Ghosts and Quantum Theory

by Mike Duran · 11 comments

ghost-1I didn’t expect to be talking about ghosts as much as I have lately. But thanks to the release of The Ghost Box, that’s exactly what has happened. One reader was surprised to learn that ghost boxes are real things. At least, they purport to be real things. In fact, you can even purchase ghost boxes, spirit scanners, and ghost hunting kits online. Course, the one in my novel is 20 stories high and sitting in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. I’ve also conducted two different radio interviews, both in which I was asked about ghosts, especially from an evangelical perspective.

While the Christian Church is largely resolved as to the nature of the afterlife (heaven and hell) and its denizens (angels and demons), there is no consensus as to an “in between” state and possible “overlaps” therein. Are the dead aware of us? Can they interact with us? If so, what forms do those interactions take? Or is all such “contact” categorically evil?

The more questions one asks, the further we get into territory beyond our explaining. And beyond biblical proof-texting. This, however, has not stopped us from trying to explain paranormal phenomenon. Ghosts are no exception.

Evangelicals, for the most part, have come to define ghosts as demons. There are several reasons – good reasons – to do so. One is the Bible’s position on death. “…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27 NIV). Souls don’t get second chances. And hauntings seem to lack the finality that Scripture seems to suggest. Another reason is the fixed nature of our eternal state. It’s either heaven or hell. Forever. (Even those who believe in purgatory see it as a holding tank for one or the other.) As such, the Bible provides glimpses of souls in eternal torment or eternal bliss. Frankly, we don’t see many souls traipsing about unsure of where they’re headed. A final factor in the “ghosts are demons” position is the biblical warnings about “deceiving spirits” (I Tim. 4:1; I Jn. 4:1). We are in a “struggle” against “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). Not only are there spirits out there, many of them want to do us in and perpetrate “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8) . The medium who claims to speak to the dead, but communicates a message contrary to the Gospel, is probably speaking to someone other than Uncle Bob’s ghost.

But while there is good reason to see ghosts as demons — at the least, something malevolent — the Bible seems to offer some “contrary” evidence as to their nature and existence. The most famous and perhaps the most puzzling “ghost incident” in Scripture is Saul and the Witch of Endor (I Samuel 28). When Saul compels a seer to summon the prophet Samuel, they witness “a spirit coming up out of the ground” (vs. 13 NIV). The spirit is recognized as the dead prophet who validates himself by prophesying against Saul (vss. 16-19). So was Samuel a ghost? And where was he before his invocation? Whatever your answer, the manifestation of Samuel’s “ghost” is possible evidence of another category of existence, neither demon nor angel but disembodied man, still able to interact with our earthly plane.

Another monkey wrench in the “ghosts are demons” case is The Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8) where two dead prophets — Moses and Elijah – manifest alongside Jesus. Were they ghosts? Had they been physically resurrected? Scripture is unclear. Complicating matters was the fact the prophets “were talking with Jesus” (vs. 4 NIV), a sort of inter-dimensional conversation. Still another account is Jesus’ appearance to His disciples after His crucifixion. Luke records this:

While [the disciples] were still talking… Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:36-39 NIV, emphasis mine)

Notice, the disciples immediately assumed they’d seen a ghost, suggesting that ghosts were an admissible category within their culture. Even more interesting, Jesus does not rebuke them for this belief. In fact, He seems to substantiate it: “a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (vs. 39). This is important because, Christians have historically maintained that Christ resurrected in His same body. Even though the risen Jesus had the ability to vanish (Lk. 24:31) and suddenly appear in locked rooms (Jn. 20:19, 26), He was not a ghost. Among other things, this tells us that ghosts are not resurrected souls (and vice-versa), which means they are… something else.

But while evangelicals typically sift such questions through the grid of Scripture, there’s another growing body of theory and research that is being used to explain paranormal phenomenon.

In outlining 10 Scientific Explanations for Ghostly Phenomenon, Nolan Moore writes about the much heralded research of two physicists concerning life after death:

Quantum mechanics is the study of the smallest types of matter, and it has led to some pretty awesome inventions. However, it can get pretty weird when physicists start talking about souls and ghosts. Take, for example, Dr. Stuart Hameroff and his physicist friend Roger Penrose. Hameroff and Penrose theorize that human consciousness comes from microtubules inside our brain cells, and these tubules are responsible for quantum processing (our souls basically). Hameroff and Penrose believe when people have a near-death experience, all that quantum information leaves the brain, yet continues to exist, which is why some people report out-of-body experiences and lights at the end of tunnels.

