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Is There A Scientific Explanation For Ghosts?

Ghosts Infrasound

Science

Is There A Scientific Explanation For Ghosts?

There may be a scientific explanation for things like ghosts and hauntings, and it’s not your mind simply playing tricks on you.

Are you hearing weird sounds, briefly seeing ghostly images, sensing a presence in the room with you, or feeling an inexplicable and sudden sense of overwhelming fear?

It just might be infrasound

Infrasound is an extremely low frequency between .1 -20Hz. It is so low, that humans cannot hear it without the aid of electronic equipment. But we can feel it. A good portion of the population is also thought to be hypersensitive to these low frequencies.

Infrasound’s effects on the human body can cause bizarre effects, including nausea, extreme fear or awe, anxiety and chills. Researchers also believe it affects vision by causing vibrations of the eyeball. These vibrations can cause you to ‘see’ ghosts.

Nature’s ‘Spooky’ Phenomena

Infrasound can be produced by various natural phenomena. Stormy weather, unusually strong seasonal winds, uncommon weather patterns and some types of earthquakes are all sources of natural infrasound.

Animals such as elephants also use a form of infrasound to communicate over long distances with other elephants, or as a defense mechanism against what they perceive as threats.

Ghost In The Machine

In April 1998, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published a paper called ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ by Coventry University lecturer Vic Tandy. It described Tandy’s experiences with infrasound while working in a medical lab.

InfrasoundHis coworkers complained of spooky feelings and chills in his lab. A cleaning lady resigned after “seeing something.” Working alone in the lab one night, Tandy suddenly had the feeling he was being watched. He claimed shadowy figure appeared at the edge of his vision. When Tandy turned to face it, the figure vanished.

The next day, Tandy brought a fencing foil to the lab for repairs. When he clamped one end of the blade in a vise, it started vibrating wildly. Curious, Tandy began moving the blade around the room. It vibrated strongly in the center of his lab, but completely stopped at the edges of the room.

Tandy discovered a 19Hz standing wave in his laboratory. The walls of the lab had caused the sound wave to double back on itself, producing an area of maximum energy in the center of the room. It was more than enough energy to vibrate his sword.

As it turns out, the source of this wave was a newly installed fan at the end of the lab. When the fan was turned off, the wave, and all ‘spooky’ phenomena associated with it, disappeared.

It seems there will be no need to call the ghostbusters.

References: Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (pdf)
Photos are available under a Creative Commons Attribution license by Wikicommons.

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