A Researcher Looks At The Case in The Movie "The Ring".
Nota Bella: "The Ring" and the excellent Japanese predecessor, Ringu (dir. Hideo Nakata, 1998) which it is based on are works of absolute fiction and this is a semi-tongue in cheek look at "the case" that would come from it from a paranormal investigator's point of view. This article is not a "review" and is not arguing the quality of the movie or "how good" the film is.
This past weekend, after having it suggested multiple times, I sat down and watched the movie "The Ring" (DreamWorks Pictures, 2002) and noticed one very interesting thing.
As a "ghost researcher" myself who dabbles in many types of paranormal phenomena, if the case had been brought to my attention, I would look at all the evidence... and pass it on not to a "ghost" researcher but, to a UFOlogist who's expertise is in "high strangeness" and abductee/contactee experiences.
I know, this sounds weird but, bear with me and I'll explain...
Oh, by the way, this article COULD be seen as a SPOILER so please, if you haven't seen the film and don't want the movie "spoiled" by knowing the ending or by knowing some of the events in the film, PLEASE read no further!
Let's look at the phenomena on the film...
POINT ONE, We have a video tape. The tape, when viewed, seems to end in the viewer ending up dead but, note the way that they die... They're heart "just stops" in absolute fear, in fear, they leap to their death and/or in fear, they end up in an accident via losing attention while driving or in some sort of other activity. This says to me that the deaths are not because of a physical presence but, more of a psychocentric or, if one wanted, a "mind control" type of phenomena. The only evidence of physical presence is water but, we'll cover that later.
Statistically, if we look at cases (even 'questionable' legends) where ghosts cause a death (which are very few and far between... by our own statistics, your chances are better of being killed by a falling piece of a broken airliner than being killed or even hurt bad by a ghostly presence... at least, that's what seems to be reported), very few leave little or negligible physical evidence of their presence and, in all those cases, there's always a commonality of either a person (only one) or a place (one location). Therefore, the concept of a "ghost" would somehow be able to use a videocassette to proliferate it's abilities to "haunt" would be totally unique.
On the other hand, abduction and possibly "alien" situations like this (where simple contact with a "prime" source in the form of the original person who's experience or, having information passed to one person to another on a higher level (psychically?) via some sort of electronic medium is not unheard of.
POINT TWO, The origin of the video tape and how the original was produced seems to be an absolute mystery. In the film, we see them looking at the physical tape and realising that indeed, the production of the tape is impossible as the track that shows the data on recording does not exist. Later on, we find that the little girl who "originally" produced the tape can also manipulate x-ray film which is more electro-chemical in nature whereas video tape is of an electro-magnet nature. A case where the only commonality is electrical composition but, it's so far removed from each other that, we have to assume, this entity can distinguish between the two components for the desired affect.
Again, looking at "true ghost stories", this is unlikely as ghosts seem (for the most part) to be "electro-centric" in their efforts. Never in all the studies we have seen has the electrical "playing" of a ghostly entity revolved around more than one type of actual focus. Either they can "play" with electrical current or disturb "electrical" waves but not just rarely, never have we found one that could do both.
Conversely, in cases of "high strangeness" revolving around UFOlogy, or more correctly, around abductee and contactee cases, having multiple levels of electrical phenomena happen are frequent.
POINT THREE, The "familiar images" and connections between those images and the tape leading to a source or place can be seen as some as possibly ghostly but, again, looking at past cases, when manifestation seem to be trying to point to a particular direction or spot, they rarely are so vague. More often than not, it's a case of being literally "pointed" in the right direction. Ghostly entities, using the SoBD (survival of bodily death) theory are more capable of somewhat easily understood communications as we assume they are or have once been "human". Even psychics that claim "contact ability" with ghosts use letters, colours, smells or sounds as their initial contact point, not vague pictures that seem completely unrelated.
In cases of "high strangeness", the exact opposite it true. Vague and unfamiliar images and seemingly disjointed items that might lead to a place, person or thing are a commonly seen event. This is explained by some as a communication barrier between an "alien" and a "human". A pictogram without a common frame of reference or language making it far more difficult to understand and break down.
POINT FOUR, The occasional apparition of the "little girl" and her ability to "show" things to people that are nowhere near her actual physical presence or where we assume she would be "haunting". When looking at hauntings, we must look statistically at where it would be more logical to take place... the places where the "ghost" (before death, again, using the SoBD theory) lived, played, worked or died. This is far more prevalent than ghosts that "wander" anywhere where people might be affected by them. Although "personal hauntings" or, a person as opposed to a place or thing, are being subjected to ghostly manifestations from a seemingly single source are not unheard of, they are the exception rather than the rule and again, a simple viewing of a video tape with no other major connection is almost never heard of. Also, as for this ability to "show things", this is not unheard of a ghostly manifestation but, it's more likely that the communication is much clearer and not as "cryptic".
