Project

Ghostbusters: On the Other Side of Italy

To fight her fear of death, Italian photographer Barbara Leolini joined a team of ghost hunters for two months.

Barbara Leolini Age 27

Studied Journalism at the University of Florence, later studied at the local photography school. Is one of the ten best young photographers in Italy.

I've always been afraid of death and tried to find my answers about the afterworld. I want to believe that after death there is something more. That’s how the idea of this project came in my mind.

We stayed in a house not far from Milan, where a sixteen-year old girl did a séance the week before. She was scared. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. We all entered her bedroom and stood in a circle, waiting for the spirits invited to come out and communicate. We stayed there in silence for too long completely in the dark and then, all of a sudden, we heard the sound of a chair moving in the kitchen.

My eyes didn’t see anything, but I definitely felt something.

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We still do not have good proof that ghosts are real. Many ghost hunters believe that Albert Einstein offered a scientific basis for the reality of ghosts. He proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. What happens to the energy that made our heart beat when we die? According to Einstein, it acquires a different form. Could we call it a ghost?

Since the start of this project I had to face one problem: how can we denote things, which cannot be explained by language? How can someone who is born blind define light? I found my way of visualization thanks to the ghost hunter team I was following, because they allowed me to join them. So, I basically became a ghost hunter myself.

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I wanted the project to be universal, so that people who do not share the belief in paranormal also viewed it. They also need to have a chance to feel the magic.

I would not call the ghostbusters either “strange” or “normal”. They are just people who are open to new experiences and have a special sensitivity to life.

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There are many contradictions inherent in ideas about ghosts. Ghost hunters argue, whether ghosts can move through solid objects without disturbing them, or slam doors shut and throw objects across the room.

“Most of us view our entire existence in the physical world based on our logical thinking, through our familiar five fundamental senses that limit our understanding of the Invisible World. Therefore, the use of scientific tools such as the camera or the video camera, microphones etc. can help us view the existence of what we seem to think does not exist”, — parapsychologist Giampaolo Saccomano told me.

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There is not one universally agreed-upon definition of what makes a ghost. Some believe that they are spirits of the dead who get lost on their way to The Other Side; others claim that ghosts are instead telepathic entities projected into the world from our minds. Still, others create their own special categories for different types of ghosts, such as poltergeists, residual hauntings, intelligent spirits and shadow people. Some, on the other hand, define the soul as being the principle of organic life, having no existence of its own, and ceasing with the life of the body.

I believe that there is more to ghosts than just wishful thinking or the quest for a spooky story to tell around a campfire. I believe there are a number of good reasons to, at least, be open to the idea that ghosts might well inhabit our reality.

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