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Scientific Explanations For Ghost Sightings

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Scientific Explanations For Ghost Sightings

Do you believe in ghosts? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Almost half of all Americans believe, according to recent CBS News poll. This conviction is an old one, found throughout history in ancient Greek culture, cave paintings in Utah from 7000 BC, and even in the Bible itself. Science is still skeptical, but the absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence. Scientists have yet to prove the existence of black holes under laboratory conditions, but we’re pretty sure they exist in the universe. Couldn’t the same be true for ghosts? Although researchers have yet to reach a solid explanation, here are a few of the most supported theories regarding whether or not paranormal beings exist, and what they actually are.

1. Spirits of the Deceased
Common culture dictates that apparitions are human spirits separated from their bodies by death. Surprisingly, it seems Einstein considered this a true possibility: “If energy cannot be created or destroyed but only change form, what happens to our body’s energy when we die? Could that somehow be manifested as a ghost?” In 1907, Dr. Duncan McDougall attempted to prove that at the moment of death, the soul leaves the human body and the body thus weighs less – 21 grams to be exact. His work was later discredited, but has since inspired other researchers to determine the soul’s weight and all resulted in some measurable weight loss after death, although results varied greatly. However, this does seem to imply that something that leaves the body following death – could this be the human soul, that for unknown reasons, lingers here on Earth?
2. Neutrinos
Neutrinos are weak, electrically neutral particles with the ability to pass through any form of matter. They are created by radioactive decay. If paranormal beings were made up of neutrinos, this would explain their ability to pass through objects. However, if this were true they would be silent and invisible to the naked eye. It’s possible that ghosts are made of neutrinos, but under the right conditions these neutrinos are charged and thus become audible and visible. This could explain why supernatural activity is more likely during solar storms and during heightened geomagnetic activity.
3. Infrasound Resonation
Some sounds emitted occur at too low a frequency for the human ear to fully process. These infrasound waves occur anywhere between one to twenty Hertz. They are so quiet that you don’t actually hear them, but your ears can still sense them. Your brain can’t zero in on the source so your mind becomes confused, causing fear, dread, panic, nausea, anxiety, and chills. At 18.9 Hz, the human eyeball will actually vibrate just enough to create optical illusions. This accounts for at least some reported sightings. In 1998 at Coventry University, Vic Tandy discovered infrasound resonation to be the source of ghostly apparitions and feelings of fear. A fan emitting a low frequency sound wave of 18.9 HZ was the culprit, and Tandy published his findings in the Journal of the Society for Physical Research.
4. Geomagnetic Waves
Robert Schoch, a professor at Boston University, is currently researching the relationship between brain waves and geomagnetic waves. His theory is that the mind’s emotional states can travel along the low frequency wavelengths found naturally in Earth’s geomagnetic field. In this way, they can be transferred between people and result in apparitions. Although this explanation may seem far-fetched, his laboratory has compiled evidence that a positive correlation exists between apparition sightings and geomagnetic flux patterns.
5. Electrical Stimulation of the Mind
Recently, researchers in Switzerland published a paper in the journal Nature. These doctors electrically stimulated the left temporoparietal junction of the patient’s brain to treat epilepsy. This is the area of the brain responsible for recognition of consciousness – it allows us to differentiate between ourselves and other people. The result was that the patient described a ‘shadow person,’ closely following her every move. Her mind was unable to detect the break in her consciousness, and instead sensed a strange presence.Summary
Although we currently have no concrete answers as to what exactly ghosts are, or if they even exist, the possibility still remains. There is much in the universe that we still don’t know. Every scientific fact we now know to be true was just an unproven theory faced with skeptical opponents. Throughout history we have consistently developed new technology and improved our scientific methods of detection. There is no telling what we might find in the years to come.

Q: Is this a real science?
A: Yes, it is. 
There are several scientific organizations and laboratories around the world investigating this phenomenon. Several are affiliated with or run by respectable universities and conduct experiments using the scientific method and advanced technology like Geiger counters, infrared cameras, ion detectors, digital video/ audio recorders, and Electromagnetic Field (EMF) to detect evidence of any abnormal presence. 

Q: Where can I find out more?
A: The American Paranormal Research Association (http://apraparanormal.com/), the Paranormal Research Organization (http://www.paranormal-research.org/), and the International Paranormal Reporting Group (http://www.iprgc.com/) are great places to start. 

Q: What universities have supported experiments and research in this field?
A: Stanford University (1970s-1980s), Duke University (1930s-1960s), Princeton University (1970s-2000s), Harvard University (1990s-2000s), University of Virginia (1960s-present), University of Arizona (2000s-present), University of California (1960s-1970s), and Cornell University (2000s), as well as several others worldwide.