- 'They're here': The mechanism of poltergeist activity
00:01 01 April 2008
NewScientist.com news service
The sight of small blonde girls watching television is guaranteed to
strike fear into the heart of anyone who has watched the movie
We're right to be terrified, say physicists. Children generate
poltergeist activity by channelling energy into the quantum
Pierro Brovetto, whose last known address was the Instituto Fisica
Superiore, in Cagliari, Italy and his colleague Vera Maxia wanted to
explain the origin of poltergeist phenomena, characterised by objects
flying around the room "of their own accord".
The researchers note that poltergeist encounters have been reported
around the world and across different cultures, but tend to have one
thing in common.
"Poltergeist disturbances often occur in the neighbourhood of a
pubescent child or a young woman," the authors note in their paper.
So Brovetto and Maxia have come up with a mechanism to explain just
how these women and children create such havoc. Like so many problems
that arise in adolescence, puberty gets the blame.
"Puberty is a modification of the child body which involves various
organs, chiefly the brain," they state.
Brovetto and Maxia hypothesise that the changes in the brain that
occur at puberty involve fluctuations in electron activity that, in
rare cases, can create disturbances up to a few metres around the
outside of the brain.
These disturbances would be similar in character to the quantum
mechanical fluctuations that physicists believe occur in the vacuum,
in which "virtual" particle and antiparticle pairs pop up for a
fleeting moment, before they annihilate each other and disappear
Brovetto and Maxia believe that the extra fluctuations triggered by
the pubescent brain would substantially enhance the presence of the
virtual particles surrounding the person. This could slowly increase
the pressure of air around them, moving objects and even sending them
hurtling across the room.
The poltergeist paper will appear in the journal Neuroquantology.
We contacted Brian Josephson, a Nobel laureate physicist who is on
the editorial board of Neuroquantology.
"This looks distinctly flaky to me," Josephson commented.
Journal reference: www.arxiv.org/abs/0801.0382
ps - is this an "April Fools" post? I dunno, the neuroquantology
site really exists!
- On Apr 1, 2008, at 8:34 AM, jrstern wrote:
> 'They're here': The mechanism of poltergeist activityPerhaps this adds a new dimension to the well known, if little
> 00:01 01 April 2008
> NewScientist.com news service
> Zeeya Merali
> The sight of small blonde girls watching television is guaranteed to
> strike fear into the heart of anyone who has watched the movie
> We're right to be terrified, say physicists. Children generate
> poltergeist activity by channelling energy into the quantum
> mechanical vacuum.
discussed, preference of gentlemen for blondes: