Kurzweg Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health and Distinguished Professor Dr. Charles Figley provides his expertise in collective trauma to an OZY article about ghost sightings after tsunamis in Japan. Dr. Figley compassionately indicates collective grief and trauma can be a scientific explanation for this phenomenon.
“Collective trauma creates collective reactions seeking healing, a sense of safety and hope. It is not uncommon for fellow survivors of catastrophic loss and dislocation to have common reactions, be they paranormal sightings, sounds or smells.”
He says the tendency toward collective memory even extends to experiences that seem supernatural. “Ghosts, for some, are more tolerable than the void created by death,” he says.