I have a question about “ghosts” that I am wondering whether a philosopher or two could help me explain. I know it sounds ridiculous even to bring up the topic, which is why I do so only under the cover of anonymity. Let me preface this by saying, as a law student in New Haven with heavily atheist leanings, I don’t think I’m a particularly stupid or superstitious person. But a few years ago I had an experience it is difficult to reconcile with my worldview. On a lark, a friend and I spent the night in a hotel room in Savannah that was reputed to be “haunted.” Naturally, we were expecting nothing to happen there. But curiously, every time we left the room, something inside it moved. (We would go in the hallway, wait a minute or two, and then re-enter.) A banana from the fruit bowl and a tub of shampoo from the bathroom were placed on the bed; my friend’s underwear moved from one corner of the room to a trash can in the other; my friend’s student ID was removed from his wallet and placed on the floor; the list goes on. We had a video camera with us. Each time we left it inside the room, something moved, but in a small nook of the room outside of the camera’s frame. This was true despite the fact that we left the camera in different locations, covering different parts of the room. (Each time this happened, the camera’s microphone picked up no sounds whatsoever.)
Given these facts, the only conventional explanation I can come up with—that staff at this fancy inn was somehow monitoring the room and deploying someone or some thing to move our things—strikes me as highly implausible, not only because it would be flagrantly illegal (a peeping-tom style offense), but physically impossible. Assuming all this is true—which I assure you it is—what are its implications?