Moldy ghosts?

Another hypothetical idea about “ghosts”. This one also sounds scientific on the surface, but so far, does not have the chops to explain hauntings.

Ghost sightings in haunted houses linked to toxic mould.

Researchers studying ghostly apparitions said that hauntings are usually reported in old buildings which often have poor air quality from pollutants.

Previous research has shown that toxic mould can affect the brain, but the results of indoor mould exposure on cognitive functioning is less known.

Professor Shane Rogers, who is leading the research said: “Experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by individuals exposed to toxic moulds. […]More recent work is emerging that supports brain inflammation and memory loss in mice exposed to Stachybotrys charatarum, a common indoor air mould, as well as increased anxiety and fear.”

The US study, at Clarkson University in New York, is studying samples taken from several buildings where ghost sightings have been reported.

“Many of the places under investigation and from my own experiences may be prime environments for mould and other indoor air quality issues. […] We would like to see if we can parse out some commonality between the mould microbiome in places that are haunted relative to those that are not.”

My prediction is that they will find mold and they will find people freaking out about ghosts. But the two are not necessarily causally related, just correlated. Old places have mold and a produce a sense of uneasiness as well as having cultural history that lends itself to a haunt legend. The idea of ghosts and hauntings have been with humanity for, well, forever, I’d guess. There is not going to be a simple answer to why some places feel haunted, certainly not hallucinogenic mold.

This piece is total speculation and unhelpful. I see no research to go along with it. Therefore, it promotes a scientific-sounding cause for ghost experiences but does nothing to explain the many other aspects of paranormal that people claim to experience (like a one time event at a new location – haven’t time to react to mold spores, or experiences outside). It’s simply not impressive.

Current theories of hauntings also include ideas about high EMF readings and infrasound. Unfortunately, neither of these ideas have shown to be conclusive regarding observers feeling more “haunted” or not. The concept of experiencing ghosts and hauntings seems to be a much more personal and complicated condition. No one reason fits all.

  3 comments for “Moldy ghosts?

  1. CJ
    April 2, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Problem is every study from the 1894 Census of Hallucinations through DJ West 1948, Green & McCreery 1974 right through to Smith 2012 shows the same thing: apparitions are not seen in older buildings as suggested here.

    You are completely correct: the proposed solution is interesting and neurotoxicity of mould an important field but it tells us nothing about “ghosts”. I am finding it hard to imagine a hallucinogen that fast acting anyway – residents behaviour would be impaired, but casual visitors?

    Anyway ghosts are not seen in graveyards castles or stately homes in the main, but in your living room or bedroom. I have tried to sell this statistical truth to get ghost hunting ladies to come home with me and pay but so far they have turned me down 😉

  2. April 3, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    Well said. I agree.

  3. Colonel Tom
    April 7, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    Just anecdotal, but with my condition a “sick” building affects me fairly quickly. Sinus constriction and airway constriction within an hour or so, just as you’d expect from an extreme allergy. I tend to get groggy with impaired judgement from same.
    However, one of the great problems with the articles hypothesis is that allergies were far rarer in centuries past, so this could only explain “haunted” places in the last century. Added to that, is that modern buildings, with tightly closed recirculated air are the some of the worst sources of fungal infestations, so logically modern building would more likely be haunted than old buildings with quick air turnover.

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