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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page authors. The contents of this page have been reviewed or approved by the Southwest Ghost Hunter's Association. All effort has been taken to maintain correct information at the time it was written. Some material may be dated and is archived within this section of our website. This article is copyright, 2006, by Cody Polston, Bob Carter and SGHA. All rights reserved.

 Articles ~ Science and Hypotheses~ The energetics of ghostly phenomena

An electromagnetic wave, although it carries no mass, does carry energy. It also has momentum, and can exert pressure (known as radiation pressure). The energy carried by an electromagnetic wave is proportional to the frequency of the wave. The wavelength and frequency of the wave are connected via the speed of light. The energy in an electromagnetic wave is tied up in the electric and magnetic fields.
We use the term electromagnetic wave, because that wave actually has two components, an electric, or E, field and a magnetic, or B, field (the magnetic field intensity is a vector quantity usually symbolized by H). The electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular to each other and both are perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave. The strength of the electric field can be measured and the strength is expressed in units of
Volts per meter (V/m). The magnetic field can also be measured and the strength expressed either in units of Gauss (G), milligauss (mG) or Tesla (T) where 1 T = 10,000 G.

What is so important about ions?

The Italian scientist Luigi Galvani found that nervous tissue (groups of cells that conduct impulses) displays Electrical Activity in the form of a Nerve Impulse, which is a flow of electrical charges along The Cell Membranes of a Neuron. This Electrical Activity is due to Movement of IONS (charge particles) across the Cell Membrane. SODIUM - Na+, AND POTASSIUM - K+. The movement of these Ions is affected by their ability to pass through the Cell membrane, their Concentration Inside and Out of the Cell, and their Charge.
A Nerve Cell has ELECTRICAL POTENTIAL across its cell membrane because of a difference in the number of Positively and Negatively Charged IONS on each side of the Cell Membrane. The Electrical Potential is due to PROTEINS in the Neuron known as Sodium-Potassium Pumps move Sodium ions (Na+) OUT of the Cell and Actively Pump Potassium ions (K+) INTO the Cell.

So what is the point?

The brain and consciousness use ions and ionic energy to operate. If a ghost is a remnant of consciousness then it would be familiar with this kind of energy and would be able to harness it more effectively. It is quite possible that ions are potential power source for ghosts.
Ions are readily found in our natural environment and in the atmosphere. Normal fair-weather ion concentrations are 200 to 800 negative and 250 to 1500 positive ions per cubic centimeter. Indoor levels are usually lower. Several hours before a storm, + ion concentration will increase dramatically, sometimes exceeding 5000 ions per cubic centimeter (cm3). During a storm, - ions increase to several thousand while + ions decrease, often to levels below 500.

Almost all positive ("+") natural ions are produced by radioactivity and about 40% of these natural air ions come from radioactive minerals in the ground. Each time a radioactive atom decays near the air, it produces 50,000 - 500,000 air ion pairs.
Another 40% of the natural air ions are produced from radon in the air (which produces about 250,000 ion pairs for each radon atom), and 20% are produced from cosmic rays (high-energy protons from distant supernovas). Indoors, ions "live" an average of 30 seconds before touching a surface and shorting to ground.

Outdoor ions usually "live" several minutes more than indoor ions. Negative ions usually come from radioactivity and evaporating water. Lightning, thunderstorms, and forest fires can contribute positive and negative ions, though these ions are not produced via common everyday conditions.
Ions can also be produced by high-energy events, such as an open flame or a glowing hot object. Hot objects usually emit equal numbers of positive and negative ions. High DC voltage (over 1000 Volts), especially when connected to pointed metal edges or needles, will produce ions of the same polarity as the voltage source, which is the basis of home ionizers.
Evaporating water will produce negative ions in the air and as a consequence leave positive charges behind in the water that hasn't yet evaporated.

Dispersing Energy

How can a ghost disperse energy? By passing close to other sources of electricity, any exchange of electricity between him and some objects would do. You need to take into account that another source of electricity needs to be involved. Either it is an object that is plugged in, or the power lines outside or attached to the building, or anything else that is a source of electricity. An exchange of electricity between two sources is necessary (our ghost being one). Lightning or an electric current comes from an exchange of electrons (or more specifically of ions) going from a positive to a negative pole and vice versa. That is what can cause a magnetic field, the circuit or exchange of electrons (ions) from one pole to the other. When an object is fully charged with positive or negative energy, that object becomes a magnetic.

Electromagnetic Cascade Shower
Another way that a ghost might build and disperse energy is through an electromagnetic cascade shower. Electrons can create photons by interacting with the ghost’s magnetic field. In a similar way, photons can create electrons and their antiparticles, positrons, by interacting with the ghost's energy itself. The electrons (ions) can set photons into motion and these photons can, in turn, set electrons and positrons into motion, and this process can continue to repeat. Enough electrons can set thousands of particles into motion. Albert Einstein's famous relation governing the equivalence of matter and energy (E = mc²) governs this process -- namely, matter (electrons and positrons) can be created from pure energy and vice versa. The particle creation process only stops when the energy runs out. The majority of cascade showers will fail before sufficient energy is reached for the EMP to interact with its environment.

Cody Polston is the Founder and President of the Southwest Ghost Hunter's Association. Formerly an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, he has a varied scientific background related to that particular field. With over twenty years of ghost research, he initially started out as a skeptic before forming SGHA.

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