The great majority of ghosts are described by witnesses as looking like perfectly normal human figures. So when we walk along a street full of people, how would we spot if any were ghosts?
There is a common type of ghost report that rarely gets widely reported. It’s the sort of account you might hear from an acquaintance when you tell them you are interested in ghosts. Typically it involves the witness noticing someone when they are out and about. The witness turns away for a few seconds and, on looking back, realizes the person they saw is no longer there. Crucially, there is nowhere the mystery person could have gone in those brief few seconds to now be out of sight. The witness concludes the mystery person has vanished and was therefore a ghost.
I’ve had a number of experiences like this, many described in this blog. And here’s a new, recent, example. I was walking alone along a narrow footpath when I noticed an old man passing me going the other way. I didn’t pay any attention until a few seconds later when I wondered where the old man had gone. So I turned round and could see no one.
The path has low fences on both sides and divides into two paths not far away. For anyone to vanish from my view point they would have to have run implausibly fast, Or they could have taken the left-hand fork where the path goes behind some bushes. Luckily, a short walk took me to a bridge from where I could see this left-hand path. All I saw was a young man in roughly the place the old man would have got to walking normally.
So, was it the same man? Had my initial brief uninterested glance formed a wrong impression of the man? It’s probably a lot more likely than the figure being a ghost! And then another possibility appeared. On a subsequent walk up the path I passed an old man in a slight bend. He was motionless in contact with one of the fences studying his phone. When I reached the same vantage point where I’d looked for the ’ghost’ before I realised I couldn’t see the man who was just hidden by a bush. It as the only spot on the path where that was possible. So the previous ‘ghost’ could have done exactly the same thing. It could even have been the same man – he might make a habit of using that quiet spot to study his phone!
The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should have studied the site more carefully before concluding the man had vanished! And the same may apply to many of similar cases I’ve heard down the years. Such cases would only be really convincing if the figure disappeared while the witness was watching them. And the picture? See here for details.
Author :© Maurice Townsend 2021
Other Blog Entries
Ghost in an empty shop
Imperception – when things simply vanish
The Garden Poltergeist
Strange Animal Strange Voices
Short Term Memory Fallible, Too
In the breaks effect
Ghost research - why so little progress?
Door ghost returns looking ominous
How do I know I’ve seen a ghost?
Expectation and ghosts