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Thread: The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings

    (this article really gave me the willies)

    The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings | Cracked.com

    Right away, you should know that it is the official position of Cracked.com and its parent company that we don't believe in bullshit. It's fun to think about bizarre unsolved myseries and wonder what's actually going on with the whole UFO thing, but we'll always defer to Occam's razor. A blur on a photograph is way more likely to be a weather balloon than a spaceship and a ghostly old woman wandering around an old church is far more likely to be a hallucination or, you know, an actual confused old woman

    It says nothing about our belief in an afterlife or lack thereof. There is simply no evidence that dead people wander aimlessly around old houses, and no known scientific principle that would make it possible. But a lot of people have seen ghosts. A lot. There are certain spots and buildings where separate, unrelated witnesses have reported ghosts independently, without having talked to each other or being aware of the area being "haunted."

    It appears that science has stumbled across the reason for it. It has nothing to do with the supernatural, but the answer is almost as weird.

    In order to understand the science we need to head back to the late 1950's. While working in his robotics laboratory Vladimir Gavreau noticed that one of his assistants was bleeding from the ears, despite the absence of rebelling robots choking him.

    Puzzled, Gavreau started researching the phenomenon by holding vibrating pipes next to clueless assistants. We'll never know what excuse he used when they turned around and asked him why their ears were bleeding, but one way or another Gavreau soon realized that a vibrating pipe of the right length and girth can cause a number of unpleasant effects ranging from mild irritation to serious pain.

    What he had discovered, aside from an awesome new way to torture interns, was infrasound. It's noise at a low enough frequency that you don't consciously hear it, but your ears still sense it. The process of receiving sensory input without your conscious mind understanding where it's coming from wreaks havoc with your emotions. Specifically, researchers found that sounds between 7 and 19 Hz it could induce fear, dread or panic.

    Knowing this is an article about ghosts, you can already see where this is going.

    They did an experiment where acoustic scientists sneaked in low frequency sounds at a live concert. Since scientists love nothing more than inducing feelings of fear and terror in unsuspecting citizens, most of the concert goers had no idea what was going on. As a result one minute they were enjoying some sweet tunes while the next a feeling of dread invaded their hearts, crushing all hope and happiness. At the end of the experiment approximately 22 percent of the people involved in the experiment reported feelings of unexplainable dread, chills and depression when infrasound was blasted into the crowd.

    Why would it have this effect? It may be evolution. It doesn't take a mad scientist mind control device to create infrasound -- mother nature is creating this type of low frequency vibration all the time. Volcanos, earthquakes, strong ocean waves and even winds hitting the hillside in just the right spot can create infrasound. Even animals can create it, and tigers are particularly well known as a source. The frequency of a tiger's roar is around 18Hz -- right in that range we mentioned earlier.

    All of the things that create the sound are huge, powerful and dangerous. Evolution might have taught us that this sound means Bad News.

    So now we have a phenomenon that occurs in nature, is invisible, is imperceptible on a conscious level, but can spontaneously make you feel irrational fear, even if you're sitting in an empty room. Notice how we've just described one of the first and primary signs of a "haunting" -- unexplained feelings of fear or dread.

    OK, but what about actual sightings of ghosts?

    Well, for that we need to go to a researcher named Vic Tandy.

    In the engineering building where Tandy worked, cleaning staff as well as fellow researchers complained of feeling dread, depression and a strange feeling that someone was watching them. But what made the situation really worthy of a Scooby-Do episode was the fact that every so often the staff would see dark figures out of the corners of their eyes.

    Now we're talking.

    After one particularly strange experience when a gray shape sat next to his desk for several minutes, Vic Tandy was determined to figure out what the hell was going on. Being a man of science, he was going to skip the part where he had an exorcist come and bless the facility.

    After eliminating gas poisoning and rogue equipment, Vic realized that the ghostly apparitions seemed to almost always occur in a certain section of the lab. He also realized that if he put a metal sheet in a vice, it would spontaneously vibrate uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Poltergeist, right?

    No. Just infrasound.

    Specifically, a "silent" exhaust fan was sending out low frequency vibrations that bounced back and forth on the lab's walls until they formed a powerful wave at... 18.9Hz. Right at the top of the panic range.

    And, according to a NASA study, it was powerful enough to resonate with the average human eyeball, causing "smeared" vision. This is a phenomenon where the eye vibrates just enough to register something static -- say, the frame of your glasses or a speck of dust -- as large, moving shapes.

