"I have to say everything that is reported,
but I don't need everything to believe."
Herodot Histories VII. (482-429 BC)


Apparitions of ghosts and hauntings are handed down from every epoch in human history. In the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Plato believed that "the soul, the body survives", the basic requirement for spirits.

Various surveys show that every tenth person has had apparitions of spirits or heard voices.

Here you will find a small selection of the most famous apparitions of ghosts. It is a so-called local spook. Reports of this can be found in numerous books, mostly copied from one another. Today it is almost impossible to make a statement about the apparitions. Even if 10 percent were real appearances, even these may have been hallucinations.

In a further article, we will go into the issues of poltergeist spook — the so-called personal spook — and also apparitions of Mary.

In contrast to a personal Poltergeist spook that only lasts a few days or weeks, a local spook takes from several years to centuries. However, it must be said that to date no real local haunt has been proven.

Apparition of a "White Lady"

An example of a "white lady" is that from the Elfin Forest, which is located near Escondido in California, always had a paralyzing effect on people when she appeared. She looked pretty harmless. But it was enough to recognize a spirit in her. In recent years, many people have seen it even in the daytime.

Among them was James Harrelson, who had gone out to the picnic with his family and hiked a little to look at the trees: "I might walk a mile, then I would sit down and rest. Suddenly I felt someone hesitantly take off my shoes I looked up. There was a woman in front of me. She was calm and had a friendly expression. I smiled at her and said 'Hello' to her, but she just stared at me. She had a piercing look like me I've never seen it like it was looking through me to the bottom of my soul. It was scary. Suddenly it started to go away. I knew then that it was out of this world." He hurried back to his family and drove them home.

Another witness, Roberta Boren, saw a woman walking in front of her. She decided to catch up with her and talk to her. When she got closer, the "White Lady" floated towards a house and Miss Boren saw her walk through the wall. Others observed her on various occasions, including the pastor, retired. Corinne Pleasant, who lives nearby. She also said that the "White Lady" hovers about two inches above the ground and rarely walks properly.

This report has not been examined in detail and is only intended to be an example for many reports from the literature. The narratives always vary slightly; sometimes it is a hitchhiker that disappears in the front passenger seat while driving; sometimes a "white lady" who announces the death of a family member with a loud scream. The reports have one thing in common: You have to rely on individual eyewitnesses, whose story can also be an imaginary story ...

Ghosts just a delusion?

The following case proves that the human eye can also be wrong. In 1964, the British television station "Anglia Television" broadcast an interview with researcher Tony Cornell, which was filmed in front of an alleged haunted house. For the production, A.D. Cornell, a member of S.P.R., was asked to report on the work of an experienced PSI researcher. The filming took place at Morley Hall in Norfolk, a 16th century mansion. Although the building did not have the reputation of being a haunted house, its dark, somber interior seemed made for subterranean events. For a whole night, Cornell did his usual work, spoke to the owner of the building, examined the property, set up his test equipment, and, as always, waited for a ghost to appear in the dark. The next morning, he went outside to give an interview to the show's host. Had he noticed anything out of the ordinary? No, said Cornell. Does he think Morley Hall is haunted? No, certainly not. After the programs were broadcast, however, five viewers came forward who claimed to have seen the ghostly figure of a monk to the right of Cornell during the interview. Amazed, employees of the television company took a close look at the film, but were unable to discover anything.

As an experiment, the program was broadcast two more times. Without going into details, the announcer added that some people in the film saw a ghost. This time a total of 27 spectators came forward, 15 of whom claimed to have seen a monk or priest. Ten more believed a similar figure in a mantilla and one a skull with a hood. After all, seven viewers were skeptical enough to attribute the ghostly shape to the incidence of light or another optical illusion - and that was exactly what it was when you watched the film again. When you looked closer at the program, you noticed that Cornell's shadow was slightly reflected in a window behind him. With a little imagination you could have thought it was a ghost ...


The village of Bélmet de la Moraleda has been the scene of a repeated haunted phenomenon since 1971 in the form of human stories that manifest themselves in the concrete floor of a house. However, against scientists assume that it is a staged dizziness of the residents, who applied the faces with oxidizing chemicals to the floors and walls, which turn dark when exposed to light. The German parapsychology pope Hans Bender spoke to local eyewitnesses and was convinced that the pictures were of paranormal origin.

