Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stone Free

A friend of David's, Gareth J. Medway (i.e., the mature, articulate one) recently chimed in on Arcadia, discussing my views on ghosts.

His post incorporated references to something I know as the Stone Tape Theory:
It is also widely thought that many 'ghost' manifestations are what have been termed 'psychic tape recordings', that is to say, occult memories of things that happened in the past, and quite independent of what may have become of the indwelling spirits of, for instance, Roman soldiers marching through York.
For those not in the know, the Theory holds that under the right circumstances, events of the past are imprinted on the "fabric" of time and can occasionally "replay" for an audience in the present. That's a very basic summation.

But, as Dave Wood's "Stone Tape Theory: An Exploration" explains:
Spiritualism can be a faith and assumption driven way of life; if one has a faith-based assumption that there is a connection between psychic events and stones and crystals then stone tape theory is a natural progression and requires no scientific justification. Other investigators, however, self-define as scientific researchers. For such investigators stone tape theory has no sound theoretical or evidential basis and should be discarded from their dictionary of paranormal terminology.
Either way, one can't apply this Theory to the Highgate Case. Otherwise, we'd be admitting that these "psychic imprints" are able to interact with people.

David's report mentions that the paranormal manifestation at Highgate were said to be of "a tall dark-draped figure with hypnotic red eyes that confronted unsuspecting people wandering around the cemetery by day", among other manifestations.

His report also mentions attacks on people:

Sightings of this apparition were numerous and it was even said to have ’attacked’ two people in Swain’s Lane outside the cemetery by pushing them to the ground ’with tremendous force’ before suddenly disappearing into the surrounding darkness. One of these ’attacks’ had been upon a young nurse back in 1970 who claimed that she had been thus ’attacked’ by a tall dark figure that had thrown her powerfully to the ground causing abrasions to her knees and elbows. Luckily, at this moment, a car came along and the figure disappeared in the glare of the headlights. Seeing that she was badly shaken, the driver took her to Highgate Police Station who immediately made a thorough search of the area. They found nothing although interestingly, at the place the figure had appeared, Swains Lane was by 15-foot high walls.
And not just any kind of attack, either, as The Highgate Vampire Society page reveals:
David Farrant was not in Highgate Cemetery for such a purpose [vampire hunting -ed.] and denied the charge of which he was acquitted, but not without the case attracting the attention of the world wide Press who established this apparition’s identity as a ‘fully-fledged vampire’. In fact, David Farrant had never stated that it was, although he did say when pushed on the matter that the reported entity seemed to take on vampire-like characteristics, or rather, that some reports about it had done so.
Bypassing those revisionist comments, David elaborates on the nature of the "attacks" in his interview with International Vampire Magazine:
Why was I inclined to admit or suggest that this particular entity or phenomenon pointed towards being "vampirical"? ... Well, during the course of the investigation it came to light that at least two independent people had been physically attacked by some unknown person or entity whilst they were passing the Cemetery late at night. They were thrown to the ground with considerable force by a figure that literally disappeared into nowhere: despite the fact that where these attacks occurred - in a small lane running alongside the Cemetery - the area was boarded by 12 foot high walls.
How can a mere "image" attack people in this manner?

Thus, I think it's safe to say that the Stone Tape Theory can be safely ruled out as an explanation for this alleged phenomena.

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