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    Do Einstein's Laws Prove Ghosts Exist?

    Every night, amateur ghost-hunting groups across the country head out into abandoned warehouses, old buildings and cemeteries to look for ghosts. They often bring along electronic equipment that they believe helps them locate ghostly energy.

    Despite years of efforts by ghost hunters on TV and in real life, we still do not have good proof that ghosts are real. Many ghost hunters believe that strong support for the existence of ghosts can be found in modern physics. Specifically, that Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, offered a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts.

    A recent Google search turned up nearly 8 million results suggesting a link between ghosts and Einstein's work covering the conservation of energy. This assertion is repeated by many top experts in the field. For example, ghost researcher John Kachuba, in his book "Ghosthunters" (2007, New Page Books), writes, "Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. ... So what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy. What is that new energy? ... Could we call that new creation a ghost?"

    This idea shows up — and is presented as evidence for ghosts — on virtually all ghost-themed websites as well. For example, a group called Tri County Paranormal states, "Albert Einstein said that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. When we are alive, we have electrical energy in our bodies. ... What happens to the electricity that was in our body, causing our heart to beat and making our breathing possible? There is no easy answer to that." [6 Paranormal Videos Debunked]

    In fact, the answer is very simple, and not at all mysterious. After a person dies, the energy in his or her body goes where all organisms' energy goes after death: into the environment. When a human dies, the energy stored in his or her body is released in the form of heat, and transferred into the animals that eat us (i.e., wild animals if we are left unburied, or worms and bacteria if we are interred), and the plants that absorb us. If we are cremated, the energy in our bodies is released in the form of heat and light.

    When we eat dead plants and animals, we are consuming their energy and converting it for our own use. Food is metabolized when digested, and chemical reactions release the energy the animal needs to live, move, reproduce, etc. That energy does not exist in the form of a glowing, ghostly ball of electromagnetic energy, but rather in the form of heat and chemical energy.

    Many ghost hunters say they can detect the electric fields created by ghosts. And while it's true that the metabolic processes of humans and other organisms actually do generate very low-level electrical currents, these are no longer generated once the organism dies. Because the source of the energy stops, the electrical current stops — just as a light bulb turns off when you switch off the electricity running to it.

    Most of the "energy" that any dead person leaves behind takes years to re-enter the environment in the form of food; the rest dissipates shortly after death, and is not in a form that can be detected years later with popular ghost-hunting devices like electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Ghost hunters who repeat the claim that Einstein's theories provide a sound basis for ghosts reveal less about ghosts than they do about their poor understanding of basic science. Ghosts may indeed exist, but neither Einstein nor his laws of physics suggests that ghosts are real.

    This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries, then join us on Facebook.

    Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries." His website is


    • Mike  •  Cleveland, United States  •  Yesterday
      So I assume this must apply to all life forms. I would be mystified if I saw a ghost of a tree or an ant. Am I wrong? Do human beings only qualify for this? Someone please explain the logic and I'll shutup.
    • Frédéric  •  Lyon, France  •  3 days ago
      The law of conservation of energy was not issued by Einstein. Einstein's contribution was the equivalence of mass and energy in the law of conservation.
    • Mockingbird  •  Pleasanton, United States  •  Yesterday
      No. But Einstein's theories do prove that many people have the brains of gerbils.
    • mr obvious  •  Anaheim, United States  •  2 days ago
      ghosts are intriging but more facsinating is that math and astro physics is telling us there are 11 dimensions, multiple universes, everything that ever went in to a black hole remaiins encoded on its surface, dark energy, this is all more amazing and interesting than ghosts.
    • Glue  •  St. Paul, United States  •  Yesterday
      Your confusing soul with enery. The energy is in the neuron connections and molecules but the soul is completely different.
    • Vee  •  Atlanta, United States  •  3 days ago
      The real twist in this story....... is that author Radford..... DIED 10 years ago! DUN DUN DUN
    • Gin Yesterday
      i wanna know why no one sees the ghosts of dinosaurs! wouldn't that be something? you guys think ghosts of people are scary. imagine a ghost of a Raptor charging you in the middle of the night.
    • AUGUSTUS MCCRAE 2 days ago
      this is just ignorance. the laws of thermodynamics, which these dummies attribute to einstein, were compounded a couple hundred years ago, way before einstein. and emfs exist everywhere.

      to suggest that when the body of a person dies, his energy must go somewhere is about as relevant as saying that when your car is junk its energy went somewhere.

      now if you claim the body has an activating energy such as a soul, chi, kundalini, et al, and that this energy retains a consistent form and cohesiveness, then maybe it does live on and go somewhere. but before claiming any of this for science, you must first measure the energy you call the soul or whatever and prove it was in the body before death and afterwards.

      experiments were conducted 100 years ago on this by people who measured the weight of human bodies immediately before and after death. most of the time these bodies did indeed lose small amounts of weight. but maybe it was just farts.
    • D Terrent 2 days ago
      I see dumb people!
    • Victory  •  Seattle, United States  •  Yesterday
      Poor Einstein abused again. There should be a law against tabloid journalism masquerading as science news. The gullible will always bite.
    • Edward  •  Fairmont, United States  •  Yesterday
      In next weeks episode of Ghost Hunters:
      Didya hear that? Didya hear that? What was that? OMG, did you hear that. Didya hear that? Didya see that? Didya hear that? Didya see something? I thought I heard something?

      The Reveal:
      Yup, your house is definitely haunted!
    • Dave  •  Leesburg, United States  •  2 days ago
      This is a Yahoo "classic" article. After you read it, you don't really know anything. Look at the headline. Here, I'll do one for you: "Does salt on a pretzel mean it has come from the Great Salt Lake?" Then you read the article and find out nobody knows, nobody cares. Dilberts.
    • Bill  •  Bogota, Colombia  •  2 days ago
      That "Do Einstein's Laws Prove Ghosts Exist?" is the lead science story for Yahoo new says volumes about America today.
    • jim55ll  •  Manasquan, United States  •  Yesterday
      This is silly....there have been billions upon billions of people living on earth for thousands and thousands years. If ghostd existed we would be bumping onto them every day. And one more thing. Why aren't ghosts naked? I mean how can their cloths come back and haunt us too.
    • xum 3 days ago
      the sad thing is, yahoo has to write an article to explain about energy. No wonder we're behind other countries in math and science...
    • Dennis  •  St. Louis, United States  •  3 days ago
      Its easier to prove there are ghost than to prove there are honest politicians.
    • Ken W 3 days ago
      The equipment that ghost hunters use cannot even detect the electromagnetics fields of a LIVING person, so why would they pick up anything after that persons physical body is no longer present?
    • Stephen 2 days ago
      Why are there so many ghost articles on Yahoo lately?
    • Don  •  La Crosse, United States  •  2 days ago
      The only sure thing is that eventually each and every one of us will find out if their is life after death.
    • SoapinTrucker  •  Fresno, United States  •  Yesterday
      We will all know, or not, in the end.
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