The Davenport Brothers

The Davenport Brothers was an American magician duo who showed the most successful show of spiritist media of the 19th century.

They produced all the usual spiritistic manifestations while (apparently) tied up. In their most famous performance, sitting in a closet, they brought all kinds of musical instruments to play, even though they were tied up. They appeared in America between 1855 and 1864. After the outbreak of the American Civil War, they preferred to tour England, France, Germany and Russia. In 1868 they returned to America. They separated in 1873 and Ira became a farmer. An attempt to make a comeback in 1895 failed. The Davenport brothers had a lasting influence on the magic of their time with their show. A former employee, Harry Kellar, later became the most famous US magician of his time; Harry Houdini was also inspired by the Davenports as a spectator in 1887 and became friends with Ira in 1909 in his last years.

In contrast to its announcers, the duo never claimed to possess supernatural powers or to be in league with spirits, but left open the nature of their abilities. As a result, magician colleagues like John Henry Anderson, John Nevil Maskelyne and Houdini, who acted as anti-spiritualists, were challenged to reveal the tricks of the Davenport Brothers publicly.

Farewell to the dying

On December 7, 1918, David McConnell took off from Scampton, England, to transfer an aircraft to the nearby military base. Shortly before 3:30 p.m. his roommate Lieutenant Larkin heard McConnell's voice. He said, "Hello boy!" Larkin saw him standing at the door and asked: "Back already?" — "Yes", said McConnell, "I had a good flight". Then he disappeared. A short time later an officer came to find McConnell. Larkin said he had just seen him. He later learned that McDonnell had crashed at 3:25 p.m. some 100 kilometers away and died. Around the same time he last saw him.

Stones throwing stones

A case of mysterious stone throws from Czechoslovakia dates from 1927. It was strange that the stones only became visible about 30 cm away from the observers. (Thurston 1955). The stones often seemed to come from far away (pirkalla) and rarely did they cause serious injuries.

England's most famous haunted house: Borley Rectory

The Borley Rectory rectory was "the most haunted house in England" until it was destroyed by fire in 1939.

The supposedly decades-long haunt was made known in the 1930s by the controversial parapsychologist Harry Price (1881-1948), who later became suspected of having staged many of the haunted phenomena in the house itself.

The history of the rectory actually begins before it was built in 1863, because it was built on the foundations of an old monastery. According to legend, in the 14th century a monk had a forbidden love relationship with a nun from the neighboring monastery. The tragic couple was then sentenced to death. According to various traditions, the monk is said to have either been beheaded or hanged and the nun has been walled up alive in the vaulted cellar of the monastery. The ghost of the nun is said to have appeared near her grave, so that she could walk back and forth between the two monasteries on the so-called "nun's path". In addition, sightings of a ghost coach and the troubling appearance of a headless man in the Borley area kept circulating.

When the parish was built on the nun's path, these apparitions are said to have increased. Reverend Bull and his family of 15 soon reported a wide variety of incidents. The residents are said to have been observed through a window in the evening by a "sad-looking ghost sun", whereupon the annoyed Reverend had the window walled up. After that, the processes in the house worsened: objects are said to have been thrown through the rooms by an invisible hand, there were reports of knocking and scratching noises of unknown origin, and sometimes bells were said to be ringing inexplicably. Two of the Reverend's daughters reported a shadowy shape that they claim to have seen in the rectory garden on the nun's path. A daughter is said to have been rudely woken up by a slap in the face; another claimed to have seen the shape of a dark man with a large hat next to her bed at night.

When Henry Bull died in 1892, his son Harry succeeded his father. The activities in the house continued unchanged, so the staff soon refused to enter the property. In addition, the horror story, enriched with superstitions, was embellished with increasing detail over time. After all, the rectory had such a bad reputation that after Reverend Harry Bull's death in 1927, twelve clergymen refused to take over the ministry.

In 1928, the reverend Guy Eric Smith moved into the house with his wife. Although the couple were skeptical of the spook, they were soon confronted with strange things. Just one day after moving in, Mrs. Smith discovered the skull of a woman wrapped in brown wrapping paper in a cupboard. The Smiths also reported a dark horse-drawn carriage that drove around the house at night, lights in the windows, inexplicable steps in empty rooms, and the bell of the staff bell, although it was broken. The troubled couple finally turned to the Daily Mirror with the strange story. The newspaper sent a reporter to Borley in June 1929, who subsequently published a series of articles about the mysterious rectory.

