If you navigate your way to the Wikipedia entry regarding the Many-Worlds Interpretation, upon opening the page in your browser you’ll be assaulted with words and terms you may never have believed exist. You’ll be faced with ideas and theorems so complex, it often takes our greatest minds to understand what they mean, let alone work with them in relation to other equally complex ideas.
Is it all a bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo, or is there something worth sifting through the jargon for? Indeed, I would say there is, something that could impact the paranormal research field in such a way as to change our thinking entirely.
This is the weird science of Quantum Theory, named so by none other than Einstein himself. It’s an extension of String Theory, and a perversion of the Theory of Relativity, and it’s a mathematic enigma so complex it has baffled even the most learned men and women ever produced by our most prestigious scientific colleges the world over.
Many-Worlds, or MWI, aside from being a difficult concept to quantify, is something science fiction writers have been theorising about themselves for decades. Alternate dimensional realities, quantum realities, inter-dimensional beings, star gates; this is the stuff of television shows, of big budget feature movies and of the most fantastic science fiction novels of our time, right?
Not necessarily so.
In scientific terms, Many-Worlds Interpretation -called so as it is an interpretive theory of a paper written by Hugh Everett III (November 11, 1930 – July 19 1982) in 1957 titled �?Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics’- is an attempt to provide a “simple, natural and realist understanding of unitary quantum theory without invoking wave function collapse or any special role for measurement”. And while that explanation remains inscrutable, one need not hold a degree in the mathematics of physics to benefit from the work that has been done on the shoulders of men like Everett.
One of the simplest ways to wrap your head around the Many-World Interpretation is offered in the form of Schròdinger’s Cat, which is a well known and often misunderstood mental exercise in visualisation, pertaining to the weirdness of quantum theory, or more specifically, Quantum Entanglement.
Erwin Schròdinger (August 12, 1887 – January 4, 1961), a German born physicist of Einstein calibre, once postulated a paradoxical thought experiment to quantify the problem, as he saw it, with quantum entanglement. Schròdinger proposed to think of a cat, entrapped in a solid cage, with a flask of poison. A measurement device, such as a Geiger counter would accompany the cat and thus identify when the flask had released its poison, in turn either killing the cat or not.
The thought experiment then takes a twist, Schròdinger suggested that, prior to a person inspecting the inside of the box, the cat, after having been exposed to the poison would actually exist as a mixed form of both dead and alive cat; essentially holding its quantum potential for both outcomes simultaneously, and only choosing the correct state for this reality upon the cage being open and the conscious mind of the observer influencing the outcome. He suggested that our perception of reality is what separated the dead cat from the living cat; as until the influence of our perception, the cat exists as both at the same time. His seemingly morbid and strange assertions were in fact, at least partially supported by a great deal of complex mathematics, and this particular thought experiment became a rather large thorn in the side of theoretical physicists the world over, and still to this day.
Through the extrapolation of this idea and its application to the world, galaxy and universe on the whole, you can see how the poor cat in the cage, carries big ramifications for the furtherance of quantum physics, not the least of which is how to reconcile the idea that all possibilities exist, simultaneously (four simple words with such enormous meaning).
By now you’re asking exactly what this has to do with ghost hunting, and I’m getting to that, I promise.
Essentially the concept being illustrated by Erwin Schròdinger was that, the way in which we humans perceive our reality (a 3-dimensional reality) is influenced by our perception. The very particles that make up our reality are actually collapsed manifestations of our own perception from waves of future probability (the reality of the cat, dead or alive, is collapsed from the multiple possibilities inherent to the situation before perceptions influence). That is to say that space-time is playing a trick on us, as we hurtle through time -time as perceived by our 3-dimensional consciousness- we are collectively presented with every literal possibility of reality in front of us, and it is our observance of that wave of possibility (which isn’t really a wave, but more like a stream) that causes what we see as reality to manifest for our perception.
What if, though, we considered the idea that there are countless other dimensions of reality that we simply are not capable of perceiving?
