Unidentified Flying Objects Observed in Singapore Skies

Strange sightings at Woodlands, Sengkang and others
Written by Portageek and Chlorophfil

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) stories have always been associated with Alienvisitation to Earth. Whenever a UFO is mentioned, the conversation tends to lead to a discussion of ‘Do they exist?’

Media itself portraysthis concept, as seen from the many movies, such as CloseEncounters of the Third Kind, The Abyss, The Brother fromAnother Planet, Alien, and lately, The Fourth Kind. The UFOsmovies always depict that the visit is for a reason: conveyinga message for the inhabitants of �this backward planet� tochange behaviour (e.g. reduce wars and wastage of naturalresources) or be exterminated.

Hence, it is notuncommon for people who see UFOs to want an investigation intothe matter.  Background Asearly as January 2010, there have been forum postings and muchdiscussion of eye witness accounts of bright lights in the sky

By RaveAngel  (Feb 6)

By Rosieelah  (Jan 18)

By Angel-X  (Jan 8)

Not only have forum members been seeinglights in the sky, members of the public have similarlyreported sightings. The hype of seeing lights in the sky haseven prompted a call in to STOMP with enlarged posting ofphotographs of the UFO sighting (See STOMP report)

SPI received email from two members of the public sharingtheir accounts of their experiences. Both have video clips tosubstantiate their sightings. One sighting occurred inWoodlands and the other in Sengkang. SPI agents went down tolocation and met up with the witnesses, to try to solve thecase of �strange lights in the sky�.  UFOReport on Stomp STOMPer James has a hard timefiguring out what these strange unidentified objects he sawhovering above a multi-storey carpark in Woodlands.

Said the STOMPer:

“I’m having problems identifying these flying objects whichI spotted on Friday night while collecting my vehicle at amulti- storey carpark in woodlands.


“There are three of them with colourful lights around them.

“One of them was much bigger than the other two.

“During the 20 minutes of obversation, they didn’t movemuch.

“At some point, they were even covered by clouds.

“The bigger one was like a 5 cent coin at such a distance.

“The actual size may be bigger than a truck.

“I don’t believe in UFOs, so it may just be kites or airballoons. “But for a kites to be able to covered byclouds, it must have reached great heights.”


Haunted House Explained (Part 1)

Spaces of Transition: New Light on the Haunted House

by David Taylor

“Your house is your larger body. It grows in the sun and sleeps in the stillness of the night; and it is not dreamless” – Kahlil Gibran

What I hope to do in this article is question, as a “ghost hunter”, how we interpret ghosts and more specifically the “haunted house”. I do not profess to have any answers, but hope to open up a subject that has remained on the fringes long enough. Respected psychical researcher, A.D. Cornell, is more than aware that we need to take a new look at ghosts and hauntings. At the 1997 Fortean Times UnConvention he said: “You have got to put forward ideas, its no good taking a safe line all the time in case you get criticised” [1]. For too long now most psychical researchers or, as the tabloid press still insists on calling us, “Ghost Busters” have concentrated on the “nuts and bolts” approach to hauntings, with the use of various pieces of recording equipment with, it must be said, very limited results. What has been overlooked in the past has been the cognitive aspects of hauntings, and that is because the haunted house still remains the domain of the amateur investigator, while the professional parapsychologists are more concerned with repeatable psychokenesis and extra-sensory perception experiments in their ivory towers, which is a shame because with their help we have a greater chance of reaching a better understanding of hauntings. The “Ghost Hunters” also do not seem to be coming up with the goods, as it were, tending instead to stick with the same old beliefs in “spirits” or “place memories”.

Every community in every corner of the world has a “haunted house”, a building that has become a strong cultural icon both within our conscious and subconscious minds. Novelist and folklorist Andrew Lang observed that haunted houses “have been familiar to man ever since he has owned a roof to cover his head” [2]. The haunted house as a traditional folklore narrative motif has long been recognised. If we look at the haunted house from a folklore/psychological angle we can begin to see that it represents an arbitrary sign within the collective unconscious of the community. Its metonymy transforms the house, in the eyes of that community, into a modern representation, all be it in bricks and mortar, of a sin eater. It begins to take on and absorb the fears and concerns of that community. In extreme cases, where a violent murder has been committed in a house, that building may become derelict or, in the case of Cromwell Street, Gloucester, local and national feeling demands that all trace of the building should be destroyed, reinforcing, I believe, the very real and strong reactions and beliefs we have about houses. The possible act of cognitive dissonance applied to the local haunted house may also reinforce psychological theories about our feelings and views of ourselves and the world around us. But this belief, a form of internal projection, in effect brings about a communal re-creation of that internalised belief and may even externalise it.

Haunted Houses – Transferring Tensions

As a psychical researcher, I come into contact with many cases of haunted houses. The archetypal haunted house may very well be a council house, and indeed many are but, by the same token, many are not. These cases are not confined to any one social class or structure, and there are common motifs in all these cases. One case which comes to mind concerned a family who lived in an affluent suburb of Birmingham. The recurring phenomena which they reported occurred at night, and involved the mother and daughter hearing footsteps walk across the patio at the rear of the house, then enter the house (no doors were heard to open) and then walk up the stairs and stop outside the teenage daughter’s bedroom. Upon investigation no one was there. The family made discreet enquiries with the neighbours about the history of the house. They were told that no one ever stayed there long. When I visited them it was clear that the present occupants believed that a past resident, who they believed had died in the house, was responsible for the phenomena. These occurrences, they believed, had apparently also been experienced by previous occupants of the house with the result that no one ever stayed long in the property. An hour in the local records office soon showed that, despite what the neighbours had told them, a normal number of families had stayed in the house over a reasonable period of time and, even though past occupiers may have died, there was no evidence to suggest that they had died in the house. This I feel illustrates the point – faced with apparently unexplained phenomena the family believe that the only explanation can be the “spirit” of a past resident who died in the house. Their belief is reinforced by neighbours who appear to have “invented” a history of the house.

