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Haunted Halloween

PSI’s Nicky Sewell takes a look at why there are so many more reports of the paranormal each Halloween.

Halloween can be marked by an increase in the public’s interest in all things paranormal, often accompanied by members of the public out on their own search for paranormal phenomena. But is Halloween actually a more paranormally active night?

There are no known research results to suggest that there is an increase in unexplainable phenomena on Halloween. People’s perceived increase in phenomena may be caused by several contributing factors.

Firstly, there is likely to be an increase in people out on ‘investigations’. These people will comprise a mix of experienced and inexperienced investigators. With more people out searching for phenomena, it follows that there would likely be an increase in reported experiences – the more people you have looking for something, the more likely you are to find it. But are these reported experiences genuinely paranormal? Probably not.

The increase in ‘investigators’ will be largely comprised of inexperienced members of the public, taking the opportunity to search out phenomena for themselves. These people are less likely to be analytical and rational in their scrutiny of experiences and are, therefore, more likely to attribute non-paranormal phenomena to the paranormal, due to their lack of experience. The increased expectation and anticipation of phenomena is also a contributing factor towards an increase in reported experiences. This is an effect that is largely diluted amongst experienced investigators, but more concentrated within the lesser experienced investigator.

The final contributing factor in this article is that of atmospheric change. October is often recognised as the month where the weather becomes considerably colder and more stormy weather conditions begin to be detected as winter closes in. The increase in these types of weather conditions can affect experiences in a number of ways. Firstly, dark, cold, stormy nights are often linked to the traditional ghost story, therefore reinforcing the lay-investigator’s expectation of phenomena, as previously discussed. Secondly, these weather conditions are linked to the production of greater static charges and the creation of negative ions. These two factors can contribute towards the sensation of being touched – an often reported form of ‘phenomena’, albeit entirely naturally explainable.

The increase of inexperienced people conducting ‘investigations’ also raises several other points that must be born in mind. Without the necessary infrastructure to organise and conduct an ‘official’ investigation, many members of the public may result to visiting allegedly haunted sites without prior permission. This can result in charges of trespass, the creation of damage at such sites and tar the reputation of genuine investigation groups who do seek prior permission. Another issue raised is one of health and safety. Wandering around in dark, and often dangerous, places without suitable lighting and attire can result in personal injury and inadvertent damage to the property being visited. There were recent reports of a young man on a ghost hunt who fell asleep with a lit cigarette and burnt the entire building down, narrowly escaping with his life.

Unofficial investigations are disrespectful, counter-productive and dangerous. If you wish to go looking for phenomena on Halloween, or any other night of the year, please find a reputable group to join. Have a safe and happy Halloween!