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De-Creeping Haunted Houses, Ships, Ghosts, Paranormal Perceptions & Spirit Photographs

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

I admit I just can’t watch horror movies. I know it’s all fake, and as is obvious in the points below, ghosts and hauntings just are not plausible or rational. Maybe I’m too prone to suspend my disbelief when watching movies or quality TV, since I’ve had a lifetime of practice. God, angels and demons are real, but their purpose is not to creep people out for the sake of spooky thrills and entertainment. Human beings have a need to believe in the supernatural, but some restrict their curiosity to the superficial and improbable. Below are ten incursions on the eerie, uncanny and ghostly. 

The “Amityville Horror” sensation turned out to be fabricated, as have many popular hauntings:

“Arguably one of the most famous ghost stories in America began in an unassuming house in Amityville, New York, in 1974. If you've seen any of the films based on the events, you know the story — a family moves into a house that had recently been the site of horrifying murders. They begin hearing voices, seeing ghosts, and experiencing other paranormal activities before ultimately fleeing their home in terror…..

“The home's previous owner Ronnie DeFeo really did murder his entire family in the home. At his trial, he said that voices in the house made him do it. When George and Kathy Lutz moved in, they may or may not have experienced something supernatural. What we do know is that they worked closely with DeFeo's attorney to either fabricate or exaggerate the hauntings, according to ABC News. Out of this, the Lutzes hoped to secure book and film deals, which they did, and the attorney hoped to give credence to his client's ‘not guilty’ plea, which he didn't.

“DeFeo was sentenced to life in prison where he still resides and eventually admitted to ABC that he lied about the voices. No other tenants have reported anything spooky in the Amityville house since.”

A sense of the bizarre and unknown – as on the Winchester estate - can stir up creepy thoughts and impressions:

“In 1924, Harry Houdini visited a rambling architectural oddity in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Though a magician by trade, Houdini was devoted, at this time in his life, to debunking what he considered a scourge of fake spiritualists and mediums. The massive Winchester estate, partially demolished by the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, had a reputation for being haunted—and not even Houdini himself could shake the sense that something inside those walls was wrong. Picking up on some popular nicknames of the day, Houdini dubbed the building ‘Winchester Mystery House’ after the late Sarah Winchester, the secretive woman who built and lived in it. A Bay Area brand was born.

“There have been over 12 million visitors to the house since its mysterious architect died in 1922. Part historical preserve, part spooky theme park oddity, the Winchester Mystery House has now inspired a new horror movie, Winchester, starring Helen Mirren as the titular, reclusive heir to a massive rifle fortune. Believe it or not, this ghost-packed film could be the closest mainstream audiences come to understanding that Winchester was far from just a ‘crazy’ lady who built a crazy house.

“Your mileage may vary when it comes to believing there are, in fact, spirits lurking in the corridors of the Winchester Mystery House. But there are certainly enough unsettling sights within—a stairway the leads to nowhere, a repeating motif of the number 13 baked into the elaborate decorations, a second-story door that opens out to nothing—to convince Houdini, the friendly Winchester tour guides, and scores of Bay Area residents who visited the house as children.” 

The RMS Queen Mary, possibly the world’s number one ghost ship, stirs up sentiment and imagination:  

“I’ve had a fascination with classic ocean liners for most of my life. In particular, I have had a sincere awe for the RMS Queen Mary (QM) since I first stayed on board in the early 1980s—well after her retirement in 1967 and subsequent conversion into a hotel. She is a thing of beauty—a near-perfect expression of the industrial design aesthetics of the era (conceived in 1929, launched in 1934, maiden voyage in 1936). To say that we don’t make them like we used to is an insulting understatement…….

“The Queen Mary was built to be in motion. She feels like she is in motion even when she is standing perfectly still in dry dock. The extreme shear of the decks (the curve that is apparent in the longest stretches of corridor) plays with your normal perception of space. We’re not accustomed these days to being inside structures with such tight compartments, such detail in wood and metal constructed with an artistic eye but, underneath, all machine. Its power—even with the engines now long dormant—is palpable through the deck plating. Every rivet, every section of carpet, every porthole was witness to the widest variety of intensely human experience.

“From the builders who put her together to the crew who stayed with her in extreme circumstances to the celebrating passengers, every square centimeter has been a part of a pageant of history. One can’t help but stand in a room onboard and immediately conjure up the images of the hundreds of thousands who occupied the same space years, decades before. She makes great noises, even sitting still, as the metal skin holding her together expands and contracts and pieces jostle around after seventy-five-plus years of settling. We don’t get that in our daily experience in the interactions we have with architecture. We don’t stop to think about who came before us when walking into a conventional building lit up by fluorescent glare.”

