Updated: Sep 5
As a surprise to absolutely nobody, stories of ghosts moving objects around is as old as the idea of spirits themselves. In the field, we have taken to referring to this type of event as a poltergeist activity. It’s a bit of a misnomer since poltergeist activity was linked initially to the idea that people had telekinetic abilities and would aggressively, and accidentally, display them during times of stress. The word evolved over the years to encompass pretty much any paranormal event in which physical matter is allegedly observed to be moving around of its own volition. Most investigators would agree that poltergeist activity is the holy grail of paranormal evidence.
Setting everything else aside, let’s for a minute pretend that we know, for a fact, that ghosts are real, and are the cause of paranormal activity. Without getting hung up on everyone’s definitions of spirits, ghosts, and entities, we can say that most of us should understand that for physical matter cannot move on its own. For those of you out there who aren't physicists, think way back to your high school science class and try to remember the lessons we learned from Newton. An object at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts upon it. A body in motion, at a constant velocity, will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. Newton’s first and most important law of physics is pretty clear about the movement of physical matter.
So in the instance of a poltergeist type event, assuming they are really happening, how can objects move on their own? The answer is, they cannot. This, unfortunately, creates a paradox in logic that has to be resolved with some outside thinking. Knowing that objects are unable to move without forces acting upon them, we can infer some things about a poltergeist scenario. First and foremost, a force has to be present to move the object. This force can be gravity, thermodynamics, friction, or several other unseen properties. (For this discussion, we are ruling out obvious prankery.) A good investigator has many ways to rule out the logical things that could have caused the movement to occur and should do so before concluding legitimate poltergeist activity. Let’s also assume this investigator has done their homework and has ruled out the possibility of a logical outside force.
So, what does this leave? Well, that brings us to a paranormal conclusion with whatever label you want to put on it that makes you feel like you can sleep at night. Most will identify the force as a ghost, and others may claim telekinetic phenomenon. So, you have come this far with me, allow me to take you down one more path before I get to the point. Let’s assume that somehow we have either ruled out telekinesis or we simply don’t believe in it. It doesn’t matter why. But, for whatever the reasons, we are left with only one logical solution, a paranormal entity.
That’s great, now that we have narrowed down the culprit to our spectral and invisible friends, how do we go about proving their existence. Or, at the very least, find some evidence of their existence? Unfortunately, the event itself is only a little bit of evidence. It’s the effect that we are studying, and now we have to find the cause. As many of you know, catching a ghost is not the most straightforward task. To date, nobody I know of has reliably done so in a way that can be proven scientifically. And now to the point. What are ghost hunters and investigators out there doing? We are all trying to capture that holy grail of evidence that would finally prove these things are real. But how would we go about doing that if we are serious about this idea? It’s, in this case, that I think it is most critical to ignore the spiritual outlook on the problem and look to embrace science. It’s an elementary math problem that has been over-complicated by observers trying to understand why more than the how.
So we know that some type of being is moving objects around. They are A. Entities that can exhibit physical force on the matter to the point of making it move, and B. Unable to be seen by the human eye and possibly most camera equipment. Using this bit of logic, there are only finite sources of matter that cannot be seen that we know of. However, all those sources can be measured by anyone who understands the methods to do so. This is the crux of how we will prove once and for all if paranormal entities exist. It will not be with a photograph or video, but with reproducible measurements and data that kin identify them as a source of physical material able to manipulate objects. Currently, mainstream investigators try to do this by measuring temperature (thermodynamics), EMF fields, and soundwave activity. However, this has not resulted in the kind of evidence needed to sway the most logical minded. To do that, we need to start thinking further into the experiment to find new ways of measuring this force that cannot be seen.
Photons, while incomprehensible to most of us, are matter. Photons are a particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation. A photon carries energy proportional to the radiation frequency but has zero rest mass. When photons are excited, they have mass and can act upon other objects. In theory, if you had an item made of equal or less mass, you could push it around by shining light at it. You may be flashing back to science class again, and thinking about how light creates heat and heat can cause objects to move. You are on the right track. This translates back to our discussion in that we need to find a way of defining and measuring the type of matter that these entities are made of or can create. Force cannot come from nothing. The laws of entropy do not allow this to happen. So the key here is finding a way to identify and measure the matter causing these events. How do we do that, especially since we cannot currently identify this matter? Well, let’s take a look at photons. How are they measured? To the uninitiated, there are several ways to do this that most people aren’t going to be familiar with, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. The most commonly known way to measure photons is to detect radiation using an instrument called a Geiger counter. Radiation being the byproduct of light. I’m sure everyone knows that too much of this byproduct can result in either superpowers or cancer.
It’s essential in the field that we further our thinking and progression in how we study paranormal events. If any of us are to be taken seriously, we need to innovate. If we are in agreeance that invisible forces are acting upon visible ones, then we need to figure out a way to measure that matter correctly. If all kinetic energy causes radiation as a byproduct of movement, then perhaps the thought process of measuring EMF and EMR levels isn’t so far fetched after all. But, as of this writing, it has not yielded any consistent and reproducible results. Thermographic detection has also fallen short in this arena as reliable, consistent proof. What we need is consistency, and right now, we aren’t able to attain it. Until that time comes, the only thing that can be documented is the byproduct of a poltergeist event, which does not yield the definitive data we need to prove these as real events. I hope that someone smarter than my self can step up to the plate and figure out a way to measure these events in a way that either proves or disproves them entirely. But, maybe that’s not what everyone wants. Is it possible that these events are already disproven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and we’re choosing to ignore them because we favor the mystery over the facts? Maybe so.