A spirited debate: Are ghosts real?

Avery Adelini:

BOO! Did I scare you? I’d be surprised if I did. If you jumped a little while reading that, then now you have something in common with people who’ve seen a ghost before; the fear is all in your head.

The fact is that all “hauntings” can be attributed to some sort of scientific or psychological reasoning. Even if you believe that you’ve had a paranormal experience, it really boils down to your brain’s interpretation of what you witnessed.

Because the idea of ghosts is strangely ingrained in our culture, our minds are predisposed to jump to the conclusion that any vaguely unexplainable experience is evidence of paranormal activity. If we expect to see a ghost in a supposedly haunted or creepy-looking place, then our brains will interpret our environment as such.

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Expectations define our reality if we let them. This tendency to “expect” is an example of our perceptual set, which is when we perceive or notice some aspects of sensory data and ignore others. When we expect to see a ghost in a “haunted” place, then we’ll pay attention to the sensory data that confirms our paranormal expectations and ignore logic. Especially when we’re scared, we begin to resort to our illogical conclusions.

Many ghost believers don’t just need to see to believe, however. Sometimes, a chill down their spine or an eerie feeling is enough proof that a ghost is hanging around nearby.

Oftentimes, many sensory stimuli such as very quiet noises or ultraviolet light will go unnoticed by us. However, our sensory receptors are still able to pick up on them and pass the information to our brain, where we unconsciously process it.

To unconsciously process a stimulus means that we ourselves aren’t aware of it. For example, if we unconsciously “hear” a sound, we don’t actually detect it, but our brain processes it as if we did. Based on our past experiences with similar stimuli, our brain will then respond with either a specific emotion or physical reaction.

These unconsciously processed senses are known as subliminal stimuli. Subliminal stimuli are everywhere and oftentimes will influence our mood without us even realizing it, thus creating the eerie feelings that are often associated with the presence of ghosts.

Many ghost believers have the same thing to say when presented with facts such as these, something along the lines of “Well, you can’t prove that they AREN’T real.” That isn’t the point. The absence of evidence itself isn’t evidence. Ghosts are an exaggerated figment of our imagination and a result of our expectations and unconscious senses and simply put, are only real in our heads.

Aurelia Thingvold: One of the biggest debates of all time is whether or not ghosts/spirits are real. While many people claim that ghosts are not real and there is no proof, lots of photos, videos, and people have proven that ghosts and spirits are real.

While I do admit many TV shows fake their paranormal activity by setting up remote control equipment or using lots of editing, however, on the other hand, many paranormal experts and YouTubers show unedited photos of paranormal activity or places with no reasonable explanation.

One of the most famous proofs of paranormal activity is the Myrtles Plantation photo taken in 1992. The owner of the Myrtles Plantation took the famous photo for insurance policies, but a figure appeared in the background of the developed photo. The owner has said he was alone and no one was in the frame when the photo was taken. Many people claim that the photo is edited or someone is dressed up pulling a prank. While those could make sense, respectively, they don’t. The only people on the site of the Myrtles Plantation at the time were the owner and his family.

Before the photo was taken the family had said multiple times that there were signs of paranormal activity such as footsteps and seeing a young girl moving around the house. The photo was also a developed photo, not an online photo, meaning that for the figure to be fake the owner would have to have drawn the figure, which seems unlikely based on the story of the house.
Since the photo, there have been many other sightings of paranormal activity at known haunted places around the world. Such photos include photos at the Stanley Hotel, which The Shining movie was based on, and the Crescent Hotel.

Paranormal proof has been around for years, whether it be photos, videos, experiences, or old stories from before we were born. Ghosts are one of the biggest, if not the biggest debates from around the world, spanning generations. I believe that ghosts are real, not to harm us but instead to watch over us.

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About the Contributors
Avery Adelini
Avery Adelini, Chief of Staff and Co-Social Media Manager
Avery Adelini is a junior at Hart High School. This is her first year in Hart journalism. Currently, she is the Chief of Staff and the Co-Social Media Manager. She is involved in Hart Show Choir, and she crochets and spends time with her family and friends in her free time.
Aurelia Thingvold
Aurelia Thingvold, Copy Editor
Aurelia Thingvold is a freshman at Hart High School. This is her first year being a part of The Smoke Signal. She currently is a staff writer for the newspaper. When she has free time she likes reading, drawing, writing, crocheting, hanging out with her friends and listening to music. Her favorite artists are either Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, or Lana Del Rey. Her all time favorite books is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. She could read both books over and over without getting bored.
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