Even when faced with such contradictions the family were convinced that a death must have taken place in the house. As Peter Rogerson has pointed out: “To the new occupant, the ‘incomer’, the haunted house has a ‘history’ or a ‘reputation’ in a personal, almost sexual way. The house is not a ‘virgin’. It has been violated by the presence of other human activity…” [3]. And, while we cannot say with any certainty that the family in question had any problems, certainly no more than “normal” families anyway, their neighbours certainly seem to have projected their concerns onto the house. The house had become a sort of psychic scapegoat. We can then get entangled in a chicken and egg situation. Rumours that a house is haunted could lead the family to turn normal “bumps” and “bangs” into a tormented “spirit”, and before you know it the entire family is convinced the house, which prior to the rumours everyone was happy to live in, is haunted.

I investigated a similar case some time ago. Again the occupiers were concerned that someone had died in the house, and that their “spirit” was responsible for the phenomena experienced. Despite the scientific research undertaken which strongly indicated that an electromagnetic phenomenon was responsible for the experiences in the house, the occupiers still desperately believed that a supernatural explanation was more probable. This case also illustrates a very important, and an often overlooked aspect of hauntings. The family in question have since moved house, and now live in a small rural community. Both parents have since developed a healthy attitude to ghosts and are now both actively involved in various aspects of healing. After enduring what they have described as a living nightmare, the family has emerged stronger for it. Psychologist Julie Milton has also found similar cases which show that a more positive outlook on life and any possible life after death is also shared by some witnesses to the paranormal [4].

An obvious motif that emerges in most cases is the apparent link between hauntings/poltergeists and children going through puberty and family problems. As Gauld and Cornell have observed: “The most common themes in the resultant diagnosis have been repressed aggression and tensions within the family….This consideration provides substantial evidence for the view that poltergeist phenomena not uncommonly express emotions and emotional conflicts denied access to the agent’s ordinary stream of consciousness” [5]. These sentiments have been shared on the other side of the world by Brazilian researcher Andre Percia De Carvalho: “Apparent paranormal occurrences are always reported near the high points of crisis in a disturbed environment” [6]. Although we do not as yet have enough data to make any concrete statements, I am at this point tempted to speculate, from various observations I have made that, along with these factors, we are also dealing with frustrated and suppressed creative tendencies, the frustrations from which, due to increased external and internal factors, can be projected onto the immediate environment.

The stress involved in a case, particularly a poltergeist case, may also occasionally lead the witness to become “actively” involved without being aware of it. Such an observation was made as long ago as 1938 by Dr Nandor Fodor. His most celebrated case involved a 35 year-old housewife who he called Mrs Forbes who appeared to be at the centre of a poltergeist outbreak. Fodor soon came to suspect that Mrs Forbes was responsible for the poltergeist activity. The turning point came while they were out walking one day. Quite suddenly, and without warning, Mrs Forbes opened her handbag, took out a small stone and casually threw it over her shoulder. When Fodor questioned her about it afterwards, she indignantly denied having done such a thing. Significantly, Mrs Forbes seems to have been at least half-aware of what she was doing. In the aftermath of the stone throwing incident she told Fodor: “Sometimes I feel that I am not here, that I am not really alive. It seems to me as if another person has taken control of my body….Last Monday my cat had an accident….I have a horrible feeling that I did it without knowing….” [7]. It is difficult for those who have not lived in a haunted house to appreciate the emotions and stress involved, so is it any wonder that the witness finds it easier to believe that “spirits” are involved rather than something much more closer to home?

But we should not be surprised at these deeply rooted beliefs in the haunted house and spirits. In the ancient world, it was a common belief that every dwelling had its own spirit or genus loci that was honoured and respected. Neglecting to honour and make offerings to these guardian spirits of the home would almost certainly result in havoc breaking loose. What we would today classify as poltergeist activity was in the past often attributed to the fairies [8]. Today we consider ourselves far too civilised to believe in fairies and goblins, but the belief in spirits is obviously far too deeply rooted. So far I have yet to come across a case where the occupiers thought that their house was haunted by an elemental spirit.

Haunted Houses – Universal Symbols

The acquisition of a house has become a symbol of power, and an important rite of passage in our culture. It shows we are ready to stand on our own two feet and face the world and its responsibilities. The acquisition of land has always been a potent image often relating to supernatural powers and feats of strength, whether it be through the traditions of carrying fire round the perimeter of the land or the well known ox-hide myths. Peter Rogerson [3] may be right when he says that the council house is today’s archetypal haunted house, and offers a tantalising explanation that this is due to a lack of bonding between occupier and the property simply because as a council house it belongs to someone else. Maybe our houses are haunted because we have lost touch with them, not in a physical sense, but in a deep spiritual sense? Author and researcher Nigel Pennick has suggested: “The personality of a house, expressed by its name, is denied by numbering. It is reduced to an object, defined only in terms of its relationship, spatial or otherwise, to other objects classified similarly. Its character is no longer recognised” [Pennick 1993]. This interaction between memory, emotion and home has been explored by the artist Pam Skelton: “We construct a sense of who we are, what our identity is, through our recollections of places and people – ghosts and symbols from the past which haunt us both in the present and the future” [9]. You only have to look at reports of recent legal battles between once friendly neighbours over boundary disputes to see how entrenched these feelings are.

