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Victoria's ghosts


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#21 Holden West

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:19 PM

Count me in on the "no ghosts" bandwagon.

If some nutbar wants to chase ghosts in Ross Bay Cemetery then good for him.

But what's really stupid is when Royal Roads University (supposedly a place of higher education) gets all Victoria's print and broadcast media to produce puff-pieces on chasing ghosts in the old castle on campus. Universities can study the paranormal (just like some study Greek mythology) but they shouldn't promote it as fact, then hide behind the phoniness of "oh, it's just for fun".

I'm not holding my breath waiting for "proof". I'd be satisfied with any evidence that couldn't be explained by normal events. All ghost sightings are common things enhanced by an eager imagination primed to want or need to believe.

Except for that photo I posted. That was real.
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#22 Zimquats

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:29 PM

Aastra could have done a way better photoshop than was done on that picture....

#23 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:32 PM

For those who want to flame me on my "theory", show me irrefutable scientific evidence to prove me wrong.

The phenonemon/phenomena is/are absolutely real. People have been aware of "ghosts" since day one. So exactly what are they and what are the myriad causes for them? Atmospheric anomalies? Sheer delusions? Echoes of light and sound, perhaps even from the distant past or future? Disembodied spirits of people (and animals) that were once flesh and blood? Dimensional overlaps? Disruptions in the space-time continuum? Disruptions in the earth's (or local area's) magnetic field? Ball lightning? Anything else you can think of (or can't think of)? Any combination of the above??

Some people don't like the idea that the soul might go on. But whether or not you like the idea has no bearing on whether or not the soul goes on. It does or it doesn't. But even if it does go on, that doesn't mean that any/all ghost incidents involve a disembodied soul.

Science isn't about throwing away anything that clashes with your world view. Everybody has a different world view. Science is about investigation and keeping an open mind and testing theories.

Universities can study the paranormal (just like some study Greek mythology) but they shouldn't promote it as fact.

Electricity was paranormal (poorly understood) not too long ago. Should people not have studied it or not promoted it as fact? Heck, just about everything in the human body was paranormal not too long ago. Some things still are. Are thoughts real or aren't they? Should we promote their existence as fact?

#24 Baro

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

Science is about keeping an open mind, but provisionally accepting what ever the best theory at the time is. Right now there's 0 evidence for ghosts, only cultural/superstitious reasons for believing in them. There isn't even a "ghost theory" out there people are working on, there's nothing. Ghosts aren't even properly defined so how could one believe in something without definition?

You've proposed a theory involving another theory, something called "souls". First come up with a working theory explaining what a soul is and how it works and demonstrate testable repeatable evidence backing it up. Once that is established enough we can work on how a "soul" could separate from an organism and keep doing things. What is this process, and what testable theory could explain how it all works (even a very simple theory)? A soul without a body is now perhaps defined as a "ghost" but what does that mean and how does it differ from a soul?

Find a phenomenon and gather evidence about it. Conduct experiments aimed at gathering predictable outcomes. Create a theory explaining how the phenomenon works. Submit for peer review. Refine the theory, gain popular scientific acceptance.

Ghosts aren't even on step 1 yet. Heck ghosts depend on many other theories that have yet to even be defined. You can't just jump to demanding the last step. Electricity, blood circulation, germ theory, they all went through these steps to gain scientific credibility replacing the existing superstitions. Close minded people want to hang onto their superstitious explanations while ignoring the scientific method. Believing in ghosts with the current state of ghost related science is close minded at best.

Believing something for which there is not only a total lack evidence but not even the most simple of basic theories or definitions isn't open minded is the very definition of being close minded. Be open minded to other more reasonable explanations that match existing proven theories (rather than ill defined ones made up from whole cloth) that explain the phenomenon you're addressing.

And don't forget, being open minded isn't just having an open door to new theories and ideas, but an open door to toss garbage theories and ideas out.

#25 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:54 PM

Semantics always clouds investigation into the unknown (just like it clouds investigation into Victoria's built form and new development proposals).

The process tends to go like so:

- people claim to observe mysterious sea animal
- popular culture slaps the "monster" label on the phenomenon and otherwise makes a mess of things
- "science" dismisses the claimed observations outright and absolutely refuses to investigate
- years later, somebody identifies and classifies a new species of beaked whale
- "science" says: "See? I told you there was no monster."
- people roll their eyes and wonder why every damn thing has to be politicized one way or another

#26 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 01:59 PM

Right now there's 0 evidence for ghosts, only cultural/superstitious reasons for believing in them.


So you're saying anybody who claims to have seen a ghost is fabricating a story for cultural/superstitious reasons? Is that really scientific?

