Ghosts are NOT Dark Matter

Just a quick one tonight.

At Dragon*Con (which I won’t mention again until next summer) some fascinatingly misguided person suggested that ghosts are made of Dark Matter. Dark matter is the missing 22% of the stuff the universe is made of. This is stuff – it is just stuff that doesn’t interact with the electromagnetic force in a noticeable way. This means it does not obscure light (like dust), it does not give off light (like stars), it does not chemically interact, or in fact it does not do anything other than move stuff with its mass via gravity. This means that if you can see something, it is not Dark Matter. This means that if you can detect something as a cold spot (which implies something happened to the heat energy in that spot), and if you can measure something via some electromagnetic something (changes in inductance, conductance, etc of air), it cannot be dark matter.

I do not believe ghosts have been proven to exist.

That said, the folks trying to prove they exist have “results” based on stuff that requires ghosts interact via the electromagnetic force.

If dark matter was as visible as they claim ghosts are, my job would be a whole lot easier. Dark Matter can only be detected via gravity. Ghosts cannot be made of dark matter based on any of the “Observables” ghost hunters tote out.

One more point: if you try and claim ghosts use gravity to move stuff around, then they couldn’t selectively move things because they’d need HUGE amounts of mass to move a small chair, and in the process they’d probably bend walls and collapse ceilings. They could not simply push or pull on the chair because without the electromagnetic force at play, dark matter pretty much just passes straight through normal matter (like chairs).

In case you missed it, ghosts are not made out of Dark Matter.

Try again, and please stay out of astronomy next time.

25 Comments

  1. Anatai September 4, 2008 at 1:50 am #

    Dark matter is a fascinating subject to me! All my internet searches on it have turned up a myriad of ideas about what it could be or what its purpose is. I find it very interesting to hear others opinions and thoughts about it. But even I know how to draw the line at statements far outside the realm of possibilities. I don’t personally believe there are ghosts but I love it when evidence is presented instead of just opinion. Thanks Dr. Gay!

  2. Yoo September 4, 2008 at 5:16 am #

    Want to bet how soon claims of ghosts being made of dark energy will come out? 😛

  3. Colin J September 4, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    They can’t be dark matter, because everyone knows that ghosts are white! 🙂

  4. jake September 4, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    If it’s not ghosts, someone like Silvia Brown will claim it’s spiritual energy or souls of the unborn. Although perhaps its a good thing that most quacks don’t read science magazines much or I can just imagine what crazy theory’s they’d spread around like ghost thing. Or perhaps it’s too bad that they don’t pay more attention to the scientific community or they might have a more informed perspective. I guess its a lose-lose situation either way.

  5. Syed Moin Doja September 4, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    ooohh love it when a hard core scientist tears a nutcase apart.
    especially liked the way she explains – “..try and claim ghosts use gravity to move stuff around, then they couldn’t selectively move things because they’d need HUGE amounts of mass to move a small chair, and in the process they’d probably bend walls and collapse ceilings.” you paint such a beautiful mind-picture, could really imagine that scene in my mind complete with special effects- could almost see the walls slowly bend and distort and the ceiling comes crashing down with a Bang!
    way to go Doc, a veritable Dana Scully.

    4.45 a.m
    Calcutta, India.

  6. Wayne September 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    BREAKING NEWS from Science News

    PAMELA may have spotted the dark stuff
    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/36202/title/PAMELA_may_have_spotted_the_dark_stuff
    An orbiting observatory may have discovered particles of dark matter — the proposed, invisible material that researchers believe holds the universe together.

  7. Amanda October 3, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    It would have been wonderful to read your opinions, which I’m sure I would have agreed with, if it weren’t for the ad for Swinbourne Online across the bloody page!

  8. pamela October 3, 2008 at 9:10 am #

    Hi Amanda,

    What is wrong with the ad for Swinburne? I’m one of their instructors and haven’t had a negative experience so far. If either my theme is bust or you had a negative experience with SAO, please let me know.

    Cheers – Pamela

  9. Bruce A October 4, 2008 at 1:28 am #

    Nothing wrong with the ad itself, but there’s something screwy with the way the page renders, such that the ad obscures the rightmost edge of the text. Either your text is overstepping its bounds (probable) or the ad’s made of dark matter and is exerting its influence over the text.

    Either way, I had to adblock the image to read the article (which, btw, I enjoyed).