This interaction is not only confined to our perception of the house but to how we perceive ghosts. As Bob Trubshaw has outlined [10], Our attitudes to ghosts, from classical Greece to Victorian England means that, to each generation, ghosts appear for a variety of reasons and purposes. An audience in classical Greece, familiar with vengeful spirits would scarcely comprehend the “Grey Lady” as she flits through Victorian graveyards [11]. Our own sensibilities and constraints of the Victorians have not only silenced us but our ghosts as well. Death within popular Western culture is seen as a contamination. Our denial of death reached a peak with the Victorian era. But within Indo-European creation mythologies the act of death inevitably leads to life. The sacrifice of the primordial god leads to the formation of the world [12]. Even today, anthropologists have documented tribal cultures that believe that the ancestors have power over the living and can endow it with fertility [13]. In traditional cultures, the cosmos, temple, house and human body are all linked [14]. This means that we are intrinsically linked in a supernatural relationship with the land that the house is built on.

From the annals of folklore, an intriguing aspect of this symbiotic relationship between death and houses can be glimpsed in the customs and superstitions still centred around screaming skulls. These are either actual human skulls or carved stone heads which have been kept in a property or passed down through the family, and which occupy a specific place in the house. Removal of these “skulls” often leads to screaming and other poltergeist type activity until the “skull” is returned [15]. The location of these “skulls” and other ritual artifacts, in geomantic weak spots, such as windows, over doors and chimneys is said to keep away unwanted ghosts [16]. So here we glimpse archaic vestiges between house, spirits and death, traditions which, even though greatly diluted, are still an important and deep-rooted aspect of modern culture in the form of those who believe their house is haunted. How many people do you know whose attitude would change if you told them that a person had died in the chair which they were sitting in, or the bed in which they slept? That chair or bed suddenly takes on a new meaning. It is viewed differently. It is still a chair or a bed, but it has now taken on a liminal quality, it has a symbiotic link between the living and the dead. And, as we have seen, in extreme cases such as Cromwell Street, that relationship cannot be tolerated.

As we can see from any good ghost story, ghosts are always perceived to occupy liminal areas, such as crossroads, graveyards, moorland, and, as we have already seen, liminal objects are associated with death [17]. I am also intrigued by the many reports I have come across, and the observations I have made, where ghostly apparitions/presences have been encountered on every-day liminal thresholds such as doorways. Some of these experiences may be deeply rooted in Neolithic superstitions about doorways and death [18]. Once again, as Peter Rogerson has perceptively pointed out: “Ghosts, haunts and polts then are the signs of the Liminal zones between being and not being” [3].

Haunted Houses – Dreaming the Sacred

The developments between consciousness research and “earth mysteries” has led to “Project Interface”, the latest phase of the Dragon Project Trust, which was established in the 1970s to research so-called “earth energies” at ancient sites. This new phase has centred around volunteers sleeping and dreaming at selected ancient sites to see if any transpersonal, site-specific motifs will emerge which can shed new light on these sites [19]. Now this raises an interesting point – by the simple act of defining some areas as “sacred sites”, what we are in fact doing is saying that some sites are not “sacred”. We are taking the sacredness away from the land and our lives [20]. What makes some locations any more sacred than others is not the primary concern here. However, it is an interesting possibility that the research by Paul Devereux suggests strong correlations between stone circles and geological faulting [21] may be applicable to cases of hauntings. Dr Michael Persinger has also done a great deal of work linking geomagnetism, altered states of consciousness and anomalous phenomena [22], and we must not overlook the influence of man made electromagnetic fields on the human mind [23][24].

If the work of Project Interface tells us anything about sacred sites, could this research be applied to the study of haunted houses? One of the underdeveloped areas of parapsychological research is the interaction of human consciousness at haunted locations. Writing in the 1920s, Jung made a pertinent observation: “One of the most important sources of the primitive belief in spirits is dreams” [25].

I ask this question simply because a few months ago I came across the following case of a haunting, in which one of the witnesses was having vivid dreams, dreams which only occurred in the house, never while she was away. In the dream, the dreamer is woken by a knock at the front door. She opens it, and is greeted by her recently dead brother who was killed in a car crash. He tells her that he was “hoovered up” after the accident, taken to the top of a tall tree, put back together again, and has come to give her a message. A strange aspect of this already strange dream is the fact that the dead brother has no skeletal structure. The dream ends when he opens his eyes, revealing nothing but blackness, at which point the dreamer screams and wakes up.

If we look beyond the obvious personal and emotional aspects of this dream we can begin to possibly glimpse some transpersonal details with strong shamanistic elements. The being taken up to a [world] tree, the putting back together, the supernormal powers (no skeletal structure), and a message for the living, are all apparent in shamanic practices [26][27]. But this is just a dream, and so tends to get overlooked by most psychical researchers, which is a shame, because I have a hunch that here is the key to unlock a Pandora box of answers. Jung had similar thoughts: “….the primitive speaks of spirits, the European speaks of dreams….I am convinced that if a European had to go through the same exercises and ceremonies which the medicine man performs in order to make the spirits visible, he would have the same experiences. He would interpret them differently, of course, and devalue them….” [25]. Maybe in cases of haunted houses we can glimpse the emergence of a much-neglected strand of shamanistic experience. After all, if we placed these experiences within any other context than a modern Western one, dreams and visions of “spirits” was the domain of the shaman. If this dream had occurred at a stone circle, burial chamber or holy well, we would all be jumping up and down, excited and expectant at what it would tell us about our relationship with sacred sites. But this dream occurred in a council house in a suburb of Birmingham, and as we all know, these are not sacred sites….are they?

Haunted Houses – Healing the Haunted

Haunted houses certainly have a lot to tell us. H.H. Price, Professor of Logic at Oxford University and past President of the Society for Psychical Research, seems to have been aware that when investigating ghosts and hauntings we are faced with a dual problem: “….neither mental or physical, but betwixt and between” [28]. Very few cases show any evidence of direct, conscious hoaxing. The majority of cases are reported by genuine people who are struggling to come to terms with what they have experienced. They are more often than not scared by these experiences, and are confused and a little embarrassed at talking about them. It is up to psychical researchers, psychologists and folklorists to help people in this situation to come to terms with their experiences. It is certainly tempting to engage in what Jung would have called the “Transcendent Function” in cases of hauntings in an attempt to bridge the conscious and the unconscious minds with the “spirit of place” of the house through its mythopoetic projections in an act of self healing. Whether we realise it or not, myth has a key role to play in unravelling the enigma of the haunted house. “Myths recount the actual workings of the supernatural, and because they do so, whenever they are retold or re-enacted, they are deemed to release or set in operation that supernatural activity….Myth preserves a sense of the sacred. If a society has no use for the sacred it will probably have no use for myth either, except perhaps as a euphemistic term for indicating what it takes to be a lie” [29].

