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Evil! Complicit in thought and deed with the Devil himself am I. My cold, black soul is doomed, as it should be, for all eternity. No amount of guilt, remorse, repentance, or atonement can, nor should, save me now. Would Satan be forgiven if he asked it? No! There is nothing left for me but to confess my part and name the one who has dragged me to Hell with him; for we shall be together for all eternity in that pit. It is that thought that stays my hand from ending it all this very instant!

The other day I saw the following article and recoiled in horror at its implications:

Are EMF’s making you see ghosts?

For some people, ghosts are a very real part of their daily experiences. Barring spectral visitors from the afterlife, what causes these people to believe they’re being haunted? A research team thought it might be people’s sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and non-audible sound. So a group of scientists put several people inside a house full of EMFs and infrasounds and tried to haunt them.

According to the Daily Grail, the scientists from Goldsmith College’s Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit got mixed results with their EMF-laced house:

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 (EMF) 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.

Unfortunately, when the team tested this theory, they came up ghostless. They asked 79 participants to walk through their haunted house and record if and where they experienced any unusual sensations. While some participants did feel such sensations, the locations in the house where they felt the sensations did not correlate with the locations the team had “haunted,” suggesting the sensations were caused more by the power of suggestion than electromagnetic fields.

But other researchers have had more luck summoning ghosts with EMF. Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist at Laurentian University, published a study on a brain damaged girl who reported frequent nocturnal visits from an apparition. Reports Scientific American:

When Persinger and his colleagues investigated (at the behest of the girl’s mother), they found an electric clock next to the bed that was about 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) from where she placed her head when she slept. Tests showed that the clock generated electromagnetic pulses with waveforms similar to those found to trigger epileptic seizures in rats and humans. When the clock was removed, the visions stopped. Persinger determined that the clock, in combination with the girl’s brain injury, were highly likely to have been contributing factors to the perceived nocturnal visits.

Regardless of the cause, the notions of ghosts and haunting do have a measured effect on our psyches. In 2005, a study published in Human Nature had participants take a test on which they were given the opportunity to cheat. Some of the test takers were told the room was haunted, while the others were not. The students in the haunted group were overwhelmingly less likely to cheat than the non-haunted group, suggesting that, even if they didn’t fear ghostly retribution, they still had the uneasy feeling that someone might be watching them.

The research is perilously close to the work that Dr. Matthew Remy and I conducted on those poor, hapless mental patients. Such research can only lead to horrible outcomes. Dr. Remy may not be as famous as his great grandfather, but he inherited the same obsession that ultimately was both of their undoing. His great grandfather, Dr. Calvin S. Moody, was initially championed as a groundbreaking psychiatrist, but I know too much about his barbaric and cruel methods to let this view of him persist.

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Dr. Calvin S. Moody

Matt Remy and I were colleagues for many years in Denver as psychiatrists at University Mental Health Clinic; and I knew he was the great grandson of Dr. Calvin Moody, but that was when I held the putative view that Dr. Moody was a great psychiatrist and researcher. One day Matt and I were having lunch and for whatever reason the topic of a current patient of mine came up. I explained that she was suffering from hallucinations and was convinced that she was being haunted by a ghost.

Matt found this case oddly interesting and continued to question me in great detail. Several days later I found myself on a rather unusual lunch trip with Matt that he assured me would be well worth it. Imagine my surprise when he pulled up to the foreboding remains of Shockley House!

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