If you’ve been a paranormal investigator for a few years, you’ve probably heard the theory that running water may have a direct correlation with paranormal activity. Even if you’re not a paranormal investigator, you may have heard the boys from TAPS mention something like this on their T.V. show, Ghost Hunters.

Simply put, some believe that the properties of water can cause paranormal activity to occur. I’ve heard people say that they’ve noticed paranormal activity around rivers, streams, oceans, lakes or even wells. So, does this theory hold any…water?

The Correlation Between Ghosts and Energy:

It is generally theorized that ghosts (if they exist) require energy to exist. Perhaps if this is true, spirits would choose to harness electromagnetic fields as a form of energy. You’ll often hear paranormal investigators talking about how high EMF (Electro Magnetic Fields) *could* mean that spirit activity is present. It could also just mean that the likelihood of paranormal activity is greater, because spirits would have an abundant EMF to feed from. Of course, all of this is unproven theory – but it remains plausible.

But what does this have to do with water?

Running water generates an electric current. The kinetic energy contained within a mass of running water depends on the water’s volume and velocity, but a current exists nonetheless. Also, water is a known conduit of electricity (though the change in your pocket is likely a better conduit). Perhaps spirits are able to “feed” from this electrical charge – making them more able to manifest? Who knows, but that’s the theory.

Clearly, this theory does not really work for stagnant bodies of water (lakes, wells, etc.), because there is not a charged current in effect. However, the phases of the moon may need to be considered. Depending on the phase of the moon, things like tidal forces and movement of groundwater would be effected. These effects on water would certainly create energy, but it would likely only be significant in the form of ocean and lake tides (high and low), because the effects of moon’s gravity are nearly impossible to measure on a small sample (such as a well).

To add to this, many of us have seen TAPS and other paranormal groups chasing “cold spots” around a room. It is certainly documented that paranormal experiences are often accompanied by a cold spot, where the temperature in one small area is drastically reduced in comparison to the rest of the room/building. Of course, many of these cold spots can be debunked by discovering open windows, open doors or ventilation systems. But, the alleged correlation between spirit activity and cold spots is not all that different from the EMF theory: spirits need energy to exist. In this case, the spirit is taking up the heat in the air (energy), and the remaining cold spot is evidence of that energy capture. If this is true, temperature changes in water may also be related to paranormal activity. It seems like a stretch – but it’s something that bears mentioning.

Myths and History

In researching this article, I was surprised to find that many people had heard about the running water theory before. Only, it wasn’t in the sense that you might think. They remembered old stories, folklore and books, where the creepy characters would have some type of problem with crossing running water. I seem to remember vampire stories where they couldn’t cross running water. Maybe werewolves were the same? I certainly remember at least one witch story where the evil witch couldn’t cross the river. Perhaps the most famous was the story of Sleepy Hollow. The headless horseman wasn’t able to cross the river (even on a bridge). These images are imprinted in our minds.

This whole mythological history is where many modern-day ghost stories are derived from. Many of the stories we hear today have been passed down for many, many years – and it’s possible that this “running water” theory is exactly that – folklore!

The Truth

I think we can see where some of these original ideas about running water really came from. I think you can also begin to see how just about any atmospheric condition could easily get stamped with “paranormal possibility.” Cold spots, high EMF, running water and anything else that deals with some form of energy could be used as a scapegoat for paranormal activity. In the end, all we’re left with is 100% speculation…

Maybe ghosts exist.
Maybe they need energy to exist.
Maybe they can draw electromagnetic energy to exist.
Maybe they can draw electromagnetic energy from running water to exist.
Seems like an awful lot of assumption, doesn’t it?

The truth is, we don’t have evidence that ghosts even exist. Therefore, we obviously can’t know if there is a relationship between running water and ghosts. We’re essentially placing a theory on top of another theory. You really need to first prove the existence of ghosts before you can claim to have discovered a means to track their activity.

The good news is that we CAN prove that running water exists, so we’re essentially half way there!

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“Running Water” Theory
By Nate Roberts Sept.30th, 2008