Scientists using high-tech methods to examine ghostly goings-on at Edinburgh
Castle say they are encouraged by their findings.
Volunteers have reported apparitions and physical contact during the 10-day
investigation into the vaults and tunnels around the historic fortress.
The results appear to bear out stories that some of the chambers under the
castle are haunted.
The investigation, carried out as part of the
Edinburgh International Science Festival, was led by Dr Richard Wiseman of the
University of Hertfordshire.
I'm closer to being a lot more curious, and the fact that the
photographic anomalies happened in allegedly haunted places makes me
think that there's something going on
His team of researchers used sophisticated recording equipment to try to get
evidence of paranormal activity.
Dr Wiseman said: "What was interesting for us was whether or not those
experiences would stack up in the vaults with the reputation for being haunted
and the answer is that that definitely does happen."
He found 51% of people in vaults reputed to be haunted reported experiences,
while only 35% did so in the other five.
Dr Wiseman, who remains sceptical about the existence of ghosts, said he
believed the background light from beyond the vaults' archways and the size of
the vaults appeared to be a factor.
"We measured air temperature, air
movement, magnetic fields and light levels from outside the vaults.
Edinburgh Castle is widely believed to be haunted
"When it was darker outside in the corridor then people reported far
more experiences inside the vaults.
"So there's obviously a sense of not knowing what's going on outside the
corridor and that's leading to people perhaps being more anxious."
He added: "The haunted vaults had twice as much floor space and they
were about one third higher.
"That either means ghosts like large spaces to live in or these physical
measurements are having an impact on people's psychology."
'Mystery' to untangle
Dr Wiseman said the results were more significant than those from a previous
experiment he carried out at Hampton Court.
Denying he was closer to "believing", he added: "I'm closer to
being a lot more curious, and the fact that the photographic anomalies happened
in allegedly haunted places makes me think that there's something going on.
"Had the public experiences been randomly distributed between the vaults
then you really couldn't conclude anything, what you can conclude is that there
is something going on in some sense, that these vaults are in some senses
producing an experience.
"That's why I think scientists can be quite excited about this, because
suddenly there's an effect to work with, something to untangle that is a little
bit of a mystery."