Who You Gonna Call?

gbWho you Gonna Call  A world-wide phenomenon is the apparition of ghosts or spirits. Sightings and auditory sensations have plagued mankind for centuries.  Sightings and auditory rumblings of disembodied spirits have been reported around the world but the question always remains, are these ghosts just a figment of our imagination, or is there really more to these “spirits” than just a children’s fairy tale?  Sensationalism has defined the word “ghost” as a dangerous hideous spirit which rules and dominates the night. But in reality these spirits in most cases seem to be unaware of their mistaken presence, much less ours.  This weeks Hearing International looks at the hauntings of ghosts and if the so called “ghost sounds” are real or just plain scary sounds elicited by some strange phenomenon not yet understood.gb1

Those of us that are not inclined to be involved with the paranormal, may be unaware of this activity, but paranormal spots are active all over the world.  Some of the world’s most famous haunted places include some that could be expected and others that might not be that obvious.

Hot Paranormal Spots around the World

  Tower of London

Of course among those that might be expected would be the Tower of London.  For over 900 years the Tower of London has developed a very mysterious history and reputation. This tower is the home of beheadings, torture and numerous hangings. This famous tower was also a prison to some of the nobles throughout history. The “bloody tower” was the scene of the infamous murders of two princes, Edward V gb2(12) and Richard Duke of York (10) in 1483. According to sources, guards in the 15th century passing the tower spotted two small figures “gliding down the stairs.” The spirits stood silently for a short time then faded into the stones of the tower. These figures again were spotted in 1674 and identified as the “two young princes.” Workmen at the tower complex discovered a chest which is believed to contain the skeletons of the young princes. A royal burial and ceremony was provided for the two young men. Queen Anne (Anne Boelyn) is reported to appear near the Queen’s House, as well as her headless body walking around the corridor of the tower. The Queen Anne of England was the second wife of Henry VIII and was beheaded in 1536. Most of the ghostly figures spotted at the tower have been those who have met their death on this historic spot.  Is it REAL or s.imply something we do not understand.

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The land down under is also known for paranormal activity. Ghosts are said to be disturbances in such cities as Perth, Brisbane and  Sydney. In a beautiful Mall in the middle of Brisbane, the second floor  is said to be haunted.  Consistent rumors have surfaced about the spirit of a former shopkeeper who roams throughout the second floor of the Mall. This female ghost has repeatedly been chased by security guards but always seems to escape around the next corner without a trace.  The Plow Inn in Brisbane,  built around 1800, is also a frequently haunted establishment. Local residents report that the female spirit which haunts the Inn was reportedly strangled to death in the 1920’s. Now this spirit is content to haunt the Inn and the patrons forever.  Is it REAL or something that we do not understand.

  Asian Spirits

Singapore is also considered by many to be an area of paranormal activity. People who have visited the beach houses in Changi have reported being slapped by an unseen presence. Changi Hospital, built in 1935 as a British military hospital, was occupied by the
gb4Japanese forces in WWII. The hospital was officially closed in 1997, as the patients were moved to the new Changi General Hospital. The Most Famous Ghost Story:  Screams and shadows could be seen and heard on some of the wards, which were rumored to be used as torture chambers by the Japanese. It remains abandoned and empty. On St. John Island a spirit repeatedly calls for help then disappears into thin air perplexing those who hear its desperate calls. This island is also the site of of a ghost of a person reportedly killed a local resident.

If a spirit or a ghost was seen in one spot by several people maybe it could be written off as vivid imaginations or conjecture. But, as you can see, these disembodied spirits are witnessed around the globe by people from all walks of life.  Have these spirits lost their way to the light, or do they not realize that their physical body has passed on? Maybe some day when our consciousness awakens a “ghost whisperer” can help these poor souls find their way to the next life, and beyond.  Is this REAL or something that we do not understand.

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Mount Everest is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Andrew Irvine who died while climbing the peak in 1924. This ghost was first reported in 1975 by Dougal Haston and Doug Scott. The ghost of Irvine has also been reported by numerous climbers since the initial sighting.  Is this REAL or something that we do not understand.

