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.
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?