THE PSY­CHOL­OGY OF GHOSTS of panic, dis­ori­en­ta­tion and changes in heart rate. Once the fan was re­moved, all ghostly ex­pe­ri­ences stopped.

5 POS­SI­BLE SCI­EN­TIFIC EX­PLA­NA­TIONS

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Science -

1 BRAIN GLITCHES

Ghosts tend to be seen in fleet­ing glimpses. Th­ese im­ages are il­lu­sions pro­duced by the brain, re­sult­ing from some­thing as sim­ple as tired­ness says Joe Nick­ell, se­nior re­search fel­low for the Com­mit­tee for Skep­ti­cal In­quiry. “It’s a trick of the eye,” ac­cord­ing to Nick­ell. “Your eye­lid will twitch or an in­sect will fly by and this will trig­ger a mo­men­tary welling up of a men­tal im­age. It’s like a cam­era’s dou­ble ex­po­sure for a brief mo­ment.”

2 CAR­BON MONOX­IDE POI­SON­ING

Fans of this the­ory point to a sup­posed haunt­ing in Amer­ica in 1921. The fam­ily, dubbed the H fam­ily in med­i­cal lit­er­a­ture, moved into an old house and started hear­ing mov­ing fur­ni­ture and weird voices – even be­ing held down by phan­toms. But af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, car­bon monox­ide was found to be leak­ing from a fur­nace. Doc­tors con­cluded that oxy­gen de­pri­va­tion caused their creepy symp­toms.

3 INFRASOUND

In 1998, lec­turer Vic Tandy be­gan not­ing strange oc­cur­rences in the med­i­cal lab at the UK’S Coven­try Uni­ver­sity: chills, dark ap­pari­tions, equip­ment mov­ing. Be­ing a man of sci­ence, Tandy set out to dis­cover the source of all this creepi­ness. He found a very low fre­quency stand­ing wave (19Hz) in­audi­ble to the hu­man ear – known as infrasound – com­ing from a re­cently in­stalled ven­ti­la­tion fan. Infrasound is known to cause feel­ings

4 EX­TER­NAL IN­FLU­ENCES

A study at Gold­smiths, Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don in 2014 had vol­un­teers watch­ing a video of a psy­chic bend­ing a metal key with his mind. In one part of the ex­per­i­ment, par­tic­i­pants viewed the video with a part­ner, who un­known to them was work­ing with the re­search team, and would in­sist they saw the key bend­ing. Vol­un­teers were more likely to say they saw the key change shape when they were with some­one who claimed they saw it too. “One per­son’s ac­count can in­flu­ence an­other per­son’s mem­ory,” said study coau­thor Christo­pher French.

SMELL OF FEAR Re­search by Pro­fes­sor Shane Rogers at Clark­son Uni­ver­sity, US, sug­gests mold found in old build­ings can cause symp­toms like ir­ra­tional fear and de­men­tia. 2 1 3 4

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