posted on Aug, 8 2003 @ 09:07 PM
A ghost-busting psychologist hopes to create his own 'haunted house' where spooky phenomena can be summoned at the flick of a switch.
Dr Richard Wiseman believes ghostly experiences can be explained by a combination of fear, and effects such as electromagnetic fields, temperature
changes and low rumblings.
He plans to put his theory to the test by having control over a spooky environment.
Dr Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, told New Scientist magazine: "We want to build our own haunted house, so we are totally in
"It would give really important scientific results, produce a huge amount of publicity, and go down in history."
Dr Wiseman believes unusual environmental effects play an important role in many ghostly sensations, and may even account for some sightings.
There is also evidence that even a small drop in temperature can set the hairs standing on end, as can certain types of lighting and the shapes and
sizes of rooms.
Such effects were seen in investigations undertaken by Dr Wiseman at two prime haunted sites, Hampton Court Palace near London and the South Bridge
Vaults beneath a Victorian Bridge in Edinburgh.
"We showed people had odd experiences in the same places, and now we know they're based on environmental factors," said Dr Wiseman.
In his haunted house, visitors would be terrified by speakers emitting infrasound, electrical coils hidden behind pictures, and sudden draughts
generated from vents in skirting boards.
There would also be control over lighting, the lay-out of rooms, and features within the rooms.