    Predictably enough, once the vibrating fan was removed, the strange apparitions and feelings of fear disappeared.

    Convinced that he had stumbled onto something, Vic Tandy went on to test this explanation for ghostly apparitions in the cellar of a nearby "haunted" abbey. According to the locals, as soon as someone would step into the cellar they would freeze up, see strange gray ghosts and have to leave because of nausea. Vic discovered that the shape of the cellar, the hallway leading to it as well as nearby factories all contributed in making the haunted cellar a perfect resonating chamber. The vibrations created were exactly 18.9Hz and were most powerful at the threshold of the cellar, where most people became sick and terrified.

    Could it be? All of these hauntings, all of this folklore, all of it caused by something so, so stupid?

    Also, could somebody with an infrasound generator use this against you? You bet. They even experimented with this during Vietnam, blasting sounds of various frequencies from helicopters, trying to induce panic or at least severe annoyance in the Viet Cong below. Instead of driving away the enemy, infrasound only made them scared and trigger happy. While this was not ideal during a war situation infrasound was later used by the British as a successful method of crowd control.

    The problem is it doesn't affect everyone the same way -- obviously not everyone at the abbey saw a ghost. And if you're trying to do it artificially, you need very large and very powerful equipment.

    Still, if you want to make people who enter your building feel an otherworldly sense of fear or awe, install an infrasound generator. A large pipe organ will do.

    So if you're ever troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night or you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic or even if someone in your family sees a spook, specter, or ghost ...

    Well, call the repair guy, because it might be caused by a malfunctioning ventilation fan.

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    Elite Member Lalique's Avatar
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    That was a really interesting read. However, it does not account for photographs, videos, and EVPs of spirits. I think this explanation can account for 95% of all ghostly sightings, but what about the other 5%? Ooga booga!
    What I really want to know is whether it makes your poop glow in the dark after eating it! ~ Kittylady

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    Yes, and let us not forget those embarrassing anal ghosts. Suck on that science!

    Meryl doesn't even try anymore. She just calls Lanvin and asks for curtains with a belt.~Bitter
    Can we interest you in Leann Rimes? She has a nice little cadre of fans you'd probably enjoy.~ Pecan Pie

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Let's not forget that some people are mental/superstitious nutters.

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

    -- Stephen Hawking

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalique View Post
    That was a really interesting read. However, it does not account for photographs, videos, and EVPs of spirits. I think this explanation can account for 95% of all ghostly sightings, but what about the other 5%? Ooga booga!
    People see what they want to see. I can look at clouds and shadows and see all sorts of images and things. In other cases, photos and videos can be purposefully faked or the lighting has caused a strange effect which looks like a "spirit". It could be as simple as someone was actually in the background of a photo but the photographer didn't see them at the time the photo was taken. I think it is all explainable but it would be nice to have some mysteries remain unsolved.
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Hit By Ban Bus! Pippin's Avatar
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    "People see what they want to see. I can look at clouds and shadows and see all sorts of images and things. In other cases, photos and videos can be purposefully faked or the lighting has caused a strange effect which looks like a "spirit". It could be as simple as someone was actually in the background of a photo but the photographer didn't see them at the time the photo was taken. I think it is all explainable but it would be nice to have some mysteries remain unsolved."

    I agree with what you wrote.

    Have you ever had 'visits' from former pets or people you knew in the past, coming to see you in the form of dreams?

    This happens to me all the time.

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    Elite Member sweetness's Avatar
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    These explanations are all fine and dandy, but how does one explain random toys going off by themselves (like a hand cranked jack-in-the-box and a non-battery operated mama doll) and the loud pitter patter of footsteps heard by more than one family member in the middle of the night?

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    ^^ Possums
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    Let's not forget that some people are mental/superstitious nutters.
    Yep. Interesting article though. I've never believed in ghosts. I did have a rather strange/spooky experience on holiday once, but I think there's an explanation for most of the 'ghost' sightings, noises etc.

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    Elite Member sweetness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuth View Post
    ^^ Possums


    I'd much prefer the ghosts!

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    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    naw he just needs a little love...

    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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    Gold Member thunder&lightning's Avatar
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    i've seen a blanket of black mist float from the next door neighbors apartment into my apartment and watched it dissipate on the ceiling. their 3 dogs kept barking at my wall for 20 minutes after the black sheet came through the wall. the neighbors moved out a month later.
    another year i claim of total indifference.

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