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. 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.
If you are interested in radon's effects in your home, go to Radon Resources.