Friday, January 23, 2009

Ghosts and Time Travel

Assume for the moment that ghosts are real, in the sense that they represent an anomalous, paranormal phenomenon (or at least some of them do). As with UFOs, that begs the question: what are they?

Again, as with UFOs, there may well be myriad answers. The one that most people latch onto right off the bat is that ghosts are the spirits of deceased people who remain in touch, somehow, with our plane of existence. The other popular answer that I hear most often is that what we think of as ghosts are, in at least some cases, demons of some sort.

Perhaps. But what if ghosts are something else? Could it be possible that what we see or experience as a ghost represents a break in the continuum of time? In other words, if we view time as not a linear construct, but rather a wave, or even a loop, could we be looking backwards (or perhaps even forwards) in time when we observe a ghost, or similar phenomena? The person we see or experience, assuming that they are from the past, is in all likelihood dead (although if it's the recent past they may well still be alive, in our time), but as we observe them it is as if through a portal, fleeting though it may be, to the past - in short, they are still alive when we are looking at them, at least in their time.

This strikes me as just as plausible an answer for ghosts than the "spirits of the dead" idea (although the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive). Religious scholars have always spoken about some manifestation of an "eternal now" (Henry Alline, who I studied in college, was one; Paul Tillich was another - see here). Scientists now openly speculate that human-initiated time travel in some form or another might be possible. But what if the "time travel" is occurring naturally, as opposed to the human-created forms we usually dream about?

Maybe, just maybe, when we see a manifestation of someone dressed as if they were in the 1890s, they really are still in the 1890s... even as they are, for a moment in time, also in 2009.

Paul Kimball


Mac said...

I'm sorry Paul. That's just too weird! ;-)

Anonymous said...

whom I studied in college

Angry Ufologist said...

I had pondered the same thing years ago when I had a passing interest in the subject.

I knew I should have published the idea and called it my own...

Jeff Ritzmann said...

Hi Paul-
I talked about this last year on the second eclipse site (and podcast I think). I re posted my blog entry here which details a couple odd instances that seem to substantiate (as much as it can) the idea:

It's as valid a theory as any, and for me one that needs back-researched when it happens.


Snoman said...

Fascinating concept. I agree Paul, that this seems as plausible as any other ideas, and maybe even more so.

Katie said...

There's also the theory of "residual hauntings". Where events occurred that were somehow "recorded" by their location, and replay over an over. Which is why so many people can experience the same phenomena, like seeing the same spirit wandering down the same hallway, but never venturing beyond there.

It might also explain places where no apparitions are seen, but have such a sense of foreboding, where people have the same reactions of fear, smell the same smells, hear the same noises, etc.

But I have to admit, I find your theory of little tears in time to quite intriguing.

Greg Bishop said...


I wrote about this here .

The post was about UFOs, but could apply to "ghosts" just as well. I had another post where I used the term "everywhen," and discussed the implications of a non-time binded viewpoint of "reality," but I can't locate it.

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting idea Paul, one I've often thought of myself. If it were true, why don't we see ghosts from the future? Have there ever been reports of such things? I've heard claims of people being haunted by themselves (by an apparition of their former self)an occurrence which is wildly fascinating in and of itself. What about theories of multiple universes? According to such theories, a parallel universe occurs in another dimension of time/space other than the one we are currently ocupying. These so-called universes apparently occupy the same "location"--one on top of another, or better put, one concurrent with another--but cannot be perceived because they exists in a different dimension. So, if there's a universe in which dinosaurs haven't gone extinct, there could be a Tyrannosaurus Rex running through your living room right now. ;)

Christian said...

There was an episode of Fringe this year about this. great concept..

purplestevie said...

Yes i believe ghosts are a blip in time.
I have not seen a blip/ghost in time but many family and friends have.

At the house i grew up in and where my mother still lives a shape possible a woman is constantly seen walking out of a room into the hall way. So i believe this is a blip in time.

My daughter who is at college said her tutor and a few people in the class saw a "ghost" of a person who had come into class the week before (but not in the class on the day of the apparition)

I could write a book on such occurances.

Karla said...

This is the exact thought that jumped into my head last night - which is why I googled "Ghosts time travel" to see if I was the only one.
I imagine it as waves/particles of time crossing over in the manner of aurora borealis.
Definitely makes more sense to me then spirits of the dead who haunt and wear the same clothes they died in. They always seem to be dressed in a historical outfit... Has no one died naked or in fancy dress before?

