In the future, could we download ghosts’ memories? Maybe. It might be decades away, but the technology is evolving. I’m not taking this seriously, but it’s fun to ponder.
In the past, there have been three ways to communicate with ghosts in real time:
- Yes/No communications: Things like “Rap on the table, once for yes and twice for no,” and using loosened flashlight bulbs and K-II light flashes for the same yes/no purposes. Essentially, this has been a binary response. It’s probably the most time-honored form of ghost communication, and the most readily repeatable.
- Real-time EVP: I’ve seen the best results in unique experiments by John Sabol, working with Mary Becker. This is a richer response than yes/no communications.
- Psychic/medium interpretations: Generally dismissed by skeptics and difficult (if not impossible) to prove to third parties. The anecdotal evidence can be compelling, but the subjective nature of this work is problematic.
Emerging research suggests ways to download memories from people, via physical connections with the circuitry in their brains. In time, could we develop a “wi-fi” method to do the same thing with people we can’t connect with, physically? The possibilities are highly speculative, but startling.
Watch the April 2012 TED talk, embedded below.
Important: Though the concept of downloadable memories isn’t discussed until the last half (around 11:20) of the following 16-minute talk, it’s worth watching the entire video. Most of his talk doesn’t apply to ghost hunting, but the ideas are revolutionary enough that, as others have commented: This makes Battlestar Gallactica real.
When you get to the part about Ed Boyden’s experiments, and the possibility of mapping the pathways related to brain chemistry, pay very close attention. Juan Enriquez says (at about 12:08), “It’s not completely inconceivable that, someday, you could download your own memories… maybe into your new body.”
Isn’t this exactly what so many ghosts seem to be waiting for: A “Heaven Can Wait” moment, where they can continue their lives and achieve unrealized dreams and goals?
Juan’s video raises this question in a scientific context.
We probably have a long time in which to sort out the moral, ethical and spiritual issues. In fact, this potential might never be realized.
However, when I watched this particular TED talk, my first thought was about our apparently reliable (and relatively repeatable) real-time communications using binary (yes/no) methods. The resonance — no pun intended — was startling.
Yes, it is a little preposterous to think in these terms, and I’ve wandered far out on a highly speculative branch, but… have ghosts been refining their binary communications, anticipating a development like this?
Also, how much science would we need, to realize the ghosts’ goals?
- Would the ghost be happy to return to physical form in our time, or would he (or she) need time travel, as well?
- With time travel added to the mix, could we go back to the past and “renew” the person’s life in his or her own time? Would we do this right before the person’s historic demise, allowing the old form to fail on schedule, or does that (two copies of the same person in one time stream) raise additional problems? (Quantum science suggests that this would create/follow an entirely different time stream, so we wouldn’t be altering our own past or the ghost’s actual timeline in our shared past. That gets into pretzel logic, in a way, but… well, this is all speculation anyway, right?)
- If we’re renewing the ghost in our current time stream, is the best physical form built from the ghost’s own cells? That could present health issues, with old illnesses brought forward to modern times, and immunity (vulnerability) issues for the ghost. Even a modern, common cold might be devastating to him or her.
This technology isn’t going to be available for awhile. Maybe not for a long time, if ever.
Nevertheless, as a science fiction fan and a ghost hunter, when I hear about downloading memories, the possibilities are intriguing… if unlikely.