Then the self-proclaimed ghost hunter Harry Price became aware of the case that was supposed to make him famous. Price first visited the haunted house on June 12, 1929. As soon as it arrived, the spook assumed the quality of a noisy poltergeist: there were knocking noises, keys fell out of the keyholes, stones and other objects, such as a vase, were thrown through the room and a window pane broke. When Price left the property, the ghost came to an abrupt end.

In the following weeks, Price visited the Borley rectory several times, and similar phenomena occurred every time. Finally the Smiths moved out, annoyed. Mrs. Smith later suspected Harry Price of staging the supposed poltergeist. Pastor Lionel Algernon Foyster, a relative of the original owner, was the successor. Foyster moved to the rectory in October 1930 with his wife Marianne and adoptive daughter Adelaide. Immediately with the arrival of the Foysters, the haunted began again, the doorbell resumed, bottles were thrown, objects moved or disappeared in an enigmatic way to reappear somewhere else, and daughter Adelaide is said to have been "threatened by something terrible". Reverend Foyster then performed two exorcisms that were unsuccessful. When he tried to drive out the ghosts, he was hit by a stone. Finally, the Foysters turned to Harry Price with the new incidents, who promptly paid him a visit. The haunt was now apparently concentrated on Marianne Foyster. This described that she had been hit in the face by an invisible force and was thrown out of bed at night. Price was particularly interested in the messages scribbled on a wall to Marianne, in which the alleged spirit begged for help. The correspondence was documented with photographs.

In the meantime, other para-scientists had become aware of the Borley spook and came to the unanimous conclusion that the spook was deliberately or unconsciously created by Marianne Foyster. Marianne Foyster said she had occasionally suspected her own husband of creating the spook in collaboration with one of the para-scientists. She later admitted that she had created some phenomena herself to distract from her love affair with a subtenant. With Lionel Foyster's death Marianne moved out and the Borley house was empty.

In May 1937 Harry Price rented the rectory. With an advertisement in the Times, he went in search of "responsible people with leisure and intelligence, fearless, critical and free of prejudice", who should spend time as observers in the rectory of Borley and record supernatural occurrences. Price put together a team of 40 people, mostly students, from over two hundred applicants. An Oxford student wanted to see objects moving around the house. A BBC staff member was hit on the head by a bar of soap in a locked room and another observer noticed how the room temperature dropped several degrees for no plausible reason. All people reported unexplained noises in the house.

In March 1938, Helen Glanville, the daughter of a Harry Price employee, hosted a séance with a planchette in which two ghosts reportedly reported. The first ghost was that of a young French nun called "Marie Lairre". Marie Lairre came from a monastery near Le Havre and was to be married to a forest count in Borley. This strangled her in 1667 on the site of what would later become the rectory and buried her body in a place where the basement of the house was later to be found. Some messages from the Séance also coincided with the Bull daughters' earlier statements. Price finally identified Marie Lairre as the ghost who has been wandering the Borley property for centuries and who is said to have scribbled the ominous cries for help on the wall.

The second ghost is said to have identified himself as "Sunex Amures" and announced that he would set the Borley rectory on fire at 9:00 that evening and that the bones of a murdered person would be exposed. However, the prophecy of Sunex Amures did not arrive that evening, March 27, 1938, but only a year later, on March 27, 1939. That evening was the new tenant of the rectory, a Captain W.H. Gregson, busy sorting books onto a shelf, causing a petroleum lamp to tip over and set the entire building on fire. That night the house burned to the ground. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen ghostly figures in the flames. Captain Gregson was later accused of arson. In 1943, Harry Price undertook some excavations in the basement of the house, where he found the suspected bones of a young woman, and a medal showing St. Ignatius. Further excavations revealed nothing else. Hoping that the spirit would finally find peace, the bones in the neighboring village of Liston were buried in a Christian ceremony after the pastor in Borley refused - and to follow the local opinion - that the find was only Have traded pork bones.

Harry Price died in 1948. After his death, his reputation suffered considerable damage when three members of the London Society for Psychical Research (SPR), Price's former loyal assistants, critically re-examined the Borley case. In their so-called Borley report, they noticed discrepancies in Price's notes and came to the conclusion that most of the "paranormal events" in Borley were either faked or caused by natural things, such as rats, and that the strange noises were special Acoustics of the house. Price 's credibility in particular was questioned by the researchers, citing Daily Mail reporter Charles Sutton, who accused Price of his fraud after his death: "A lot happened that night that I had with Harry Price and one of his colleagues in the famous Borley rectory. So a big pebble hit me on the head. After several noisy "phenomena" I grabbed Harry and found his bag full of blocks and pebbles — after talking to a lawyer, my article was deleted."

