Ghosts and Hauntings/Seeing shadows / THANKS!
QUESTION: Hello Greg,
I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago about my lights mysteriously going off, my TV mysteriously coming on, and my smoke alarm alarming for no reason. You suggested that I check my electrical circuits/wiring for problems, and I had a friend come to my house to help me with that. We found nothing wrong, as in no shorts other than the ones I'm wearing. By the way, those issues have not happened again since I last wrote to you.
This time I am writing about something different. For many years I have noticed movements in my peripheral vision, and when I would turn to see if something is there, there would be nothing or no one. These movements would happen on a regular basis, but lately they seem to have ramped up just a bit. My beloved dog, Princess, died in April, and I keep seeing movements that are low to the floor, which makes me think it may be her spirit (ghost), in addition to other movements that aren't necessarily near the floor level. In your experience do spirits or ghosts of passed loved ones or pets cause these shadows or movements to occur? Or (the obvious question again) am I going crazy? If so, I would at least have a plausible explanation. ha ha I hope you can shed some light on it for me, or on the shadows.
ANSWER: Hi Gary,
I am glad that the electrical issues have quieted down. It might have been due to problems caused elsewhere on the line that supplies your home, perhaps causing surges. Maybe more than one home was affected.
I am sorry for the loss of your dog. The only way to answer your questions are No and Yes. No, you are not going crazy. Yes, there is a good chance that Princess is still with you. However, I should deal with "corner of the eye phenomena" first.
Corner of the eye phenomena is normal in most people. The shadows are usually attributed to ghosts. Of course there are those who will have you believe that the shadows are demons and a couple of "Hail Mary's" is the cure all to end all. Get on your knees man! Others will say that they are "elemental spirits", - sylphs, gnomes and nymphs, oh my. I, however, have taken some time to study up a little on vision, as many reports of paranormal activity involve seeing 'something'. And it is exactly as you describe in your initial account, that you see something from your peripheral vision and when you turn your head to get a better look it is gone. The key words are "peripheral vision". We're dealing with rods, cones and eye adjustment to changes in light.
Now before I go on I will say that corner of the eye phenomena solves 80% of the reportedly seen shadows [let's call it CEP else I'll be writing all night and I'm already tardy with my reply]. However as you will see in the following explanation that CEP works both ways, to explain shadows caused by light adjustment AND shadows that may be paranormal in essence - maybe another 5%. The remaining 15% due to hallucinations, regardless of cause, or vision disorders including "floaters" and lack of vitamin A. Bear in mind that these are ballpark estimates. These are just approximations based on my experiences with the issue.
Foveal vision is the vision that we use most of the time as it is the straight on vision that we use for daily activities. You are using your foveal vision to read this. This vision is mainly due to eye cells called 'cones'. Cones are what allow us to see colors and are involved in situations where a normal amount of light is present. When things get darker, cones give way to eye cells called "rods". Rods are involved in peripheral vision, and interpret things as black and white [think television in the 50's - rods, versus high definition televisions of today - cones].
Peripheral vision is used to detect motion and activity in low light situations where color is less important than awareness. Going back in time to the caveman, some of which still living and apparently can get driver licenses, the ability to see shadows in the dark was key for survival. When a saber tooth tiger is creeping up on one, it is not important to know what color its eyes were, but rather that something is creeping up on you for a midnight snack. So from a paranormal point of view, no pun intended, it is possible that something is actually there, a dark shadow in the dark. A demon? - not likely, but perhaps an animal. On the other hand, shadow like forms may be the result of looking away from a light source brighter than the surrounding environment. Sitting in a dark room while using a computer, phone or television screen and then looking away from it means that one is now going from cone activity to rod activity and the adjustment can cause shadows. This is why they [paranormal shadows] are rarely if ever reported in an office environment, as opposed to being at home during the evening. Shadow people have been reported more frequently lately. My educated opinion is this is not due to more ghosts, but rather due to smart phones, where one where stare at a light source while sitting alone in the dark. I just said that last part because I'm wearing an "Alone in the dark" tee-shirt. But I'm sure that you get my point.
Now back to the ghosts of animals, mainly pets. I believe that the more intelligent that an animal is the closer it is to conscious awareness. To me that means if an animal looks you in the eyes when you talk to it, it is more aware than others. My list includes dogs, cats, horses, elephants, primates and of course dolphins. As well we as humans are more likely to associate with pets and a close bond develops. Animals that are capable of loving are aware. However, and unfortunately if a pet were to see its reflection in a mirror, it doesn't stop and say to itself, "Hey, that's me!". Although they recognize other dogs as dogs or cats as cats they haven't any cognitive awareness of its "self". If we were to return as ghosts we usually take a human form as we are aware of who we are and what we, as humans look like. However as far as I know pets do not know what they personally look like. Thus they are likely to be seen more or less shapeless, more like a shadow. Now I know that cases of full body apparitions of animals have been reported. That may be more due to the observer than the observed in that the human mind may be reading the animal psychically and putting the pieces together.
