Researchers from the University College London propose that people who see auras may actually have a rare form of synaesthesia, a cross-wiring of the senses. Psychologist Jamie Ward studied a woman identified as GW who saw certain colors projected around people she knew and in response to hearing their names. Ward says:
"The ability of some people to see the coloured auras of others has held an important place in folklore and mysticism throughout the ages. Although many people claiming to have such powers could be charlatans, it is also conceivable that others are born with a gift of synaesthesia. GW does not believe she has mystical powers and has no interest in the occult, but it is not hard to imagine how, in a different age or culture, such an interpretation could arise."