Scientific Evidence and Proof That Ghosts Exist

For hundreds if not thousands of years mediums, psychics and paranormal investigators have been trying to prove ghosts really exist.
For hundreds if not thousands of years mediums, psychics and paranormal investigators have been trying to prove ghosts really exist. | Source

Ghosts and Ghost Hunters

Are ghosts real? People have been asking themselves this question for thousands of years. But despite widespread sightings and stories dating back over millennia, we still have no definitive proof that spirits actually exist.

Believers say the skeptics are blind to the evidence that’s right in front of them. Skeptics say any paranormal evidence likely has a rational explanation, and those who chase ghosts are fooling themselves.

Who is right, who is wrong, and where is the proof?

There has been a great deal of evidence collected over the past decade or so, and the majority of it comes from paranormal investigators.

These are people who spend time at an allegedly haunted site with an array of equipment they’re hoping will help them acknowledge or even communicate with spirits.

Many are available by appointment, and are happy to come out and help if you believe your house is haunted.

Paranormal Investigation

When paranormal investigators come to mind you may think of the movie Ghost Busters. A better example would be the team of parapsychologists from the movie Poltergeist. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you can probably think of an even better example than that.

The show Ghost Hunters appeared in the fall of 2004. In the first few seasons they gathered some incredible pieces of evidence. Paranormal research organizations began to pop up around the country, and a new paranormal craze was born.

Ghost Adventures soon followed, debuting in 2007 with a documentary now called Ghost Adventures: The Beginning. This documentary features two of the most infamous pieces of paranormal evidence ever recorded: a full-body apparition following one of the investigators across a room, and a brick rising from the floor and flying away on its own.

Perhaps another half-dozen or so shows came along, each with its own take on paranormal investigation. Like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, some of them seemed to collect very compelling evidence using some interesting ghost hunting gear.

But they all have one thing in common, and one big problem: They’re on television.

As much as we like to trust in the integrity of people who are passionate about their work, it’s just too darn hard to completely believe something we see on TV. It's nothing personal, but this alone makes us suspicious of anything these researchers find

Nevertheless, here’s a look at the types of evidence and semi-scientific proof some of these groups have collected.

Pictures of Ghosts

Photos of ghosts have been around about as long as photography itself. Even the ghost of Abraham Lincoln was known to photobomb his wife now and then. In recent years some fascinating photos have emerged from well-known haunted locations like Eastern State Penitentiary and Waverly Hill Sanatorium.

An obviously faked photo of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, standing behind his wife.
An obviously faked photo of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, standing behind his wife. | Source

But examples of full-body apparition pictures are hard to come by, and many such as the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, and even Lincoln, are thought to be faked.

In modern times it’s even tougher to distinguish faked photos from real.

The problem is, pretty much anyone with a computer can edit an image, and some people are so good at it that no one but another expert would know the difference.

So does this mean we totally discount photographic proof of the paranormal? Not necessarily, but it does mean we need to strictly consider the source, and the motivation, behind each picture.

Far more abundant than pictures of full-body or partial apparitions are photos of mists, fogs, dark shapes and orbs of light. Lighting conditions, atmospheric anomalies, dust, insects and even the condition of the camera itself can and does influence photos.

Sometimes it seems like paranormal researchers are seeing only what they want to when it comes to light smears in photos, or tiny orbs that can just as well be pieces of dust. Other times, they may be right to say that the appearance of a sudden mist has no reasonable explanation.

Unfortunately, from a scientific perspective there is very little to rely on when it comes to photos of ghosts, and far too many variables at work. For this reason, except in very unusual circumstances where there is zero possibility a photo has been tampered with either accidentally or purposely, and the apparition is very clear to the human eye, most ghost pictures can at best be considered a piece of the overall puzzle, and not real proof.

Video Evidence of the Paranormal

Digital video cameras, night vision and thermal imaging are all employed by researchers in order to catch ghosts in the act of being ghosts. Over the years, shows like the aforementioned Ghost Hunters (based around the activities of The Atlantic Paranormal Society) and Ghost Adventures (The Ghost Adventures Crew) have captured some amazing evidence.

