after the body’s death (i.e. if there is an afterlife), who is it? No problem when the medium says, “Your Uncle Charlie is here”, or when we find out that the headless lady in the corridor was Mrs Smith whose husband accidentally missed the log. But what if Uncle Charlie died of Alzheimer’s? Will the spirit then have no clue as to who it is, or who it meets? What if it’s a baby? Will it spend eternity, or at least a few billion years, communicating sweet nothings? What if it’s an alcoholic, a drug addict, a schizophrenic? Are there cures out there in the spirit world? What if the person was a murderer, a rapist, a megalomaniac, a shyster? Any chance of reform? Is the spirit capable of change at all? What would change it? The very fact that the medium can tell you Uncle Charlie is here suggests that the spirit not only knows who it is, but also knows who you are, and so by inference will know who other familiar spirits are. What, then, goes on in that bodiless world? An endless round of social intercourse via telepathy?

And if the spirit is the essence that gives us life, let us not forget that every insect, reptile, mammal, bird is possessed of the same spirit. We shall talk about animals later, but they too are alive one second and dead the next, and they too have an identity. How will our brachiosaurus spirit cope when it meets the spirit of the tyrannosaurus that ripped it to pieces?

The fact is, we cannot conceive a spirit world. It raises so many questions that the whole concept becomes laughable – sheer pleasure for the atheist, who can ignore his own blinkered vision by poking fun at the blinkered vision of others. And yet…we are still faced with the need (a) to discredit every single spirit tale, report, communication, sighting, and (b) to identify what it is that gives us life. We always come back to the problem of origins, and if we are unable to share the blind, unreasoning and unreasonable faith of the theist or the atheist, we must consider the alternatives.

Is there a scenario that can encompass all the ghost stories and yet at the same time remove all the problems associated with the spirit world – what will be our identity, how do spirits pass the time, where does the animal world fit in, etc.? A lot of ghost stories concern spirits that cannot “rest”. This at least gives us one way out of our dilemma. If rest is the problem, then death is the solution. The dreamless sleep of death is the perfect rest and provides the perfect peace beyond all understanding. And so maybe the vast majority of spirits (remember, I use the word only to describe the unknown spark that gives us life) die with their bodies. The current is switched off. But maybe in some cases, it lingers for a while, independently of the dead body. Just as the amputated limb continues to hurt, maybe the spirit hurts too. Maybe the death of the spirit is a loss of the will to live (= the desire to rest), but the will to live survives in those who for whatever reason feel they need to go on: to right a wrong, to contact the living, to find out what happens next.

Another possibility with regard to ghosts lies with the observer: as we have seen, light waves theoretically go on for ever, and so perhaps the observer is able to shift his position in time/space, and latch onto the ongoing waves, “seeing” the past. This doesn’t explain the medium’s contact with the dead, who send messages to the living, but the ability – conscious or otherwise – to move onto another wavelength would be a common feature between the two sets of claims. This may even be on a par with the ability of animals to perceive things that humans can’t perceive. We know for a fact that there are, for instance, sounds beyond our hearing, and there are innumerable verified tales of animals sensing danger long before we do. Perhaps in some people there is the same heightened sensitivity to the “waves”, the “vibes”, or whatever you want to call them.

“Perhaps” is not the sort of word to find favour with your scientist or your selfconfident believer or your equally self-confident atheist. They all want firm truth, and “perhaps” is worthless to them. But your scientist can only investigate the material universe, and your believer and your atheist rely ultimately on faith, and since neither the material universe nor faith can provide us with a provable explanation of the origins of life, reproduction, etc., “perhaps” is the best we can do. And within its parameters lie not only infinite possibilities, but also guidelines for future research into the nature of communication and into the forces that make us what we are.

Add your comment >>

10. Animals

powered by my little forum