12 Jun Why does haunting occur?
Theories attempt to explain the unexplainable
Stories of ghosts, spirits, and paranormal entities play a prominent role in the history of cultures around the world. Haunted houses, haunted ships, and haunted forests are documented in poems, books, and art across religions and philosophies. Over the centuries, this abundance of witnesses to paranormal activity has given rise to many theories attempting to explain the reasons behind haunting. What causes these rumors of apparitions to take hold? Why might spirits remain after death to interact with the living and inhabit physical spaces? While no one theory can concretely explain hauntings, each hypothesis offers insights that assist in evaluating why a haunting might occur.
One of the most frequently cited reasons for haunting is when a person dies with unfinished business remaining in their life. If a person has a serious problem, perhaps a feud with a friend or family member, their spirit may remain on earth in an attempt to find the resolution they could not uncover while still living. Some believe that as the ghost seeks to find a solution, whether it be to make peace or to realize revenge, they become trapped in the transition between the world of the living and whatever it is that comes next. Many believe that these spirits could be frustrated and sad, lost forever in a hopeless quest for a conclusion they may never find.
Traumatic events are another common theory for hauntings. Locations where people were killed, held captive, tortured, or otherwise subjected to unpleasant experiences in life are infamous for being rife with paranormal activity. Prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and hotels are host to some of the most famous tales of haunting throughout history. Hotel rooms where murders occurred are often said to hold the energy of the people who tragically passed there. Unable to move-on from their unjust end, many believe the spirit remains, traumatized in life and in death, lingering in the space they last inhabited.
Human emotional states such as disillusion, fear, denial, and confusion may also lead to paranormal activity. Perhaps these entities are confused about their new state of being, not even realizing they have died at all. Fear of punishment, or of judgement for actions taken in life, may prompt people who die to combat the transition completely in an effort to avoid whatever may come next for them. Could these ghosts remain in this world, wandering forever, attempting to defy their new reality?
Finally, some paranormal investigators theorize that, in addition to specific locations, objects can also be haunted. Weapons used in violent acts or prized possessions of the dead are said by some experts to hold the energy of the deceased. These items that held a high level of significance in life, whether positive or negative, can become possessed by a spirit after the death of the physical body. Perhaps out of confusion or an unwillingness to move on to the next realm, a person clings to an inanimate object in an attempt to remain in the world of the living. These objects are said to carry the haunting with them, no matter where they are moved to, easily causing a home, museum, or other space to become host to paranormal activity.
Whatever the reasons may be, it is clear that many people throughout history feel the presence of the dead long after their passing. Whether the paranormal energy manifests as a strange feeling in a room, visualizations of the dead, voices, or objects moving on their own, haunting is a theme that crosses borders, cultures, and religions. While we may never have proof that provides us the precise reason for a particular haunting, these theories can help in the effort to clear a space, or an object, of paranormal activity and may even help the living assist the dead in finding the peace they seek.