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Spirits, on the other hand appear to be free roaming souls who come and go at will, with none of the handicaps experienced by their ghostly counterparts. It would appear that these souls have come to terms with their altered state, perhaps even enjoying the new found freedoms of life without physical encumbrance.

Stone Tape Theory

I think the title says it all, but this particular phenomenon is nothing more than a recording of previous events. We don’t yet understand why, but it appears that under certain circumstances, the immediate environment records and “plays back” certain events, much like an electronic video device recording and playing back images from your television.


A common misconception is that a poltergeist or “noisy ghost” is a separate and completely different type of entity to a “standard” ghost or spirit. Dr. Holzer’s opinion is that poltergeist activity is in fact caused by one of two things; a child (usually female) approaching or experiencing puberty suffering stresses that cause the release of psycho-kinetic energy, or that it is part of the cycle of a haunting, where the energies required by an entity have built up to a level where interaction with the physical realm becomes possible.

Now to chuck a spanner your works, the above seems quite straight forward and clear cut Right? Wrong! How do we tell the difference? “What do you mean?” I hear you cry! Well let’s create a simple scenario;

Fred goes home one Thursday night eats his tea, settles into his favourite chair to watch TV, and promptly drops dead. Now assuming that he has followed this routine for some time, would it be unreasonable to assume that even dead, he wouldn’t continue to follow it?

So now you’ve attended his funeral and had good laugh and a drink at his expense, and you don’t expect to see him again. BUT The following Thursday he’s seen to follow this routine precisely, just before frightening the hell out of everyone by vanishing! So what’s going on here?

  1. A) He’s a ghost trapped into a routine because he doesn’t know he’s dead or for some other reason.
  2. B) He’s a spirit who isn’t going to be deprived of his favourite TV shows regardless of the lack of a body.
  3. C) The event was so sudden and unexpected that it was (for some reason) recorded by the immediate environment.
  4. D) Other?

This is where a Medium can be worth their weight in gold. A good Medium should be able to distinguish between a ghost, a spirit and what they term as “residual energy” or what we’d call stone tape theory when or if it’s replayed.

As the above scenario shows, the difference between different types of paranormal phenomena isn’t as clear cut as it first seemed, and the confusion doesn’t end there either! Next I’m going to introduce you to the wonderful world of “false positives”.

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