In 1960, parapsychologist Anthony Donald Cornell donned a bed sheet and attempted to scare an audience watching an X-rated film in a movie theater. Why? Cornell, a believer in ghosts himself, wanted to understand how people reacted during "apparitional experiences." Today at the BBC, University of Oxford experimental psychologist Matthew Tompkins explores Cornell's strange experiments and considers how his methods may have contributed to the study of "inattentional blindness." Indeed, the ghost in the movie theater experiment is not unlike Daniel Simons and Christopher Chablis's classic "Selective Attention Test" from 1999. If you're not aware of that experiment, the video below is a must-see. From the BBC:
Read the rest
For Cornell, the experiment was another failure. None of the audience reported anything remotely paranormal. Many saw nothing unusual at all: 46% of the respondents had failed to notice the Experimental Apparition when Cornell first passed in front of the screen, and 32% remained completely unaware of it. Even the projectionist, whose job was to watch for anything unusual, reported that he had completely failed to notice the apparition. Those that did see ’something’ were not particularly accurate in their descriptions....
For me, these failures to see are by far the most exciting part of the experimental series. The pleasure of reading Cornell’s original reports, which were published in 1959 and 1960 in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, is that he writes in matter-of-fact academic prose. He dutifully reports numbers and exact quotes from participants, and walks the reader through the details of his experimental designs without a glimmer of apparent irony.
Last week, a motorcyclist tragically died on a highway near Stanton, Kentucky. A fellow nearby, Saul Vazquez, snapped a photo of the scene from his truck and was surprised to see what appears to be an apparition floating above the deceased. Vazquez posted the image on Facebook but when reached by Lex18 news reporters would only say that "the photo has not been altered."
Read the rest
The world's most famous haunted house, 108 Ocean Avenue (formerly 112 Ocean Avenue), in Amityville, New York is on the market again. This is the Dutch Colonial home where in 1974 Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed six family members and, four years later, George and Kathy Lutz and their children reported that they were terrorized by evil demons. Their story became the basis for the Jay Anson's 1977 book The Amityville Horror, director Stuart Rosenberg's 1979 film adaptation, and a slew of crappy sequels that followed.
Listed at $850,000, the five bedroom, 3.5 bath home on the Amityville River includes a large boat house and slip.
According to the realtors, "There've been four owners since the murders, and none of them ran out of the house screaming, and there were no strange experiences [such as murder.]"
If I bought it, the first thing I'd do is reinstall the demonic pig'e eye windows.
Read the rest
For $1.5 million, you can be the proud new owner of Westland, Michigan's Eloise Complex, a building that started in 1839 as a poorhouse and has served as a tuberculosis ward and insane asylum before closing in 1984. During the Great Depression, it had as many as 10,000 residents. Oh, did I mention that it's haunted?
The main five-story building is 150,000 square feet wile the site contains a 19th century fire station, decommissioned power plant, and two maintenance building. Bonus, it backs up to an eighteen hole championship golf course!
Here's the real estate listing.
"Own a former mental asylum" (MLive)
"Haunted Former Mental Asylum For Sale in Michigan" (Mysterious Universe)
Read the rest
Brandon Hodge has a world-class collection of ouija board planchettes and other devices for talking with the dead. My favorite Fortean filmmaker Ronni Thomas shot this mini-documentary about Hodge and his magical museum. (Morbid Anatomy Presents)
And below, my favorite Ouija Board scene from a movie, "The Exorcist" (1973). Captain Howdy!
Read the rest
Pol Clarissou's Lil Ghost Garden, made for the virtual pet-themed PetJam, is a pleasant desktop companion. I love the design of his ghost character, a sympathetic looming moonface whose shadow body trundles dutifully around what begins as a sparse garden.
Read the rest
Search "haunted" on eBay and you'll find a slew of junk that its owners claim is spooked in some way. Usually, that invisible something extra will significantly bump up the asking price. Read the rest
If you have a fond memory for Pokemon games, you'll remember that Lavender Town tends to be where all the ghost stories can be found. Somewhat famously, Lavender Town is also the source of a great work of creepypasta—now it is the inspiration for a great handmade outfit. Read the rest
Police fined a man for acting like a ghost (and generally being obnoxious) while playing ball in a Portsmouth, UK cemetery. “He was throwing himself backwards, waving his arms about and going ‘wooooooo," said the prosecutor.
“He has accepted that his behaviour, if it had been outside of a cemetery would not have been inappropriate, but inside a cemetery while people are grieving for their loved ones it might be," said his attorney. “He is apologetic as demonstrated by his early guilty plea.”
(The Scotsman) Read the rest
Photo: Nottinghamshire County Council
The Daily Mirror asks, "Is this the ghost of White Lady of Rufford?" Read the rest
The LeBeau Plantation house in St. Bernard Parish, La., was long considered haunted. Now it's considered toast, having allegedly been burned to the ground by stoned ghost hunters. Local Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said that the fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Friday, reports Fox News, with the mansion "fully engulfed in flames" by the time firefighters arrived. [via Fortean Times] Read the rest
The Daws brothers' "Missing in the Mansion" is a great little Blair-Witch-style short horror movie about ghosts in Disneyland.
] Here's the highly polished trailer for a very cool book I received this week, called Yurei Attack! The Japanese Ghost Survival Guide
Yurei is the Japanese word for "ghost." It's as simple as that. They are the souls of dead people, unable—or unwilling—to shuffle off this mortal coil. Yurei are many things, but "friendly" isn't the first word that comes to mind. Not every yurei is dangerous, but they are all driven by emotions so uncontrollably powerful that they have taken on a life of their own: rage, sadness, devotion, a desire for revenge, or even the firm belief that they are still alive.
This book, the third in the authors' bestselling Attack! series, after Yokai Attack! and Ninja Attack! gives detailed information on 39 of the creepiest yurei stalking Japan, along with detailed histories and defensive tactics should you have the misfortune to encounter one.
Yurei Attack! The Japanese Ghost Survival Guide Read the rest
According to this report in the Iceland Review, Terry Gunnell, associate folklore professor at the University of Iceland, has surveyed Icelanders and discovered a large number who believe in elves and ghosts (and a larger number who wouldn't rule them out).
Only 13 percent of participants in the study said it is impossible that elves exist, 19 percent found it unlikely, 37 percent said elves possibly exist, 17 percent found their existence likely and eight percent definite. Five percent did not have an opinion on the existence of elves.
More admitted to believing in ghosts. Only seven percent said their existence was impossible, 16 percent unlikely, 41 percent possible, 18 percent likely and 13 percent definite. Four percent had no opinion on the existence of ghosts.
I can't locate the research (here's the researcher's website), and I'm not sure how that compares to other western societies, though I believe it to be higher than US, UK and Canadian beliefs in supernatural phenomena (apart from those incorporated into Abrahamic religions) (oh, and homeopathy).
Iceland Still Believes in Elves and Ghosts
Read the rest