Full-bodied apparitions, shadow people, objects moving on their own, and even the bizarre gremlin-like hooded spirit captured by Ghost Hunters at Eastern State Penitentiary are extremely compelling pieces of footage. But looking at it from a scientific perspective, there still isn’t much to hang our hats on.

Like photos, there are tremendous problems with the validation of any video evidence. Even though researchers do their best to debunk any natural explanations, errors can still occur. On the more nefarious side, video can be faked, altered and doctored, and YouTube is packed with home-made clips of alleged ghosts, created for the sole purpose of duping people and getting a chuckle.

But at least video offers some perspective, which is lacking in still photography. With a video we can see not only the apparition, but what happened before and after the spirit appeared, and also hear any sounds associated with the activity. Really good paranormal investigators will have several cameras set up, along with different audio equipment, so we can also know what was going on elsewhere.

So what do we make of the heaps of video evidence collected by these paranormal investigation shows? Maybe these guys really are capturing footage of actual apparitions, and if that’s the case then this video has to be considered some of the most earth-shattering evidence of the paranormal ever uncovered.

At worst, we’ve all been duped by television producers who are only looking to put out an interesting show with little regard to the integrity of the investigators or the field of paranormal research.

EVPs and Voices from Beyond

EVP stands for electronic voice phenomenon. In a nutshell, EVPs are allegedly recordings of words and phrases spoken by spirits, often not heard by the human ear at the time of capture. Some researchers use white noise to give the spirits a little help.

Finally some science! To understand one theory of why this works, consider the application of white noise when used for sleep purposes. Because white noise is sound produced on a wide array of frequencies, the sounds that may interrupt your sleep get all muddled up in the white noise and become indiscernible.

For spirits it supposedly works the opposite way: Ghostly voices aren’t heard by the human ear because they are indiscernible from the many other frequencies and sounds in the environment, and the mind can’t pick them out. White noise therefore serves as a kind of filter. Only when the evidence is reviewed will the voice be evident, and often with the help of computer equipment and very careful analysis.

Many researchers are moving away from white noise and simply relying on digital recorders, which seem to get the job done all on their own. Spirits are apparently willing to talk to us, if we only listen.

We’re still handcuffed by the possibility of tampering and errors, but EVPs are among the most widely reported pieces of evidence. They’re particularly compelling when words and phrases relate directly to questions asked, or when the voice references someone in the room.

People have encountered apparitions since the dawn of time, but only now do we have the scientific equipment necessary to properly document their existence.
People have encountered apparitions since the dawn of time, but only now do we have the scientific equipment necessary to properly document their existence. | Source

There are a few other interesting methods of drawing out words from beyond such as the Ghost Box, which is simply a modified radio set to rapidly scan through channels thus creating a kind of white noise, or at least background noise, that spirits might communicate through.

Devices like the Ghost Box provide a medium for communication between the living and the spirit world. While most effective in the hands of an expert, anyone can use one to capture evidence of paranormal activity in their own home. However, the very fact that it’s a radio receiver means we don’t have to guess too much when it comes to possible errors with a piece of equipment like this.

The Ovilus is another fascinating piece of technology. This hand-held device takes readings from the surrounding environment and coverts the numbers into words. While the manufacturers of Ovilus make no such claim, many prominent paranormal investigators have used the device to allegedly communicate with the dead. Even though some the results we’ve seen on TV are compelling, at best we can put this in the category of “Huh?”

Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Theory and other Energy Anomalies

Time for more science, sort of! Humans, like all living creatures, emit weak electromagnetic fields. As we surely remember from our Physics 101 class, energy can’t be created or destroyed but only converted from one form to another. So what happens to our bioelectrical energy when we die? Some people theorize it forms the makeup of what we call the human spirit. (Others say the energy simply decays into the environment.)

Therefore, something like an EMF detector, or gauss meter, would be effective for locating human spirits. Gauss meters are devices used by electricians and scientists for measuring magnetic fields.

But there are a few problems with this idea. For one thing, an EMF spike indicates a stronger field than we’d generally expect to see produced by a living organism. But many researchers theorize that human spirits draw energy from the surrounding environment, and even from batteries in devices like flashlights. This, apparently, accounts for strong, localized sources of energy that might very well be spirits.

