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Ghostbusters (Dr. Fisk)

Ghostbusters, Who You Gonna Call?

Scientists, that’s who. Although I wouldn’t mind having Kristen Wiig on speed dial. Scientists love to explain the supernatural with logic and reason. With Friday the 13th just behind us and Halloween creeping towards us, many of us are can’t help but feel a little off, a touch prickly or a bit apprehensive. Did you know there is a high correlation between empty dental chairs and Friday the 13th? To put your mind at ease on this Hallow’s eve, here are some scientific explanations that debunk common supernatural myths.

Low-Frequency Sounds

Broken Wine Glass
Broken Wine Glass (Steven Duong, Flickr)

Every object has a resonant frequency. It’s the specific frequency of which particles in objects naturally vibrate. This is why an opera singer can shatter a wine glass or why running your finger along the rim  of a can sounds like a hum. The human ear can detect noises ranging from frequencies of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Infrasound frequencies are below this range. Like audible sound, infrasound can also cause objects to vibrate at their specific resonant frequency. But unlike wine glasses, objects vibrating from infrasound resonance move seem to in silence for no apparent reason. So next time you see a blurry object or ghost waving about, take solace in the fact that if may just be physics in action.

Magnetic Fields

Our brains are subject to fluctuations in magnetic fields. The strength of magnetic fields varies from place to place, depending on the interaction between the Earth’s magnetosphere and solar wind. It’s been documented that magnetic fields cause people to hallucinate, become nauseous and dizzy. In the late 1990’s, an apparatus now known as the ‘God Helmet’ was developed to stimulate people’s temporal lobes with low-intensity magnetic fields. Many people reported having a sensation of a supernatural presence beside them or the feeling of a deceased loved one.

Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushroom
Magic Mushroom (Geoff Trotter, Flickr)

Exposure to toxins has the potential to cause hallucinations – that’s a no-brainer. What’s interesting is that you could be under the influence of hallucinogenic substances without actually realising it. Accidentally eating psychoactive mushrooms or inhaling spores from toxic moulds has the capacity to cause a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s often during these episodes that people report strange sightings or a warped sense of space-time. This is because when your brain is overstimulated it can lead to the misfiring of neurons, causing you to perceive paranormal activity.


So, as  it’s Halloween, remember that weird cold draught or strangely billowing curtain is probably just your body or physics playing tricks on you. But now that you know, trick a mate! You could even just start out with the placebo effect. Set the notion all is not right and they will automatically be on edge. It’s a classic trick that involves a bit of inception and minimal theatrics.

Happy Halloween!   


Header image by ‘Dr. Fisk



About Joanna Ng

Joanna Ng

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