#27 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:02 PM

Believing something for which there is not only a total lack evidence but not even the most simple of basic theories or definitions isn't open minded is the very definition of being close minded.


So if I see a ghost tonight, the most open-minded thing I could do would be to never think about my sighting again and never mention it to anybody? What the heck is open-minded about that? It's never open-minded to try to impose a predetermined world view upon the world. Inquire.

#28 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:08 PM

Aastra could have done a way better photoshop than was done on that picture....


...Like photoshop your indescribably handsome face into it? :-)

@ amor de cosmos and his reference to Bill Gates: if you want to see something truly paranormal, watch this 18 second clip. It scientifically proves the existence of forces beyond our normal ken. And Connie Chung was there!
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#29 Nparker

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:13 PM

Some people don't like the idea that the soul might go on. But whether or not you like the idea has no bearing on whether or not the soul goes on. It does or it doesn't. But even if it does go on, that doesn't mean that any/all ghost incidents involve a disembodied soul.


Something that does not exist (the soul) cannot go on after death. End of story.

#30 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:40 PM

Yeah, but that's your personal religious belief. Your personal religious beliefs do not affect reality for me or anybody else (including you), even if you think that they do. I can agree with you 100% and it doesn't change a thing. It doesn't mean a thing.

I think the best current example of beliefs clouding rationality might be the whole cougars-returning-to-their-old-ranges phenomenon. As many of you probably know, there are cougar flaps happening just about every day all over the United States and eastern Canada as well. The most famous recent incident was the police shooting of a large wild cougar in a dense Chicago neighbourhood a few weeks ago.

Anyway, time and time again the cougar experts in the jurisdiction in question will insist that there are no wild cougars in X, despite the sightings. Cougars are extinct (extirpated). They'll also insist that it's very unusual for cougars to enter populated areas and almost unheard of for cougars to come right into the city.

And yet time and time again there are literally hundreds of reports (official and anecdotal) of wild cougars in jurisdiction x, usually spanning decades. Cougars are coming into neighbourhoods, sometimes even making a go of it in neighbourhoods. Sometimes cougars are even coming right downtown (Victorians would probably be amused to learn that just about every time a cougar goes downtown in an american city, the local media claims it's the first time anyone has ever heard of such a thing).

The real world is practically beating people over the head with the fact: wild cougars are returning to their old ranges in a big way. And yet supposedly scientific officials all over the place are in a condition of total denial because the possibility of wild cougars coming back is just too distasteful to their personal beliefs to even contemplate. That sort of denial is a hair's breadth away from insanity. And yet we're talking about COUGARS!

#31 KublaKhan

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:49 PM

Something that does not exist (the soul) cannot go on after death. End of story.


Boy-o-boy are you gonna be sorry you said that, Mister.

#32 Baro

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 02:56 PM

next time you encounter a ghost gather some evidence, that's what you should do. Also think of existing proven theories that could explain what you encountered without falling back on the "ghost" explanation. Have you actually clearly seen/interacted with some classic hollywood ghost? What exactly have you experienced that makes you sure it was a ghost and not ANYTHING else?

Tricks of the mind and eye are proven, ghosts are not. Go with what is most likely and toss out what doesn't make a lick of sense.


It's the same sort of thinking that we often fight against in this city in regard to people's downright superstitious beliefs about how a city works. Humans are blessed and cursed with a knack of finding patters/explanations for everything, and sometimes we'll construct patters and explanations for things that really aren't related. Skyscrapers density makes crime! More highways will solve our traffic problems! Even when you demonstrate there's no evidence for their theories and even present them evidence to the contrary the stubborn and closed minded will hold onto their wrongfounded theories.

You're presenting a theory that ghosts, souls, and such things paranormal exist and interact with our world. Interesting theory, but you gotta provide some evidence. How would you feel if someone came to you and said "you know, I think core density creates crime, lowers land value, hurts the environment, and increases traffic!" you'd probably ask why they think that or try to explain how their theory doesn't hold water. They'll most likely retort "Well everyone knows that! I was in hong kong and that city has terribly high density and it was dirty and crowded, this is a fact!". They've observed a phenomenon and come up with a intuitive explanation that totally makes sense in their mind, even though its totally wrong. Some people, when explained the benefits of density and how to do it right will have an "ah ha!" moment and change their outlook. Others are unable to accept their "gut intuition" is fallible and hold onto their theories, often concocting elaborate justifications.

Do you think that perhaps there's a chance your "ghost theory" is simply an explanation that, although intuitive to you personally, may in fact not hold water when closely examined (much like the above theory of density causing pollution) ? It's worth examining. Pretend you've never heard of ghosts or anything paranormal and look back at your experiences and memories where you've encountered ghosts. Is there perhaps a non-paranormal explanation?