As you might expect, a lot of scientists have problems with Hameroff and Penrose’s theory. But Dr. Henry Stapp isn’t one of them. As a respected quantum physicist who worked with the famous Heisenberg, Stapp believes that a person’s personality might be able to survive death and exist as a “mental entity.” Stapp theorizes if these entities could return to the physical world, then concepts like possession and channeling could really be possible.

Which has led some to speculate that ghosts could actually be “mental entities,” an individual’s  “quantum information” that has somehow returned or intersected the physical world. If this is true, possession and channeling could indeed be seen as the intrusion of a real “mental entity” into another.

Some have looked to Albert Einstein’s work concerning the conservation of energy as proof of ghosts. For example, ghost researcher John Kachuba, in his book Ghosthunters (2007, New Page Books), writes,

“Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. … So what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy. What is that new energy? … Could we call that new creation a ghost?”

As with most of this stuff, it’s complete speculation. Nevertheless, it shows how questions that were once consigned to the purely spiritual or metaphysical are getting play in science circles.

Multiverse theory and parallel universes are another branch of quantum science that potentially explains ghosts. In a parallel universe, what we call ghosts could actually be persons or entities from a parallel universe or dimension. Stephen Hawking has suggested that time is not necessarily linear, but that it can, on occasion, curl back on itself, creating loops or eddies. In this sense, it’s possible that ghosts can be explained as spirits or beings somehow trapped in a time loop. (Note, this theory is also used to explain deja vu experiences, in which an individual essentially encounters some sort of time loop and temporarily intersects their own future.)

Multiverse theory could conjecture that ghosts are living people we are seeing from another time. Sometimes called an Einstein Rosen Bridge or “wormhole,” this theory could postulate that what we call ghosts are actually living beings traversing wormholes from other dimensions.

Interestingly, the Bible seems to lend credence to the idea of parallel universes or dimensions existing alongside ours, yet remaining unseen. Take for instance the story of Elisha and his servant. They are surrounded by an enemy army and the servant fears for his life. But Elisha is, apparently, privy to an invisible dimension impinging upon their own.

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (II Kings 6:17 NIV)

In what dimension did invisible “horses and chariots of fire” actually exist? Were they part of our dimension? Were they part of a parallel dimension? Either way, God caused some phenomenon by which the servant got a peek into a realm previously inaccessible. Likewise, similar questions could be asked of other “ghostly” phenomenon. Where did Samuel exist before he was summoned by the Witch of Endor? Where were Moses and Elijah before they joined Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? In this sense, heaven and hell may not exist within our universe at all (as in “up” or “down”) but are dimensions that run parallel to ours (or dimensions that are partitioned to us). Which could mean that ghosts (or angels, or other phenomenon) manifest in a similar way that the Elishian fiery chariots did — they are just privileged glimpses into the Hell and/or Heaven which runs parallel to our own.

Again, this is all speculation. I’m not trying to further any theory. I’m only suggesting that immediately categorizing ghosts (or other paranormal-type phenomenon) as “demonic” doesn’t do justice to the world framed by Scripture. And science. While the Bible is not definitive as to the nature of ghosts, nor how the dead interact, if at all, with our world, Scripture is clear in its denunciation of necromancy, sorcery, and witchcraft (Deut. 18:9-12). We are forbidden, in explicit terms, from summoning, consulting, or communicating with the dead. So whatever conclusion a believer reaches about ghosts, inviting them, consulting them, or letting them hang around is the wrong thing to do. Seeing our world as a supernatural place is one thing; validating every supernatural phenomenon is another. In this, we do well to exercise great caution. Either way, the development of quantum theory opens the door to several possible explanations for ghosts and ghostly phenomenon, some of which corroborate a biblical worldview.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Travis Perry February 9, 2015 at 10:24 AM

Mike, thanks for the thought-provoking post.

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Kessie February 9, 2015 at 4:13 PM

Well, it’s a fascinating topic! I hadn’t heard about the quantum physicists getting into the debate. That’s reaaaaalllly interesting.

It does make me wonder … what occultic topics will you cover in book 2? 🙂

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Erica February 10, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Wow. I love how you gave a brief background and offered up multiple views on this subject. As a born again believer myself, I have never really heard Christians discuss this topic and I think it is because they deem it taboo.

However, if we look at Scripture and what some scientists/physicists have found out, there similarities(that we can question of course) and differences. Plus, for writers it is great food for fiction.

Great post!

