Ghosts & Infrasound

In April 1998, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published a paper called ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ by Coventry University lecturer Vic Tandy. It described Tandy’s experiences with infrasound while working in a medical lab.

His coworkers complained of spooky feelings and chills in his lab. A cleaning lady resigned after “seeing something.” Working alone in the lab one night, Tandy suddenly had the feeling he was being watched. He claimed shadowy figure appeared at the edge of his vision. When Tandy turned to face it, the figure vanished.

The next day, Tandy brought a fencing foil to the lab for repairs. When he clamped one end of the blade in a vise, it started vibrating wildly. Curious, Tandy began moving the blade around the room. It vibrated strongly in the center of his lab, but completely stopped at the edges of the room.

Tandy discovered a 19Hz standing wave in his laboratory. The walls of the lab had caused the sound wave to double back on itself, producing an area of maximum energy in the center of the room- enough energy to vibrate his sword.

The source of this wave was a newly installed fan at one end of the lab. When it was turned off, the wave, and all phenomena associated with it, disappeared.

This interesting article brings to light a concept that's been held for some time, that infrasound could be an explanation for ghostly activities.

Infrasound is sound in a frequency so low, humans cannot hear it, but they can feel it in their body. Some of the lower but audible levels include those damned subwoofers in cars that create that low bass sound that feels like it pounds in our chests when a young future-deaf teenager drives by.

This is interesting territory. You hear something similar with explanations for alien abductions being sleep paralysis, and yet there are many abducted supposedly from walks in the woods and driving their car down the road. I'm not saying I necessarily believe in abductions, but I do believe that paralysis does not explain them all.

It's entirely possible that infrasound could create a set of sensations that are similar to a haunting. You ever walk into a building and it just has a bad feel? It could be any number of things; high EMF, infrasound, visual and sensory cues such as musty smell and darkness, strange shaped rooms, unusual pieces such as a knight's armor, and any number of other factors that make it "off." As well, factors such as geology/geomagnetic storms/earth energy paths could all be enhancing to something that already exists there.

In a future book about spirit vessels, Julie and I hope to explore what commonalities haunted locations have in order for that site to be one where a person can experience the paranormal. Infrasound could be one aspect of it, but what is causing the infrasound could be mechanical like the story above or perhaps even earth-based such as underground tunnels and rich geology like in the town of Tombstone.

This is yet another avenue to check out.


  1. I had a friend who did some DJ gigs and had some very large speakers. Once day he showed me something pretty neat when he played a cut from a sound effects CD.

    It was an oscillator sweep that started at 1 Hertz and went all the way up to something crazy like 200,000 Hertz - way beyond human hearing range anyway.

    The cool thing was at the 1 Hertz end of the range. You could see (and even feel) the speaker cone wobbling in and out, but you couldn't hear it.

    Makes me wonder what effect, if any, broadcasting frequencies beyond normal hearing range might have on more spectral beings.

  2. Yup. If it were a constant waveform, imagine the disruption in building structures, the land, the people and animals. This would make a condition no one would want to be around. To some degree, it's entirely possible that geologic activity could be in the infrasound range and still within a range dogs pick up, so we might feel a little uneasy, but dogs would go bonkers. I remember in LA before the 6.0 in 87, I heard the neighborhood dogs do their usual pre-earthquake craziness and I got up and went to the spot I went to during earthquakes and just as I stepped into place, it hit.

  3. You had a 'usual' spot to go during earthquakes? Me, I'd just move to another state.

  4. Yeah, after that 6.0, we moved. I was pregnant at the time. I was watching the news and the news dude dove under his desk during a big aftershock and I realized that he was in Burbank and I was in Redondo, so it should hit soon, so I went back to the magic "spot" (old second story apartment--no place is safe) and hid there and it hit a few seconds later. I checked on the gas line and the elderly tenants and then demanded we get the hell out of there.

  5. it sucks to live in seismically active areas.

  6. i remember in Redondo all fish died? Do you think it was because Japan earthquake was coming and it is on the same ring?

  7. R&S;
    I hadn't heard about the fish dying, but I'd sure want to check for radioactivity. Yikes!


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