Ghosts: Ghosts as Imprints: Notes on T.C. Lethbridge

Readers, here’s a blast from the past: one of my earliest ghost posts here:

This would be a sorry ghost blog indeed without some mention of this eccentric yet engaging theorist.

T. C. Lethbridge (1901 – 1971) was an English archaeologist who later became intrigued by the paranormal. It then became his focus. I should add that he had been a respectable Cambridge don for some time, prior to striking out with ideas so eccentric he became alienate from the establishment.  I recommend Wikipedia to those who want to read more about Lethbridge; the focus here is his central idea about ghosts, known as the Stone Tape Theory.

Lethbridge believed that ghosts are not spirits of the departed but imprints left by traumatic events which are somehow recorded in damp stone.  People who see ghosts are really seeing replays of these old tapes, he theorized.  Perhaps his fascination with dowsing contributed to the watery element:  but it’s only fair to add that many experts in paranormal studies believe that proximity to water contributes to ghostly manifestations.  (The most haunted places I’ve experienced personally have always been close to water:  a coastal house, an island full of haunting phenomena, etc.)

It will come as no surprise to the reader that the Stone Tape theory was vigorously attacked by academics and other experts.   Perhaps even further out were Lethbridge’s ideas about space aliens: he thought they played a role in earthly evolution.

Often in even the wildest concepts there can be a measure of truth.  I won’t go near the alien thing (that’s another blog!), but the Stone Tape theory bears re-examination.  Forget for a moment about wet rocks as some kind of natural tape recorders. Instead, think about traumatic events and ghosts. Many ghostly manifestations are said to be the result of some trauma experienced in life, and that somehow, these events are imprinted into a place that some of us sometimes glimpse.  It’s a common theme in legend and folklore as well as today’s ghost studies:  so often it is said that the ghost is present because of some powerfully emotional situation from the past.

What do you think?

Copyright © 2019 Bookemjano – All rights reserved.
To learn more about real ghosts, please see About Ghosts: A Useful Handbook.  For some great ghost stories, please see Death Be Not Loud, Rest In Fleece, and Sepia Seepage.  To learn about ghosts in modern fiction, please see Infectious Ghosts. And so much more, at: Jan’s Amazon Page

3 thoughts on “Ghosts: Ghosts as Imprints: Notes on T.C. Lethbridge

  1. Pingback: Ghosts: Ghosts as Imprints: Notes on T.C. Lethbridge // Book ‘Em, Jan O | Ace Sales & Authors News

  2. For many ghosts, I believe this is true. They are actually imprints of energy from a traumatic event! But I also believe in intelligent hauntings, ghosts who are souls that have not passed on and are living here in real time. I think some know they’re dead, while others don’t and are wandering around confused. Once a friend got mad at me and said “Who would chose to do that?!” and she got even more mad when I told her that I don’t think they have a choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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