Ghost Hunting

Today we discussed the boarders of science and David Hufford’s article, “Visionary Spiritual Experiences in an Enchanted World.” Hufford argues that the materialist bias of modernity has discounted spirits from the realm of possibility even thought, in his view, a belief in their existence can be quite rational. I was interested to hear a wide range of perspectives in class on the “realness” of spirits – skepticism, agnosticism, and belief. Even within those categories there is probably a lot of diversity.

If you have 17 minutes to listen while you do other things, check out this story from This American Life a few years ago, by Jake Warga. The whole episode is worth listening to, but this story in particular is relevant. It provides a case study of a scientific(?) approach to the study of spirits. Even the ghost hunters say it’s up to you to decide if there is enough evidence here to say the haunting is real. Is this “fake science” or an untapped new territory of study? What do you think?

Spook Science



  1. To me, I don’t really know if ghost or spirits really do exist, but what I believe is that these concepts came from ourselves because no one has ever seen a ghost before. Perhaps there is something visible and it can do something crazy such as teleport, then I will at least believe that it exists because I can see it. Most of when we imagine how frightful ghosts are, it is under the situation of dark, silent, isolated, and higher focus on the atmosphere. In that situation, we would often connect the darkness to something what we couldn’t see. This causes us to mistrust ourselves and science. So now, if you’re somewhere in the crowd an it is a sunny day and you try to image how frightful ghosts are, would you be afraid? At least I won’t.

  2. Like @qiu140 I also do not believe in ghosts. I think that we make it up in our mind as a defense mechanism. I would be afraid if I was locked in an abandoned prison but that is just because of a heightened sense of awareness in a foreign place. My brother is a video editor in NYC and we like to watch those ghost shows. Half way through the show he tells me excatly how they fudge all of the scans and noises. So now those shows are totally debunked and I have never believed in those shows ever since.

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