In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Toxic mold may cause sightings of ghosts

Scientists believe that poor air quality may be a contributing factor in reports of the paranormal.

Tales of ghosts and spirits are perhaps the most enduring of all unexplained mysteries, having been a staple part of cultures all around the world for thousands of years.

Now however a new study by researchers at Clarkson University in New York may be able to shed some light on the phenomenon thanks to the discovery of a possible link between supernatural encounters and the toxic effects of some types of mold spores when they are inadvertently breathed in.

The team found that many paranormal experiences are very similar to the hallucinogenic effects of the spores which can cause significant mental or neurological symptoms.

"Hauntings are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality," said civil and environmental engineer Shane Rogers. "Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air."

While the discovery is unlikely to explain every ghost sighting and paranormal encounter it does offer an intriguing alternative explanation that could account for at least some of those cases.