Some time ago, I was in a long discussion with a devout sceptic, Dikkii, about the very existence of the subject area I study and one of his points was that there was no practical application for what I’m researching.
I dodged the question.
He also asked why I didn’t take Randi’s million-dollar challenge. I said I didn’t think that much money was enough. I also pointed out that I can’t make a ghost show up on demand, so wouldn’t win it anyway other than by sheer luck.
He, and others, asked me to show my data. I refused.
I won’t be showing the data. A million would not be enough. I dodged that question for a reason.
Here it is.
Imagine you asked that same question to an engineer who worked on, say, hologrammatic projection. He claims he can encode a hologram in a piece of quartz and have it replay, in three dimensions, when someone passes or when light hits it in the right way or in response to a particular sound or… well, whatever you want.
Sceptics laugh at him and say ‘If you can do this, show the data’.
He says ‘Not yet, I don’t have enough to patent this’.
Sceptics continue to laugh.
Why won’t he show them the data? He’s close to perfecting his technique so where’s the harm? Doesn’t he want to prove he can do this?
Imagine walking through a museum or a botanical garden. You touch a rock and a 3D image appears of a curator, explaining the details of what you’re looking at.
Imagine a rock you place in your garden that takes the energy of sunlight and produces a hologram of exotic birds complete with birdsong.
Imagine books with embedded crystals that produce full size images in the room while you read.
How much do you think that would be worth? In that engineer’s shoes, would you just give it away to any stranger who asked?
Now, consider one of the two aspects I study. The ‘replay’ apparition. Suppose I succeed in working out how those images and sound become encoded in the environment, and what triggers the replay? There are no spirits in these apparitions. They replay in exactly the same way every time. They never interact with observers. They are recordings. What's more, they are not all triggered by the same thing.
No application? One million dollars? Should I post everything I’ve found so far?
What would you do?
Now, about those ghosts.
There are spirits that I currently consider to be the ghosts of dead people. There are others that appear not to be. It is possible that all the spirits are human and that some can pretend not to be. It is possible that none of them are human and some can pretend to be so. Or both. Or something else. There’s a lot of work to do yet.
Now, I can’t prove to you that they’re there but suppose I could? Suppose I could not only prove it but show you how to communicate with these spirits? Suppose I could get clear and consistent conversations with them? Does that have no application?
I doubt the military, for one, would agree, although I would prefer not to get involved in all that.
There’s no need anyway. Applications – let’s just skim a couple.
A burning building. Firefighters want to know if there’s anyone alive in there and where they are. The better the information, the less risk to the firefighters and the faster they can get people out. Who better to wander the building than someone unaffected by fire and smoke? At the moment, if a ghost did this, who would they tell?
A nuclear reactor has a problem. Staff suspect a coolant leak but going inside the core would be deadly unless it’s completely shut down. Very expensive and hardly quick. Does it really have to be done? What if they had access to someone unaffected by radiation and who doesn’t even need to open the door? If there is a leak, the ghost can’t fix it but they can tell staff to start the shutdown and minimise time in the core by telling the repair crew exactly where the problem is. If there isn’t a leak, it saves time, money, and means the staff don’t spend a lot of time looking for the problem in the wrong place.
This application is much more difficult to achieve since it means persuading a thinking being—a ghost—to do something we can’t pay them for. I don’t know what they want and I suspect that, just like the living, they don’t all want the same things.
This one is further away also because of its nature. Producing a hologram won’t surprise anyone and it’s hard to refute the evidence of your eyes. Even if I could get a sceptic to hear a ghost’s voice, they’d accuse me of ventriloquism. If I could get a sceptic to see a ghost, they’d say it was a hologram.
Hologram production would also be reproducible. Getting a ghost to cooperate is a whole different game.
There are reasons I dodge questions, refuse to show much data, have no interest in Randi’s money or bow to the demands of sceptics. For the same reasons, I despise fakes because they get in the way and waste time.
Have I never posted anything supernatural on the blog? No ghost photos at all?
Look again. I’m not hiding it all.
Addendum: Reading over that, it looks like I'm in it for the money. That's not the case - I doubt my investigations of ghosts will ever make me rich.
It's just that I see the potential in this, although there's more potential return (in my lifetime) in the rock/hologram data than in the real-spirit data.
At some point, I'm going to need an engineer and probably a geologist and a few other specialists. If you're in one of those categories, stick around. I'll be in touch when I have enough to convince you it's worthwhile!