This is exactly what the science of Quantum Physics is considering now, and has been for several years. Some have mathematically calculated that there are anywhere between 10500 and 10 to the power of 1010,000,000(which is 10 raised to a number ending with ten million zeros) separate universal realities or dimensions. A value few can even fathom is used to represent the possible number of alternate dimensions to our reality, yet, our brain is incapable of perceiving even a fourth dimension in an accurate way (time is considered the fourth dimension, but it is not linear, our brains simply perceive it that way).
So, to relate the above science to a subject that requires a great deal of illumination, ghosts, can we consider the idea that ghosts are simply an infringement or intrusion of a fifth or sixth (likely fifth) dimension of perception on our reality? The separation between the fourth dimension (time) and an unknown fifth dimension could be as simple as the difference between the second and third dimensions of our known reality (�?up’ being that difference, or depth for the technically minded)
Electromagnetic radiation, as detectable by simple instruments, and even by the eyes of most living creatures on earth, may in fact be the one element of the multi-verse (if you will indulge) that permeates all of the countless dimensions that could possibly exist. Light (though much more than the small swath of EM radiation spectrum than we can see), might actually be the unifying principal of existence.
EM radiation, as all you ghost hunters are wondering, is precisely what your trusty EMF meter is detecting, albeit at much lower frequencies than even the eye can pick up; and though there are still literally hundreds of other possible explanations for what causes the EMF readings that most ghost hunters claim to gather as evidence of ghosts, this one should remain intriguing.
A deeper understanding of EM radiation and its effects on both our perceptions and our reality (if there is any difference between the two) is absolutely required before anyone can claim the effectiveness of EMF detection equipment in ghost hunting or paranormal research. However, it is conceivable that a fourth dimension of reality, one which we are incapable of perceiving, is being revealed to us through EM radiation and the 5th dimension could be manifesting (due to our inability to perceive the fourth dimension) as ghostly visions and/or environmental anomalies of a paranormal nature.
Though the above could be tested, in-so-far as identifying a catalyst which becomes excited when introduced to EM radiation or which excited the radiation itself, such as ionised potassium, and subsequently creating a controlled or EM shielded environment (a la Faraday shielding), and injecting the catalyst into the midst of an EM field of specific frequencies.
If conducted cleanly (i.e. shielded from the interference of outside EM radiation from man-made sources), this experiment could show if there is a relationship between spontaneous EM spikes and an unseen entity, whether ghostly or inter-dimensional. If the catalyst excites the EM field the in the same manner with each successive experiment, then there would seem to be no relationship between EM radiation and either a 5th dimension or the perceptions of the observer; if there is a fluctuating and non-random pattern to the excitation reaction, then it is fair to say that there is an outside influence at play in either the methodology or the perceptions of the observer (by way of an incursion of 5th dimension elements?). I would predict a non-random reaction from such an EM field in response to the introduction to the catalyst. However, such an experiment would be dependent on the experimenter’s observance of the interactions between the catalyst and the radiation, thus skewing any results by interpretation.
Human cognitive development is an amazing process; the human brain goes through surprising and fundamental changes throughout its development in the skull of a child and eventually an adult. Is it conceivable that children, and the lesser developed brains of certain other higher mammals are capable of perceiving EM radiation to a greater extent than fully developed adult humans? And would such a predilection for EM wave energy account for the popular notion that children and animals have the capacity to see ghosts where others can’t? I admit that to answer in the affirmative to these questions is a stretch, but these are the questions so many seek to answer, and I would suggest that the better vehicle for providing an answer to these, and to the single most important question to the paranormal researcher -what are ghosts?- might be controlled experimentation rather than the collection of biased data in methodologically filthy conditions, by persons with less than even curious regard for the truth.
This is unstable ground to be treading on, but nonetheless I invite anyone and everyone to both try this and any other such experiment, and to post comments, ideas and criticisms of the above theorising.
 This is, of course, a very crude layman explanation of �?Schròdinger’s Cat’ thought experiment, for a much more detailed explanation see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat