Haunted objects everywhere…
These days ghost hunters and especially paranormal television shows appear to be able to identify haunted objects and locations everywhere they go. Daytime TV has presented us with some rather spooky looking dolls believed to be haunted, whilst museums of haunted objects have popped up in the UK and the US in recent years. We even have a couple of travelling museums too. No matter how you look at it, there is a strong belief it would seem in haunted objects that is as strong as haunted locations.
Most of these haunted objects take on some very obvious forms, similar to the way our favourite haunted locations do. The problem is though that because these objects take on spooky forms, we could argue the obvious psychology playing its part.
Of course in a similar fashion to how movies have given us the association between rugged old historic buildings and them being haunted; they’ve equally presented us with a mixed bag of objects that are all related to what we can only assume are particularly negative entities.
I think we can argue that objects have now become pretty much accepted as a regular in the ghost hunters world. Whether it’s a particularly disturbing looking doll with Victorian clothing, a Ouija Board or even a more random item; they have become regulars for the ghost hunters. In fact these objects can sometimes be attributed to being the actual cause of a particular haunting. A concept that movies have shown us over and over, but we have also seen it represented by those ‘reality’ paranormal TV shows too.
this all set me to thinking…
This all set me to thinking; often we associate haunted objects with an item that, well looks haunted. Something that probably means that its less about the item and more about our own beliefs or perception. This in turn would likely mean that a ghost hunter that approaches an investigation of a supposed haunted location with a predisposed opinion that there may be a haunted object causing the haunting; will likely find such an object.
Now what if such an object appeared to be a simple cheap standard microwave in my kitchen? Doesn’t sound too interesting does it? A standard microwave is far from spooky and certainly not scary. Unless of course its owner never cleans it and there is an abundance of old food cooked onto its inside – that’s disturbing and dangerous in another way entirely!
Incidentally whilst running my haunted microwave throws out a heck of a lot of EMF, so that confirms its haunted, right? Obviously not, that’s just a microwave thing and really not paranormal. Still does raise an interesting bunch of questions; like why then can ambiguous environmental readings be presented by ghost hunters as ‘evidence’ to support their haunted object claims?
The answer is simple; they don’t really! They can be as interesting as the anecdotal experiences documented over the years, but don’t really prove anything. Granted over the years I’ve been equally guilty of this approach, taking random types of environmental measurements without clear understanding or reasoning behind taking those readings. Over the years I’ve learnt to measure certain things for a particular reason and where I can capture as much data as possible to make a fair assessment. Snapshot readings don’t give us anything to draw comparisons against.
If we applied this to our haunted microwave, then measure say EMF over a reasonable period of time, then some obvious facts jump out at us. Whilst on a heating cycle the EMF jumps up, but any other time its settled on zero. Not particularly shocking I know and very obvious to be fair, but the point being that if you don’t look at everything then situations can be misunderstood. We know that a microwave will give off EMF whilst running, but when some ghost hunters are presented with increased EMF at a location often this can be misinterpreted as paranormal activity. Equally ghost hunters may attribute increased EMF to causing paranoia or the possible cause of hallucinations. In reality there’s no definitive proof either way, unless there’s been a recent piece of research this authors unaware of to date.
The spirits rocked the bed…
A great example of this kind of misinterpretation of events that are very normal is one I like to call ‘the spirits obviously rocked the bed’; it’s a working title! In this example, a woman calls in a ghost hunting team to investigate odd occurrences in her home. These appeared to mainly be focussed around the woman being woken up around 3am most nights. The woman described this as her bed being rocked or shook, which is what woke her. Now the first ghost hunting team that looked into this came to the conclusion that the activity was likely caused by some kind of demonic entity. Which was based mainly on the fact that the woman was woken up at around 3am. This disturbed the woman greatly and following a couple of nights investigation that were extremely quiet the ghost hunters left claiming the situation was resolved.
Of course it wasn’t and it wasn’t long before the woman was woken up again. This time the woman called in some different investigators. Approaching things slightly differently and with an open mind, this small group had no preconceptions. The group monitored the possible activity and interviewed the woman in depth. They also explored logical possibilities in the immediate area. This highlighted a train track in close proximity to the woman’s home. Further research revealed a freight train that passed by at around 3am. As this train was heavier than others its passing would cause vibration and this possibly woke the woman. A seemingly logical and normal explanation.
Now you could argue that surely others would also be woken by the train. Which is very true. However some may sleep too deeply to be woken, some may attribute it to the train and some simply not care. It’s possible the woman’s beliefs made her feel this was paranormal related too.
Equally if I believe that possible paranormal activity is focussed in the corner of my kitchen where my microwave is situated, then perhaps I would associate it with the microwave. This isn’t as out there as it may seem. We often look for physical explanations for things, especially when it comes to the paranormal. Sometimes the true explanations are physical like our freight train example. However there may be explanations that are truly internal too. This could include those elements which we often associate with physical cause like knocks or raps. However it could be possible that these are actually simply telepathic transmissions of information. Once that information is interpreted by our minds its presented along with information from our standard senses, which in turn makes us believe it is appearing or occurring in our current environment.
My haunted microwave is great when it comes to looking at hauntings in general and really makes me question what a haunting might be. We often present haunted locations and haunted objects as quite different things, but when you look at them there’s actually very few differences.
Lack of a compelling back story…
One key thing or perhaps two things that probably prevents my haunted microwaves acceptance as a haunted object is; a) its clean modern look and; b) its lack of a back story or history. Interestingly we could probably get passed how it looks if it had a compelling, but believable back story. For example; if I said that it was owned by a serial killer that could help. However it would still raise the obvious question; why the heck would I own a serial killers old microwave and use it in my kitchen? Unless I didn’t know it had been owned by the serial killer, but that would present a whole other interesting area to look into.
Clearly the look, feel and compelling back story often helps to fuel the belief that an object is haunted. In similar fashion we see this same understanding with haunted locations too. A derelict Victorian theatre is often believed to be more haunted than perhaps a cold war bunker.
Does that perhaps mean that our true understanding of hauntings and their causality is more likely to be based in our own minds? Is it all in our heads? There is certainly a large volume of evidence to suggest it might be more about Extra-sensory Perception (ESP) than survival of death.
trouble proving my microwave is haunted…
Taking all that on board I guess I might have trouble proving that my microwave is actually haunted. Its lacking a truly compelling back story and doesn’t look remotely haunted. Any oddities can easily be explained too. Apart from my cooking that is!
As much as haunted objects are interesting and do capture our imaginations; like locations they need more concise research to gain a better understanding of them. Is it pure suggestion or could there actually be spirits attached to these objects? What do you think?
In loving memory of my cheap and simple microwave, you heated my food and my life.Ashley Knibb 2019