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Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon"
« on: April 17, 2008, 01:01:52 AM »
Explanations for Paranormal Phenomena





Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire has researched the phenomenon of haunting in Great Britain. He has studied locations considered to be haunted, like the Haunted Gallery at Hampton Court Palace, the Edinburgh Vaults and Mary King's Close. First, he has consulted written records and interviewed employees to determine exactly where in each location people have reported ghostly activity. Then, he has asked visitors to document their experiences and report anything out of the ordinary.

His results have been pretty consistent -- people report more strange experiences in the areas where others have experienced unusual phenomena in the past. In other words, people have more ghostly experiences in the places that seem to be the most haunted. This is true regardless of whether people have any prior knowledge of the area or its ghostly history. However, people who say they believe in ghosts or who already know about supernatural activity in a particular area report strange events more often.

These findings can seem to support the idea that a building can be haunted. But Weisman's projects have also involved looking for the source of the apparently paranormal phenomena. In addition to gathering reports of strange occurrences, he has evaluated physical conditions in each haunted area. He and his research team have used instruments to measure light, humidity, sound and magnetic fields. His measurements suggest that the signs that a building is haunted often have a rational, physical cause. The Ghost Experiment site includes synopses of several of Weisman's experiments.

Other researchers have used similar methods to try to determine the causes of ghostly activity. While no one has conclusively proven that ghosts do not exist, researchers have proposed a number of alternate explanations about physical or psychological causes for strange experiences. Some are simple - people can hallucinate or mistake reflections, shadows and unidentifiable noises for ghosts. Other theories are more complex. We'll look at some examples in the next section.

Quote

Ghosts of the Brain

Sleep states and altered states of consciousness can lead people to believe that they have experienced something supernatural. For example, skeptics have used sleep paralysis or a hypnogogic trance to explain encounters in which people see spirits while in bed and are unable to move or escape. Most people experience a hypnogogic trance once or twice in their lives, although it is far more common in people with epilepsy or certain sleep disorders.



Scientific/ Medical Explanations

Medical researchers have also studied the effects of electrical fields on people's brains. Electrical stimulation to the angular gyrus of the brain, for example, can cause the sensation of someone behind you mimicking your movements. Electrical stimulation to different parts of the brain has also caused people to hallucinate or seem to have near-death experiences.

ghost-7 - Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon" - Science and Research

 Temperature

Cold spots are a common phenomenon in buildings that are thought to be haunted. People describe sudden drops in temperature or localized cold areas in an otherwise warm room. Often, researchers can trace the cold spot to a specific source, like a drafty window or a chimney. The sensation of a lower temperature can also come from reduced humidity. In Wiseman's study at Mary King's Close, the locations reported to be haunted were significantly less humid than those that were not.

Low-frequency Sound Waves
Several experiments have demonstrated that low-frequency sound waves, known as infrasound, can cause phenomena that people typically associate with ghosts. This includes feelings of nervousness and discomfort as well as a sense of a presence in the room. The sound waves may also vibrate the human eye, causing people to see things that are not there. Usually, these waves have frequencies of less than 20 Hz, so they are too low-pitched for people to actually perceive. Rather than noticing the sound itself, people notice its effects.

Sometimes, researchers can locate the source of the sound. The article "The Ghost in the Machine" by Vic Tandy and Tony Lawrence describes a low-frequency standing wave originating from a fan. The sound wave disappeared after the researchers modified the fan's housing. When the wave dissipated, so did the symptoms of haunting in the building. You can learn more about infrasound at the Infrasonic site.

The most skeptical researchers believe that all ghostly phenomena have rational explanations. Those who try to prove the existence of ghosts, however, claim that while some events have rational explanations, others can only be supernatural in origin. Regardless of whether ghosts are real, many people find them fascinating. This fascination has a number of likely causes, from curiosity about what happens to people after death to the comforting idea that deceased loved ones are still nearby. Ghost stories, like urban legends, can also express people's fears about the unknown and caution people about the consequences of actions.

On the other hand, in its Science and Engineering Indicators report, the National Science Board (NSB) asserts that belief in the paranormal can be dangerous. According to the NSB, belief in the paranormal is a sign of reduced critical thinking skills and a reduced ability to make day-to-day decisions. However, since it's virtually impossible to prove that something does not exist, people will probably continue to believe in ghosts and haunted houses, especially since unexplained events aren't likely to go away anytime soon.




Source
http://science.howstuffworks.com/ghost3.htm

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Lorenzo

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Re: Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon"
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2008, 01:20:03 AM »
The Parietal Lobe
parietallobe - Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon" - Science and Research

Functions:


Processing of sensory input, sensory discrimination.

Body orientation.

Primary/ secondary somatic area.

Occipital Lobe
occipitallobe - Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon" - Science and Research

Functions:
Primary visual reception area.

Primary visual association area: Allows for visual interpretation.

Cerebral Cortex-Right Hemisphere
cerebrumsmall - Explaining the "Ghost Phenomenon" - Science and Research

Functions:
-The outermost layer of the cerebral hemisphere which is composed of gray matter. Cortices are asymmetrical. Both hemispheres are able to analyze sensory data, perform memory functions, learn new information, form thoughts and make decisions.

-Holistic Functioning: processing multi-sensory input simultaneously to provide "holistic" picture of one's environment. Visual spatial skills. Holistic functions such as dancing and gymnastics are coordinated by the right hemisphere. Memory is stored in auditory, visual and spatial modalities.




Personal Remark:

Any inhibition or mutagenesis of these subunits of the central nervous system will decrease efficiency of a functional brain. For example is the Cerebral cortex, any damaged to this cortical area of the system will lead to a reduced ability to focus, retain logical points of views, and rationality is decreased. The same can be seen in the occipital and parietal lobes, which if damaged can hinder one's visual reception and sensories; thereby affecting an interpretation of unusual and unexplainable occurrences as hauntings.

Therefore such cases of ghosts and percieved hauntings are nothing but mere products of over-active chemicals in the central nervous system and or a result of significant damages on the sub-cortices of the neural system.



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