Heaven Can Wait? Downloading Ghosts’ Memories

NeutrinoIn 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

If You Want to Be on a Paranormal TV Show

Many of my readers are eager to star in a TV series.

Here’s what you need to know.

One of the main resources for media exposure is Help a Reporter Out, aka “HARO.”

Remember, those listings are not screened or verified. You could be talking to some creepy guy with no media connections at all.

Never give out personal contact information unless you have confirmed the person’s professional references.  Call the network, production company, or publisher to verify the contact information for that person.

Got a job offer? Get everything in writing.  Make sure it’s very specific about what you’re expected to do, for how much money, and exactly when you’ll be paid.

Know the risks.  Another producer offered me a part on a new TV show.  She said it was going to be a serious, academic show.

The production company bought my plane ticket, said they’d reserved an upscale hotel room for me, and promised I’d have a full-time chauffeur during the filming.

Everything seemed ideal.

Then, right before I got on the plane, someone on the production crew blundered.  She told me the show’s real name. It was far from academic.

I cancelled.

So, make sure your contract says exactly which show you’re being filmed for.  Don’t give the production company (or the network) free rein to use your interview or appearance in any show they like.

Listen to the producers’ questions. 

  • Are they too eager to believe your story?  Suspect false sincerity.
  • Are they fishing for drama where they wasn’t any?  It’s one thing to build a good story that engages viewers.  It’s another to turn your experience into something far more extreme (and ridiculous) than it was.
  • Are they digging for something to discredit you, or portray you as someone unstable?  Of course, producers want to avoid guests that could be a liability.

Jason Gowin (from Extreme Paranormal) said this after his confidentiality agreement had expired:

Realize that nothing you do on television will be safe from manipulation… Rest assured, you are there to make money for them, not be a beacon of integrity. [Link]

Pay attention to your gut feeling.  If something doesn’t seem right, maybe it isn’t.

Don’t expect fame for yourself or your paranormal investigating team.  Most TV shows avoid guests who might profit from a TV appearance. Producers may edit out anything that might help your career.  Expect that.

A paycheck is not guaranteed.  The producers’ (and the networks’) explanation is: A paid appearance could be misunderstood as a performance.

Many TV shows will get around this by offering to pay for your travel expenses and give you a “per diem” to cover additional out-of-pocket costs.

The per diem could barely cover meals from McD’s dollar menu.  Or, the per diem might pay for a nice big TV, to watch yourself later, when you’re on the show.

Generally, producers won’t tell you how much the per diem will be, unless you insist on it in the contract. Expect a tiny per diem, and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

If you’re going to be a cast member on a series, make sure you earn enough to cover your monthly bills.

I have a firm policy of not asking friends how much they earn from their shows.  I don’t want to know.  I already feel sorry for how much privacy they’ve given up, and how much they’re away from their families.

  • According to rumors, many stars earned a low four-figures, per episode, sometimes working seven days a week and 10- to 12-hour days.
  • I’ve heard that supporting cast members (not the two or three stars) earned about $500/episode. I hope I’m wrong about that.

You can be on TV if you really want to be.

If you’ve read this far, you probably think fame is worth the risks.

The first thing to consider is your strategy. Sometimes it’s easy to get on ghost-related TV shows. Sometimes, it’s easier to get on another kind of TV show, and use that as a credential to get on the show you want.  That’s why you’ll look at opportunities far beyond paranormal shows.

Start with the following resources.

Resources

I recommend HARO lists (linked above) and sites like RealityWanted.com (Sites like that appear and disappear rapidly. If you’re not dealing directly with the network, always be sure you’re talking with a reputable company.)

Also check network-specific webpages, such as casting calls for SyFy, MTV, ABC, VH1, TLC, HGTV, BBC (UK).

(You never know when a network will take an interest in paranormal programming.  I recall an episode of a food-related TV show where people competed by preparing ghost-themed cakes… and a real paranormal investigator was among the judges.)

You may find even more casting calls at production companies’ websites, such as Pilgrim (Ghost Hunters, etc.).

References

Get advice from experts.  Don’t leap into this field unprepared!  You may have just one chance to be on (or pitch) the show of your dreams.  Get it right the first time.

  • The 2006 book, Get on TV, is still one of the most popular books on this subject.  It’s not specifically about reality shows. It teaches you how to build a career by being on a wide range of TV shows.  If being a TV star has been your life-long goal, this book is worth reading.
  • If you’re interested in reality TV and you’d like to be a guest, a star, a producer or a writer, you’ll want to read Reality TV: An Insider Guide to TV’s Hottest Market.  This 2011 book gives you a good overview plus specific advice, and earns rave reviews from people in the industry.
  • This next book is by the winner of Big Brother 10 (U.S.), Dan Gheesling:  How to Get On Reality TV.  And, since it’s a Kindle book, you can download and read it immediately.

There are other books about this subject, but those look most useful.