As I stated at the start of this article, this is in no way intended as a cohesive argument for a well-packaged theory, but rather the musings of one ghost hunter who ?after countless long cold nights in haunted castles, pubs, factories, manor houses, council and private houses ?feels that it is about time we made a move and followed the suggestion of A.D. Cornell quoted at the beginning of this article, and put forward new ideas. Most paranormal investigators will resist this, but that is no surprise for new ideas are seldom liked or encouraged. When investigating ghost/haunting experiences we have to remember that we are dealing with human experiences. We have in the past I feel, overlooked the human element in all this in favour of the apparent non-human. There is certainly a lot to be said for physical readings and measurements with scientific equipment in cases of hauntings, and I would be the first to champion that line of research, but also we have to be careful that we do not neglect the other, more cognitive aspects of these cases and what they may tell us about the world around us and more importantly, about ourselves.


Arbitrary Sign: We know the meaning of a sign without considering other possibilities.

Cognitive dissonance: Theory that, when faced with contradictory information or viewpoints, the mind seeks out messages that confirm choices or verdicts previously reached.

Communal recreation: Urban legends that are changed in the re-telling.

Icon: A sign that, through frequent repetition, gains a central position in the communication systems of the culture and thereby acquires rich and relatively stable connotations.

Liminal: Derives from Latin, and means “boundary” or “threshold”.

Metonymy: The use of an object to represent the person or organisation which uses it.

Motif: A traditional narrative unit, such as character, object or action that serves as a building block of folk stories of all kinds.

Mythopoetic: Myth-making imagination.

Transcendent Function: Archetypal process that mediates opposites and enables a transition from one attitude or condition to another. It arises in an attempt to understand the elusive meaning of images. It has a healing effect by bridging consciousness and the unconsciousness.

Transference: Projecting emotions onto the environment or other people.


[1] CORNELL, A.D., 1997, “What Are Ghosts”, Fortean Times UnConvention
[2] LANG, Andrew, 1897, “The Book of Dreams and Ghosts”, London
[3] ROGERSON, Peter, 1987, “And the dogs began to howl”, Magonia No. 27 p7?0
[4] MILTON, Julie, 1992, “Effects of ‘paranormal’ experiences on people lives: An unusual survey of spontaneous cases”, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol.58, No.828
[5] CORNELL, A.D. and GAULD Alan, 1979, “Poltergeists”, Routledge & Kegan Paul
[6] DE CARVALHO, Andre Percia, 1992, “A study of thirteen Brazilian poltergeist cases and a model to explain them”, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol.58, No.828, p302?13
[7] FODOR, Nandor, 1958, “On the Trail of the Poltergeist”, Citadel Press
[8] BORD, Janet, 1997, “Fairies – Real encounters with little people”, Michael Oara
[9] SKELTON, Pam, 1990, “Groundplans”, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
[10] TRUBSHAW, R.N., 1998, “Fairies and their kin”, At The Edge No.10
[11] FINUCANE, R.C., 1982, “Appearances of the Dead”. Junction Books
[12] STONE, Alby, 1997, “Ymir flesh – north European creation mythologies”, Heart of Albion Press
[13] CHILDREN, George and NASH, George, 1997, “Smoking, exposing and disposing the ancestors: the emotion of death and mortality during early prehistory”, 3rd Stone, No.26 p11?5
[14] TRUBSHAW, R.N., 1997, “Cosmic Homes”, At The Edge No.5 p13?6
[15] CLARKE, David and ROBERTS, Andrew, 1996, “Twilight of the Celtic Gods”, Blandford
[16] LLOYD, Virginia, 1997, “Ritual house protection”, Folklore Society News, No.26 p7? [and Dec 1997]
[17] TRUBSHAW, R.N., 1995, “The metaphors and rituals of place and time”, Mercian Mysteries, No.22 p1?
[18] CHILDREN, George and NASH, George, 1998, “Rites of passage and the cultural life of the doorway: An expression in metaphor and social statementing”, 3rd Stone, No.29 p29?3
[19] DEVEREUX, Paul, 1994, “Of Dragons and Dreams”, The Ley Hunter, No. 122 p26?8
[20] TRUBSHAW, R.N., 1991, “Tune in and turn Earth on”, Mercian Mysteries No.7 p8?0
[21] DEVEREUX, Paul, 1982, “Earthlights”, Turnstone Press
[22] PERSINGER, M. and LAFRENIERE, G., 1977, “Space-time transients and unusual events”, Nelson-Hall
[23] BUDDEN, Albert, 1994, “Allergies and Aliens”, Discovery Times Press
[24] BUDDEN, Albert, 1995, “UFOs Psychic close encounters: The electromagnetic indictment”, Blandford
[25] JUNG, Carl, 1982, “Psychology and the occult”, Ark Paperbacks
[26] KELLY, Karen, 1996, “The world tree in classical shamanism”, Sacred Hoop, No.12 p20?3
[27] ELIADE, Mercia, 1989, “Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy”, Penguin
[28] PRICE, H.H., 1953?, “Six Theories About Apparitions”, Proc. of the Society for Psychical Research, Vo.50 p153?39
[29] SYKES, Egerton, 1993, “Who who: non-classical mythology”, Dent

This article first appeared in At The Edge magazine No.10, 1998

Ghost Explained (Part 4)

Plasma and Psychospheres

by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs

A Field Phenomenon

Perhaps one of the most intriguing mysteries to make it into the 21st century without ever having been resolved is the ghost phenomenon.[1] Such a vast literature has been written on the subject that I will not expound on anything in this brief paper, but straightforwardly introduce a possible working hypothesis that may guide us in future investigations.

