Have you ever been alone in a room and sworn you heard the sound of laughter? Maybe it was the sound of music or indistinct chatter, but absolutely no one around who could have made it? Similarly maybe your house is haunted, but only at 11 pm every night when the sound of boots tromp up and down the hall.
All of these paranormal occurrences share the theory that elements in our environment are capable of harnessing human emotions or activity. Furthermore, it is believed that intense living energy can be recorded onto rock or other surfaces and then replayed later. This belief in various materials being able to act as supernatural "tape" is referred to as the Stone Tape Theory.
What was known as "residual haunting" was given the name Stone Tape Theory after a BBC television play called The Stone Tape was released in 1972. The play popularized the idea of residual haunting's being the result of past events stored in natural environments. Despite the recent naming, the idea of residual energy began surfacing in 1837 by Charles Babbage, who believed that voices could leave audible "impressions" in the air as a result of the motion between particles.
Later this idea grew to include different, yet similar, theories attempting to explain paranormal phenomena. This includes psychometry, which is belief in the possibility of receiving historic information trough the physical contact of inanimate objects. Some believe that only gifted individuals posses the ability of psychometry. Others believe that the this can only happen when external forces are just right - during certain weather, or on a particular day or time of the year.
Either way, residual haunting and Stone Tape Theory are very real for many people today. As paranormal investigative technology advances, we are better assisted than ever in recording what was once inaudible to human ear. Often we may receive an electronic voice phenomena that is not a response but rather a laugh, or conversation, or an archaic piece of music - forevermore pointing us back to the idea that we might only be are only listening in on a playback of something that once happened where we are.