In case you are not aware on recent events, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) has reportedly been conducting a scientific study in an effort to find evidence of ‘jinns’ present in the human body.
Jinns are a name given to spirits or genies from Arabic/Islamic mythology who probably don’t look anything like this guy.
The word is that seven researchers UMK began a study two years ago and recently bought and shipped a machine from the United States that can detect human auras for just RM15,000.
The device is supposed to prove that jinns exist by measuring the changes in electric fields of the human body.
Having a conclusion already in mind before experimenting might not be not very scientific but this idea interests us.
So instead of taking the easy way and doing a humourous telling of the news, we decided to see if there was any existing scientific explanations for the existence of spirits.
Grab your safety goggles, protective gloves, lab coats, and vernier calipers, dear readers. It’s time to learn some SCIENCE!
1. Electromagnetic fields
In simple terms, electromagnetic field is a physical field that is produced by electrically charged objects.
A Canadian neuroscientist named Michael Persinger and his team have been studying the effects of electromagnetic fields on how people perceive the world around them. According to them, being exposed to certain patterns of weak electromagnetic fields for 15 to 30 minutes over their heads can make people feel like there is an invisible presence in the room with them. What’s interesting is that quite a few houses known to be haunted often have some form of electromagnetic waves present.
Infrasounds are sounds so quiet that the human ear cannot detect them. These can range from dog whistles to the sound of toddlers taking responsibility for the mess they made in the living room.
Jokes aside, it seems that low frequency vibrations can cause very distinct psychological discomfort.
Scientists studying the effects of wind turbines and traffic noise near residential areas have discovered that it can cause disorientation, feelings of fear or panic, and changes in heart rate or blood pressure. These sounds can apparently make one experience any of the above symptoms and make one feel like they are experiencing a haunting or seeing a ghost.
So kind of like dubstep.
3. Toxic Hallucinations
No, this isn’t the name of a really good punk rock band. In fact, it refers to something far less punk rock; mould, fungi, and chemicals. The theory goes that exposure to fumes from mold, fungus, or harmful chemical such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, or pesticides can cause hallucinations in people.
Shane Rogers and his team from Clarkson University observed that there was a similarity between the experiences of a haunting and that of hallucinations caused by fungal spores.
Maybe that’s why most hauntings take place in old houses/places with poor ventilation and terrible air quality.
And here we were thinking that ghosts just preferred the old house aesthetic.
4. Stress on human psychology
According to clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis, when we’re going through a stressful period in our lives, our thinking starts to suffer, sometimes in significant and bizarre ways. He adds on that humans are pattern-seeking creatures, which is why we tend to look for patterns where there are none, and draw conclusions that don’t exist. Some might end up looking for patterns where they don’t exist, which are physical manifestation of stress. So, when you’re starting to see things that’s not real, you might want to have some time out and chill for a bit.
5. The power of suggestion
The last explanation scientists have to offer is by far the most mundane one; being told a place is haunted is more likely to make one experience ghosts or spirits.
One of the best examples of this is a classic study where two groups of participants were taken through five main areas of a rundown theatre.
One group was told that it was haunted while the other was told it was under renovation.
Guess which one ‘saw’ the most paranormal activity?
The team conducting the experiment theorized that hauntings and spirits might come down to one’s willingness to believe in them or look for them.
A sort of mind over matter situation that leaves us pretty unsatisfied. But what to do? Sometimes when you do science, you find boring explanations for awesome phenomena. Oh well.
So after all that, what do you think, dear reader?
Are you a true believer of the supernatural and the paranormal?
Or are you on the side of the skeptics?
Also, what do you think of UMK’s RM15,000 investment to shed some light on this topic?
Header Image Source: Bloody Disgusting