I've come over all philosophical this evening.
I was thinking about the ghosts who walk through walls, but who can't seem to leave a particular building. It doesn't add up. If they can walk through the wall then why can't they leave, even through an open doorway?
I don't mean the 'recording' types. Those don't involve any spiritual activity. There are no actual dead people in them, they are just a form of movie, replayed over and over. What triggers them, and what records them in the first place, I don't know but I'm still working on it. These recordings won't give any insight into any life-after-death information but think what you could do with it - rocks in your garden could project an image when someone walks by, if we only knew how to record and trigger playback. I've been thinking about those sorts of hauntings again because its nearly time to go back to that riverbank I visited last December. I hope the weather improves. Rain, gale force winds and temperatures even I have to admit are a bit chilly can be off-putting. Shaky camera images taken with numb fingers will impress nobody.
The recording-type phenomena always do the same thing and usually at a specific time of day or year. Footsteps heard climbing stairs that are no longer there, that sort of thing. They will pass through new walls or walk on floors that are at a different level to the current floor but they don't interact, and don't vary their actions. They aren't spirits of the dead any more than a video of Elvis contains his soul.
No, what I've been wondering about are those ghosts, the ones that (I think) are dead people, who seem to be trapped in a place but who can walk through walls within that place. I've said before that I think they can't walk through walls that existed when they were alive, but they can pass through new walls. But that still doesn't explain it. If the new wall is made of the same material as the old, then it's not a property of the material. Also, if a non-corporeal being can pass through a solid object, why some and not others, even when the objects are essentially the same?
So if it's not a property of the material object, it must be a property of the spirit.
Okay, here's a scenario and a theory. If there are holes, point them out.
You have a house. Someone dies in it. When he 'comes to' as a ghost, he sees the building as it is. He's only been dead a few minutes so nothing's changed. A year or two passes and new owners put in new partition walls. Let's say it's a historical building and the new owners have put in walls to the same specification, using the same materials, as the original partition walls.
Our ghost can't walk through the original walls but he can walk through the new partition. Why?
He has no material substance. No wall should pose a problem. Yet he is stopped by the original walls. Even if the building is demolished, he can't leave its boundaries. That seems to come up a lot, notably in places like Borley rectory and in a new English shopping centre built on the site of a previously haunted house.
The best I can come up with is that the ghost's inability to walk through those walls comes from himself. He believes the walls are real and cannot, or will not, violate his own reality. It might be that the reality he sees is a comfort to him, it might be that it is in the nature of the ghost to see that reality. Either way, he cannot pass through those walls, not because they present a real obstacle but because he believes they do.
The new wall is not an obstacle. It's not in his reality. It's possible he doesn't see it at all. It's possible that even if the house is demolished and new buildings put up, the ghost still sees the original as it was at the point of death and reacts to it in the same way as we react to the reality we see. The exception seems to be people - ghosts interact and therefore are aware of living people but their interactions make no sense unless they think they are still in their own homes. In that case, the living visitor is an uninvited guest. Perhaps they don't see us any more clearly than we see them, so their fright and occasional violent reactions would be understandable.
The test would be to take out one of the original walls and see whether the ghost can now pass through where it was. If the theory holds, he won't be able to because for him, it's still there. That does depend on getting a ghost to co-operate, which isn't going to be easy.
None of this explains why, since reports of ghosts opening interior doors are common, they don't just open the front door and leave. Or leave while someone else has that door open.
Perhaps it's too frightening outside. Perhaps they can't open the outer door because they think it's still locked. Perhaps, given the limitations of the human mind, their projected reality only extends so far. Perhaps, to them, there is nothing outside.
If only one of these ghosts would give answers that meant something, if only one of them would get into a conversation with us, we could answer some of these questions.
Then again, most investigations seem to concentrate on when, how, and who died. Not on what happened after.
Investigators should, perhaps, regard their questions as far more than just a confirmation tool. It's useless anyway - information that can't be verified can't be proof, and information that can be verified could have been looked up beforehand. It'll never sway a sceptic.
So ignore the sceptics and study the ghosts. Work on the mechanisms and let's find some kind of concensus on what's happening. As it is, every researcher has theories but we are all working alone. It's time to find some definitive common denominators between hauntings. Collect the information first, worry about the proof later.
With enough data, the proof might show up on its own.