What if a house could ‘remember’ everything that’s happened inside it?
What if every trauma and joy was somehow locked in the walls, and that hauntings, rather than being the spirits of the dead, are the ‘imprint’ left behind by those who trod in your home before you, replayed like an old film reel in snippets?
That’s the concept behind Stone Tape theory, a form of “spooky geology” that suggests stone and rock formations can absorb events and replay them, like a VHS tape. Houses being the most prime examples of such ‘recordings,’ seeing as so much life goes on inside them.
The BBC film Stone Tape Theory explores the idea that stone retains memories.
According to paranormal investigators and even some geologists, the idea that bricks and mortar can ‘tape’ what goes on around them is one explanation for ghost sightings, apparitions and things that go bump in the night.
It’s also a theory as to why places where horrible things happened – like closed down hospitals, prisons and mental asylums – make people so uncomfortable and scared, as well as being the sites of so much supposed ghostly activity.
If the walls and floors and staircases and ceilings can literally remember the past, and the trauma that occurred within them, it stands to reason that people could sense, hear or even see that past, still looping and left behind, to various degrees.
The name of the theory comes from a supernatural drama called The Stone Tape, aired by the BBC in 1972, however the concept is older than that.
British archaeologist and parapsychologist Thomas Charles is famous for coining the theory in 1961, but philosopher H. H. Price had raised a similar notion in 1940.
Lethbridge argued that there is an "ether" and "vibration" around certain objects and structures that causes "memory transference" of the past to human beings sensitive to those vibrations.
Moist rocks seemed to be the best conductors of this old energy in these theories - such as dank old abandoned buildings as well as forests and rivers - but the conditions under which such a Stone Tape may 'replay' and how much it records, or chooses to play back, is a mystery.
Listen: Debbie Malone is a Psychic Investigator and talks to Mia Freedman. Post continues below.
Lethbridge also suggested that because only those sensitive to the energy emitted by the stone would be visited by ghostly sounds and visions, it goes some way towards explaining why some people have paranormal experiences and others don't.
While Stone Tape Theory is certainly compelling, it has little scientific evidence backing it.
However some paranormal researchers firmly believe that the inhabitants of a home may remain inside it, manifesting in a recording of the past, playing back over and over, forever trapped between the four walls in which they once lived.
And that means as you walk down your hallway tonight, your presence may be imprinted on the home, and felt by someone far in the future, walking down that same hallway, the very walls recalling a permanent trace of your existence.