Monday, October 5, 2009

Radon-induced Hauntings???



Because my curious mind takes me all over the place, I was thinking the other day about the lung cancer and emphysema in my family; all caused by smoking. But, there are those who do not smoke like Christopher Reeve’s wife, Dana Reeve, who die from lung cancer and are not smokers. The leading cause of this is believed to be secondhand smoke or living in a home unprotected from radon gas in the ground.

Wikipedia summarizes it best: “Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, naturally occurring, radioactive noble gas that is formed from the decay of radium. It is one of the heaviest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions and is considered to be a health hazard. Breathing high concentrations of radon can cause lung cancer. Thus, radon is considered a significant contaminant that affects indoor air quality worldwide. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. The highest average radon concentrations in the United States are found in Iowa and in the Appalachian Mountain areas in southeastern Pennsylvania. It has been said that exposure to radon mitigates auto-immune diseases such as arthritis.[64] As a result, in the late 20th century and early 21st century, some "health mines" were established in Basin, Montana which attracted people seeking relief from health problems such as arthritis through limited exposure to radioactive mine water and radon. The practice is controversial because of the "well-documented ill effects of high-dose radiation on the body."Radon has nevertheless been found to induce beneficial long-term effects. In the United States and Europe there are several "radon spas," where people sit for minutes or hours in a high-radon atmosphere in the belief that low doses of radiation will invigorate or energize them.

Upon looking up the radon map to check out Phoenix, I did notice something that struck me oddly. In fact, I ended up going back and pulling up my old map from my haunted formula research. The radon map almost identically mimics the areas of most active hauntings—where the radon is strongest on the map. This is a chicken and the egg dilemma, however. If radon might have properties we aren’t aware of that can create phenomenon or create a mindset that makes us hallucinate phenomenon or view spooklights or other interesting and spooky things, is it the gas or the geology at fault? You see, the places with rich geology, especially granite, tend to have more radon. They also tend to have a lot more hauntings. Is it the geology? The gas? Both? Or is the radon negligible?

What intrigues me is ancient man’s tendency to build in certain areas and find renewal in certain geologic places. Was it the same effect the spas find with radon? A feeling of euphoria and renewal when exposed to radon? I looked up the map of England’s radon locations and the area of Stonehenge is in the highest level of radon. Of course, it’s hard to tell if that’s not related to the geology or radon gas, so I moved on to research what radon does to the mind…

So far, I have discovered it can cause lung cancer, cell damage, DNA alterations, and mental retardation in offspring.

This site had interesting information on the brain and radon “In a study conducted at the University of North Dakota, researchers discovered that the concentrations of `radioactive radon daughters’ (a term for the heavy metal particles that are the byproduct of radon gas decay) in the brains of non-smoking persons with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease averaged about 10 times greater than in the brains of persons with no previous evidence of neurological disorders. Professor Glenn Lykken and Dr. Berislav Momcilovic assert their study demonstrates that indoor radon gas has the capacity to irreversibly infest the brain with the poisonous progeny of radioactive heavy metals.” Apparently, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s seem to have a higher incidence in those living in high radon areas.

I have found a real roadblock in determining why radon might create phenomenon or make people perceive phenomenon, but one thing I know is that the connection between geology and phenomenon has always been a difficult connection. Although there is definitely in my mind a correlation between geologically rich areas and hauntings, there has never been a method by which geology can create phenomenon or support it, but the presence of radon gas, might just be the unknown factor for activating the paranormal.

Note: I don’t want to report about something many people aren’t aware of without giving you a place to go. Here’s a good government site that not only discusses radon, but how to go about getting a test kit for your home.

I will continue to study this interesting avenue.

10 comments:

  1. how weird is this? yikes!
    we lost my sister-in-law recently to lung cancer. she was only 40 and never smoked a day in her life. it was devasting seeing her lose her battle.
    Looks like the radon potential is pretty high in PA where she lived. I wonder if this had something to do with her illness.

