The “Haunt” project: An attempt to build a “haunted” room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound

French, Christopher C.; Haque, Usman; Bunton-Stasyshyn, Rosie and Davis, Robert. 2009. The “Haunt” project: An attempt to build a “haunted” room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound. Cortex, 45(5), pp. 619-629. ISSN 0010-9452 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recent research has suggested that a number of environmental factors may be associated with a tendency for susceptible individuals to report mildly anomalous sensations typically associated with “haunted” locations, including a sense of presence, feeling dizzy, inexplicable smells, and so on. Factors that may be associated with such sensations include fluctuations in the electromagnetic field and the presence of infrasound. A review of such work is presented, followed by the results of the “Haunt” project in which an attempt was made to construct an artificial “haunted” room by systematically varying such environmental factors. Participants (N = 79) were required to spend 50 minutes in a specially constructed chamber, within which they were exposed to infrasound, complex electromagnetic fields, both or neither. They were informed in advance that during this period they might experience anomalous sensations and asked to record on a floor-plan their location at the time occurrence of any such sensations, along with a note of the time of occurrence and a brief description of the sensation. Upon completing the session in the experimental chamber, they were asked to complete three questionnaires. The first was an EXIT scale asking respondents to indicate whether or not they had experienced particular anomalous sensations. The second was the Australian Sheep-Goat Scale, a widely used measure of belief in and experience of the paranormal. The third was Persinger’s Personal Philosophy Inventory, although only the items that constitute the Temporal Lobe Signs Inventory (TLS) sub-scale were scored. These items deal with psychological experiences typically associated with temporal lobe epilepsy but normally distributed throughout the general population. Although many participants reported anomalous sensations of various kinds, the number reported was unrelated to experimental condition but was related to TLS scores. The most parsimonious explanation for our findings is in terms of suggestibility.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Haunt-type experiences; infrasound; electromagnetic fields; temporal lobes; paranormal belief.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU)
Research Office > REF2014


May 2009Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

18 Oct 2010 10:31

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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