29 November 2005

Hauntings, design of non-visual architecture

Haunt is a project using humidity, temperatures and electromagnetic and sonic frequencies that parapsychologists have associated with haunted spaces, this project aims at building an environment that feels "haunted": a non-visual architecture. […]

The objective of the experiment was to determine whether infrasonic frequencies and magnetic field fluctuations similar to those found in supposedly "haunted" spaces can elicit physiological or psychological effects similar to those experienced in "hauntings". During participation galvanic skin response of the participants was measured and they were required to note down any unusual phenomena they experienced, marking where these occured on a map of the room, and at what time. Each session lasted approximately 50 minutes. Participants were randomly placed in one of 4 groups though they were not informed of their group until the end of the experiment: those subjected to infrasound, those subjected to magnetic fields, those subjected to both and those subjected to neither.

Responses from participants included a "sense of presence", "chills on the spine", "uneasiness in a particular part of the room", "dizziness", "glowing ball" hallucinations, seeing flies in the chamber, auditory hallucination of somebody coughing in various parts of the chamber and sensations of mist; though it is not clear yet what the causal relationship is since some of these sensations were reported in the chamber when neither the infrasonic nor the magnetic field equipment was switched on. Statistics are currently being carried out on the data and will not be fully known until the end of November 2005. As expected, it appears that belief plays an important role in eliciting "haunt" sensations.

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