#33 Nparker

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:13 PM

Yeah, but that's your personal religious belief.


Actually my statement above regarding the soul (or lack thereof) is my NON-religious belief. Religion, like the soul, and other non-provable constructs, is a man-made mythology (or more accurately mythologIES) used to qualify our existence outside of scientific/rational explanation. I will support each person's choice to believe in whatever mythology brings them comfort, but please do not mistake my non-belief in a soul as "religious". It is a conclusion I have drawn based on all the scientific and measureable evidence available to me.

#34 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:17 PM

All buildings in Victoria should be 8 stories or less because there are no buildings in Victoria that are taller than that. It doesn't matter what you say or what my eyes and ears report. It is a conclusion I have drawn based on all the scientific and measurable evidence available to me.

Not only that, but we've got general consensus on the matter. Only a few skeptics will disagree with the widely accepted view. Skeptics are nuts, so I dismiss them.

#35 Zimquats

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:20 PM

Next thing you know all you ghost 'believers' are going to try to tell me the world isn't flat either. ppphhht, I'll read no more of this nonesense!! Somebody get me a mirror...

#36 Nparker

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:22 PM

All buildings in Victoria should be 8 stories or less because there are no buildings in Victoria that are taller than that.


Except of course for the fact that there are numerous buildings in Victoria that ARE taller than 8 stories. Or does your religion prohibit you from seeing these as part of its dogma? ;)

#37 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:28 PM

Also think of existing proven theories that could explain what you encountered without falling back on the "ghost" explanation. Have you actually clearly seen/interacted with some classic hollywood ghost? What exactly have you experienced that makes you sure it was a ghost and not ANYTHING else?

Me? What do I have to do with it? I've never seen a ghost. As far as I'm concerned, ghosts don't exist.

The phenomenon does indeed exist, however. People see and hear and experience all sorts of things that get lumped in together as ghosts or something ghostly.

But what the hell's a ghost?? Darned if I know. Darned if anybody knows.

That's the whole point. Nobody knows. But some people want to think they know. Even though I have no evidence, I know exactly what a ghost is, and since my take on ghosts is ridiculous and/or unpalatable to my world view, I therefore know that ghosts can't possibly exist.

Anybody who goes through that process and chooses to disbelieve in ghosts is just as irrational as somebody who goes through that process and chooses to believe in ghosts.

And yet, one of them might be right. Or not.

#38 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:29 PM

Except of course for the fact that there are numerous buildings in Victoria that ARE taller than 8 stories. Or does your religion prohibit you from seeing these as part of its dogma?


40 years and counting and I've never seen one. I know some loons who claim there are lots of them. Those people are loons.

#39 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 03:36 PM

Do you think that perhaps there's a chance your "ghost theory" is simply an explanation that, although intuitive to you personally, may in fact not hold water when closely examined (much like the above theory of density causing pollution) ? It's worth examining.

I've never seen a ghost and I don't believe in ghosts. But my personal beliefs are irrelevant. I'm advising people not to let their beliefs muck with their learning and their understanding of the world. Disbelief is no more or less sophisticated than belief. Negativity is no more or less sophisticated than positivity. Remove yourself from the equation.

Pretend you've never heard of ghosts or anything paranormal and look back at your experiences and memories where you've encountered ghosts. Is there perhaps a non-paranormal explanation?

So now you guys are agreeing with the very first point I made? What goes around comes around.;)

What's paranormal? Paranormal is relative. Something is paranormal simply because it's not understood. And what's paranormal to you won't necessarily be paranormal to me. Example: I know that cougars come into cities all the time. Somebody who doesn't know that might refuse to believe it even if they were to see a cougar in town with their own eyes. The TC made a big gaff several years ago during a cougar flap. The very day that they got fed up and decided to dismiss the reports on the front page was the day the reports were confirmed. Can't take that front page back.

Plenty of flesh-and-blood animals have made the transition from folklore, fantasy and the supernatural into the mundane everyday world. When they were unconfirmed and mysterious they were paranormal. When they were finally confirmed and stuck in zoos they were just animals. In fact, all along, they were what they were. Nothing more, nothing less. The confrontation of belief-versus-disbelief and the naive emotional entanglements that human beings love to waste so much time with were of no consequence in the end. They never are.

Plenty of electrical, magnetic and chemical processes have made the same transition from magic to mundane.

#40 aastra

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 04:01 PM

Except of course for the fact that there are numerous buildings in Victoria that ARE taller than 8 stories.


I've yet to hear one reputable scientist confirm this claim.

And if ever I hear a reputable scientist confirm this claim, I'm going to make it my mission to destroy his reputation.

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