In this society where the material is soon given status if properly advertised, and the strange seems all around us without explanation, what explanations we do attempt to give are often lost when more information is uncovered. Take the once thought simple concept of a ghost, for example. Once it was said that a ghost is simply a human spirit that has left its body and now roams the earth. Then we see ghost horses, and the natural explanation is that this is evidence of the presence of spirits in animals as well. But where do ghost automobiles fit in this equation?
It seems if stories are to be taken at face value and can be used as anecdotal evidence in this case, then the idea of a ghost car actually disproves as much as it seems to prove. It doesn’t seem that anyone is attempting to suggest that a car, truck, plane, or ship itself has a soul. And yet this conventional (and many would say outdated) explanation of ghosts would suggest that these spectral vehicles can only spring from the presence of a spirit in the vehicle prior to its destruction.
But we must remember that though this conventional theory is often repeated by casual enthusiasts on the subject of the paranormal, it is not necessarily the “official” or widely held theory in paranormal circles. Ghost cars are most oftenly manifest as what is commonly known as a “residual haunting.” These residual hauntings are commonly described as an event playing out over and over again throughout time in an incorporeal form that can be observed in fleeting moments (such as on an anniversary of the event.) But if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does its ghost continue to haunt the area years afterward? Generally it is accepted that the event is most likely connected directly to a major event as it was perceived by people in the area. For example, the ghostly appearance of a car that ran over a pedestrian may actually be the ghost of the pedestrian involved in the tragic incident.
Of course it’s difficult to come up with any conclusive explanation that fits every single case, and there is an understandable level of skepticism that must be taken with each individual event as many will be made up for the purpose of storytelling, but it seems somehow the residual haunting is connected to a specific area or object. This area must surely be linked to an object, such as the ground it happened on, otherwise with the rotation of the Earth and the spiraling of the sun around the galaxy most ghosts would appear in space where they cannot be observed by anyone. Of course this could be happening, but there’s no way to observe it. So the ultimate conclusion we can come to is that ghost vehicles spawned from a residual haunting must be the emotional “energy” (which is a sufficiently abstract term to describe this force we do not yet understand) of those who fell victim to the incident at the time it occurred.