Do residual hauntings exist? This is a question I find myself being asked quite often, especially at the CNE where it is surrounded by such a rich and sometimes strange history.
The technical answer to this question is a complicated one, the short answer is no.
A residual haunting is paranormal activity that occurs and re-occurs be it of sight or sound in the same manner each time without the ability to change, deviate or interact. From the observer’s point of view it seems like a recording being played out of some past event. Most investigators make the distinction that a residual haunting is unlike an intelligent haunting due to the fact it can not deviate from its routine and can not interact with the witness.
In this I agree, however I do profess that if the correct research is conducted on the location of the haunting then it is very possible to interrupt the occurrence and possibly changing the witnessed event.
One of the first people to suggest the theory that residual hauntings exist was Thomas Charles Lethbridge in his 1961 book Ghost and Ghoul , This was later popularized in the 1972 film by Peter Sasdy called The Stone Tape, where the theory followed the lines that past events could be recorded into various rock, thus it became known as the “Stone Tape Theory”.
It was and remains widely believed that past events, and specifically traumatic events could be absorbed and recorded into inanimate objects, most of the theory suggests limestone, quartz and magnetite are the best candidates.
If this theory holds true then it should be a matter of study to be able to find the method and means to play that recording at will, this has never been accomplished. It has been further suggested that the proverbial replay button would be that the observer has some psychic ability which causes the event to play out.
This hypothesis can be immediately ruled out as I have investigated hundreds of haunted locations and am an avid user of electronic surveillance equipment, which I have recorded events in locations professed to be that of a residual haunting, the reason I mention this is most of the time I record the location is devoid of any living person and therefore a psychic cause to bring about the phantom occurrence would not be possible.
In my theory “The Memory Matrix” I explain that we are the sum of our memories, in death these memories assist our spirit to build a self sustaining reality. It is within this reality that the power of the mind can cause remarkable phenomena.
Imagine for a moment that something very important happened to you, it could be very positive or very negative in nature and it becomes a very powerful memory for you that you find yourself day dreaming about that event. The difference being when the un-insulated energy of the spirit has one of these powerful memories it could expand its reality memory bubble and manifest independently from the spirit, thus giving the observer the impression that is a type of recording. This would explain ghost ships and phantom trains as well.
Spirit → Projected memory