When people believe they are in a “haunted” place, they are more likely to attribute mundane sounds to something more:

“It's the power of suggestion, as well as fear. When we become afraid, blood flows from the fingertips from the major muscles of the body as you get ready to run or fight, and that can make you cold. You also become hyper-vigilant, so you start noticing footsteps or voices you wouldn’t have noticed before, and start assuming this is some sort of weird paranormal activity.”

Electromagnetic fields explain many ghostly presences:

“For decades, a Canadian neuroscientist named Michael Persinger has been studying the effects of electromagnetic fields on people’s perceptions of ghosts, hypothesizing that pulsed magnetic fields, imperceptible on a conscious level, can make people feel as if there is a ‘presence’ in the room with them by causing unusual activity patterns in the brain’s temporal lobes. Persinger has studied people in his lab wearing a so-called ‘God Helmet,’ finding that certain patterns of weak magnetic fields over someone’s head for 15 to 30 minutes can create the perception that there’s an invisible presence in the room.

“Some subsequent research has pushed back on this theory, arguing that people were responding to the suggestion that they would feel a ghostly presence, rather than to the electromagnetic field. However, Persinger counters that this experiment followed very different protocols than his own research. Other scientists have also found that environments that have a reputation for being haunted often feature unusual magnetic fields.”

Almost undetectable low frequency vibrations explain many creepy feelings:

“Infrasound is sound at levels so low humans can’t hear it (though other animals, like elephants, can). Low frequency vibrations can cause distinct physiological discomfort. Scientists studying the effects of wind turbines and traffic noise near residences have found that low-frequency noise can cause disorientation, feelings of panic, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, and other effects that could easily be associated with being visited by a ghost. For instance, in a 1998 paper on natural causes of hauntings, engineer Vic Tandy describes working for a medical equipment manufacturer, whose labs included a reportedly haunted room. Whenever Tandy worked in this particular lab, he felt depressed and uncomfortable, often hearing and seeing odd things—including an apparition that definitely looked like a ghost. Eventually, he discovered that the room was home to a 19 hz standing wave coming from a fan, which was sending out the inaudible vibrations that caused the disorienting effects. Further studies also show links between infrasound and bizarre sensations like getting chills down the spine or feeling uneasy.”

And then there are toxic hallucinations:

“Supernatural perceptions can also arise from reactions to toxic substances – such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and pesticide. It has also been suggested that fungal hallucinations – caused by toxic mould – could stimulate haunting-related perceptions…..

“Shane Rogers and his team from Clarkson University in the US observed similarities between paranormal experiences and the hallucinogenic effects of fungal spores. This may explain why ghost sightings often occur in older buildings with inadequate ventilation and poor air quality. The notion is not new and experts have previously reported a similar effect associated with old books. They claim that mere exposure to toxic moulds can trigger significant mental or neurological symptoms, which create perceptions similar to those reported during haunting experiences.”

"Spirit photographs", photos that purport to have captured the image of a ghost, have simple and natural explanations:

“Despite dramatically improved optical equipment and cameras over the past century, most 'ghost photos' fall into two categories: 1) hazy, indistinct shapes that can be interpreted as a human form; and 2) ‘mysterious’ glowing white blobs called orbs.

“Both can be easily (and accidentally) created by photographic error, and the latter are by far the most common …… In a series of experiments, I was able to create orb photos under a wide range of circumstances. Orbs can be found in the most un-spooky of settings, and are actually fairly common in daily, amateur photography. They are usually only noticed when a person is actively looking for them as evidence of ghosts.

“Orbs seem otherworldly because they are almost always invisible to the naked eye and go unnoticed until the photo is examined, later revealing the presence of a ghostly, unnatural, glowing object, sometimes appearing over or around an unsuspecting person. To those unaware of scientific and optical explanations, it is no wonder that orbs spook people (as Mumler's photos did 120 years ago). Most ghost investigators will admit that at least some orb photos are of ordinary phenomena. Still, they insist, there must be some orbs that defy rational explanation. None have yet been found. Of course it's possible that ghosts and spirits do exist and can be photographed. But if so, where's the proof? And why do images of ghosts look exactly like images of photographic errors?”

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9 Compelling Reasons Why Alien Abduction Beliefs Are Delusions http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2014/11/9-compelling-reasons-why-alien.html

30 Prying and Probing Questions To Bolster Critical Thinking  http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2016/10/30-prying-and-probing-questions-to.html

Photo: https://www.ronhibbardtoyota.com/2018/09/05/best-haunted-attractions-near-gallatin-tn/

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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