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Ane Mulligan February 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Mike, I find this quite interesting. For me, the jury is still out on whether they’re real or not. I don’t want to see one, but I’ve got good friends, strong Christians, who have seen one. So…I ten to fall closer to the believe side. I’ve written a ghost story, a fun short story (a long short) and there is a ghost in it. More like the old movie about the ghost couple. A bit of humor and all.

Bit I found this to really be an interesting look at one of those hush-hush subjects. ;o)

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Jean Marie Bauhaus February 10, 2015 at 1:28 PM

Great post. I actually posted something similar back in October (click my Website link if you’d like to check it out). I guess great minds think alike! 😉

As an Evangelical who writes paranormal fiction, I’ve certainly taken my fair share of flack from fellow Christians for daring to present ghosts as anything other than demonic. But like you, I’ve determined that there are too many alternative explanations to be anything other than open-minded to the possibilities.

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Karen P. February 10, 2015 at 4:27 PM

As a Christian, it always seemed to me that ghosts were something to be avoided and not sought, but I do know a few personal stories where the departed appeared to living loved ones. (I am not talking about in dreams here, although that happens too).

Fascinating stuff, thanks Mike!

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Gary Whittenberger February 11, 2015 at 11:07 AM

The evidence in support of the existence of ghosts is comparable to the evidence in support of other supernatural phenomena, like gods, God, angels, demons, Satan, hell, heaven, mediums, etc, — almost nil. And so, we should not believe in any of them.

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Christian February 12, 2015 at 10:10 PM

Gary. *Yawn*

Mike, I’m one of those Christians who believed that ghosts were demonic in origin (save for Samuel in the OT) and yet I enjoyed ghost stories (and still do) etc. Your article got me thinking more about this largely-ignored topic. Thanks.

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Nathan February 13, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Gary,

There is plenty of evidence for a creator. As Romans 1:20 puts it, “his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” The problem, unfortunately, is that humanity prefers darkness to God (John 3:19) because we all–ever since Adam and Eve listened to Satan–think we know better than God. But the simple fact is, all of us who occupy Mike’s board and who live by faith look at our human bodies, the world itself, and the entire universe, and we see God’s fingerprints all over it.

Nate

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Tony Breeden April 7, 2015 at 7:03 PM

Back in 2008, I wrote a post on the subject of ghosts. Like you, Mike, I did so because I was getting a lot of questions about them. One of the possibilities I suggested was that it could be that ghosts are temporal echoes. A lot of ghost stories involve ghosts that simply repeat a pattern each night, going down the same path, appearing in the same window. In the case of these hauntings, maybe a soul’s echo is preserved. In this respect, the ghost would be something like a picture or recording of a person, but really not the person itself except in a superficial appearance as such. Think of it like an image burned onto a TV screen.

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lolly m nopQrstUvwXyz November 25, 2015 at 10:08 PM

