Shakespeare’s ghosts meet quantum entanglement. “Spectrum appearance of Banquo”by Gustav Dore (Wikimedia Commons/WikiPaintings) and ‘Quantum Space’

Shakespeare’s Ghosts Live! What Secret Messages do The Spirits Reveal about the Nature of Reality?

(Read the article on one page)

When one of us began studying psychology he was told that if the aim was to understand human relationships, it would be better served by studying literature—especially Shakespeare. Since then, at least as concerns clinical psychology , the subject has moved on to become an evidence-based humanistic alternative to psychiatry's rather mindless medical model. Yet some of Shakespeare's insights do still remain unrecognized. Despite all the innumerable treatises on Shakespeare, there is a near absence of any discussion of what can be inferred from his works concerning his view on the paranormal.

Hark! Consciousness and Entanglement

Most of us know the quotation from Shakespeare's " There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy ( Hamlet, Act 1, scene 5) but very few scientists have actually taken this on-board.  So let's use this axiom to look at a fascinating area: Consciousness.

Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, and the Ghost, on the platform before the Palace of Elsinor. 1796

Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, and the Ghost, on the platform before the Palace of Elsinor. 1796 ( Public Domain )

While there exists no accredited work integrating modern physics and psychology, there now is at least a "quantum biology" relating to biological molecules that show a dynamic form of "entanglement"—  that is a resonance with each other across time and space that is not explicable by casual laws. If entanglement is found to have a pervasive role in nature, then given these forms of resonance occur in one brain then they may well occur between separate brains. Suddenly, the paranormal becomes normal science!

Indeed, should the author and physician Larry Dossey be right then these developments are not just academic; they would have implications that will revolutionize modern medicine.

Shakespeare’s Knowing Ghosts

What does Shakespeare, whose works contains 14 ghosts, have to say on the topic?

Macbeth seeing the ghost of Banquo

Macbeth seeing the ghost of Banquo ( Public Domain )

In order to evaluate Shakespeare's writings, it is, of course, necessary to take into account the zeitgeist where a deviant idea could easily lead to the dungeon, if not decapitation. The Protestant Elizabethan period with its renaissance may well have offered greater freedom of expression for Shakespeare than the subsequent reign of James I. Although James was a Protestant, he was also James VI of Scotland where Calvinism and Catholicism were prevailing. Moreover, James took a very personal interest in witchcraft because spells were to have interfered with his marriage arrangements, causing heavy storms so that his fiancée’s ship from Copenhagen ended up at Oslo rather than Leith.

The North Berwick witches were accused and burnt for conspiracy involving the devil. James attended one of the trials, dismissing at first the involvement of the devil until one of the witches convinced him of her powers, unwittingly sealing her fate, by telling him the precise words his finance had whispered into his ear. The witches in Macbeth closely resemble the descriptions found in the records of the North Berwick witch trials.

Suspected witches kneeling before King James; Daemonologie (1597)

Suspected witches kneeling before King James; Daemonologie (1597) ( Public Domain )

For Catholics and Calvinist's sympathizers, there was one exception to seeing ghosts as agents of the devil; this was if God had a purpose in allowing the ghost a leave of absence from purgatory. Protestants added one further, more modern alternative: delusions of distraught minds. Hamlet was written very shortly before the ascendency of James to the throne and the ghost appears only because he has a leave of absence from purgatory, and the delusion aspect plays a major role in the play.

The North Berwick Witches meet the Devil in the local kirkyard, from a contemporary pamphlet, Newes from Scotland.

The North Berwick Witches meet the Devil in the local kirkyard, from a contemporary pamphlet, Newes from Scotland. ( Public Domain )

Evil Spirits

The plays Julius Caesar and Richard III are from the Elizabethan period. In Julius Caesar (Act IV scene 3) , Brutus confronts the ghost, demanding: " Speak to me what thou art ." and the answer is: "Thy evil spirit, Brutus". What is particularly profound here lies in the answer “Thy evil spirit”. This saying that while it is Brutus’s own consciousness that has produced the ghost, the entity has an independence of Brutus.  The entity then foretells how they will meet again at Philippa—which is where Brutus will die.

This independence of the spirits reoccurs in Richard III (Act V scene 3) before the Battle of Bosworth Field when a succession of ghosts simultaneously appear the dreams of both Richard and his adversary, Richmond. The ghosts torment Richard but encourage Richmond in the fight by foretelling that he will become king and beget future kings.


Very enjoyable read. 

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Myths & Legends

Right: Detail of a statue of a reclining Attis. The Shrine of Attis is situated to the east of the Campus of the Magna Mater in Ostia. Statue of Jesus Christ as a shepherd with a lamb.
Recently, it has been popular to suggest in some circles that Christianity was influenced, or even derived from, the ancient Roman mystery religions – religions often known to have orgiastic rituals and connection to a personal god.

Human Origins

Silhouettes (Public Domain) in front of blood cells (Public Domain) and a gene.
Most people who have the Rh blood type are Rh-positive. There are also instances, however, where people are Rh-Negative. Health problems may occur for the unborn child of a mother with Rh-Negative blood when the baby is Rh-Positive.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article