United States 

The White House: Washington DC

No residence on Earth seems to be excluded from celestial spirits, even the White House gb6where the President of the United States resides. This famous site seems to be active with paranormal activity.  Numerous witnesses have reported seeing the ghost of a soldier walking up and down the corridors late at night in the east wing of the White House. The spirit of Abigail Adams is often seen hanging laundry in the east wing.  It’s also been stated by several sources that Winston Churchill refused to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom after seeing the spirit of the late president.

Winchester House: San Jose, California, USA

The famous Winchester house has reported 143 ghost sightings in the house. Reports of a piano playing and voices throughout the corridors contgb7inue to haunt the house.  Old women and period-dressed butlers have been spotted, along with the ghost of Sarah Winchester roaming throughout the house. Others have witnessed ghostly faces peering out of numerous windows in the house.  Some of the hot spots in the house include the “Hall of fame,” the Winchester bedroom, and of course the séance room.

Other paranormal hot spots in the United States include: Gettysburg, PA; Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA and also Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, KY.  There are many other hot spots of paranormal activity around the world but these, however, are some of the hottest!  Are these REAL or something that we do not understand.

  The Audiology Connection

gb9 Scientists may have come up with an explanation for why churches and “haunted” houses send a shiver down our spines.  It may have nothing to do with ghosts but possibly with subtle vibrations just below the limits of our hearing.  The low-frequency rumblings, which are felt rather than heard, are known as infrasound, and they have been studied for the first time with intriguing results.  Researchers indicate that  these infrasounds may cause a range of spooky effects in listeners, ranging from extreme anxiety to elation, coldness, and of course send those shivers down the spine.  These sounds can even  make candles flicker – another phenomenon associated with “hauntings”.  Infrasound, an extreme bass sound, is produced in dozens of churches and cathedrals by the longest organ pipes.  The researchers also claim that many supposedly haunted places have naturally- occurring infrasound, which can be caused by the wind, traffic noise or the hum of electrical equipment.gb8

One of the lead researchers, Dr. Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire said: “These results suggest that low frequency sound can cause people to have unusual experiences, even though they cannot consciously detect infrasound. It has been suggested this level of sound may be present at some allegedly haunted sites, and so, cause people to have odd sensations they often attribute to a ghost. Our findings support these ideas.”  In research, that has been detailed to the British Association Festival of Science in Salford, Manchester, Dr. Wiseman explains how infrasound was tested on 750 concertgoers at the Purcell Room on London’s South Bank.

An extra “instrument” at the concerts was a specially designed 25ft infrasound pipe, which could be switched on and off secretly.  The normal range of human hearing goes from 20 kHz at the top, down to 20hz. The concert-goers listened to four pieces of contemporary music, two with infrasound added at 17hz.  Afterwards, the audiences were asked to describe their emotional state during all four pieces. When infrasound was played “underneath” the music, reports of strange feelings rose 22 per cent.  The infrasound inspired roughly equal amounts of positive and negative feelings, said Dr. Wiseman. “Basically it’s making them feel extremely strange. It may be that it’s intensifying whatever state you were in.”

Although interesting, the data is not conclusive and does not tell us the origin of paranormal activity but does suggest some interesting results that could just be a new variable of paranormal activity that we do not understand.

About Robert Traynor

Robert M. Traynor, Ed.D., MBA is the CEO and practicing audiologist at Audiology Associates, Inc., in Greeley, Colorado with particular emphasis in amplification and operative monitoring, offering all general audiological services to patients of all ages. Dr. Traynor holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado (BA, 1972, MA 1973, Ed.D., 1975), the University of Phoenix (MBA, 2006) as well as Post Doctoral Study at Northwestern University (1984). He taught Audiology at the University of Northern Colorado (1973-1982), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (1976-77) and Colorado State University (1982-1993). Dr. Traynor is a retired Lt. Colonel from the US Army Reserve Medical Service Corps and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Audiology at the University of Florida, the University of Colorado, and the University of Northern Colorado. For 17 years he was Senior International Audiology Consultant to a major hearing instrument manufacturer traveling all over the world providing academic audiological and product orientation for distributors and staff. A clinician and practice manager for over 35 years, Dr. Traynor has lectured on most aspects of the field of Audiology in over 40 countries. Dr. Traynor is the current President of the Colorado Academy of Audiology and co-author of Strategic Practice Management a text used in most universities to train audiologists in practice management, now being updated to a 2nd edition.