Webmaster's update August 2008. 

While I personally feel that there is some validity to this particular information I would be remiss not to point out the sensationalistic headline. Science has not wrecked a good ghost story, but in this case someone has put forth a possible explanation for a very specific location, and event.There is very little if any science involved.

My problems with it are the very small almost non-existent sample size, and the mistaken description of ghosts being perceived as wraith-like in appearance, which statistics show is not how the majority of ghost sightings are described. In fact the majority are described as solid and indistinguishable from people until they do something odd such as vanish.  You really only find  wraith-like descriptions in folklore, fantasy fiction, and of course Hollywood films.

Questions that should have been asked were how long was the blade in place, was it present, including the fan during all reported hauntings? Was this the only report of a haunting, and if so could other factors also prompt his possible hallucinations? Was the circumstances replicated in order to see if another hallucination could be produced? 

Too many questions, an overly sensationalised headline, and an interesting more...and not really science. 

Sue Darroch

Science wrecks a good ghost story

Hello and thanks for coming to this page. I'd like to say that this came from an Australian newspaper and online zine called "The Age" which was online as of June 1999. Their mail server, for some reason, has been bouncing my mail back to me so I was unable to get the permission to post this article.

Again, I apologize for putting it up but this is a very good and important article to people interested in researching ghosts and hauntings, I've left it up anyway. I truly hope that the folks at "The Age" do not mind me having this article online and I certainly hope that those who've sought it out find it useful.

Science wrecks a good ghost story


Ghosts may have a scientific explanation after all _ and it is not all in the mind. New research into a real-life haunting has revealed that all the classic signs of ghosts can be explained as the result of very low frequency sound waves trapped inside buildings.

Capable of being triggered by nothing more than the wind passing over walls, the sound waves cannot be heard. But scientific tests have revealed that they have effects on the human body that can account for the wraith-like appearance of ghosts and even the feelings of cold and terror that accompany them.

The explanation emerged after a chance discovery by a university academic who found himself involved in a haunting in a laboratory. AE One night as Vic Tandy worked alone he began sweating despite feeling cold and then he noticed a figure in the room. ``The hair was standing up on the back of my neck _ I was terrified.''

The explanation emerged the following morning. Mr Tandy, a fencing enthusiast, had left a foil clamped in a vice. ``When I returned, I noticed that the free end of the blade was frantically vibrating up and down.''

A trained engineer, he realised that the blade might be receiving energy from very low frequency sound waves filling the laboratory _ so low that they could not be heard.

Tests duly revealed the existence of a ``standing wave'' trapped in the lab which reached a peak in intensity next to his desk. ``It turned out to be caused by a new extraction fan ... When the fan's mounting was altered, the ghost left with the standing wave.''

Working with Dr Tony Lawrence of the university's school of health, he has now discovered the significance of this rate of vibration. In research published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research they reveal that ``infra-sound'' around this frequency has been linked to a whole host of physiological effects _ including breathlessness, shivering and feelings of fear.

While acoustic experts have known about the health effects of infra-sound, until now no one has made the link to ghosts. Mr Tandy said that he has since come across two more ``hauntings'' where low-frequency sound may be to blame.

TELEGRAPH - Copyright (c) David Syme & Co 1999.