Interesting article I have recently run into several folks that say they are dead. Kids see me sometimes adults don’t. Generally people think I am really young and beautiful. Back end wonders perhaps thanks Disney it takes some getting used to. The quantum doctors though well it’s not that bad being dead that is if I am dead. Maybe I should have gone to heaven. I did have that option but I love life. So thought I would try to help. You just have to adjust to the fact that some are frightened and keep your mouth shut. What irritates me are the folks in denial. I should become a therapist perhaps though right now trying to work as an artist. Reality orientation and helping people harmonically balance so we don’t have so many storms. Killing off musicians is not a wise thing. Sing at higher frequencies to heal. I don’t know who does project those healing places some places but thank you. It changes from zone to zone. Some folks are getting sick in the lower frequency areas. Disrupting the frequencies seems to be having a really adverse affect on natural vector integrity. I know that someone out there was saying that we need to isolate and fix the rift. You guys when creating quantum really need to get people to volunteer rather than take random people off of the streets. I guess using church people makes sense but you find that the ego of some really isn’t that pure. There has to be a balance between the subconscious and conscious mind. So volunteers that are not practiced in vibrational healing like I was? I used to take little miracles for granted. I don’t know what happened all I know? Every thing seems backwards and someone wants me to sing. The wind blows and the weather does strange stuff. Edward noticed that and tried to get me to move to California. Starwars do happen every generation and to let it burn? I am young on some levels. A very old soul on others. So I have been trying to understand I was told that I should have been a doctor. So well I have been told I am an elemental now. The numbers that were coming in? I don’t think it’s wise to share the formula’s that would help you guys to stabilize vectors. Maybe you already have them. The ARE are. So this recommendation I would try because a lot don’t care but I am do. Everyone in my view is worth one. There is beauty in all that is. Testing on trauma folks and putting them into smart chips? It’s unethical if you use folks to experiment on. Saving memories you have to do. Otherwise you have burn out. Coping with quantum police and vector managers? You do realize there is already a police force established? If the rules are changing then great. Lol…forgive me but I am working on a book series involving quantum conundrums. I just don’t want to have my intellectual content stolen. I got run out of my hometown because of ghost hunters. I would suggest they lighten up and study unity. The worlds not black and white and things change. Full spectrum well you might want to ask nicely rather than do the sunshine and rain thing. IF you are the one doing that. If you are God? Love ya…you still have friends in the fifth. I would however like to go back to the seventh or ninth. I get tired of the grouches complaining all the time. I just want to sing and dance. Dack really needs to apologize for the debacle. My son’s freaking neighbor two doors down said he killed me today when I ran into him. You would think he saw a ghost. The housing prices and special units really aught to be priced not by income but by soul value. That murdering crazy sheesh I should push him. I will leave that up to the guardians though. I am one I guess I never knew. I am genitically unique I guess due to government experiments. Half and half something and well? I get tired of being called it. I want my child back whoever took him. That is what i am mad about. Not my own wellbeing whoever bit me? This “it” isn’t likely to hurt anyone. I protect kids I don’t hurt them. To alledge that I do? That also pisses me off. My sisters being killed too? It would seem they are because they say they saw mom and dad. Maybe that’s apple webkit I don’t know. What i do know? I don’t understand how it is I can remember things about Jobs or whatever. How I can see through others eyes like I used to be able to do but in a different way. Argh it’s confusing but it has been a couple years three actually and now we are back at the year of mercy? That was a couple years ago it’s weird how days change and sometimes you are ahead and sometimes in the past. I am learning to more gracefully slip in time etc. I just have to focus but I used to be really effective in prayer. That’s why the church people were stalking me. Maybe that’s why the lightening etc. I am trying to understand. I don’t talk as fast. The folks that cross over? Give water, food, housing to the homeless because guess what? You some day might be mia; one of the here there and everywhere. The freaking witches or vampire hunters really need to stop. We aren’t bad well not all of us. I don’t know what i am but this? I don’t adopt a dog because reincarnation is real. I just need to find another golden. You can find the love of your life and merge as another person (of whatever sex) or stay as a family unit for as long as needed. I just can’t see giving up on my kids. IF the mafia or someone has killed my family? The problem is that when you are quantum? Anyone you meet can be related to someone you love. If you find someone that is having a hard time. It empowers and helps those you care about when they are fighting to do good and fight evil. So be aware that doing good isn’t only for you. It is for those you love because it’s not just Christ you see in the face of strangers it’s everyone that you have ever loved. So well I am putting an email that I can’t access any more in the address part. I have lost so many of my emails it didn’t make sense. That is until I read up on what the current best practices of what to do when someone dies with social media accounts open. Now I understand why so many people have more than one facebook. It’s parallel programming it works. I just thought I would let you know what it feels like to be quantum or in the hollow suite or whatever. I still would like to know how I got an apple webkit developer app in my android. Probably f5 if so you guys don’t own me. We might be able to negotiate however I am not completely stubborn. I just don’t know the rules and well? Integrity matters to me more than things. Maybe that is why I am still here and considered beautiful. I am ill though and if you value me? Actually get some real doctors instead of dotkers. The coding for version 10 isn’t even being used here. I need a real doctor not a virtual one. I need my teeth taken care of this is ridiculous. I know you know who I am. You seem to monitor my keystrokes and have stalked every freaking phone for years. You had been spying on my home since my dad was a federal employee. Freaking competition between those in the know and those that don’t? I keep having people want me to move to switzerland or Canada or mexico but you guys? I am a natural resource so I won’t be allowed to? If you try to frame me for a crime I didn’t commit or my kids for crimes? I will freaking do my best to try to stay calm. I just tend to think independently. I am not moody by nature but I am getting miffed. I am single and all the los angeles folks I run into and the quantum actors? This has to be an object oriented rf isolation or social media inspired improve actors. Give me a break not in hurting me but in having my back not talking crap and biting it. I care but don’t care any more. I am tired of being poor and picked on by the uglys. Not that i am that great looking but well like i said? It’s weird people see what they see. I glow and if that makes me weird? Ok fine

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