  10. awolfgod August 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    i dont know any thing about matters but maybe anti matter , i want to hear you explain why they are not made of anti matter

  11. Robert Ryan August 30, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    how can you simply dissmiss the connection between 2 extremely unkown substances. we don’t how dark matter reacts to regular matter and no one knows how/if ghosts exist. if you look at M-theory they talk about how the big bang was a collision between 2 membranes. it also discribes the existence of at least 10 other spatial dimensions. if matter cannot be created or destroyed, what happens to the “soul” of human beings? do we just turn into the potential energy of the matter of our bodies? what if our souls travel to an unknown dimension. what if we have possible interactions between these unkown dimensions in which perhaps time doesn’t exist (at least as we know it to exist)? is it so ridiculous for people to think that something as silly as ghosts or spirits may have an actual explanation through science?

  12. Soapdish March 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Robert Ryan;

    You speak of the concept of a soul in the same paragraph that you entreat for “scientific explanations”.

    I hope you see the disconnect here.

  13. Raymond Strano March 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    The idea that ghosts are dark matter is really not as crazy as it first sounds. First off you have to realize that dark matter and dark energy are really just two aspects of how the vacuum interacts with matter. That is if you have two parallel plates, the vacuum pressure between them is less than outside them producing an inward pressure pushing the plates together. This is the Casimir effect which results from non-resonant modes of the vacuum being excluded from between the plates. Now if you imagine two pairs of plates there is an outward repulsive force created between the two pairs of plates.
    Substitute two galaxies for the two pairs of plates and you see how the Casimir effect could provide an explanation for both the attractive dark matter and the repulsive dark energy. Ghosts if they were anything would be an ordering of vacuum fluctuations like the resonant vacuum modes between two plates. I have found that fmeditators with 10 years or more experiance feel something when placed between two parallel plates and identify the sensation as chi or prana.
    There seems to be something to all this and it deserves more attencion.

  14. Rick Parlett November 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    You…you LIAR!!!! Have u proven this? I so please share. I happen to believe otherwise. Dark Matter is also observable as distortions. So that means that people could see the dark matter distortions and think they are “ghosts.”

  15. Megan April 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    I really like what Robert Ryan had to say. Why is it so hard for people to believe that our energy still remains after we die? Our matter has to do something, again it cannot be created nor destroyed so it has to still exist. I don’t really think it’s possible that ghosts are dark matter, however I do think it’s ludicrous that so-called scientists dismiss the exsistence of a soul when they know ‘matter can neither be created or destroyed.’

  16. not-Megan July 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    @Megan: “it’s ludicrous that so-called scientists dismiss the exsistence of a soul when they know ‘matter can neither be created or destroyed.’”

    The soul by definition is immaterial… what’s matter got to do with it?

  17. marc November 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    “If dark matter was as visible as they claim ghosts are, my job would be a whole lot easier.” actually, if ghosts were as visible as they claim they are, then they would have been discovered and studied by science. so technically, ghosts are actually less common and harder to discover than dark matter is.

  18. Mikka December 11, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    Well stated

  19. Mikka December 11, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    I do believe that ghosts do exist. Are they former people? Some may be, some may not be. It’s too complex because we don’t know yet what they are.
    As far as bending walls and breaking through windows? That a “matter” of change in what ever they are made of.
    If at one moment they are visible and the next walk through walls without creating a hole…there has to be a shift in make up. That wall has to have pours or cracks small enough for them to seep into.
    It’s very complex.
    Love what you wrote.

  20. ken brisby January 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    a lot of recent studies on dark matter are suggesting it can be detected in space with infrared? and that it acts as a frame work for the remaining 15- 20% of the matter in the universe. acting as frame work is certainly an interaction with the matter we can see and experience. i think its worth studying a ghost theory if anything, for fun, and not shooting it down. if your an expert in your field i would love for you to share more recent information on dark matter. some of yours seems to be dated since this thread began. ps. i have had paranormal experiences and so have almost forty percent of my friends and colleagues. they are film makers/ musicians/ business majors/ PHD holders alike, and certainly not a bunch of people lying to get attention at a convention.

  21. Believer in the unknown December 26, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    We don’t know what we don’t know.

  22. Will May 22, 2017 at 1:29 am #

    More recent observations suggest the ghost theory may be closer to the truth. Some researchers have found a possible origin of dark matter could be from a different universe altogether.
    So before you guffaw something, make certain you fully understand it.

  23. Tyler See June 10, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

    I would like to point out the fact that your suggestion that dark matter is gravity is, in fact, not gravity. However, Scientists have discovered dark matter through gravity. They realized that the rotation of galaxy’s was too fast to just be the gravitational pull. They then realized there must be another source which gave the galaxy’s their spin. This shows that gravity is not dark matter, and dark matter is not gravity, therefore, trying to put the two together is absolutely absurd.

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