Andrew Nichols, American Institute of Parapsychology, Gainesville, Florida USA and William G. Roll, State University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia USA1
After interviews with witnesses by Nichols and Roll, Nichols spent three days each at Dragsholm Castle, Denmark, and Engsö Castle, Sweden, making instrumental recordings at sites where the witnesses had experienced haunting-type phenomena. Control recordings were taken in other parts of the castles.
At Dragsholm, Nichols found an elevated electromagnetic field (EMF) in the Grey Lady=s Room where Radin and Roll (1996) had previously found an EMF anomaly. The readings in the Knights Hall were unremarkable. In the Theater on the fourth floor, Nichols recorded a transient temperature decrease that coincided with a geomagnetic field (GMF) anomaly that exceeded 100 Milligauss, the maximum threshold of the meter. Prior to the anomaly the GMF in the Theater averaged 2-5 Milligauss, the same as in other parts of the Castle. Immediately following this event, Nichols saw a brief movement in his left peripheral field. It appeared to be a person dressed in light colored flowing clothing. Aside from three maids who were in the kitchen/dining room area on the first floor, the Castle appeared to be empty of human occupants.
Nichols= apparitional sighting may have been an example of Amagneto phosphenes@. When the brain is exposed to magnetic fields of specific frequencies, a flickering or flash of white light in the peripheral vision may be experienced.
The equipment and method utilized at Engsö was similar to those employed at Dragsholm. The only area where an anomaly was recorded was on the third floor where three previous witnesses had described apparitional experiences. Nichols recorded a GMF strength of 157 Milligauss, as compared to the ambient field of 2-3 Milligauss in the rest of the Castle. When Nichols discovered this anomaly, he was unaware of the haunting phenomena at this site. The anomaly was stable.
Persinger has suggested that abrupt changes in magnetic field strengths, rather than extended exposure to strong fields may induce anomalous experiences. At Engsö the experiences may have resulted from the movement of the witnesses through a normal field to an area of high magnetic strength. In the Theater at Dragsholm similar effects may have resulted from exposures to transient energies in the same area.
In the past, scientists have dismissed haunting experiences as psychological fantasies with no basis in the real world. Investigations by the authors and others suggest that the phenomena are real, and that they may have a physical source.
The wide range of anomalous experiences which may be triggered by exposure to geomagnetic and electromagnetic fields reflect the same versatility which is evident from the uses of electromagnetism in the devices that are so familiar to us. Just as these energies, when processed through electronic systems, can become the sounds and images of television and video, so too can they stimulate the brain to experience visionary encounters.
Effects of ambient electromagnetic or electrostatic biofrequency fields upon human electrical systems are well known. Neuroscientists such as Ravitz (1962), Burr (1972) and Persinger (1974) have emphasized the role of low intensity bioelectrostatic fields in life forms. Burr suggested that such bioelectromagnetic fields served as a Ablueprint@ for developing fetal forms. Anecdotal observations indicate behavioral changes of many species before thunderstorms (Altmann, 1969). Biometeorologists have reported correlational studies that indicate depression, uneasiness and other aversive experiences in humans can precede approaching storms (Charry & Hawkinshire, 1981). In laboratory studies of humans exposed to very low frequency (VLF) electromagnetic fields, of the type that precede storms, Scheinle, Stark, Walter and Vaitl (1997) and Scheinle, Stark and Vaitl (1998) concluded that the human organism is more sensitive to weak magnetic fields in the low frequency range than was previously assumed. Experiments with human subjects exposed to similar bioelectromagnetic frequencies in laboratory situations have been reported by Persinger, Rutten and Koren (1990). As a result of exposure to external EM sources, a person may experience internal dream-type imagery as being external and Areal@.
People living in allegedly haunted locations report a wide variety of perceptual experiences including apparitional sightings, unexplained sounds of voices and footsteps, unusual odors and tactile phenomena, as well as object movements and mysterious disappearances and reappearances of household items. Animals at the site frequently are reported to display unusual behavior in certain rooms or at certain times, presumably when the Aghost@ is present. Other commonly reported experiences in haunted locations include the appearance of balls or flashes of light and similar luminous phenomena, as well as frequent electrical effects, such as malfunctioning appliances and batteries draining rapidly. Subjective experiences such as an unexplained feeling of fear or of a sense of >presence= are frequently reported.
