I dreamed I met a man in black who told me we were in a dream. I shrugged and said maybe. We debated whether being dreams meant we were less than real, he thought it didn't. He told me that I was going to die soon.

I woke up thinking about ghosts. Being a ghost seems boring, even if you are one of the ones that can act independently and isn't just a fading after-image. Yes, they can haunt people but that's hardly a full-time job, hauntings are quite rare relative to the amount of time that happens between them. Most haunting seems to happen at night and the living are typically asleep for that. I wonder if ghosts have extra-sensitive eyesight which stops them going out during the day? That would help them while away the lonely hours, playing I-Spy together, for want of anything better to do. Anyway.

It does seem self-evident that some spirits are bound to objects[1]; haunted boxes, mirrors or their own embalmed corpses[2]. Which leads me to wonder if any scientists who were really attached to their space probes died before the launch; if so, does, for example, the Voyager probe have some poor scientist being dragged through the outer solar system behind it? Is there any debris from the Soyuz 11 or Challenger missions still in orbit with the souls of the dead clinging to them, just waiting for the inevitable yet inexorably slow orbital decay to bring them down? If someone dies on the moon, shouldn't we try to bring their ghost home? Seems like a dick move not to.

More importantly, given how many people and animals have died over the course of the history of life on Earth, why are there so few ghosts? Why do the majority of them seem to be people? I believe I have the answer and that is that the ghost-object attachment hypothesis is false, at least in the vast majority of cases. You see, when a thing, human or animal, dies, their spirit has no mass and therefore is no longer subject to gravity or friction. It will most likely either remain where it was or continue on the vector it was travelling at the moment of death (or “spectralisation”). This is widely accepted, however most theorists fail to take into account that position is relative and the Earth is constantly moving; spinning on its tilted axis, orbiting the sun, orbiting the galactic central point, travelling away from the centre of the universe. If you put water on a rapidly spinning disc, so that the water is hurled off, you will see that it does not spiral but travels in a straight line away, in the direction it was moving just prior to becoming detached [3].

This means if you simply travel a little forward or backwards, you will either find yourself in the air or some distance underground, as the Earth moves. Underground of course, there is no light and appears simply black, except in the rare cases where you hit light-emitting magma. In the air is clouds and sunshine. Now consider the reports of near-death experiences. Some see utter blackness and the rare few report an experience of a hell of heat and fire. Others find themselves ascending to the heavens. This would appear to have more to do with whether you had your near-death experience on the morning or night side of the planet than how you behaved in life, therefore causing you to either be left behind by the Earth (ascending into light) or plunge into it (descending into darkness or fire).

Humans when subjected to zero gravity conditions often react poorly, however some quick thinkers are capable of recognising what is happening and righting themselves. Animals, like the rest of humanity, almost always react very poorly, as any number of hilarious videos of cats in zero gravity conditions clearly demonstrate. So this theory quite adequately explains why there are significantly more ghosts of humans than of modern or extinct animals; humans can better correct their course to align with the Earth but animal ghosts are utterly confused, adrift in the infinite vacuum. We must imagine the Earth like a pin-wheel of ghost sparks, spinning through space for billions of years, launching off the bewildered spirits of terrified post-mortem dinosaurs in every direction.

This is all very well, but it still doesn't tell us what ghosts do to occupy their non-haunting time. All the more pertinent a question now that many people are dying who understand the concept of zero gravity because they died after the “moon” landings and would be more prepared for it compared to, say, Shakespeare. I will answer my question with another question: Can ghosts use the Internet? Wouldn't we notice if the Internet was full of people with non flesh-and-blood counterparts? It's well known that ghosts can interact with the physical plane to a small degree, moving small objects or making lights flicker. Making lights flicker. What do lights run on? Electricity. What do computers run on? It seems self-evident then, that it would be easier by several magnitudes of order for a ghost to interact with a computer's software than to simply make a door creak. How difficult, yet evidently possible, it must be to possess a living human, override their entire mind, compared to simply taking over the empty shell of a spam bot or video game's NPC. Consider too the massive decrease in ghost sightings since the advent of the Internet. Where have they gone? I think the answer is clear.

What do ghosts do with their time? They're here, on the Internet, with us. Think twice next time you're about to decapitate that goblin, or block that message from a sexy single in your area – your grandmother may just want to spend some time with you.

  1. An interesting example of a ghost-object attachment is a poltergeist; generally seen as mindless things which become angry and destructive when disturbed. Given that ghosts do not seem to require any sort of energy input, could a poltergeist potentially be used as a free energy source? What happens when a poltergeist creates a fully entropic state; an area in which everything possible has been broken, every atom blended perfectly with every other atom and there's nothing left to destroy? ↩︎

  2. Haunted corpses also raise questions; what part of the corpse is haunted? The entire thing? If so, what happens to the ghost when it is divided into pieces? What happens when it decomposes? Would the ghost be able to travel between the pieces, gaining more freedom of movement, or would it just get uncomfortable and pissed off? Given how angry the ghosts of skulls or hands are portrayed, I suspect the latter. ↩︎

  3. We can see this in practice when we time-travel: if you travel forward in time a hundred years or backwards a hundred years you will find yourself where the Earth was one hundred years ago or will be one hundred years in the future: most likely the vacuum of deep space. ↩︎