Ghostly ‘infrasound’ may explain the paranormal

What causes otherwise sane people to see ghosts and feel haunted on occasion? Scientists have discovered a plausible explanation from an early human adaptation, CBC science columnist Torah Kachur reports.

Adaptation for avoiding natural disasters basis of creepy feeling

The way our bodies interpret infrasound may give us that bone chilling, haunted feeling, says CBC science columnist Torah Kachur. (Mal Booth/Flickr)

Science now has a plausible explanation for ghost-sightings, hauntings and the ghoulish work of the evil spirits — a phenomenon called infrasound.

Infrasound is made up of sound waves so low that our human ears cannot detect it, science columnist Torah Kachur told CBC Radio West .

“But our bodies still interpret it, and it makes that bone-chilling, hair-stand-on-end kind of feeling.”

Infrasound has been found to cause physiological effects such as heart palpitations and respiratory change, and can distort the eyeballs to such a degree that "apparitions" can be observed, Kachur says.

She explains how infrasound was discovered, what scientists have learned about it since and how being able to detect infrasound may be an biological adaptation to avoid natural disasters. Also, how it might explain paranormal phenomena.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?