In every ghost apparition essentially two participants can be identified:

• the percipient is the one and sometimes the group undergoing the experience;
• the agent is the ghost itself or the person who is represented by the ghost, himself often deceased.

The most fundamental issue at stake in the ghost phenomenon appears to be the question who or what triggers the apparition: who takes the initiative? Subjective theories argue that the percipient himself initiates the apparition, for example as the effect of his unconscious on his sensory organs. Objective theories, on the other hand, advocate the view that there really is physical substance and actuality in the apparition, in other words, that the ghost itself may really operate on the percipient.[2]

Taking all the evidence together it would seem that there are certain arguments in favour of both explanations. Given the strong neurological resemblance between ghost apparitions and hallucinations, for example, it sounds likely to assume that the ghost apparition is essentially a between-the-ears process. Yet other considerations vouch for the physical existence of the ghost:

• the ghost is frequently observed by more than one person, all in their right minds, and appears to each of them in the correct perspective;
• the percipient generally does not even remotely expect to see anything of the kind, as most ghosts come completely ‘out of the blue’;
• many percipients have skeptical views of the paranormal and are greatly surprised by what they see;
• the ghost often appears opaque, blotting out objects behind it;
• the ghost is sometimes reflected in a mirror;
• the ghost often looks exactly like the agent, wearing clothes or having physical characteristics that are by no means known to the observer;
• the ghost is occasionally seen by animals as well, who sometimes even point the apparition out to the human percipient.

Thus, on one hand there is no denying that the ghost apparition is connected with hallucinatory processes in the brain,[3] whilst on the other hand there really appears to be some sort of external trigger. It seems warranted, then, to assume in the final analysis that both objective and subjective explanations play a part in the process. Now, how could this be envisioned?

I think a theory of ghosts could greatly benefit from the use of a field model. Field theory is especially common in physics, where it is used to account for the simultaneous presence or operation of certain forces in different places at the same time. The best known fields are the gravitational and the electromagnetic fields. Fields have a number of basic properties which will turn out to be of great help in a theory of ghosts:

#1. A field is typically generated by a single object.

#2. Fields can only be felt or experienced if you are properly attuned to them.

#3. Two or more different fields can overlap if they are close enough or the spheres are large enough. The resulting force in the overlapping area will be the sum of the forces of the overlapping fields.

#4. The field radiates outwards from this objects with a gradual decline in strength. The strength of the field declines in space and time – in space, because the further you are removed from the centre the weaker the field becomes, and in time, because the longer after the original generation of the field, the weaker the field becomes.

These characteristics seem to make sense of many aspects commonly involved in ghost experiences:

#1. A large class of ghost apparitions, most notably the deathbed and near-death apparitions and so-called crisis apparitions, take place on occasion of extreme emotional stress, usually of a negative kind, but occasionally of a delightful nature. It would seem, then, that the psychological crisis experienced by the agent generates a field of some kind, which forms the basis of the apparition. I will provisionally call this field a psychic field or a psychosphere.[4]

#2. Many people never see ghosts and it even occurs that some people in a group see it, but one in the group misses it. There appears to be a selection of people who can observe a ghost. This could be explained by a field model, in which persons whose senses pick up the right wavelengths can see a ghost. This notion bears a close resemblance to Rupert Sheldrake’s suggestion of morphic fields, which convey information relevant to select groups of individuals, as well as to theories of telepathy. As a rule of thumb you could say that people who are closely related or know each other well seem to be better ‘tuned in’ to each other and that might help explain why so many ghosts are identified as family members of the percipient, dead or alive.[5]

#3. The discrepancy between the objective and subjective theories of ghosts could now be overcome by invoking the principle of an overlap of fields. If we might posit for the moment that every human being – or every animal with a brain – has his own psychosphere, then all types of non-verbal, non-visual and distant communication could be understood as the result of an overlap of psychospheres,[6] facilitated if the persons involved are tuned in to the same wavelengths. Thus, if someone sees a ghost it is neither enough to suppose that the agent is sending out signals nor to suppose that the percipient is hallucinating, but both are true at once, as it is a mutual process triggered by this overlap of psychospheres. The agent, typically on occasion of crisis, broadcasts strong signals constituting his own psychosphere, which are picked up by the percipient if he is tuned in properly.[7] The psychosphere must somehow be supposed to convey all the necessary information to ‘make a ghost’ and ‘deliver a message’, for which issue see below.

#4. The gradual decline of a field in time and space works well for the ghost phenomenon. Naturally, you would expect that the psychosphere is at its strongest close to the agent and at the moment of the crisis itself. This is, of course, why deathbed apparitions are such a common class of ghost observations. The two other dominant classes of ghost apparitions are haunters and crisis apparitions. Haunters and to a lesser degree revenants are classes of ghosts who are bound to one particular place and appear more than once in that area for an extended period of time. Many people can see the same haunters, including people who have no idea who the haunter is. Unlike haunters, crisis apparitions are ghosts who are seen in a different place than the place of trauma, often far removed from it, but this time almost exclusively by close relatives and friends of the agent. Thus, haunters and crisis apparitions appear to be each other’s opposites in terms of distance and familiarity:

location: seen by:
haunters: same place anyone
crisis apparitions: anywhere close family and friends

These observations receive an excellent explanation in terms of a field, as the two classes of ghost apparitions correspond to the peaks of field strength in space and time respectively. That is, whilst the field strength gradually declines after the crisis it can still be picked up either by being close to the centre of the field, where it was generated (haunters) or by being well attuned to the correct wavelength (crisis apparitions). If you are far removed from the source and are not tuned in to the particular person you will miss the signals.