After several on-site investigations of reportedly haunted locations, and reviewing the findings of other investigators, the authors have concluded that most, if not all reported hauntings can be accounted for by an environmental electromagnetic model. A minority of cases may require a modification of this hypothesis to include some form of non-corporeal intelligence, either originating from incorporeal entities or from the unconscious mind of a living agent.
Persinger (1974) proposed that stimulation of the electrically unstable hippocampal region of the brain by biofrequency geomagnetic or electromagnetic fields can result in the experience of a wide variety of imagery and memory associated perceptions. Persinger=s studies also suggested that negative ions in the atmosphere due to thunderstorms may lower electrical thresholds in the temporal lobe of the brain, and trigger anomalous perceptions, including apparitional sightings. This may lend some authenticity to the association of the Adark and stormy night@ present in fictional ghost stories.
Dragsholm Castle, Denmark
Dragsholm Castle is a massive fortress originally built in the 13th century as a bishop=s residence. Following the reformation it became a prison which housed a number of prominent figures, most notably the Earl of Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The Earl died in his cell in 1578 and is reputed to be one of three ghosts which now inhabit the Castle. Architecturally the structure has been subjected to numerous renovations. The popularity of the Baroque style in the 18th century resulted in numerous windows being added which dramatically altered its appearance and converted the formidable fortress into a more pleasant palace for the occupants.
Roll was originally alerted to the occurrences at Dragsholm by Komtesse Louise Lerche-Lerchenborg, a descendent of earlier owners of the Castle. Dragsholm is currently owned by Mr. Fleming Bøttger and his wife, Inger Merete, and is operated as a museum, hotel and restaurant.
The Ghosts of Dragsholm
According to the popular conception of hauntings, a victim of a violent death has remained as an incorporeal presence and is producing the strange sounds and sights. The process probably works the other way. The occupants first observe strange goings-on, and then seek an explanation in terms of a tragic death at the site. In the case of Dragsholm, this may have been the explanation for two of the supposed ghosts, the Earl of Bothwell and the White Lady. The Earl of Bothwell is usually thought to manifest himself by the sounds of a horse-drawn carriage clattering across the cobblestone courtyard. The sounds are believed to emanate from the spectral carriage arriving to take the Earl=s body away following his death. Occasionally male apparitions have been seen which are also attributed to the ghostly presence of the Earl. Probably the most commonly reported apparition is that of The White Lady. In the 1920′s renovations to the Castle=s plumbing revealed the skeletal remains of a young girl behind the wall of an alcove next to a window overlooking the courtyard on the fourth floor of the Castle. Today a skeleton can be seen by visitors in situ, with a plexiglass barrier covering the irregular opening in the stone wall where she was found.2 A traditional legend relates that the daughter of a nobleman who owned the Castle some four hundred years ago was drugged and imprisoned in the wall to die of suffocation, after it was discovered by her family that she had become pregnant by the Castle=s stable boy. The legend fürther states that the spirit of the unnamed girl who suffered this terrible death remains in the Castle where she is seen as a white apparition, sometimes accompanied by screams, sobbing, and cold breezes. The White Lady (Den Hvide Dame) is usually experienced on the fourth floor of the Castle, near her presumed place of entombment. The third ghost, the Grey Lady, is different. She is thought to be the spirit of Henrietta Magrete von Linde, an eighteenth century caretaker that is believed to continue performing her duties by watching over the Castle=s inhabitants and protecting them from harm. The Grey Lady matches the prevalent attitude of the owners and workers at the Castle that an incorporeal presence pervades the area, but that it is benevolent. The Grey Lady is most often seen in or near a room which faces the moat on the second floor.
During a previous investigation of Dragsholm (Radin & Roll, 1996; Roll, Moody & Radin, 1996) witnesses described percussive sounds, footsteps, anomalous lights, cold chills, apparitions, door openings and other physical incidents.
