EDDIE BRAZIL ponders the question: Do ghosts exist?
This may seem like a pointless question to the many devotees of Spooky Isles. Perhaps I should rephrase it – Do you believe in ghosts?
I ask the question because recently I took part in a radio talk in with Parapsychologist, Ciaran O’Keeffe on this very query. He was in the red “Ghosts don’t exist” corner, while I was in the blue corner defending the poor dead wretches.
O’Keeffe was given a bigger slice of airtime pie to put forward his sceptical argument whilst I was left playing catch up. At one point I did think I had scored a decent right hook when I asked him his views on the Cardiff Poltergeist. He conceded that it was a classic case of the paranormal. But he insisted that despite positive evidence collected by none other than David Fontana, at the time president of the SPR, who concluded that there was a compelling case that a discarnate entity was causing the haunting in a lawn mower repair shop, and that the entity could also at times display intelligence, the ghost or poltergeist did not exist. I was puzzled.
What O’Keeffe meant was that ghosts cannot exist unless science declares it so with irrefutable evidence. Scientists, of course, can only act within the confines of unquestionable proof. Yet it seemed that O’Keeffe view was akin to some form of rigid, religious orthodoxy that if proved to be wrong would result in the total destruction of his philosophy.
No matter how much I jabbed and weaved my argument passed O’Keeffe’s defence, he still clung to his blinkered position. If a ghost had got in to the ring and knocked him out he would have disputed it and rejected the 10 count.
For someone like me, who never enjoyed the luxury of an arrogance-instilling university education, I say, “if it looks like a ghost and walks like a ghost and sounds like a ghost, it probably is a ghost”.
But at the end of the day how does one convince others of the existence of ghosts?
The people of Missouri in the United States have a saying “Show Me”. But I say, like the guy in the movie Night of the Demon (1957), “You say show me?, I say, look for yourself”.
Here are five cases of haunting which anyone interested in whether ghosts exist or not should study. If you are not convinced after reading them, then I suppose nothing will.
The Cardiff Poltergeist
An extraordinary case of poltergeist haunting, which curiously did feature a repressed, prepubescent teenager as its focus. A lawn mower repair factory in Cardiff was from the late 1970s until 1984 plagued with stone throwing, shows of coins and the seemingly boyish pranks of a playful Poltergeist. On several occasions the apparition of a boy in 1940s school uniform was seen.
The Black Monk of Pontefract
A terrifying haunting which took place during the 1960s in an ordinary semi-detached house in the northern town of Pontefract. The family were subjected to typical poltergeist phenomena of bangs , thumps and furniture being violently moved and smashed. The figure of a monk in black was seen on several occasions. The most terrifying incident of the haunting was when the focus of the disturbances, a young girl, was dragged, screaming up a flight of stairs by an unseen force as her parents desperately held on to her. It was this case which convinced writer Colin Wilson that poltergeists were spirit entities.
The Stocksbridge Haunting
The Stocksbridge Case is perhaps one of the few haunting to be reported by police officers and the incident written up in to an official log. In 1987, two police constables witnessed the apparition of a monk like figure and were attacked in their patrol car by an invisible assailant. The figure of the monk was observed by many other Stocksbridge residents throughout the area of the town. Phantom children were also seen dancing in fields at night. Perhaps the most bizarre incident was when a couple travelling in their car watched in disbelief as the figure of a monk swiftly crossed a field to appear from nowhere in front of their speeding vehicle.
The Enfield Poltergeist
The case is a classic haunting of poltergeists, ghosts, violent psychokinetic power and enough terrifying incidents to make the movie,” The Exorcist” seem pale by comparison. Lasting for nearly 18months the phenomena was witnessed by countless people and became known throughout the world. Like Colin Wilson’s experience of the Pontefract haunting, it was the Enfield case which convinced investigator, Maurice Gross of the reality of the paranormal.
Ghosts on the Underground
Ghosts on the Underground is a stylishly-produced DVD relating the astonishing paranormal experiences of the staff and workmen of the London tube. When one considered how impermanent life could be on the permanent way for those who built and are employed on the capitals underground, it is no wonder the place is awash with ghosts and phantoms. Many of the accounts are made all the more incredible, and given added veracity by the sincerity of the men relating them. These are tough no nonsense working people conscious of the stigma of ridicule. To hear them tell their tales without fear of their colleagues put downs and jibes only gives their accounts indubitable credibility.