Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Residuals

One of the most curious aspects of ghost hunting to me are the so called 'residual hauntings', also known as 'recordings'.  The reason these are so intriguing to me is because they seem to make the least amount of sense.  In an intelligent haunting, the haunting seems to be caused by some sort of non-physical entity, whether it be a ghost, demon, or something else.  Although these situations can be mysterious, if you already believe or know these beings exist, then the mystery becomes more a question of why they are there, instead of  if they are there.

But a residual haunting doesn't appear to be intelligent.  It appears to just be a recording of a past event.  So if it isn't a ghost or intelligent non-physical entity, then what causes it and why?  And what causes one event to be recorded but not another?

What got me thinking about it is a friend of mine who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since returning from Iraq.  He admitted recently that he still hears 'radio chatter'.  This is different from 'hearing voices' in the traditional sense in that the voice (or voices) don't appear to be intelligent, or 'living'.  He described it as being 'residual'.  In other words, he just hears 'recordings' of radio chatter.

The effects of PTSD don't appear until after returning from war because the adrenaline rush is no longer there.    I don't know exactly what causes it or where it is 'recorded', but there does seem to be a residual effect on the mind.

So I wonder if the earth experiences something similar?  Are residual hauntings the result of the earth experiencing a strong emotional event in a particular location?  Can the earth remember this event after the emotion - the adrenaline rush - is gone?

And if it is a recording, then what is the event recorded on?  A popular theory suggests certain types of rocks (such as limestone) can record events.  Another possibility is atmospheric conditions.  But how would events be recorded on rocks?  We can record information on magnetic surfaces with computers, but these are specifically designed for recording information.  The computer serves as a conduit.  But what is the conduit for residual hauntings?  If we assume for a moment that certain types of rock can record events, then what is the conduit that makes it happen?  Are phonograph records, casette tapes, CDs. DVDs, hard drives, and flash drives a naturally occurring phenomenon that we have overlooked?  Or are we going in the wrong direction altogether with the rock hypothesis?

If events can be recorded on certain types of rocks, then another question we could ask is can those events be erased?  If we quarry the area, would the residual haunting go away?  What if a shopping mall is built in an area where a ghost train had been seen before?  Would building the shopping mall erase the 'recording' of the ghost train?

What if these 'recordings' aren't recordings at all?  What if they are glimpses of past events as they occur?  What if there is some sort of 'wormhole' that is attached to a specific location at a specific point of time that occasionally opens and allows people to view a past event as it occurs?

But if we can see recordings of past events, could people in the future potentially see recordings of people living now?  Or if the wormhole theory is more accurate, could people from the future be watching an event occurring right now without the people involved even being aware that they are being watched from the future?

There are many questions regarding this subject.  The questions could have multiple theoretical answers, but I think it would be difficult to prove any of those answers.  But it is an intriguing mystery.


  1. Jeff;
    Fantastic post! This is my favorite subject AND the reason I got into ghost hunting in earnest. When I was growing up, the hauntings that occurred in my home were some poltergeist but almost all residual. That had me puzzled why a soldier would walk the halls but never stop and respond when I called out. So, later in life when I was doing a psychic reading on a woman's house, I had an epiphany that made me enter the field. She described sounds of walking in the hall and a woman crying in the bathroom. I walked through the house, telling details of each occupant. The woman in the first bedroom was an elderly grandmother who was senile and would repeatedly walk the hall and check the front door lock over and over again. There was an evil guy living there who had a meth lab in the corner bedroom. The couple had a son and the boy slept in bed with them in the master suite. One time, the mother tried to kill herself by slitting her wrist in the shower. When I was done, the neighbor who had lived there 20 years sighed. "That is exactly what happened here." She went into more detail about and I thought, "that was a great reading, meth lab, woman trying to kill herself, elderly absent-minded grandmother..." But, the neighbor told me, they were all alive and across town. Yet, the sounds remain in the house... When I looked back at my past and the residual at Aspen Grove, I remembered how my sister used to argue all the time with my mom in the 60s (she was a hippie) and she'd have a fit, pound on the walls, and scream. Years later when she'd moved away, I would occasionally hear it coming from her empty room. Hmm... The house was atop of limestone and quartz with a spring running under it and a stone foundation. I began to wonder if all hauntings are residual and as of yet, I am not convinced they aren't. Why does an event record? Sometimes it can be a mundane thing like the stairs that a lighthouse keeper takes several times every day for years. Sometimes it's emotional trauma. But, sometimes it's a random giggle or a coughing fit. No real rhyme or reason. I used to think residual needed an imprint event that releases endorphins, but now I'm not so sure. In fact, being someone who can read places, you lay down a "track" every time you go somewhere or do something, a trail that can be read by the right people, or perhaps when conditions are ripe. I think we're probably talking about a combination of earth conditions, geomagnetic/tectonic activity, and brief surges that release events that once occurred, whether it's sound or sighting or smell. What that "earth burp" is...that's your next puzzle.

  2. That's very interesting...residual hauntings that occur so soon after the fact. With that in mind, it makes you wonder if you'd ever seen something residual without even knowing it. For instance, take a story of someone seeing their dead cat or dog walk through the house. If it's residual, then it may have happened while the animal was still alive. So potentially, the owner may have seen a residual imprint of the animal while the animal was living! Yet they wouldn't have even realized it because the animal was still alive and it wouldn't have been unusual to see them.

  3. Jeff;
    I love the way your mind works! Yes, I do believe that even when we commonly hear something clink in the next room, hear a floorboard or two give-way, and catch a glimpse of someone walking past the doorway, we could very well be seeing an event that isn't truly over in the sense that it happened and it'll never happen again. It's entirely possible that in the right conditions, for the right reasons, it creates a kind of blip in our dimension that allows us to reexperience it. I think this might also be a great part of deja vu.