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Are Haunted Houses Real?

We’ve heard it time and time again – the creepy sounds, the cold air, and the unsettling feeling. It’s all part of the ghost stories we learned about as kids. But what if science can explain the so-called paranormal activity in old houses?

Several old houses have been investigated on in the past. These homes happen to contain high amounts of carbon monoxide and other poisonous elements. The inhalation of the fumes causes hallucinations, which can explain why people think old houses are haunted.

Are There Physiological Explanations to Hauntings?

The short answer to that question is, yes. Joe Nickell, a senior fellow for the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry says “I’ve investigated haunted houses, inns, theatres, graveyards, lighthouses, castles, old jails, and even office buildings, and I’ve never found a paranormal explanation.”

Nickell is a part of an organization that promotes logical thinking and scientific inquiry of paranormal claims. In the past 40 years that Nickell has been investing these claims, he has never encountered anything that couldn’t be explained by science.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is said to trigger hallucinations. Most old houses seem to be seeping with these toxic fumes. Although Nickell has not personally experienced having hallucinations due to carbon monoxide poisoning, he does say that it can happen. (Source: NBC News)

Are There Cases of Carbon Monoxide Manifestations?

The American Journal of Ophthalmology published a case of a couple who moved into a house and almost instantly started experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations. This was in addition to other symptoms they experienced like chronic headaches and listlessness.

The hallucinations were persistent that the couple felt hopeless. After talking to several paranormal experts, and not getting any closer to solving their problem, a relative suggested that they might have been poisoned.

True enough, when they got checked they were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. The furnace of the house was faulty. The home was filling up with carbon monoxide instead of escaping through the chimney.

In a more recent case, a woman was found to be unhinged and having a panic attack after seeing a ghost while she was showering. After further investigation, the respondents were able to find out that the gas heater was not installed correctly. Her house was practically flooding with carbon monoxide. (Source: Interstate Heating and Air)

What Are The Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Several people who experience carbon monoxide poisoning describe having flu-like symptoms. With long exposure to a large amount of carbon monoxide, you lose consciousness and eventually die. Here are other symptoms associated with CO poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Confusion
  • Loss of Consciousness

    (Source: Interstate Heating and Air)

Can You Make Your Own Haunted House?

In a paper published in the Journal Cortex, psychologists did a study by employing the environmental factors of a haunted house. They asked 79 participants to spend 50 minutes in their haunted chamber. Many participants reported anomalous sensations however this was unrelated to the experimental condition. (Source: National Library of Medicine)

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