Two hypotheses guided the earlier investigation, that ionizing radiation from the granite in the foundation of the Castle somehow triggered anomalous experiences in the occupants. The second hypothesis was that elevated levels of electromagnetism, presumably due to piezoelectric effects from the granite, brought on the experiences.
To test these hypotheses, Radin and Roll (1996) used an Emdex Field Magnetometer and an Aware Electronics Geiger counter with computer interface. Measurements were taken in various parts of the Castle, but they focused their attention on the Grey Lady=s room, since this is where the haunting experiences were concentrated. Two anomalies were found at this site. The first was an increase in the electromagnetic field which was attributed to an electric junction box on the wall just outside the room. A second anomaly was an increased level of ionization radiation within the room.
The researchers speculated that the increased EM fields due to the fuse box triggered haunting experiences in that area. What effect ionization radiation may have on the nervous system remains obscure.
The Emdex field meter employed in that study is useful for measuring variations in AC electric and magnetic fields, but is unsuitable for recording variations in the DC magnetic field emitted by the Earth or by iron bearing minerals. AC fields are normally produced by artificial sources such as house current. In contrast, the DC magnetic fields emitted by the Earth and other magnetostatic sources require a geomagnetometer for accurate measurements.
The current study was intended to extend the research by the addition of a geomagnetometer. In addition, an atmospheric ion detector was brought along to test for the presence of unusually high ion concentrations, since positive and negative ion concentrations have been linked to behavioral and perceptual anomalies (Charry & Hawkinshire, 1981). Our equipment did not include a Geiger counter since we had no computer interface at the time, so no measurements of ionizing radiation were possible.
INTERVIEWS WITH WITNESSES
Interviews with witnesses were conducted at Dragsholm Castle, Feb. 13, and Feb. 14, 1999. Questions were directed by Nichols, Roll, and on occasion by Louise Lerche (Komtesse Louise Lerche Lerchenborg).
Thormod Balterød, head of the restaurant was interviewed by Nichols and Roll. Balterød has been at Dragsholm since August 1998. He appears to be in his 30′s or early 40′s. Balterød is Norwegian, understands English but prefers to speak Norwegian. His replies were translated by Roll.
A Saturday in September, 1998, he and a waitress, Sirgit, were standing by a table in the Grey Room talking about the Grey Lady, when there was a hard slap on the table. “We figured it must be the floor boards that were cracking but it was a little frightening.” “It was like someone hit the table hard… You heard the sound of the plates and table ware, they made a jingling sound. The interesting thing was that there were two of us who heard it. We looked at each other, ‘what was that?@ A waiter, Hans, came in at this point, and when they told him about the incident, Hans said, “Then you were probably talking about the Grey Lady.” When they agreed, Hans said, Ayou are not supposed to talk about the Grey Lady in this room because this is where she stays.@ (Sirgit and Hans were not available for an interview because they have left the Castle.) Balderoed said that the yellow chair in the corner, “That’s where she sits. ” “We who work here in the castle don’t move that chair. Only the guests are allowed to do that.” The incident was between 9 and 10 p.m. during a wedding celebration, when the room was used to serve coffee. There were no guests in the room at the time.
Balderoed does not like to be alone at night, when he has to turn off the lights in the Castle. He feels like he is being watched although he knows he is alone. The feelings are strongest on the fourth (top) floor, and in all parts of this floor (this is where the skeleton of a young woman was found).
In response to a question by Louise Lerche if he had had such experiences elsewhere, Thormod replied, “Absolutely not.” He never thought of such things before coming to Dragsholm. Now that he has been at Dragsholm this long, he believes, “There is more between heaven and earth.”
