12. An Ethereal Presence

May 17th, 2011 | spirit tracks

A scientist called Michael Persinger freaked out human temporal lobes with weak magnetic fields, discovering that such induced the feeling of “an ethereal presence in the room.” A haunting.

(An ethereal presence in the room: half of Burial’s record UNTRUE, adopted by the new hauntologists as a keystone, sounds somewhere between EVP and ghosts trapped in the walls. Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting In A Room” is the recording of playing a short piece of spoken-word into a room, replaying the new recording, re-recording that, and repeating the process dozens of times. Some sound frequencies resonate and are re-captured in the recording. Others are buried in the walls. The middle section of the process sounds like EVP. And then it turns into music.)

Swedish “double-blind” experiments have suggested that the haunting effect only happens when the subject knows they’re being exposed to the process, though Persinger insists the Swedish approach didn’t replicate his experimental conditions. It does, however, throw some light on a bunch of people wandering around old houses at night expecting to see ghosts.


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis