Neuroscientists Recreate Ghostly Presences in Laboratory


Neuroscientists have been able to consistently recreate in people the feeling of another person or ghostly entity hovering nearby, according to a study reported in Mediacom. After examining people with epilepsy who frequently have the experience, the researchers theorized there was a type of brain-perception “dissonance” at work.

“Blindfolded participants performed movements with their hand in front of their body,” reported Mediacom. “Behind them, a robotic device reproduces their movements, touching them on the back in real time. The result is a kind of spatial discrepancy, but because of the synchronized movement of the robot, the participant‚Äôs brain is able to adapt and correct for it. Next, the neuroscientists introduced a temporal delay between the participant‚Äôs movement and the robot‚Äôs touch. Under these asynchronous conditions, distorting temporal and spatial perception, the researchers were able to recreate the ghost illusion.”

The participants were not told the intent of the experiment. “After about 3 minutes of the delayed touching, the researchers asked them what they felt. Instinctively, several subjects reported a strong ‘feeling of a presence’, even counting up to four ‘ghosts’ where none existed. ‘For some, the feeling was even so strong that they asked to stop the experiment,’ Giulio Rognini, who led the study, told Mediacom.

Neuroscientists awaken ghosts… hidden in our cortex (Mediacom, November 6, 2014)