Housekeeper Kirsten Nielsen was interviewed by Nichols (her replies were translated by the receptionist). Ms. Nielsen reported that in August, 1997, a member of her family wanted to see the Castle by night. There were no other guests. They went up to the second floor. While they were in the Garden Room (Havesalen on the floor plan, see Figure 1) Ms. Nielsen looked into the Knights= Hall (Riddersalen), which was in darkness. While she looked into the room, AI saw a figure, like a lightning on the sky or a flash of light, in the shape of a person with a veil over the body.@ She thought it was a male. She called for her relative to look, but it was gone. It lasted just a moment. It was about 9 o’clock. It was a black figure surrounded by a glowing wave of light (lysboelge). It was like the shape of a figure, electrified. She said, A I didn’t believe it, but I knew what I had seen.@ When I was going to tell about it to Flemming (Bøttger) and our carpenter, who were seated downstairs in the staff room, they said my face looked very strange. Bøttger said what I had seen was exactly the same his father had seen shortly after the War, in the same place.3 In reply to questions by Nichols, Ms. Nielsen said it wasn=t stormy outside. She also said she had had no such experiences elsewhere. She added that when you are by yourself in the Castle, it feels as if you are not alone. AI never feel I’m walking alone up here.@ Nichols asked how it feels to be up here after her experience and she replied that she is scared of being alone on the upper floors. She is not bothered on the lower floors.
Jens Brantenborg Hansen
Jens Brantenborg Hansen was interviewed by Nichols. Hansen, who is a guide and night watchman, speaks English. AI’m quite skeptical about many of the stories going on. Many of the stories that people seem to be experiencing in this Castle, if they heard or saw the same things at the Copenhagen railway station, they would think nothing of it. When I sit down in the reception, I hear people going up and down the stairs and when I go up, there is no one there. That happens quite often. I usually try to find some explanation for it, like people walking in other parts of the Castle.@ He has experienced doors opening for him, sometimes he has found an explanation, other times not.
AI had an experience once that made me wonder whether this was the right place to spend my nights. That was in the Theater where a lot of other people have experienced something. I was walking around in the Castle, I was going to shut off the lights, and there is one light in the Theater that you have to go behind the stage to the backstage area of the Theater and there is a contact you have to shut. And when I did that it felt so very cold in there. Sometimes when I go from one room to another, there might be differences in the heat… In this case it was quite different. I started to have goose skin, immediately it was like something cold was coming right towards me. You can have goose skin on your arms and legs but what made me really feel uncomfortable is when you also start to have goose skin in your head, in your hair. Then your skin starts to shorten and then you get a terrible headache from that and I was really having this goose skin all over and I never felt like that in my head or in my hair. So I didn’t turn off the light instead I walked around and then I started to walk away and it didn’t feel that cold but then there was a spot approximately ten centimeters between my shoulder blades where I felt real, real cold… and I walked down and I continued to walk faster and faster… all the way down to the basement where the restaurant is and I was sitting down there by the fire and then it disappeared, this cold. And I was sitting down there for one hour and I thought AI don’t want to go back to the castle this is too bad.@ I started to think how should I write my resignation from the Castle. Then the maids showed up, they show up at 6 o’clock in the morning, and I went away, I went home to sleep and I was thinking it might just have been normal … but for the next five or six times I had to go up to the Theater I was sure that I had my telephone with me, it felt quite scary up there and I felt this cold up there from time to time, not the same amount of cold. It was really strange having worked here from 1995, I have been there 150, 200 times during the night and I have felt noises and felt colds, windows have opened and slammed back, lights have went out and things you might think, this is strange but this was the only time where I really felt there was something bad, I felt there was evil, it wasn’t nice. I was thinking, I’m not harming anyone, I’m just doing my job and I’m doing it good and I try to protect the Castle and I felt that should help me some way but I just felt this cold and the goose skin in my head and all over. It was like I was walking in something strange. It was on a Friday or Saturday in late autumn, like middle of November, in the morning between four and five, closer to four than to five. I have been trying to figure it out because each time you experience something strange I try to figure out what could this have been. And there is no heating in the Theater and outside I would guess it was between 0 and 5 degrees (Celsius). But I have been outside when it was 15 minus degrees and it wasn’t that cold. I have since told myself that it was due to imagination or that it must be cold at the back of the Theater. But when I was in the situation I was so scared that I have never been so scared before. It was really strange and I wanted to write my resignation, but I have been working here for some years, I like the place very much, I like my colleagues and I have a very good salary, the guests are always very happy here. It’s a good place to work. So I really don’t know what it was. I tend to say that this was some kind of imagination, a chain reaction making me more and more scared. My whole idea about the Castle is that I don’t know if there are any ghosts walking around. I feel that there are more here than there are in some other places, something more between the ground and the heavens that we cannot sense.@
The present study was an extension of a previous instrumental investigation of the Castle (Radin & Roll, 1996; Roll, Moody & Radin.1996).