But even paranormal researchers are quick to point out that electromagnetic fields alone are not an indicator of activity, and there can be any number of real-world explanations. In fact, high electromagnetic fields in a home, originating from the buildings electrical wiring for example, might even contribute to feelings of fear and paranoia, leading someone to erroneously believe their house is haunted.

Unusual thermal readings are another indicator of supernatural activity. Investigators use instruments like thermal imaging cameras to seek out anomalous readings that are hotter or cooler than the surrounding environment, and hopefully those readings are in the shape of a person! Of course heat implies energy, which a spirits possess itself or has drawn from the environment.


Do people live on after death as some form of energy? Are ghosts capable of communicating with us? Have researchers really documented spirit entities in the forms of video and photographs? Or, have we all been duped by unscrupulous television producers and networks just out to make a buck?

The evidence is compelling, but certainly inconclusive. Maybe someday a researcher will come up with indisputable proof of ghosts, but until that day we can, at best, only speculate.

Of course, if you’ve had your own paranormal experiences you already know the truth. Please take a moment to tell your story in the comments section below. Do you have reason to believe ghosts really exist? Tell us why!

Do You Believe?

Is there enough evidence to convince you that ghosts are real?

  • Yes! There is just too much evidence to ignore!
  • I'm keeping an open mind, but not quite convinced.
  • Nope. The "evidence" proves nothing.
  • There is no such thing as ghosts.
  • I don't need to see the evidence; I've had my own experiences!
See results without voting

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Tell Your Ghost Story Here! 31 comments

bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 3 years ago from Spain

Hi cryptid what a phenomenal hub. You will know that I firmly believe in Ghosts and that our loved ones stay with us in spirit and I have written about my experiences on HP. As far as TV ghost hunting shows go I do believe there is a lot of jiggery pokery going on and have written a hub on my view of those too. Ghosts do exist as far as I am concerned but I think these TV shows have to produce something eerie and it´s too easy to manipulate this on television. I hope you don´t mind but I am going to link this hub to my one on TV ghost hunters. Great hub you have produced. Voted up as awesome and interesting and as well as the link I´m also sharing.

bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 3 years ago from Spain

Hi again Cryptid. I have linked this superb hub to 2 of mine, the first being my take on TV ghost hunters and the second my own experiences of being the landlady of a haunted pub. Hope this is OK. Once again great hub.

cryptid profile image

cryptid 3 years ago from Earth Author

Thanks for the kind feedback, bac2basics! Of course it's fine if you link whatever you like. I'll have to get over there and check out your Ghost Hunters Hub.

lesliebyars profile image

lesliebyars 3 years ago from Alabama

I loved this hub as it was informative and kind of scary. Voted up my friend

cryptid profile image

cryptid 3 years ago from Earth Author

Thank you leslie! Informative and kind of scary is exactly what I was going for! :-)

C.C. 2 years ago

I want to tell you that your.article was very interesting and informative. It was very useful to me but it didn't go quite far enough. My ghost are good people and not a bit scary. They seem to watch me when I'm sleeping and disappear when I'm wide awake, they don't come out until I fall asleep.of course I can't watch them while I'm sleeping but I can when I'm half awake, a few times I have woken up and there's a women in the room. I'm sorry I didn't hear you come in. She looks just as human as you or I do. She didn't answer and then disingrated and disappeared . I have seen some of the other ones levitate and disappear as well. They seem to like the tv very well and turn it on at night and turns it off when I'm awake. I have to get up often to go to the bathroom and the tv is off when I come out. Somehow I think we co-exist although I can't see them. What do you know about matter and anti-matter in the same place. These are not people I know that have passed on,although a couple of them do resemble some sometimes. I. Am an elderly woman(old)women, college educated, no dementia and as sane as anyone. I know this story sounds fictitious but it is TRUE. I am hoping you might be able to enlighten me as you sound like you know what you're talking about. Thank you very much. A ny help you can shed on this will be greatly appreciated. God bless you and yours. Have a wonderful day..

cryptid profile image

cryptid 2 years ago from Earth Author

Hi CC. Interesting situation you have there! Some people theorize that what we call ghosts or apparitions may be a result of inter-dimensional or spacetime cross-ups. In other words, the entity your are seeing is living in another dimension, and in that dimension they are just as real as you are. Believe it or not, some theoretical physicists do support the idea that multiple, or even infinite, dimensions may exist.

