Science and the Supernatural

I had an idea the other day. Start a group on Goodreads where people can meet and discuss the science behind ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witchcraft and other elements of the nether regions. The idea would be for a light hearted exploration where scientists don’t poo-poo ideas, but contribute to add, for example, a plausibility to the quantum physics behind vampires having no reflection.

Let me give you a taste of what I mean. In my world, the world of the Malandanti, witches ride broomsticks, but they don’t sit on them. That would be too unstable when you consider how the broomstick flies.

The witch uses an ancient spell to cause a repulsion between electromagnetic properties of the bezom (hazel) and energy lines of the underlying rock strata. The resulting forces of repulsion act like the maglev trains and the witches, rather than sitting on a length of wood half an inch wide hang off it, with the bezom tucked under their arm.

Two scotsmen and a witch flying on a broomstick.  (Wellcome Library, London)
Two Scotsmen and a witch flying on a broomstick.
(Wellcome Library, London)

That would work. The initial ignition, generating the repulsion in the first place would depend on the spell, but I haven’t worked that bit out yet. I’m not a witch so not privy to all the dark arts. But the potential energy could be enormous. The power to weight ratio would be more violent than the fastest motorbike.

On the radio the other day I heard something interesting. Sixty per cent of ghosts are visions of people who are still alive. Still alive! Not the spirits of the dead; most ghosts are images of the living.

But it’s possible. Quantum physics tells us that a particle can exist in two places simultaneously. We’re all made of the same particles, which means we are all capable of being in two places at the same time, and when we do, and when we’re seen, the person who can see us thinks they’ve seen a ghost.

In The House of Dr Dee, author Peter Ackroyd presents us with two visions of London, with contemporary London built over the top of historic London. At one point in the novel time slips and John Dee finds himself and a friend in his house at the same time as two people from the future. In that future – our present – two people are stood in the basement of a London house and witness two ghostly figures talking: John Dee and his friend.


If time is constant, a permanent now rather than a line of progression it could be possible for events to get mixed up; or multi-universes overlap (Schroedenger’s Cat tells us that multiverses could co-exist.) There are so many tales of ghosts that involve people from the past. Are these people dead or still alive caught up in a time mix-up?

And in addition to these conundrums there are vampires with no reflection, werewolves transformed by lunar forces, zombies animated after death, witches shapeshifting, demonic possession. An endless list. Wonder if Goodreads is a good place to start the debate? What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “Science and the Supernatural

  1. GoodReads is always a good place to start a debate. Except when it isn’t, which is a bit Schroedingerlisch, when you think about it. My parallel self thinks you should totally go for it. Or at least one of them does. The rest are all drunk on your Real Beer post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If the particles that form your other person exist 400 years ago and they decide to write this article, you stand a good chance of being burned at the stake. I’d get that broomstick up and running if I were you.
    On another point, I feel a bit left out of this supernatural stuff because nothing like that ever happens to me. It’s always other people who see apparitions or hear bumps in the night. Perhaps my two selves are always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    Alen and Alen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To Alen no. 2 – I’ve only ever seen one uncanny thing in my life: a ghost train when I was about 11, but other than that not a (haunted) sausage.

      To Alen no. 1 – I’m wondering now if deja vu might be some kind of connection to an alter ego, and a connection that transcends time, thus explaining reincarnation too.

      This science malarkey could be more complex than I first thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When it comes to the time continuum, I always get lost. Even in Star Trek’s Next Generation I had gotten lost. Einstein believed time is relative. And it’s true. Without his theory of relativity, we wouldn’t have GPS. But I just wonder how the time continuum works. I mean, I look into the sky and it’s a sight that existed billions of years ago (i.e. today’s sky is a billion years old). So, who knows. Maybe your Goodreads idea will work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The subject of time is the one area where I disagree with Einstein. It’s our method of measuring time that I believe is relative, not time itself.

      I’ve just got to the end of episode four of series three of Continuum, the time travel sci-fi series, and I am hopelessly lost. Haven’t got a clue who’s who and where they’re from or what they’re up. But I think that’s got more to do with the writing than the paradoxes of time.

      Liked by 1 person

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