After the initial interviews, Nichols took instrumental recordings throughout the Castle. Roll was present during the first and last day of the investigation.
Our equipment consisted of a frequency weighted Tri-Field electromagnetometer, calibrated for 60 Hz, an Extech model IDR-321 geomagnetometer, and an Extech data logger/multi meter with ELF/VLF electromagnetic field probe, a Raytek Raynger self-illuminated non-contact thermometer, and an Alphalabs Air Ion Counter. The Tri-Field meter had been calibrated at 60 Hz in the US rather than the European 50 Hz, but this was not considered significant.
At various hours of February 13, 14, and 15, electromagnetic (EMFs) and geomagnetic fields,(GMFs) temperature readings, and air ion concentrations were recorded in different parts of the Castle.
We focused our attention on the Grey Lady=s Room, the Knight=s Hall and the Theater, since this is where witnesses had recently reported experiences. On February 14, at approximately 2:00 PM, Nichols took measurements in the Knights Hall, and at 5:30 in the Gray Room. At approximately 7:15 PM, he went to the Theater, and assembled the magnetometers and other equipment on a bench opposite the stage. He extinguished the lighting with the exception of a small flashlight with which he periodically read the instruments. These were utilized one or two at a time. The Theater was dimly illuminated from the adjacent hallway and from the lights in the courtyard outside.
No anomalies were detected in the Knights Hall. In the Grey Lady=s Room Nichols found an elevated EMF was detected in the area reported by Radin and Roll (1996). Nichols then proceeded to the Theater. No unusual instrumental recordings or subjective experiences were noted for the first two hours. However, at 9:26 PM Nichols noticed a sudden decrease in temperature. Although it was approximately 28 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the time, the ambient temperature within the castle was maintained by central heating at a comfortable temperature, between 65-72 degrees, varying somewhat with location within the structure and time of day.
In an attempt to determine whether the sudden temperature drop was subjective or objective, Nichols retrieved the Raytek non-contact thermometer (which has an illuminated display) from the bench. Using this device, the temperature anomaly was localized to an area near the rear of the stage, with the lowest readings at 58 degrees Fahrenheit in an area approximately five feet in diameter (see figure 2). This represents a decrease of 13 degrees within a period of approximately 60 seconds from the surrounding ambient temperature of 71 degrees, which had been previously established and which had remained fairly constant since Nichols= arrival at the theater more than two hours earlier.
During the apparent temperature anomaly, electromagnetic and geomagnetic field readings were taken, both in the region of the temperature decrease and in the immediate vicinity. The ambient electromagnetic field as measured in the theater since 7:15 PM had remained normal, at less than 2 Milligauss. The ambient geomagnetic field was also low, averaging 2-5 Milligauss. For the duration of the temperature anomaly, which was approximately 45 seconds, the geomagnetic field exceeded 100 Milligauss, remaining steady at that value. The unusually high magnetic field decreased to the normal ambient level of 2-5 Milligauss outside the immediate vicinity of the Acold spot.@ the electromagnetic field remained normal during the anomaly.
At 9:27 PM the apparent anomaly abruptly ceased, with the ambient temperature and geomagnetic field returning to 71 degrees Fahrenheit and 3.5 Milligauss respectively; i.e., normal background levels. Immediately following the cessation of the anomaly, Nichols began walking across the room to record the event, when he experienced a brief movement in the peripheral vision of his left visual field. The movement was only one second or less in duration, but it appeared to be a person dressed in white or light colored flowing clothing, moving across the doorway to his left. The doorway connected the Theater to the adjacent hallway (where the skeleton is displayed). This experience was accompanied by a sensation of deep apprehension, although there seemed to be nothing overtly threatening about the event.
