BY KEN DECOSTA      During my lectures about the paranormal, I very often end up talking about imprinted psychic or physical energy we may leave behind. I suppose this could be termed “the residue of our existence”. It is easy (for me at least), to take the leap of faith that these “footprints” either remain earthbound in perpetuity or on a different plane of existence from our physical world.       Perhaps under a particular set of circumstances and conditions, such residual energies can be perceived as something very visual and, to the observer, quite real in the form of an apparition. People who may have a true measure of psychic ability may be able to tap into these energies seemingly at will because they might more tangible than we assume they are. It is theorized that any conscious thought, once it enters the mind, is expelled into our environment with something resembling physical qualities. Therefore, the “contents” of one’s mind – although the corporeal body ceases to function – may stay imprinted in the physical world ready to be accessed at a given time. This may well include recorded physical images, memories and ideas.         We often hear of human doubles or “doppelgangers” and while it is considered wildly implausible by mainstream science, the notion of this phenomenon traces back many centuries ago. The idea of the “fetch” goes back into pagan times and is present in some form in many cultures. Ancient Greeks believed that seeing one’s reflection in a pool of water might result in the soul being trapped in it. Likewise, the superstitious belief that breaking a mirror results in bad luck originates from an ancient conviction that the soul of the person whose image is being reflected in a mirror at the point it is broken will remain trapped inside for all eternity and surely will lead to an untimely death.         Ultimately, it all traces back to a belief that the “double” was actually the soul of the person that had escaped their body. As it now existed outside the physical self, death would surely follow once the individual became aware of this by seeing themselves outside their own body.         There is also a school of thought that the soul can leave the body and embark on its own series of adventures. It was once considered dangerous to wake someone suddenly lest their soul be locked out of their body before it is able to return. In the most extreme example, it was suggested that those accused of practicing witchcraft in Salem, Ma. were capable of sending their doubles out in the dead of night to hold down and paralyze people in their own beds, essentially “riding” them. This spawned the term “hagridden” as a means to describe these nocturnal intrusions.      The notion of human duplicates also relates to modern day terminologies such as “out of body experiences” (OOBEs). Within paranormal and occult circles, it is theorized that out of body experiences or “astral projections” were the result of the soul leaving the body with the ability to travel to distant places or to simply view the physical body and all its surroundings from an elevated vantage point, in plain terms looking down on it. This is a phenomenon most often associated with near-death experiences when people claim to have viewed and returned to their physical body after an interlude in the afterlife. Many have displayed astonishingly accurate descriptions of the actions of a team of doctors administering to their unconscious or sedated selves while lying on operating tables. Studies on this seem to suggest that OOBEs tend to occur during very high or very low sensory arousal. Sleep would be the low end as one is in a very relaxed state and the high end would be something along the lines of a free fall from a great height, a life threatening accident or even during childbirth when human senses are at their heightened peak. In such cases, the mind may create an alternate reality for itself. The most common example of this would be each and every night when we dream.       To the original point where there have been reports of apparitions of individuals that were very much alive, there is one particular story that stands out to me. It took place in 1860 and involved a Reverend W. Mountford who left his home in Boston, Ma. to visit with friends in England.       At 4 pm one afternoon, he saw the brother and sister-in-law of his host riding up the path to the house in a horse-drawn carriage. He alerted his friend, who, along with his wife, came to the window to view the approach. As they chatted about receiving their expected guests, they watched the carriage ride right by their home and disappear down the road. This was something they had never done before, the idea of riding by without stopping. While unusual, nothing more was made of this.       A few minutes passed before the host’s niece arrived at the home. She seemed rather confused and troubled. When questioned as to her present condition she told the following story: At a few minutes before 4 pm, she left her home and parents who were sitting by the fire and began to walk toward her uncle’s house for a visit. On the journey over, she watched her parents drive by her in their carriage. Neither looked at her, nor said a word as they passed by. She could not understand why they would be upset with her, not acknowledge her or stop to offer her a ride. They seemed to be completely oblivious to her presence.       10 minutes after she had related her story to her uncle, Reverend Mountford looked out the widow again and saw the couple again coming down the road in their carriage. The host was puzzled by this as there was no possible way, given the layout of the roads around the home, they could be traveling from the same direction without passing the house again and certainly not within 10 minutes time. He ran outside to question them about their prior ride by the house and their indifference to their daughter as they passed her by. Both were completely baffled by what they were hearing as they assured all they had come directly there from their home.       “You did not pass by here 10 or 15 minutes ago? Is that what you mean to say?” asked the host.       “No,” they replied, “at that time we were most likely just coming out of the yard.”       We have heard such claims conveyed to us as well. I was contacted by a man who claimed he was working in his yard when he watched his brother enter his home. He called out his name and when there was no response, entered the house and called to him again. Again there was no reply, nor any sight of the brother. Worried, he picked up the phone and called him at his house. The brother answered and claimed he had been at his own house all day, but planned to stop in to lend his brother a hand with his chores later. They live 14 miles from each other.       I believe it is absolutely possible to pick up on the residual energies of others. Particularly when that individual had spent a great deal of time and expended a decent amount of physical energy at that location. This is the footprint we leave behind that under the right set of circumstances, can be tapped into.       In both cases, it is then conceivable that the intending visitors – the couple in the first story and brother in the second – may have sent a telepathic message regarding their planned visits. In the first case, the message included the sender’s wife and their mode of transportation. The fact that their doubles were witnessed by multiple people may mean that the receivers of this message had all constructed a common hallucination. It would also mean that it is quite plausible that human doubles or dopplegangers may not be the soul of an individual, but a telepathic projection or a residue of energy imprinted on a place they have repeated a particular action at on many other occasions.