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  2. That is so devastating. I'm so sorry about your loss. 40? Jeez, that's soooo young. I'm rather amazed that PA doesn't have a policy of letting citizens know about radon and realtors don't make people aware if a house is protected from radon or not. There's special things done during construction that can seal it off. Her family should probably be checked out and her house tested. Radon is probably what doc's would put highest on her list if she didn't live with a smoker. It's one of those un-heard of killers.

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  3. Interesting information. Thanks.

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  4. I also took this post quite personally. Very interesting. My sister(Iowa) died of Lung Cancer at 39, diagnosed at 31. Mother (Iowa) just died of Alzheimers and seems to have had to for many many years. And it did seem to be oddly common up there.

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  5. @eloh;
    I don't know why the govt doesn't do more about informing people of the dangers in their own homes. It should be part of national policy when buying a house to have it tested for radon and make the owner do the necessary things to seal the house before a sale. But, then I guess we depend on the govt to think of everything and they're half-assed at best, so as long as others know about the dangers through posts like this, maybe it they'll add up incidents of cancer amongst families in certain areas so they can test their homes and be sure no other family members are ill from it. I sort of wandered onto this subject when I was wondering about whether irradiation in Chernobyl was making more phenomenon occur and what might that correlation be?

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  6. @eloh;
    I always answer posts in reverse order, so I started to answer the second half of your comment and forgot to address the first one. It is really tragic how they both died and lived in Iowa. I don't think that's at all a coincidence. I hope that other family living there considers having their homes tested. It's crucial they get as little exposure as possible. I've lost a lot of family members myself, none to radon, but I can relate to the loss. I do have a crap-load of relatives living on a granite covered mountain in WV who all got cancer at young ages and nearly everyone on the mountain has had cancer. I tried to warn them, but they're the fundamentalist types and think I'm being some kind of radical hippie or liberal nutjob. Well, I guess closed minds, closed hearts...

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  7. Autumnforest, Marbella and @eloh-I am so sorry for the losses you have had due to cancer! this past month my dad had to have some tissue taken from the inside of his tongue -we were worried about it as he has smoked for 56 years -well turns out it was pre-cancerous instead of cancerous-but I so hope he can quit smoking now! This was a very interesting link Autumnforest -who woulda thought? thats a great thing about you-you question things i wouldnt even have thought of questioning! Hope you are having a great Monday-all the best!!

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  8. Dev;
    I'm so glad for your dad--catching it early. It should be a wake-up call and it can certainly be treated much less invasively. I had cervical cancer at 17, so I can relate to the cancer thing--mine was related to my mom taking DES during pregnancies (my mom and sister got cancer too). Thanks Navy medical care!

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  9. Marbella, Atumnforest and @eloh, I am so sorry for your losses to lung cancer. My mom was not a smoker yet was a victim too, and 1 good friend just lost his dad to it, another good friend just lost her aunt, and one of my best friends is watching her aunt battle it. Some smoked, some didn't and I KNEW there had to be a reason why it's on the rise. (It's the #1 cancer killer.)

    Autumnforest, in your search for answers to uncovering the hows and whys of paranormal activity you just may end up finding another cause-effect connection that could help in the battle against lung cancer! Man, would that rock!!!!! This was a SUPER FANTASTIC post!!!!

    (And @eloh my condolences to you as well about your mom. My mom was suffering from dementia, which made trying to help her with the lung cancer even worse. My heart sure sympathizes with you!)

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  10. Hey Courtney;
    You have such a big heart. I'm so glad we found each other on the blog-o-sphere. My husband's mother died at 42 of lung cancer. She was a smoker, but also grew up in Pennsylvania. I think that combination made it even worse of her. The link between radon and lung cancer has been around for some time, but no one ever talks about it and I'm shocked by how many states like to hide the facts and keep it from citizens. It seems a no-brainer that all newer homes should be built with protective barriers. Duh.

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