Is There a Scientific Explanation for Hauntings?

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

If you've ever gotten goosebumps for no reason or suddenly felt an unexplainable uneasiness, you might be the victim not of a ghostly encounter, but of infrasound.

Infrasound may be responsible for the strange sensations (goosebumps, chills, anxiety) that people often attribute to "haunted" locations.
Infrasound may be responsible for the strange sensations (goosebumps, chills, anxiety) that people often attribute to "haunted" locations.

Infrasound is a very low frequency sound (below 20 Hz) that people don't even realize they're hearing, as it is below the lower limit of audibility. However, some people appear to "feel" infrasound in strange and sometimes disturbing ways.

Acoustic scientist Richard Lord of the National Physical Laboratory in England helped conduct a study in which 750 people attended a concert at which infrasound was piped in at certain points. The results were startling. Twenty-two percent of attendees reported feeling strange sensations when hearing infrasound, even though they weren't conscious of when that was happening. Their reactions included chills, anxiety, fear, revulsion, and even extreme sorrow -- without knowing why.

Prof. Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire who was also involved in the research, said such findings could help explain what happens in some supposedly otherworldly situations. "Some scientists have suggested that this level of sound may be present at some allegedly haunted sites and so cause people to have odd sensations that they attribute to a ghost — our findings support these ideas," he said.

While the infrasound was manmade for the study, it also occurs naturally. Everything from storms and earthquakes to elephants can produce the deep bass sound.

Now hear this:

  • Tiny hairs inside your ear are responsible for conducting sound and allowing you to hear.

  • Even though it seems like you're not hearing anything while you sleep, you still are; your brain just shuts out the noise.

  • Unless you suffer from certain conditions, there is no need to clear wax from your ears; they remove excess on their own.


Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education.

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