What are we looking at when we see a ghost? We often ask this question in regard to the spiritual nature of the manifestation before us.
What heavenly apparition or lost soul is making itself known to us?
The other side of this question is much more scientific, much more physical.
What material and physical matter are we looking at that is causing these shapes and movement?
Put more simply, what are ghosts made of?
There has been plenty of debate on the topic of ghosts and the scientific reasons for their activity. Then there are the tales of popular culture that get thrown into the mix.
There is a big difference between the green, slimy masses that can be physically handled by Ghostbusters and cartoon characters and the physical entities that we come across in real life.
The problem is that nobody is quite sure what they really are made of.
One of the words that commonly comes up is plasma. This is an important term because it is probably largely responsible for the lore of movies, yet is still the most probable suggestion.
It all comes down to what our interpretation of plasma is. When we think of plasma we think of blood plasma and ectoplasm; plasma is where ectoplasm came from.
In the movies, this meant a thick substance produced by ghosts in order to interact with the real world. This was a neat trick for visual storytelling, but this is not the reality of ghost encounters.
The other definition of plasma is a fourth state of matter that is neither a solid, liquid or gas. It is essentially an ionized gas, unlike the gases we are familiar with, with highly energized electrons that have separated from their nuclei.
We see this phenomenon when looking at neon lights and it is believed that this form of matter is what creates the energized glowing entities that we see as ghosts.
Our ongoing lack of understanding could simply be down to the fact that this particular form of plasma is separate from that of neon gas.
There could be physical and chemical interactions taking place within these spectral projections that are yet to be fully understood.
Plasma, of one kind or another, seems like the most logical solution here because of that idea of a highly energized being.
We know for certain that energy is a major factor in the appearance and characteristics of ghosts.
The glowing, energy-emitting entities that we see are proof that energy is at work in some form. The best way of detecting the presence of ghosts is through an EMF meter.
Their readings and electrical charges are so strong that they are easily detected and can disrupt electrical equipment. This works with this idea of plasma because of that highly-energized, ionized gas.
Plasma has the ability to conduct electricity, generate electromagnetic fields and emit light.
Ghosts and other related manifestations are known to do the same. There is a glow to them.
It was once theorized that ghosts were simply light sources of photon element, but this did not explain the ability to pass through solid objects.
In order to do this, these ghosts had to be made of something smaller than an atom. There was also the theory of the “ghost particle” that is the neutrino – something small enough to meet this criteria.
The problem here was that neutrinos don’t carry an electrical charge.
The one thing that researchers can be sure about is that ghosts are made up of some form of strong energy source.
It now seems that theories about photon light were a long way off the mark.
At the time, they were the most logical explanation for light generation in an unknown entity, but it seems that we were not looking far enough.
The poorly-understood world of plasma surely holds the key to finally answering the question of what ghosts are really made of.
Further research into the properties of plasma and the potential for different forms could help us to sole this puzzle.