Researchers build "haunted" room

Researchers from Goldsmiths College in the UK have attempted to build a "haunted" room. When people say homes are haunted, they often describe strange smells, odd dizziness spells, and other unusual physical phenomena. Ghostbusters frequently associate those experiences with anomalous electromagnetic fields (EMF) and infrasound. To test out the reported connection, Chris French and colleagues in the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit built a room outfitted with EMF and infrasound generators. Then they sent test subjects into the "haunted room" and analyzed their reactions. Greg Taylor at The Daily Grail has more on The Haunt Project. From The Daily Grail:
 Images Objects The Haunt-1 Unfortunately, although most participants reported some unusual sensations, there seemed to be no correlation between feelings of being haunted and the presence of EMF/infrasound (or lack of, as the case may be). Despite such a kick-ass experimental setup, it would seem the unusual sensations were probably just a result of suggestion, with participants expecting to feel something after being told pre-experiment. The only significant predictor of unusual experiences in 'the haunt' was the temporal lobe lability of the participant. French and his team see this as simply being most likely due to the the psychological profile of these people (increased suggestibility, belief in paranormal events, seeing stimuli in noise). What would be nice to see considered is whether the causation runs the other way (yes, I am a trouble-maker)...
The "Haunt" Project

Previously on BB:
Researchers build "haunted" room


  1. I read somewhere recently that a fairly large percentage of hauntings could be explained as the symptoms of low level carbon monoxide poisoning, and that those people experiencing persistent hauntings in their homes or buildings should actually consider having their heating systems / water heaters tested for CO emissions. I thought that was interesting.

  2. @#2 JJBuilder:

    Yes, it does take a while for journal articles to appear! From the article history:

    Received 26 November 2006
    Reviewed 21 March 2007
    Revised 24 September 2007
    Accepted 2 October 2007

    And it’s still not yet published…

  3. @#5 Icaruswing, there was an episode of “This American Life” a while back, where a supposed haunted house was found to contain low-level CO as you say — in this case caused by the spooky gas lamps.

  4. Can’t tell from what has been reported whether they bothered to use a control. Sounds like they did not. It says 79 participants were exposed to the EMFs, nothing about a control group. Turn off the EMF, make same suggestions to control group sent into same room. If control group experiences same thing as group exposed to EMFs, then EMFs are bogus and experiences are suggestibility. Science 101.

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