This explanation requires, almost as a corollary, that a psychosphere imprinted by someone in mental crisis can linger on after the person’s death. This imprint could then be identified with a ‘soul’ or ‘astral double’, if you like.[8] It supposedly forms a double of the agent in crisis himself and sometimes even of his environment.

What Type of Field?

The upshot is that a field theory of some sort would seem able to make sense of the communication aspect of the ghost experience. The next step from here would be to determine what type of field this is and how exactly it can convey information about the form, the behaviour and the message of the ghost. In the large majority of cases the ghost turns out to look exactly like the agent, often displaying features of which the percipient was by no means aware. Does the field somehow contain a three-dimensional image of a visual type, so that the percipient’s brain, receiving these data turns them into a hallucinatory vision, giving the percipient the feeling that he has actually observed the ghost with his eyes and other senses?[9]

A first step towards the answer is to remember that the human brain and nervous system are of an electric nature.[10] The impulses sent from our eyes, ears, nose and skin to our brain are electrical signals transported through our nerves. Thus, the information constituting a ghost experience always ends up in an electric format in our brains, but if we want to find out whether the ghost is merely a set of field parameters picked up by our brain or a real observed object, we need to know if the psychosphere itself could be an electromagnetic field. Now, interestingly, there are telling clues that ghosts do indeed have a close connection with electromagnetic phenomena:

A neighbour boy enlisted to the Marines, and was serving in the Pacific. His parents heard nothing for about six weeks, his mother was wild with anxiety. One morning I stood looking across our yard toward our neighbor’s mailbox thinking ‘If only Bob’s mother could get a letter’. As if in answer to my prayer, there stood Bob, right near the mailbox, in his Marine uniform. He and his uniform appeared pale in colour and fuzzy in outline. He neither moved nor spoke … After Bob stood there for a minute or two impressing his thought on my mind, his ‘body’ started to rise. It stretched out longer and thinner – not straight into the sky, but at an angle of perhaps 30 degrees from the vertical. When the head and shoulders were perhaps 3 metres above where they had been at first they suddenly turned into (or went into) a bright shaft of light, like a very bright electrical bolt. The balance of the figure followed the head and shoulders into the light and disappeared. The bolt appeared about a metre long and 12 centimetres in diameter. The queer thing was the sparks of blue and green light that appeared to radiate from the lower edge of the bolt, and the yellow and red sparks that came from the upper end … Bob’s last two letters came that day, and in September came a ‘missing in action’ telegram.[11]

Filmed for a television documentary, investigators headed by William Roll and Andrew Nichols, both of them professors of parapsychology in American universities, found significant electromagnetic readings in houses where hauntings were claimed.[12]

Eastman, Chief Engineer at the Rhodes Electrical Company, London, was working with his colleague Harold Woodew in a darkened room, arranging high-tension wires to form a magnetic field. To their astonishment, a luminous blue sphere began to form over a dynamo revolving near them. Then, as the light grew brighter, they saw a form resembling a human hand appear in the centre of the sphere. They watched it for several minutes, until it faded away. For four days, the two men worked to re-create the conditions in which the phenomenon had occurred. When they eventually succeeded, the sphere again appeared, but this time the form which appeared in the magnetic field resembled a human head, white in colour and slowly revolving.[13]

During an apparition the percipient’s hair is often raised and the person frequently feels a chilling passing wind as well:

Percipients quite often tell us they have a feeling of something strange before they actually see their ghost … At one point during the Cheltenham case, Rosina Despard notes, ‘I felt a cold icy shiver’ when the ghost bends over her while she is playing the piano. On another occasion five of the witnesses feel ‘a cold wind, though their candles were not blown about’.[14]

Ghosts sometimes produce Poltergeist effects, such as lifting tables, or closing windows or doors. These observations could be explained in terms of electromagnetism as well.

It would seem, then, that the psychosphere is an electromagnetic field or at least has an influence on electromagnetism. But how could an electromagnetic field possibly take on the visual appearance of a ghost? This question has to my knowledge never been answered in existing literature and it is at this point that I would like to introduce plasma as the possible key to decipherment of the ghost enigma.[15] A plasma is an ionised gas, which is by definition located in an electromagnetic field. The particles of the plasma rearrange themselves according to the field lines of the magnetic field, so that a plasma in a field with a sufficiently strong current becomes a visible manifestation of the magnetic field. The shape a plasma takes on, therefore, is the shape of the magnetic field. It is now generally acknowledged that plasma accounts for 99.9 % of the universe; well-known examples of plasma formations are stars, the sun, the auroras, lightning, and fire. I would now propose the following working hypothesis for a new theory of ghosts:

A ghost is a plasma formed when the percipient’s electromagnetic field overlaps with the electromagnetic ‘psychosphere’ of the – often distant – agent and the combined field strength ionises the gas particles in the air.

This hypothesis could be tested by a detailed comparison of the morphology of ghosts with plasma physics. Although I am in no way a specialist in plasma physics, a general reading of literature would support the following observations:

• Ghosts often glow or are visible in the dark. This is a property of plasma.
• Ghosts run the gamut of sometimes being completely transparent and sometimes being completely opaque. Opacity is a function of the density of the plasma.
• Ghosts occasionally produce sound, but they often have difficulty with it, fail to say something, or merely utter an eerie cry. Plasmas, such as auroras and lightings, are frequently accompanied by sound.
• Most ghosts are stationary, but some are engaged in some activity or move around. Plasmas could be either stationary or mobile.
• Ghosts are sometimes seen passing through walls, but often open doors like ordinary people. There would be no boundaries for moving plasmas, although it appears that the agent urges the plasma to react as a living person would do.
• Ghosts never leave physical objects behind. Plasmas are simply ionised gases.
• Many ghosts start off as a ball, then become a ring or a humanoid form. Witness the following examples:

