Friday, 21 September 2012

Strange noises off

One of the commonest symptoms of a haunting is odd, unexplained noises. So when I heard a dull thumping noise recently, while in an empty, locked building, I couldn't avoid thoughts of the paranormal. I searched in every room for some possible cause of the loud noise but could find none.

I paused to think about witness accounts about accounts of hauntings that I'd heard. Among reported noises there are footsteps, knocks, snatches of music, whispering and the sound of furniture being moved. What I had heard sounded more like furniture being thrown around! I expected to enter a room and find some large bit of furniture overturned! Instead, nothing out of place!

A little later, having forgotten about the odd noise, I happened to open a small cupboard and found the source of the noise! Some small plastic items, that I had stacked soon before the noise, had fallen down onto a wooden box. The latter had resonated and amplified the sound of the impact, making it sound like heavy objects falling. Had I not discovered this, I might still be thinking in terms of hauntings!

Once again, a trivial incident contains several interesting points of detail for those trying to explain haunting phenomena. Firstly, if a unstable pile is going to fall over it is most likely to do so soon after it is first stacked. So, in cases where falling objects are reported, it would be useful to know when they were last stacked, in relation to the time of their reported fall. And just because an item is securely stacked when you examine it, it doesn't mean it was always has been!

Secondly, in the incident reported here, some relatively light objects sounded much heavier and larger because of the hollow wooden box they fell onto. So, I was looking for something big when it was really something small that fell. It is important to examine what the fallen item fell onto when considering if it made an 'unnatural' noise!

Thirdly, the fallen items in this incident were found shortly after the noise. If they had not been discovered for a longer period, the two things might not have been so readily connected as cause and effect. Indeed, they might even have been reported as two separate incidents - an inexplicable noise and some 'moved' objects!

The next time you solve a seemingly trivial non-paranormal incident of this type, it would be worth asking yourself this - if you'd seen only the report of the incident, maybe days or weeks later, would you have solved the mystery so readily? That's one of the great difficulties in investigating paranormal incidents. As investigators, we have only an eye witness account, quite possibly inaccurate, and the scene of the incident, quite possibly changed, to go on. Reconstructing what really happened can be a lot more difficult that it might at first appear!

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