The spacetime mixup is somewhat supported by Einstein's work, which told us (in theory) that we can move in time just as we can move in space. Thus, you are witnessing a person from the past, who (at least visually) had somehow moved to our present time for a brief moment.

Just theories, made up based on other theories, but they do offer some potential explanations for ghosts sightings aside from the supernatural.

C.C. 2 years ago

Thank you Cyptid. For your very informative answers and information. Yes, I do believe in other planes where people are living their own lives. I also believe in time travel and people can coexist, and Thai matter and anti matter can occupy the same space. I got a lot of my info from Erich Von Danikan. He has several good books on the subject. It was good to be able to talk to an everyday person who knows about these things. Actually that was my line of thinking as well. I thought that they were from one of the other deminsons. There are several people that come through here at different days. They aren't to far in the past , probable about the thirties or forties. They have good vibes and make you feel quite secure. Thanks again for listening to me. 10-26-2014 ....

Skymanga 24 months ago

This article will help me debate for school thanks Cryptid!

cryptid profile image

cryptid 24 months ago from Earth Author

Good luck in your ghost debate, Skymanga! Hope you win. Don't be too proud not to resort to name calling! (Joking of course. Name calling is only appropriate in debates for politicians.)

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Interesting stuff here. There's ghosts and there's ghouls and there's spirits. This would give you something to think about and debate.

sparkster profile image

sparkster 8 months ago from United Kingdom

I was never really a believer in ghosts until very recently. All my life I have been fascinated with and studied topics like the true nature of consciousness and parapsychology and have learned how to tap into the paranormal. I've achieved things which completely defy conventional science by doing so. However, it wasn't until just over a year ago that I first saw what I consider to be a ghost and I have seen more of them since. I have learned how to use parapsychological techniques in order to tune into the world of the "paranormal" and have proven to myself many times that it's real. I have also used these same principles to achieve telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, chronesthesia and to create physical change in the world with absolutely astounding results which have baffled even me! I have tested these over and over again with results that prove without a doubt that these phenomena are indeed very real.

Peartree 7 months ago

There is, to my mind, far too much of a history of ghostly apparitions for there not to be some truth to them. They have been seen, or reported to have been, in so many cultures around the world, and for such a long time, that it would be very coincidental that they were 'invented' by people. It may be possible that we see them much more than we know, but just don't realize that they are in fact ghosts. I mean, if you see a crowd of people, how are you to know who is 'real' and who isn't? The problem these days is that photography can be altered so easily, and images and sounds can be produced in a variety of ways, making any real verification of ghostly presences very difficult to prove.

Thankyou for your Hub, it is very interesting.

nightfly44 4 months ago

The biggest stumbling block, is the paranormal investigators themselves. It's pretty clear that when they collect data, they ignore common sense. Then they present a video, audio, or picture, and just expect people to believe them. The ghosthunters TV show is the worst offender, after over 10 years they still haven't learned. Set up cameras which cover ALL angles of an investigated site; or, at least TWO which monitor each other in order to present a video where you can demonstrate that NO ONE is contaminating the area by hiding behind something, pulling fishing line or shining a flashlight with a stencil on it or something. Now, that would be a simple thing to do. Yet, NONE OF THE PARANORMAL INVESTIGATORS DO THIS. They set up cameras all over the place, but only one to a site. ONE. And they they just assume the world will 'trust them' about there being no possible contamination of the data they present. How stupid are they? Well, we already know. They use divining rods, quija boards, mediums, and then prayer to scare away bad spirits. Right. Every non scientific method they can find. And it all adds up to the same thing; they want us to blindly believe them. We aren't supposed to ask any questions. Just 'have faith'. Sorry, ghost hunters, the world isn't stupid. YOU ARE. And it's painfully obvious.