A party of young people and myself determined on All Hallow’s Eve to play at the childish game of sitting separately in dark rooms, with supper laid for two, with the intention of awaiting the appearance of a future husband or wife. Thinking the whole thing a joke, and not in the least expecting to see anything, I distinctly saw, first, a flimsy cloud which rose up at the other end of the room, then the head and shoulders of a man, middle-aged, stout, with iron-grey hair and blue eyes – not in the least the picture which a young girl would imagine she saw on such an occasion.[16]

Frau Schmidt-Falk is climbing alone, when she happens to miss her way: ‘… Having started a little late for the return, and light beginning to fade, all of a sudden I found myself in a really dangerous position … All of a sudden I noticed a sort of a big ball of light, and this condensed to the shape of a tall, rather Chinese looking gentleman … The gentleman bowed, spoke a few words, led me a small path to the tourists’ way, and disappeared as a ball of light.[17]

When we were about five, Aunt Sarah died … About two weeks later, Bud and I were playing by the side of the house at twilight (sic!). I happened to look up and saw a cloudy, swirling vapour. It became Aunt Sarah, standing there by the house.[18]

(While working with medium Marthe Béraud) ‘I see something like a white vapour, about 40 centimetres from me. It is like a white veil or handkerchief on the ground. This whiteness rises, becomes rounded. Soon it is a head, level with the ground: it rises further, grows, and becomes a human figure, a short man, wearing a turban and a white robe, with a beard …[19]

I was lying on a divan, reading, at about 5 p. m., when I saw at the doorway a little luminous circle, like the reflection of a mirror. I could see nothing that would cause such a light. The luminous circle became larger, and when it was as big as the door itself, a kind of dark shadow appeared in the middle of it. A human figure formed more and more distinctly, then detached itself from the wall and advanced towards me.[20]

Other than the visible plasma, the intruding psychosphere might contain additional electromagnetic information to be read by the brain of the percipient, which could perhaps account for the missing information, important advice, correct hiding place and so forth transmitted by the ghost in many ghost experiences. Needless to say that the investigation has only just begun.


The following is a very brief extract of the findings of Hilary Evans’ detailed study of ghost apparitions:

Types of ghosts[21]

#1 from the past:
#1a revenants
#1b deathbed and near-death
#1c haunters
#2 of the present:
#2a crisis apparitions
#2b living ghosts
#2c autophany and bi-location
#3 of the future
#4 out of time:
#4a aerial battles and other events
#4b archetypal ghosts

Characteristics of ghosts[22]

#1 a ghost is generally life-like in appearance;
#2 a ghost is usually ‘seen’ in much the same way as if it was real;
#3 a ghost may be seen either collectively or selectively;
#4 a ghost may change its appearance during the sighting;
#5 a ghost generally adapts to its surroundings (by minding doors and so on)
#6 a ghost may appear by forming from a luminous or misty shape;
#7 a ghost is generally dressed naturally … but sometimes not;
#8 a ghost may be clearly defined … or fuzzy;
#9 a ghost may be seen in whole or in part;
#10 a ghost’s appearance may contain details unknown to the percipient;
#11 a ghost may be opaque or transparent, may reflect or not, cast a shadow or not;
#12 a ghost may or may not be seen by its own luminosity;
#13 ghosts can make sounds;
#14 a ghost may perform a physical action … but if so, the action is trivial;
#15 a ghost may be touched and felt … but lack material substance;
#16 a ghost may respond to the percipient or act as though s/he isn’t there;
#17 a ghost generally makes a once-only visit … but sometimes returns;
#18 a ghost may appear in two places simultaneously, or within an impossibly short space of time;
#19 a ghost may depart naturally, or vanish abruptly, or simply fade away;
#20 a ghost never leaves any souvenir, memento or trace;
#21 a ghost may be seen by the ‘wrong’ person;
#22 a ghost frequently fails to establish its identity;
#23 ghosts are frequently sensed.

Purposes of the ghost experience[23]

#1 apparitions offering comfort, counsel, help
#2 apparitions requesting comfort, counsel, help
#3 apparitions warning of danger
#4 apparitions seeking to complete ‘unfinished business’
#5 apparitions manifesting malevolence
#6 apparitions as messengers of doom.

Marginally related phenomena[24]

#1 dreams
#2 hallucinations
#3 religious visions
#4 battlefield helpers
#5 folklore entities
#6 angels and women in white
#7 demons and men in black
#8 bedroom visitors
#9 extraterrestrial beings
#10 séance-room materialisations

Those who have the ghost experience[25]

#1 exceptional people
#2 sensitive people
#3 ‘encounter-prone’ people
#4 exceptional states
#5 mystical states
#6 exceptional circumstances
#7 violent death and reincarnation
#8 immediate circumstances
#9 geophysical parameters.

So, if a person experiences a severe electric shock, or his house is built on clay, or he is susceptible to thunderstorms, or he is laid low by fever, or eats the wrong food or no food, or dallies with drugs or abuses alcoholic beverages, or pushes himself too hard at the office, or drives alone at night or sails alone across an ocean, or undergoes a spiritual transformation or quarrels with his partner at the breakfast table – in these or a hundred other situations, he may be rendered more likely to have a ghost experience.[26]


• Because we know that the subconscious … can visualize a hallucination, we may accept this as the process whereby an apparition is perceived, the suggestion either originating in the individual’s own subconscious, or suggested to it by an external agent.

• Because we know no limits to the creativity of the human mind, we may accept the possibility that many ghosts … are visualizations, exteriorized by the percipient’s own subconscious and accepted as real by his conscious mind.

• Because we know that the mind is occasionally capable of remote viewing we know that psi exists, and because the mind can be capable of precognition, we know that super-psi exists; and because we know no limits to super-psi, we may conceive it possible that the mind can obtain unlimited access to information of every kind.

