Thanks to the very marketable side of ghost stories and things that go bump in the night, it seems like there has been no end of spooky tales both true and fabricated that have spread from ear to ear. From haunted houses to poltergeists, the spirit realm has always remained a mystery to the majority of us while TV and film persistently use this concept to scare crowds. But what if even those accounts by people who genuinely feel like they’ve seen ghosts weren’t entirely true, what if every ghost was just made up? This may seem like pure scepticism, yet just because these events aren’t brought about by a spectre doesn’t mean they can’t also be real. What I’m referring to is a phenomenon whereby the ghosts, the hauntings, and the lively spirits are all created and brought into reality by the power of our mind.

Take the Philip experiments for example; in 1972 Canadian psychologists and experts in the paranormal brought together a group of people for one purpose – to create a ghost. Starting with nothing the group created and named a character known as Philip, from here they gave him a back-story and some traits just as a writer would for a fictional story. After this they replicated the structure of a séance and awaited Philip. What surprise everyone was that after a time Philip actually contacted the group, rapping on the table, tilting it and even chasing someone with it. Though the scientists weren’t able to explain everything that happened two things were obvious, physical reactions really occurred and Philip was an entirely fictional creature. Here are some ways in which we may be unknowingly laying the groundwork for a paranormal event.


As in the experiment the group were focused on one cause – contacting Philip. It isn’t abstract to know that the human mind can accomplish many things thought impossible with particular focus. We can persevere through insurmountable tasks, resist pain and extend our brain’s capabilities by focusing. Therefore is it not just as likely we can create something out of nothing by purely focusing?


The group here recreates a séance, but when we get spooked, we are often in the environment to do so. Think about when you watch a scary movie, you close the doors, shut off any other noise, turn out the lights and get prepared. By creating a scary environment you are already setting yourself up for something to occur, think about how many hauntings happen in daylight.


Fear of the dark is probably the most natural fear we have, since we depend on sight so much stripping this ability away puts us on edge as danger becomes undetectable. Yet the physiological presence of fear or anxiety changes our brains and body in powerful ways. Many scary films, creepy ghost walks and more all lean on your anticipation, which is essentially you pre-loading yourself with fear before you reach a stimuli. If we are focused on the unknown, surrounded by a scary environment and are already terrified, surely this is the perfect opportunity for the power of our unconscious (and untrained) mind to unleash its most creative and strange abilities upon us.