Contactee and abductee information tells us that preceding and post experience phenomena does indeed include "familiar" apparitions being seen. Usually, they can include "walk ins" such as what appears to be a living person wandering about their area who, obviously, is not anywhere near the scene of the person that witnesses it.... much like a "doppleganger". But, also it has been reported that apparitions have been seen that are "simple familiar"... Like a little girl. Also, the communication of simple "pictograms" or "showing things" is more likely another case of non-commonality of language or frame of reference. Again, this seems to be an "alien" thing.
POINT FIVE, The water evidence. As stated at the first point, the only physical evidence near the "victims" is water. Although "water poltergeists" are not unheard of, they tend to be categorized as "playing" with water or manipulating water to act in a certain way. In "TRUE ghost stories", physical evidence of water is not only rare but is actually rarer than a ghost "harming" someone. In fact, the only places we were able to find the situation of water forming without help is within those legendary "lost at sea" cases where an apparition or familiar form of a loved one has appeared who was lost at sea or drowned and has "trudged" in the water with them... There is one case that set a precedent for many legends... most of which, are urban legends which don't stand up to scrutiny. Even the rather incredible multiple witness sighting of Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon in London, England in 1893 in which the Vice Admiral's wife and several "tea" guests saw the admiral in very solid form in full dress uniform come down the stairs of the home (in full view of the tea party) despite the fact that the gentleman was at that moment, drowning in the seas North of Scotland in a tragic accident. Although this case is truly the one that spurred on so many of the "returned from the sea" stories, the interesting thing is that only the apparition in this case was there and, granted, witnessed by an entire group. Even though when reading through the early testimony, the apparition of the admiral was a "dry" one, later on, one assumes to add more *umph* to the story, the idea that the ghostly admiral traipsed water through the house was added by one author and by some, included as "fact" in the case after the fact.
In fact, when looking into ghostly water play, for the most part, the phenomena will "play" with water from a normal(?) source such as a tap, water pipe or normal humidity in the atmosphere. In this movie, however, none of these could explain the sheer amount of water "produced".
In high strangeness, again, water and certain biological forms found in water that would not be normal to the environment in which it is found do occur.
POINT SIX, The only animal genus that seems to be affected is horses. This is truly odd as dogs and cats seem (statistically) to be the most prevalent animal affected by traditional "ghost". This sort of selective phenomena says that the phenomena is centred on one type of "wavelength" (if you will) that is extremely selective. Again, this says that this is not a traditional "ghostly" manifestation but says that some sort of extremely selective force is in play. Again, this is more prevalent in high strangeness cases than in ghost cases.
POINT SEVEN, The wife was "not suppose to have a child" and apparently, husband and wife go on a "vacation" and come back with a child... apparently, an adolescent with "powers".
If you study concepts and reports of alien highbreds (human/alien combinations), it is normal to read about a high probability of "psychic" abilities and possible rapid growth from infant to adult.
Again, this point of the movie is more like "alien" phenomena than "ghostly" phenomena.
POINT EIGHT, The mother, who normally was "happy" and had no issues, ends up going a bit crazy for no apparent reason.
Again, looking at cases, the "ghost" probably wouldn't be the causation of this as the girl would not be "haunting" yet (still alive) so something else messed with the mother's head. Again, more cases of abductee/contactee having serious psychological issues after their experience which leads again, to the the better possibility of abductee experimentation than of "ghosts".
POINT NINE, The mother kills the little girl for no reason and was not "prone" to do this... In fact, the doctor even said "All she wanted was a child. I don't know why she'd do this." (or words to this affect.) We also know that the girl, via videotape, seemed predestined to "hurt people" which, again, is a bit weird... As if she already knew that she had a mission before death... Another normal situation, although normally in reverse, of contactees/abductees. (Usually, apparently, contactees and abductees feel they are here to get "us" ready for mass alien encounter.)
POINT TEN, The first death we witness does not kill both people in the vicinity but scares one person to "death" (rather horribly) but causes serious, psychological damage to the other witness. Again, this seems rather selective. Is this because only one of the people was "primed" via electronic media to be a victim and therefore, when the proper "force" was applied to the general area, it killed one and damaged selectively the other? Like using napalm on a select target, it will burn badly the direct person but will cause sever reciprocal damage to nearby targets. It has been shown that electronic weaponry (such as the "possibly mythical" E-Bomb) will cause nasty issues with non-targets while wiping out it's intended target.
POINT ELEVEN, In the vast majority of "true ghost stories" that revolve around a mysterious or bad death, once the ghost has seemed to make it's point or laid the corpse in question to rest, the hauntings either cease or at least, lessen in intensity. This seems to be the more common situation and I've yet to find a case, like the movie, where the haunting intensified after the facts with the possible exceptions of the "screaming skulls" and these are apparently the only exception to this case and these "screaming skulls" are truly not that nasty and, unlike the movie, have never caused major physical harm when they were attempted to be removed and/or buried.