It is not unusual for people who have had a Near Death Experience [NDE] to see their predeceased pets waiting for them. Apparently love and loyalty has no time limit or boundaries. The last thing on a dying persons mind is not likely to be, "I wonder if Spot is waiting for me?". Therefore, the person who has an NDE is not seeing their pet as wish fulfillment as the cynics of an afterlife might say. My cat is sleeping beside me as I write this. She is getting older, but I know without a doubt that we'll be together in death. She'll wait for me, or I'll be waiting for her, depending on who takes their journey first.
Gary, I guess what I'm saying is that regardless of whether the shadows have a normal physiological, somatic cause such as light adjustment or if the shadows are indeed paranormal, that Princess is still alive. She is likely confused, due to the assumed fact that animals have no concept of mortality or death as we do, as to why things have changed. No more food, no more walks, no more petting... but she'll adjust. Besides, animals have spirit guides as we do. If she went into the light instead of remaining earth bound, she will be waiting for you.
Long answer, sorry, but your inquiry doesn't have a black and white [pun intended] reply. I am amazed at some people in my field who give concrete answers to multifaceted questions. I hope that I have helped you in some way with the explanations that I have supplied. You know where to get me if you need any more information or assistance. Take care.
Director of Parapsychology and Paranormal Studies,
Eidolon Project Canada,
Paranormal Investigations, Edmonton, Calgary, Reed Deer, Alberta, Canada
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Greg, and THANKS so much for taking the time to write such a long and detailed answer to my question. I greatly appreciate it!
I am a retired health care worker and have a degree in Health, so I know something (although not a LOT) about rods and cones. Your explanations makes a lot of sense, but how do we know the difference? I'm sure there is no definitive way to distinguish between an actual ghost/spirit presence or our rods/cones creating these peripheral movements and shadows. I am just playing devil's advocate here, and not trying to be difficult or dispute anything you are saying. But since I'm not under any pressure to prove anything to myself or the local authorities I can live with the possibility of it being either one or the other.
Yes, Princess was very smart, and we were together for 13 years. And I am of the belief that we will reunite in the afterlife. As well as my family, who have all crossed over as well. So for my own piece of mind, I have resigned myself to believing they are all with me in spirit, and I am believing that those shadows I'm seeing are my family and/or Princess watching over me. If nothing else, it keeps me from really going crazy.
In closing, I want to thank you for being so patient and for your time explaining everything. I have long been interested in the Paranormal, so I am like a sponge when it comes to learning all I can about everything it encompasses. I am sure I will come up with another question at some point, so I will keep you in mind. When I was growing up my mom always used to say I asked a lot of questions, and that is the only way to learn a lot of things. And nearly 60 years later I am still at it.
I hope you are enjoying your weekend.
Thank you for your gratitude. It is appreciated and you are most welcome.
In hind sight I had meant to mention that because peripheral vision was built in to allow us to notice shadows, that seeing shadows may in fact be due to entity movement as it is movement that the rods are meant to pick up on. This is where no clear cut answer can be made because of the science / parascience paradox. Is it natural light adjustment or a medical condition of the eye or hallucination caused by a relaxed state of mind [science] or is it an entity ghost, geological area allowing a weakening of the veil between realms or dimensions or psychic ability [parascience / paranormal]? As a rule one should systematically eliminate all chances of the events being of a normal, rational and scientific cause before the paranormal is considered. Occam's razor first, paranormal theory last.
What I forgot to mention in my reply is that you may be encountering both natural phenomena as well as paranormal phenomena since the passing of Princess. Every case is unique, so no definite answer is available until it is investigated. Usually a apparition of an entity should not disappear when looked at straight on, as forveal vision has both cones and rods. But the majority do so an educated guess that the phenomena is normal should be made. To be honest certain paranormal events remind me of the double slit experiment in physics and quantum theory where waves can act as particles and particles can act as waves depending on if there is an observer or not. These paranormal shadows do exhibit a similar response to conscious observance. They are observable peripherally until one tries to actually observe them straight on. There are scientists working in the field of physics and consciousness studies who claim that consciousness is a major, if not the major element of the universe; a field such as gravity or magnetism. Without consciousness the universe ceases to exist.
Part of the motto of the Eidolon Project Canada includes the phrase "Quaere Verum", "Seek the Truth" [Latł]. The truth can not only be elusive, but can change in accordance to the times. At one time the accepted truth was a flat world. Only an inquiring mind is willing to search. An inquiring mind belongs to the true skeptic in the word's purest form, to question. [Unfortunately the word has become to mean to criticize or to be cynical about an idea outside of ones narrow point of view]. One doesn't get answers with out inquiry. Doing what I do I live in a world of inquiry, seeking the truth. I have only one file labeled "P" for possibilities. I am glad that you are of the same mind. When bringing up my children words from them such as, "Why..." and, "How..." put a smile on my face. Only fanatical believers cease to ask because to them they already have all of the answers [that they want].
This is my favorite time of year, so I will indeed enjoy my weekends, because here, one never knows when they will be under 30 inches of snow with a -30 degree daytime temperature. And that brings up another question, "Why do I live here???"
Gary have a wonderful autumn and I'm here whenever you need an answer or two.
Ciao for now,