• Because we know that projection takes place, we know that the extended self, or something like it, must exist. If so, it is a likely candidate for many types of apparition, notably living ghosts and those which seem to involve bi-location.

• Because the extended self, in the course of projections, displays memory, awareness and other indications of intelligence … we may accept that these faculties can exist apart from the physical body.

• Because the extended self, possessing awareness, intelligence and memory, can seemingly exist apart from the physical body, we may further conceive that it could survive the death of the physical body, and even continue to display signs of individual personality.

• Because we know that ghosts sometimes communicate information known to no living person, and utter veridical warnings, we know that whatever causes them enjoys seemingly unlimited access to knowledge; this could be the percipient’s own subconscious, or the extended self of the surviving dead, using super-psi.

• Because there are cases in which more than one person sees the same ghost in natural perspective, we may conceive that the subconscious, or the extended self, or the two in collaboration, can create a short-lived apparition which has some degree of material substance.[27]


[1] Along with a host of closely related phenomena such as UFOs, saintly visions, battlefield helpers, folklore entities, angels, demons, women in white and men in black, extraterrestrial visitors, séance-room materialisations, and bedroom visitors, see H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 130-165

[2] Compare: We have basically two models for the experience: • The subjective model, originating with the subconscious of the percipient. Either of its own accord, or in response to information obtained via psi or super-psi – comprising telepathy, clairvoyance, and unlimited access to information including precognition and retrocognition – the subconscious initiates a visualization process whereby it exteriorizes an image which can be perceived consciously by the percipient, and perhaps by others, as an apparition. • The external model, originating with an external agent – by which we generally mean the extended self of a person still living, or the surviving extended self of a person once living but now dead – which is able either to manifest as an apparition, or to impose an image by suggestion on to the subconscious of the percipient(s) and cause it to exteriorize an apparition … in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 235f.

[3] Compare: Psychological variables of many kinds are the building blocks of the ghost experience: hallucination is no more than the process which enables them to find visual expression as the devil, an extraterrestrial alien or Aunt Jane’s ghost, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 137

[4] William Roll calls this a psi field: Because the ‘telepathic charge’ of a haunted house is similar to the magnetic, gravitational, and other fields that surround physical objects, I have used the concept of psi field to describe psi phenomena that seem to depend on such objects. We can think of the psi field of an object, whether animate or inanimate, as a pattern of associations … In the same way as a magnet may magnetize another piece of metal and then be destroyed without affecting the new magnet, so may the images, ideas, and so on of a person continue to exist as part of the psi fields of objects with which he was once in contact, after he has gone. The image of a person seen in an apparition, whether this image was produced by him or someone else, may survive his death without being inhabited by his consciousness, William Roll, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 250

[5] James Crenshaw has toyed extensively with the idea of different realities with different wavelengths, as the following quotes show: Aside from the considerations of pure spirit, the same kind of vibrating energy, the same kind of dancing wave patterns that we encounter here are to be found there. Only the wavelengths, the incredibly rapid rate of vibration – frequencies of high orders unimagined in our world – appear to be different, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 271. The residents of the next world are able to take on a lower frequency, allowing them to manifest in our space and time. This is like a different radio or TV frequency, to which you need to be attuned if you are to receive the signal, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 271

[6] Compare: What happens when a witness perceives a haunter, in Price’s view, is that there takes place an ‘overlapping or interpenetration of two psychic atmospheres, the one which surrounds the percipient’s body and the one which pervades the room’ (which he supposes has been, as it were, left behind by the haunter after her death), in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 232

[7] Compare: One way of accounting for the crisis apparition would be if our subconscious is continually scanning the cosmos, like the radar scanner at an airfield, and picks up on happenings relevant to itself …, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 233

[8] Adolphe d’Assier in 1887 deemed this the ‘post-sepulchral spectre’: It is the phantasmal replica of all the organs of the human body. It has been seen, in fact, to move, speak, take nourishment, accomplish, in a word, the different functions of animal life. The molecules which constitute it are evidently borrowed from the organism which gave it birth. It may then be defined as a gaseous tissue offering a certain resistance, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 258

[9] This view is defended by Hilary Evans: It is attractive to suppose that the subconscious of some percipients – those that are, as it were, on the same wavelength as the psi field – may pick up a message from the psi field and externalize it as an apparition, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 250

[10] Compare: Like any brain process, hallucinations are essentially electrical; so in principle they can be recorded, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 142

[11] Pearl Ullrich, Bellingham, Washington State, 3 July 1944, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 88f.

[12] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 187

[13] Eastman, Woodew, London, circa 1930?, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 188

[14] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 92

[15] James Crenshaw’s theories came very close, but James had apparently never heard of plasma. He postulates fields of force as the basic building blocks of the universe: the particles which make up reality as we know it are merely ‘evanescent indicators’ of the emergence of these fields of force into our physical world of space and time. It is these fields which control the kind of growth and development exemplified by, say, the directive process of cell division, and – I suppose – the whole forward-progressing course of evolution. Crenshaw suggests that similar processes may result in apparitions and materializations: ‘the apparition appears to be made up of the same kind of transitory, emerging matter. It appears and disappears, can sometimes be seen and felt before disappearing, occasionally moves objects and leaves material traces …’ in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 270

[16] Mrs Gordon Jones, Anerley, England, Autumn, 1881, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 70

[17] Elsa Schmidt-Falk, Bavarian Alps, 1950s, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 109f.

[18] De Leon, Bonham, Texas, 1889, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 127

[19] Charles Richet, Villa Carmen, France, 1904, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 163

[20] N. Heintze, Moscow, Russia, 15 April 1884, in H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 163

[21] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 13-57

[22] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 58-94

[23] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 105

[24] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 130-165

[25] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 192-214

[26] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 213

[27] H. Evans, Seeing ghosts; experiences of the paranormal, John Murray, London, 2002: 273