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Debunking Ghosts Essay


Several writers have alluded to the existence of mystic vital forces that have direct impact on what the living people do on a day-to-day basis (Allen, 2013; Auerbach, 2013; Beattie & Middleton, 2013; Hourigan, 2013; Malone, Levendosky, Dayton & Bogat, 2010). In fact, some sources indicate that ghosts could haunt some people either during the day or at night (Frosh, 2013). Various poets and filmmakers have also focused on narrating their perception with regard to ghosts (Loevlie, 2013). Indeed, the first ever-recorded claim of existence of a ghost dates back to the first century A.D in Athens. This paper will reveal some of the findings of enquiries into the existence of ghosts and debunk the existence of ghosts.

A comparative study of the existence of ghosts cannot be separated from the narrative of the various religions of the world. In all the three narratives of the Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam and Hebrew, they all allude to ghosts in various ways (Bloom, 2013). The religions of antiquity in Sumer, Babylon and Assyria claim that ghosts came into existence during death. Thus, burial and other rituals were performed in a manner that suggested that even the dead existed somewhere in the cosmos.

The Hebrew Bible associates ghosts with a result of evil or occult acts. Therefore, if these three religions of the world could be true, then it should follow that ghosts exist. In Christianity, after resurrection, Jesus Christ explains to his disciple Thomas that he is not a ghost. This assertion makes a case for a society that recognized the existence and potency of this notion.

The Greek mythology also makes a case for the existence of ghosts. In Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, ghosts are described as ‘vapor, gibbering and whining into earth’. It is critical to observe that in Homer’s case, the ghosts do not in way interact with the day-to-day activities of the living (Topalian, 2013). In the case, the ghosts were only summoned to offer guidance in times of danger and trouble. The Greek mythology, however, provides an evolving account of ghosts. By the 5th century, the mythology puts a case for ghosts that are capable of both good and evil acts. During this period, ghosts are to be appeased through a range of rituals, sacrifices and libations (Richey, 2013).

The Roman Empire is one of the rich sources of information on anthropology. The account of the ancient Roman Empire of the existence of ghosts is that of vengeance (Cannell, 2013; Platt, 2013). During the European Renaissance, interest in occult activities was reinvented and investigated by various social philosophers of the time. Some accounts that followed include ballads, such as ‘The Unquiet Grave’ and ‘Sweet Williams Ghost’. Thus, the theory of the existence of ghosts is intertwined with the life of man in every stage since man developed a formal language to express himself.

The 19th century provided a paradigm shift from a hitherto conception of ghosts to spiritualism. According to Beattie and Middleton (2013), this notion had its peak in the 1850s. Around the European subsystem, many people believed that spirits or ghost world existed and could be contacted through certain intermediaries. Thus, anyone who wished to contact the spirit world or ghost world needed the assistance of an intermediary to gain access.

The scientific perspective of the debate, however, denies the existence of ghosts. Sightings of ‘ghosts’ have been explained as mere optical delusions (Shapiro, 2013). Other scientific accounts have put up various cases, such as hallucinations, dreams and ecstasy as the result of the ‘ghost sights’. The recent accounts of this school of thought have attributed ‘ghost’ sights to various biological dysfunctions of the human mind. One of the reasons advanced by the proponents of science has been sleeping paralysis. For example, it has been argued that a person might see blurry images when there is a disconnection between the mind and body as people enter into sleep or exit it. As evidence, they argue that this is the reason why many people, who claim to have seen ghosts, have done so while they were asleep. The other assertion, proposed by the scientific school of thought, is brain glitches.

The argument here is that when the mind is wandering unconscious, it may randomly encounter something. For instance, a woman in a Victorian dress created her own imagery of the idea based on previous ideas. This, according to most physicians, ends in illusions that seem real. Other reasons, that have been advanced to confirm or disprove the existence of ghosts, include carbon monoxide poisoning and infrasound among others.

In conclusion, there is no scientific evidence that supports the existence of ghosts. Scientific studies involve rigorous processes that are aimed at establishing the truth and uncertainties with regard to various phenomena in life. It could be argued that ghosts do not exist all. In fact, those who claim to have seen ghosts could be in their world of dreaming.


Allen, J. R. (2013). A Beginners’ Guide to Ghost Hunting. London, United Kingdom: Autharium. Web.

Auerbach, L. (2013). Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing. Web.

Beattie, J., & Middleton, J. (Eds.). (2013). Spirit mediumship and society in Africa. Routledge. Web.

Bloom, L. E. (2013). Jewish Identities in American Feminist Art: Ghosts of Ethnicity. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. Web.

Cannell, F. (2013). Ghosts and ancestors in Western kinship. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley- Blackwell. Web.

Frosh, S. (2013). Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and ghostly transmissions. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Web.

Hourigan, D. (2013). Ghost in the Shell 2, Technicity and the Subject. Film-Philosophy, 17(1), 51-67. Web.

Loevlie, E. M. (2013). Faith in the Ghosts of Literature. Poetic Hauntology in Derrida, Blanchot and Morrison’s Beloved. Religions, 4(3), 336-350. Web.

Malone, J. C., Levendosky, A. A., Dayton, C. J., & Bogat, G. A. (2010). Understanding the “ghosts in the nursery” of pregnant women experiencing domestic violence: Prenatal maternal representations and histories of childhood maltreatment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 31(4), 432-454. Web.

Platt, M. (2013). The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Modern Thailand by Justin McDaniel (review). Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 28(2), 355-360. Web.

Richey, J. L. (2013). Review: Gods, Ghosts, and Gangsters: Ritual Violence, Martial Arts, and Masculinity on the Margins of Chinese Society. Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, 16(4), 120-122. Web.

Shapiro, S. (2013). Hauntings: Psychoanalysis and Ghostly Transmissions by Stephen Frosh. Jewish Quarterly, 60(2), 64-66. Web.

Topalian, S. (2013). Ghosts to Ancestors: Bearing Witness to “My” Experience of Genocide. International Journal of Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, 8(1), 7-19. Web.

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