Saurebh Gupta said...

I do agree with is idea... I do think on the same lines.
As we have three dimensional(Height, width and depth) body, our reflection comes as 2 dimensional (height and width)with respect to 3rd dimension (depth). If we imagine that 4th dimension is time, our reflection will be 3 dimension with respect to time.
I do agree that this theory is hypothetical but it can be proved if we find out the circumstances in which this 3D image appears with respect to time.

Anonymous said...

Glad, I stumbled upon this. My grandmother just passed, and in thinking about her, and afterlife, I started thinking of this theory. She was a religious woman, and I wish there was a way of knowing where she " is."

Anonymous said...

physical time travel is impossible, but there is a theory which can help yours, and maybe even proof
found in ancient text like the bible. the universe has a set amount of matter, and since matter cannot
occupy the same place at the same time, we go back to line one; energy unlike matter, has no such limitation. There is the idea of a person
either traveling back in time as an observer, with no mass, incorporeal as it were, or simply opening a window into the past. The idea
of 'ghost and angels watching over us' takes on a whole new meaning. So, congrats on an observation
that might lend itself to a new understanding of our multiverse.

Anonymous said...

This is not a new theory, and many things lend to its credibility. Basically, Space/Time can be bent by forces like gravity (Which we have been able to prove)and when such a bend in Space/Time happens, a certain amount of over-lap happens in time. It is thought that Electromagnetic fields that we generate as well as natural electromagentic fields "fold" time. Depending on the amount of fold, you will either get a "residual" haunting where you are witnessing a period of time in the past without any interaction with the period, or with more contact between the two time "Fields" you can actually punch a hole in time and then there can be limited interaction between time periods "intelligent haunting". This explains reports by individuals who have been "haunted" by ghosts of themselves (If not dead, how can they be haunted by themselves). If you are on the "past" side of the fold, you would attribute the images that you see as "Aliens" and if you are on the "future" side of the fold, you attribute it to ghosts. This phenomenon also explains actual artifacts like the gold penadants from Peru that look like boeing 747s, paintings from the 1600's -1800's that have representations of flying craft ... etc. A well documented case is Al Capone when he was in Eastern State Penn. He would complain that he would hear his name being called out in his cell and that his cell was haunted, today Eastern State is not in use and ghost hunters routinely go into the cell and call out his name trying to contact his ghost. So, Al Capone is hearing the ghost hunters of today and attributing it to being haunted. There are countless other examples, but basically since Electromagnetism is a stronger force than gravity, and we know gravity can bend space/time, it figures that electromagnetism can do the same thing.

Ashley Wood said...

I googled 'time travel and spirits' today because this happened to me two mornings ago. I woke up to the sound of one of our cat toys being knocked around, looked up and saw a man who looked almost identical to my husband looking out of our bedroom window. I was so confused why he was awake in the dark, looking outside...but then I looked over and he was sleeping next to me. I looked back at the window and the man was still there, looking outside. I looked back at my husband and then back at the window again and he was gone. Immediately I woke him up and said "I just saw a ghost" but now, a few days later, after thinking about it...I believe I saw a blip in time. Perhaps I saw him a few months ago or perhaps I saw someone who lived in the house before us. Or perhaps I saw him in the future...I'm not sure. In any case, this feels a lot less 'scary' than seeing a ghost. It oddly makes perfect sense.

Jonathan Hilton said...

I thought of this idea a couple of years ago after seeing a little girl in our bedroom looking out of the window. If it is tears in time it makes more sense to me. After doing some research into the building we live in i found out that it used to be a school and our bedroom just to be the French class room. I tracked down one of the teachers that used to teach hear and with out telling him what i saw he told some stories, one of them was about a girl who went there and grew up on a farm. She went missing one day and no body could find her, turns out she was hiding up a tree behind our house which strangely enough was in the direction i saw the little girl looking at out of our window. I dont know if the little girl is alive or dead but the rip in time theory fits well with me. Just wish i could find out more about it. I would love to hear more if you have ideas.

Jonathan Hilton said...

I Agree with this i thought of it a couple of years ago but never looked into it until now. And im glad in a way im not the only one who thinks this is possible. Certainly makes more sense to me than dead people walking around.