Ghosts are a legend that just won’t die. (Ha!) Scientifically, there is no evidence for their existence. Because ghosts are impossible to falsify according to philosophers of science, ghost hunting is considered a pseudoscience. Honestly, that’s too kind a term. As a man who has a Masters in Chemistry, ghost hunters remind me why we create lab conditions to test our hypothesises. Because without them, we might as well be the alchemist trying to find gold and blowing up the shed #TheShedDidNothingWrong.
But what is a ghost actually? Optical illusions are a common answer, but it goes deeper than that. Ghosts are usually accompanied by a strange atmosphere, something different noticed by our senses.
Now, the effects of drugs, metal poisoning or even the wind could be a post in itself. But, there was one that caught my eye. Infrasonic waves are sound waves that are below the human hearing level. However, humans don’t like infrasonic waves despite not being able to hear them. This is because the rest of the body still feels the sound wave strike it creating an ‘odd pressure’ hitting them.
Now, quick Physics lesson, a wave has a frequency, which determines whether it’s high or low pitched and a wavelength which determines how long the wave is. Infrasonic waves have a low frequency (around 18-19 Hz). Meanwhile, resonance is when an object oscillates when hit by a frequency that matches its so ‘resonant frequency’, unique to every material. The resonant frequency is around 18-19 Hz. Huh? That’s a convenient coincidence yes?
Yes, well, in the paper Ghost in the Machine by V. Tandy and T. Lawrence, that’s exactly what they found to be true. They found that a standing wave caused by a broken fan had the exact infrasonic wave to cause the eye to resonate, producing a distorted image. In this case, a grey blob was noted in the eye and was believed to the ‘ghost’.
Infrasonic waves have other negative effects on humans, but the ghost one stands out. If caused by machinery, it is more common than one would appreciate otherwise.
Reference: The Ghost in the Machine, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol.62, No 851 April 1998
Want more? I’m writing a novel called the Successor of Ramiel, where Zera and Seraph and many other Angels, Fallen Angels and ghosts collide gloriously :
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