The earth of the path below me is baked and dusty, its thin capillary-veined cracks branching off in all directions. Do people cleverer than I interrogate the land I wonder, like a clairvoyant would read the lifelines of hands? Can the earth retain the secrets of the past, foretell the future?
(P D Murphy As I Walked Out Through Spain in Search of Laurie Lee p.22)
Reading this passage today reminded me of an explanation I once read for the cause of ghostly sightings.
The author* suggested that people/events are recorded, for example, in the walls of buildings, just like music is recorded in the grooves of a record. When we see a ghost, therefore, there is nothing really there: what we are seeing is a recording – a natural hologram, if you like – of what happened when the ghost was alive.
Of course, this doesn’t explain headless ghosts, much less poltergeists**, but I am still rather fond of the idea that moments in time can be recorded by the earth and her inanimate agents. I think it is rather romantic, albeit in a rather odd way (or perhaps it is just me who is odd).
* I am afraid I can no longer remember who he or she was and in which book I read his words. For all I know, I am faintly remembering a television programme
**Excluding those of demonic origin – if that is possible