Although briefly glimpsed, the impression of a person in the hallway was so vivid that Nichols went to the doorway to ascertain if someone, such as the night watchmen or a maid had passed by. Footsteps are normally audible on the wooden floors of the hallway, but no sounds of any kind were noticed. Nichols= subsequent attempts to ascertain if anyone could have approached the Theater without being heard revealed that this was unlikely, and no sign of anyone in the hall was found when the hall was inspected immediately after the sighting. Nichols called out several times to determine if anyone was present, but there was no sign of anyone on the entire floor. He continued to monitor the Theater and the adjacent hallway until 10:15 PM. No further subjective or objective anomalies were recorded. Ion concentrations measured throughout the evening and immediately following the anomaly were not significant.
It should be noted that February is the off season for Dragsholm, and Nichols was the only guest staying there. With the exception of three staff members who were working in the kitchen on the first floor at the time, no one else was present in the Castle. The staff members were subsequently questioned by Nichols and all denied having been on the fourth floor at the time of the event.
Unexplained Closing of Door
A second unusual event occurred on the morning of the third day of the visit. Nichols was examining various rooms of the Castle and photographing them when he entered the doorway which led to the Chapel, an ornate sanctuary used for private religious ceremonies. Nichols had just entered, leaving the door open when he was startled by a loud bang. He turned to discover that the heavy wooden door had slammed shut behind him with considerable force. Since there was a doorway just outside the chapel leading outside into the courtyard, Nichols suspected that someone had opened this door, with the resulting draft causing the Chapel door to shut of its own accord. Alternately, he thought that the door was not level, resulting in its closing by its own weight upon being left open. Subsequent attempts by Nichols and Roll to persuade the Chapel door to shut without directly pushing it were unsuccessful.
No magnetic field data were acquired at the time of this incident, since Nichols did not have the magnetometers with him at the time. Subsequent electromagnetic and geomagnetic field readings within the Chapel and environs revealed no unusual effects, but this does not preclude a transient field phenomenon.
Nichols= experience in the Theater at Dragsholm seemed consistent with other apparitional sightings, feelings of cold and fear associated with the White Lady. The apparitional sighting may have been an hallucination precipitated by psychological predisposition, since Nichols knew of the previous incidents reported by others on this floor and in the Theater. The sense of isolation experienced in the almost deserted Castle at night, combined with the disturbing proximity of the skeletal remains, would also be expected to heighten a sense of anticipation and catalyze a haunting-type experience. However, the temperature and electromagnetic anomalies which immediately preceded the apparitional experience suggest that physical energies may also have been also involved in the event.
Could the physical anomalies have been PK effects produced by Nichols himself, rather than external source? This seems unlikely, in view of the fact that there is no prior evidence that Nichols possesses such ability. It seems more likely that the readings were due to mis-observation, triggered by expectation.
We do not believe that mis-observation could account for the temperature readings, which remained stable for 45 seconds. Nichols had no expectation regarding an anomalous geomagnetic effect, and was carrying the electromagnetometer at the time, which showed nothing unusual. It was only when he brought the geomagnetometer to the site that an anomalous reading was recorded.
Nichols was holding the magnetometer and non-contact thermometer in his hands, and kept them in direct view for the full duration of the anomaly, until he noticed the movement of the figure in the hallway.
Nichols= apparitional sighting at Dragsholm Castle may have been an example of Amagnetophosphenes@ (Persinger, et al.,1990). When magnetic fields of specific frequencies and amplitudes are applied transcranially, the subject often reports a sensation of flickering or a flash of white light in the peripheral vision. This phenomenon is most frequently reported in the upper left visual field. This coincides with the location of the apparition seen by Nichols. This supposition is further supported by the fact that Nichols had just been exposed to a ELF magnetic field transient exceeding 100 Milligauss. Studies by Persinger, et al. (1990) suggest that apparitional experiences may be triggered by abrupt increases or decreases in ambient biofrequency magnetic fields. Subjective experiences of a sense of presence or unexplained fear are also associated with abrupt EM field exposure to the brain.