Life reporter Cynthia Ledsham reported of a photo shoot in Borley in 1944 when the rectory was being demolished. The photographer took a picture of a brick that apparently flew through the air. Price said it was "the first photo of a Poltergeist projectile ever made." It later turned out that the flying brick was only thrown by a construction worker busy with the demolition, but could not be seen in the picture. After careful research, the parish was not at all on the remains of a former monastery, and even the wandering nun was played by one of the maids. It also emerged that the Foyster couple previously lived in Amherst, Nova Scotia, a place known in the 19th century for a well-documented poltergeist phenomenon that has striking parallels to the Borley case. Even the ghost scribble on the walls probably came from the three-year-old daughter Adelaide. In his 1948 book Search for Harry Price, the author Trevor Hall described the ghost hunter as a "publication-addicted charlatan and unscrupulous liar".

In summary, SPR members found no clear evidence of any paranormal activity in Borley. They published their investigation results in the book The Haunting of Borley Rectory in 1956, whereupon Robert Hastings, another member of the SPR, again questioned the report without, however, reaching a satisfactory result. The dispute over the authenticity of the Borley case preoccupied the SPR until the 1980s. Ultimately, the Society concluded that probably not a word Harry Price had ever written about the Borley rectory was true.

Ghost spot on photos

So-called "ghost spots" are diffuse, glowing, more or less circular discs in photographic images. Many spiritists and esotericists see paranormal appearances in it. But this is just a blurring artifact, mostly when taking pictures with a flash.

The light from the flash is scattered and partially reflected by particles suspended between the image and the camera. As a result of the blurring caused by the proximity and focus, roughly disc-shaped light images are created. The image of the particles is much larger than the particle itself. The shape is based on the shape of the respective aperture. The actual cause of these scattering centers is often dust, but the effect can also be caused by raindrops, snowflakes, insects or other small objects in the vicinity of the camera.

The larger depth of field in digital compact cameras due to the smaller image sensors compared to the analog 35mm format and the associated shorter focal lengths causes images in which these particles are still imaged with a sufficiently small circle of confusion and thus bright enough.

Explanations for ghosts

The American parapsychologist William G. Roll believed that the haunted phenomena were created by the observer himself and then perceived. Roll admits that in many cases the mental state of the recipient plays an active role in unconsciously creating haunted phenomena to satisfy emotional needs.

In the past, psychologists viewed children's imaginary — imagined — play guides as a warning sign. Wrongly: Today we know that children who invent playmates are particularly psychologically stable. More than half of all children have had an invisible friend at least once for a short time.

The British psychologist Richard Wiseman has examined many ghosts: "Some people cannot distinguish their fantasies from real events. They have shocking experiences, but there is no reason to assume that they take place in the real world. If you have a scary experience, you will one is overly vigilant. The panic increases and spreads to others."

Wiseman continues: "When we dream, the brain paralyzes our body so that we do not carry out the movements of the dream and injure ourselves. Sometimes this function gets out of balance: Then you are awake and fully conscious, but still paralyzed (sleep paralysis) . It can be a scary experience. All kinds of pictures can appear to them. When you fall asleep it is called hypnagogic - when you grow up it is hypnapompe hallucination. With both you can see animals, demons or people in the room. You lie in bed and can look around but don't move a muscle. One way to interpret this condition is to be held by a ghost. If you don't know that your brain is playing tricks on you, you can believe that it is haunted."

Often, people in this state feel like they are being kidnapped by aliens or that they are seeing ghosts or deceased people. These hallucinations have nothing to do with ordinary dreams, they mostly seem completely realistic, and those affected are absolutely convinced of the reality of their memories.

Fatigue and sleep deprivation can also lead to hallucinations. Visual disturbances start after thirty hours: small objects move out of place, the chairs change their size, many see a wreath of fog around the light bulbs. The hallucinations increase until cobwebs and worms appear in front of the face or imaginary animals and monsters appear. At the same time, mood instability occurs, the test subjects laughed and cried for no reason. They begin to no longer be able to distinguish daydreams from reality.

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