Time, Superstition & the Paranormal

Time is a strange concept. An invisible barrier that separates us from all that has gone before.

Think about it, where you are right now! If time somehow didn’t exist for a moment, what would you see? A workhouse corridor? A long-gone farmstead? Or an open heathland alive with grazing animals?

What is time? I don’t know – it’s elusive. It seems to me though, to be flexible. The time we spent with childhood friends seemed to go on forever. Long hot summers and endless days of exploration, have turned into a never ending rolling over of day into night, that seems always to be speeding up.

Yet time, for some, is a very important thing. Mustn’t be late - must put the kettle on at 11am for that cup of tea. Or simply clock watching the working day away.

There are many that give great significance to certain times of the day. Midnight and 3am are two common examples. Whilst others give value to seeing certain repeated numbers, such as 11:11 or 3:33. But imagine, if you will, an analogue clock, reading these times... all sense of importance is now lost.

As I pondered on time and its relationship with the paranormal, I began to wonder... 'If time is flexible, could it ‘bend’ - just enough to allow a glimpse of a figure from an earlier time?' Could that explain apparitions from the past? There are certainly many documented reports of people experiencing time slips.

As I dwelt on the people that occupied this space, my space, in years gone by, I glanced at the clock. You guessed it… 00:00. Then I got to thinking. Those people, the people that belonged here in the past, wouldn’t have known what 00:00 was. Their time was analogue. 12 of the clock, both hands pointing upwards …And then, what if my clock was wrong? What if it were two minutes fast? Does that make my sighting of 00:00 irrelevant? Well… yes!

And there’s more.

What of so called ‘Anniversary Hauntings’? The re-enactment of events long past. We’ve all heard of one. The white lady whose ghost is said to appear every 4th of November, as she replays the scene of her untimely death.

Well, there’s a problem. Our yearly calendar has itself changed within fairly recent history.

In 1752 the Julian Calendar was replaced by the Gregorian Calendar, which changed the formula for calculating leap years and allowed a far more accurate reading of the time that the Earth took to go around the Sun. To compensate for the inaccuracy of previous recordings of time, 11 days were dropped from the month of September of that year.

So, that white lady of the 1600’s that returns to haunt on the anniversary of her sad demise… does she show herself on the 4th of November, or should it be the 15th?

Now I’m getting tangled up in my thoughts. If dates now are not the same as dates then; and even the way we measure time is in itself different, then time should hold no importance for a haunting. Yet the hauntings continue.

So, what IS important? What does it actually NEED for a replay haunting to take place?

I don’t have the answer to that - but feel it has more to do with atmospherics such as the weather and air pressure, lighting, and the mood of those present.

- Allison