Peartree 4 months ago

Nightfly44, you are absolutely correct in saying that these TV shows do not prove the existence of ghosts. The presenters have to produce an entertaining programme for the general viewing public, so anything that apparently 'proves' that there is more going on than what we think of as 'natural' will be good for ratings, therefore for their pockets!

Conversely, making programmes that don't really try to encourage people to believe that there is a spirit realm won't keep the viewer's interest. What I am trying to say is that there are ulterior motives to making these shows as enteraining as possible, whch also means that credibility and science may suffer. We need to have scientifically run programmes that have nothing to prove or disprove, just show it as it is. This way, money and effort could be spent on unbiased investigations, and evidence could be gathered which could be of some use.

cryptid profile image

cryptid 4 months ago from Earth Author

Unfortunately I think TV shows about paranormal happenings have become so popular that networks are really stretching the boundaries when it comes to credibility. In the early days of Ghost Hunters there was at least an effort to show some kind of scientific approach. In recent years some of the methods used on many of these show are questionable at best, and deceptive at worst.

In my opinion there was a brief window where Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures sparked real, valuable discussion on the paranormal. We've moved well beyond that to a point where entertainment is put before inquiry.

Sophia 4 months ago

Hey Cryptid I'm Sophia and I have a very particular situation, when I'm alone I feel like if someone is there watching me or I feel too that someone is breathing near to me I can't explain how it really feels but it don't happen in all places it only happen in a certain amount of places, I don't really know what is it but I think I need some help, maybe with your experiences you can help me.

Thank you !

cryptid profile image

cryptid 4 months ago from Earth Author

Hi Sophia. Strange feelings can be explained in any number of perfectly natural ways, including electromagnetic oddities in the building or room. Sometimes our minds can run away with things. Unless you experience something clearly paranormal I wouldn't worry. If your experiences do escalate you need to seek help from someone locally, and I'd start by talking with someone you know and trust.

Good luck, and try not to worry!

Peartree 4 months ago

Do you know whether places can have ghosts? When I was about ten or twelve years old, I saw what I still think must have been the 'ghost' of an old shed that had been pulled down and replaced some time ago. That might be put down to imagination, except that I saw and heard the dog that lived in the shed too. The dog had been dead for some time, but he certainly didn't seem to be when I saw him then. Forty years later I'm still convinced that's what I saw, even though I 'know' I couldn't have. Do you have any ideas about this sort of thing? Thankyou

cryptid profile image

cryptid 4 months ago from Earth Author

Hi Peartree. Reports like yours are not as common as human-like apparitions, but they do happen. It may have been some sort of residual paranormal phenomenon. This is where events, objects or entities from the past are sort of "recorded" into the environment and appear today.

Peartree 3 months ago

Thanks for your reply. One of the reasons that I'm sure I saw the shed and dog is precisely

because it is an uncommon, or at least less publicised type of 'ghost', if that's what it was.

I think that sort of rules out anything like being influenced by reading or hearing about ghostly presences; if it were that influence, I probably would have seen a more 'usual' type of

apparition, like a person. I was only about 10 or so years old at the time, and have always been interested in this sort of thing. I would never say ghosts don't exist after this, even though it was over forty years ago! Thanks for your hub.

MikeD 3 months ago

Ghosts are real. No doubt and, I think scientists or, some greater power won't allow proof to be revealed-why? Don't know, maybe it's because it would prove there's more to life?

Since I was a child, I've experienced strange occurrences. Later in life, they would become more intense. I once prayed out of fear-"fighting" a "demonic" presence, I prayed 'so hard' that a crystal bowl above me on a shelf exploded..! Were the demons angry or, was the intensity of my concentration so intense it shattered this bowl?

I had ghosts in my apartment 4 years ago. I had collected evp with a child telling me, "I'm right (pause) here..." My son dreamed of "big black spiders" and would wake up and tell me where they were, he pointed to the floor in the exact spot where a loud knock came from just before I woke him from his nightmare... I also got evp from a local cemetery, I stood near a tombstone and asked the person how he died-and I couldn't tell exactly all he was saying, but for sure the word "Suicide" came out very, very clear..

No one can tell me that "ghosts" are not present. I mean, these are just some of my experiences-the part of my apartment being haunted alone has much more to it.. They are among us. Both good & bad.