POINT TWELVE, In order to "dodge" the wrath of the videotape, you must figure out that a copy be made and another victim be found. This tells me that it serves only one purpose... It selects "intelligent" people (those who can figure out the 'curse') and eliminates the weak-minded... It also gathers, from those "intelligent" people, those that are willing to sacrifice someone else to preserve their own life. This seems like a selective way of eliminating humans that are not smart and are not able to be controlled by fear. This, in time, would limit your population to smart, but scared, sheep easily controlled by fear and paranoia as well as suffering from collective guilt (for the "murder" of their fellow man). Since some abductees/contactees feel that the alien presence is malevolent and is trying to more-or-less conquer us, this would allow for a perfect situation for domination of the world.
Was the little girl's "reason" for being to do this while she was alive? Was this why the (before going insane?) mother killed the little girl and again, guilt pushed her to self destruction of the final sort? Were the horses killed in experimentation of some sort? (Cattle mutilation on a different level?) Was the video-tape and seemingly "ghost-like" apparition "Plan B" from the originators of the girl when her death cut short the original idea?
POINT THIRTEEN, The movie's cinematography is based in green and red tints only. Is this simply artistic expression or is it something more! Heck, our female lead even pays for everything using her green American Express card! I could go on about American Express and Citibank and The Rothschild Family... but I won't. (Okay, this one is REALLY tongue-in-cheek but what the heck!)
POINT FOURTEEN, The whole "see the tape and die" (with little physical evidence of a third party assisting death) smells like possible MK-Ultra experiments on mind control. Many see a correlation to these experiments linked to government conspiracies which, as we all know, government conspiracies are often in play with UFOlogy. (Also see the rant above about Amex!)
POINT FIFTEEN, The phone call after the viewing of the tape can be seen as a "ghost call" which is something that has been reported in ghost reports with some frequency. Still, when looking at ghost cases, phone ringing with "no one there" and a slow build to a whispering voice over a few calls is the "norm"... Not an immediate understandable voice. This is very rare and almost completely unheard of in terms of "ghostly" phenomena and phones.
POINT SIXTEEN, Some poltergeist phenomena seemed to be in play within the movie. What many ghost investigators and enthusiasts may not be aware of is that poltergeist activity is not limited to strictly SoBD cases and what the popular thought of what a "poltergeist" case is. You'll find much "poltergeist" phenomena happening in conjunction with contactee/abductee experiences that don't seem to be related to the popular theory on what causes a "ghost". Poltergeist phenomena can not, by itself, be used as an "absolute" when it comes to calling a case a "ghostly" situation.
POINT SEVENTEEN, Whenever the "ghost" (little girl) physically touches someone, it ends up with the "living" person displaying a minor burn. This would be a first as most classical cases of physical contact with a "ghost" is reported as "cold"... I guess "freezer burn" might be suspected but, since the physical sign we're shown is a "red" mark and sensitivity, it leads the researcher to suspect a first-degree "heat" burn. Again, it's almost completely unheard of to get a report of heat as a causation of physical contact with a suspected ghost. Most (a vast majority) of physical reports of ghostly touches are described as "ice cold". This means that it would be a mistake to jump to the conclusion that this reported phenomena is "ghostly" in nature.
Minor "heat" burns, unlike ghost reports, are quite common in those that report that they have come in close contact with either an alien entity or a UFO of some sort. Burns in these cases have ranged from first-degree to intensive third degree burns and even in death in a very minute amount of cases. Still, "heat burns" are far more prevalent in UFOlogical cases than in ghost cases.
LAST POINT, The idea that this would be a "ghost story" is strictly based on the idea that the main catalyst is a murdered little girl. This means we are forced to take a "survival of bodily death" theory is the only acceptable answer and still, does not explain all the phenomena.
I could also mention that the whole "ring with light around the outside" although 'explained' as the lid of a well, could also be seen as a classic "saucer" but that's too easy. Heck, I could toss in "Crop Circles" too but... Well...
SO, when looking at the case presented, I would have to say that as a "ghost" story, this movie has far more roots within UFOlogy and, more correctly, "High Strangeness". As a ghost researcher, if someone presented me with all the "contents" of this case, I would send it forward to someone within "high strangeness" information rather than to a "ghost" person.
The case, as it stands, is not at all a ghost case in my honest and, although possibly a stretch to say this, my somewhat educated opinion.
Everything above is as accurate as I can do and the information is valid but, still, this was all done in fun! What I was thinking while watching the film is... If they do a sequel or two, are they going to "swing" to an alien theme? Considering that almost nothing in the film points to an absolute "ghost" case, one has to wonder...
Matthew James Didier - July 14th, 2003