Thursday, 27 November 2014

Doors that open by themselves

WindowDoors that close (or open) by themselves are a feature of some haunting cases. So when, recently, I found a door closed that I knew I'd left open, it felt like something strange was going on. Particularly as there was no one there but me. And when I pushed at the door my efforts were resisted, which was also very weird.

Once I'd forced the door open wide enough, I could see there was a box behind. Experiments soon revealed how the door had closed. I had previously put a heavy object on a shelf. The shelf bent slightly under the weight, enough to tip the box onto the floor, but only after I'd left the room. In falling, the box pushed the adjacent open door closed.

I tried repeating the experiment with a tennis ball but it didn't work. I think the ball lacked the weight and size to push the door open (I was an enthusiastic, but inept, tennis player when I was young). If I'd had a football, I think it would have succeeded in opening the door (I was an unenthusiastic, and equally inept, football player when young).

The point of trying a ball is this - it might roll away after closing the door. So, if a football had opened the door, while I was not around, I might not have so easily discovered what had happened. The football could have ended up on the opposite side of the room, apparently unconnected with the incident. It would not be too difficult to attribute such a seemingly inexplicable event to a ghost.

Whenever I read about an anomalous incident, like a door being closed mysteriously, I wish I'd been there at the time of the incident to investigate it. I'm sure many such incidents have natural causes that are, perfectly understandably, missed by the original witness. And even subsequent visits by investigators might fail to find the true cause. In the theoretical 'football case' I've described above, it would be difficult to know whether the ball had been on the shelf to start with. And it might well have been removed from the scene entirely by the time of the investigator's visit! For more on door opening by themselves, see here.

PS: The picture? It's a window (not a door) but which way is it facing?

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