Crowsticks 2 months ago

I'm a very logical and scientific person and even I have seen these "ghosts."

I even went as far as to try to communicate with these beings.

They have appeared in detail as a person, human-like shadows...

I've seen objects move, doors opening and slamming.

I honestly believe this is either:

A. My brain playing tricks.

B. A flash from an other dimension. (We only percieve time as moving in one direction due to our dimensional limitations. Time actually all exists at once.)

C. Beings who are in a higher dimension that we can't perceive that are interacting with our dimension and we get a glimpse of them. (Ex: 2D being could never perceive 3D beings. So 3D beings can't perceive 4D-10D)

There could be a million more hypothesis to this.. but these are the ones that make the most sense to me. I personally do not believe in a God or even a "beginning." Hell, there could be trillions of other universes.

Joe 2 months ago

A few years ago i started to hear voices coming from fans i use in summer due to heat. After reading about this matter it seemed to be auditive "medium" hability. These voices aren't only inside my mind, since sometimes i record audio from a fan with my laptop and the voices get registered...

All they need to come out is some white noise at the background. These voices use to be calm and nice, but now and then they sound very deep (like exorcist's girl, no joke) and scream or say things like "I'm gonna kill you", which really scares me so much when i listen to it.

Actually i've been a long time without recording anything, i don't want this matter to make me go crazy. I still hear voices sometimes from white noise, but i try to ignore them.

Xiaoda Xiao 7 weeks ago

It's no secret that there's a hidden world. I had lived in a room on the second floor of an old traditional house in Suzhou, China before I came to America. One night I had a dream in which I found myself walking among a crowd of people wearing strange clothes on a market street that also looked strange. My purpose in the dream was to see a young woman, the daughter of a wealthy family, whom I didn't see, of course, but the dream continued ever since like a TV series. Eventually I consulted the landlady who was over sixty years old then about my strange dreams. She told me that she had come across the same people I had encountered, and said that the street scenes I'd seen were the actual happening 250 years before. I went to the city library and checked the history of the neighborhood. I saw the earliest pictures of the city (1850s) that looked just like what appeared in my dreams. I also checked the names of the members of the wealthy family that had appeared in my dream. To my aghast, They had once lived in the neighborhood. The whole story is too long to tell. What I want to say is I believe the existence of the invisible world.

Bob 7 weeks ago

I believe because I've had my own personal experiences. I have physically seen, smelled and felt their presence. I'm 61 years old and without a doubt they do exist. My mother who is 92 years old has had her own experiences too.

I burn dry sage leaves at home to get rid of them, ( It works ) look it up and read about it.

Barbara 5 weeks ago

I was asleep in my chair when I was startled awake. I saw a partial man standing about 6 feet away. His arms were crossed, he was wearing a tan blazer with some kind of pattern, I saw a white shirt, but legs were only there from about the knees up and his face there but without features. He was older maybe 70 as he had a balding head with gray hair. He jumped when I suddenly awakened, like he got caught. He vanished behind a curtain (I even saw the crease in the air) This was my first and I am 76. Some in my family have seen loved ones who passed, but I didn't think it would ever happen to me. Made me a believer of another Dimension.

J. Thornton 2 weeks ago

People only die physically. That which you can call your inner self containing all your thoughts and memories does not die but lives on. These thoughts and memories can project images of their bodies. Therefore you can call them spirits or ghosts.

Kushan Patel 2 weeks ago

there is no such thing as other dimension. i was a physics student. We live within boundaries of quantum physics. I if want to research on ghost . mix , Quantum Physics with para psychology and meta physics.

t. downing 2 weeks ago

I know what I've experienced and, after considering them rationally, nothing comes close to explaining them in any other terms other than paranormal. Science is either too bias or afraid to conceive them a reality. It's akin to admitting UFO's and Aliens exist - it would destroy the status quo, i.e. religions, politics – the world. In short everything they assume control over.

Blargh 2 weeks ago

Life is so amazing when you aren't bound by the laws of physics!

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    With interests in science, nature and the paranormal, cryptid explores fringe topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective.

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