It seems possible that the perceptual anomalies at Dragsholm may be created by a combination of psychological predisposition, the effects of magnetic field anomalies on the brain, and physiological factors, i.e. magnetophosphenes.
Spontaneous movements of objects, particularly objects which are easily set in motion such as doors and rocking chairs are a common feature of haunted house reports. Such phenomena may involve a process known as the magnetorestrictive effect (Burke, 1986). This includes acoustical phenomena, the movement of small objects, and balanced objects such as doors. A moving magnetic field may cause a door to close spontaneously by attracting or repelling the ferrous components such as lock and hinges. In the case of the Chapel door at Dragsholm, the wooden portal was fitted with heavy iron hinges, lock and handle. The door appeared to be well balanced, so that a strong magnetic field might have set it in motion.
Engsö Castle, Sweden
Engsö Castle is a four story structure dating back to the twelfth century. It has been the home of the Piper family since 1710. The current occupant is Countess Catharina Piper who operates the Castle as a museum. It is otherwise unoccupied. Countess Piper resides in the unattached Gatehouse. The structure was built on a granite island in Lake Malaren that is now part of the mainland. The first known owner was King Eric, the patron saint of Stockholm. The first floor of the present building dates from1480, the second and third from 1630, and the rest from 1740 (see Figure 6). There is also a church on the property.
The Ghosts of Engsö
There are three traditional ghosts at Engsö. One is Brita Baat, whose full-figured painting can be seen on the stairs (Figure 5). She had received Engsö as a wedding gift from her husband in 1598. The ghost of a hunchback dwarf, Anders Luxemburg, who died in 1744, may be seen between the Castle and the church, where he is buried. He was a favorite of King Karl XII and lived at Engsö after the King=s death. The third ghost is a dog, Cottilion, who died when her master visited the Castle. The sound of its claws on the stone floor can be heard in the dining room, and it may be glimpsed in one of the other rooms. The dog is buried in the park.
Countess Piper said she has seen an apparition of a female figure three times. The first time, she was leading a group of tourists when she caught a glimpse of a figure in a grey dress which then vanished. She did not think the tourists saw it. The other two times she was alone. Each time she was standing in the doorway of the main room off the landing on the third floor (see Figure 6). The figure resembled the painting of Brita Baat.
An elderly lady and friend of Countess Piper believed she had once seen a small figure, which she thought might be the ghost of Anders Luxemburg, scurry along during a theater performance in the Castle.
Employees and visitors have reported occurrences in the Gatehouse and elsewhere on the grounds.
Experiences by Raymond Moody and Dean Radin
During the earlier investigation, Moody and Radin went through the Castle, each by himself, to see if they might pick out the haunted areas. They had not been informed about the experiences of Countess Piper and her friend. Moody felt nothing in the dungeon nor on the first, second, or fourth floors. Almost immediately on reaching the third floor, and before entering the main room, he felt A… something which I can only describe as a twisting or a dislocation of myself in space. And by what seemed to be a matter of inchesBnot many inches, but just a little space B I felt decentered, like my center was not quite right. And this was experienced almost like an energy or a force acting on me. Not like a physical force, but like an… extrapsychic force…@
Moody associated the sensation with a sentient presence who was either trying to get his attention or repel him.
He went into the main room and from there to a room on his right where mannequins in period costumes were exhibited. There was a large gold-framed mirror, and he pulled over a chair and gazed into the mirror. Almost immediately Asomething emerged from the mirror and it had the outline shape of a human being…It was a luminous presence, within human size. And it emerged from the mirror and came right out in front of me, about…a couple of feet (from me). After the presence pulled away, Moody felt drawn to another room, but did not encounter anything out of the ordinary there.
Radin also felt nothing unusual in the dungeon, nor on the first, second or fourth floors. But there was something odd about the third floor. He sensed an internal Arumbling, not exactly a sound, but more like a sense that there was a motor deep within the floor or walls, creating an infra-sound vibration.@
The rumbling sensation was strongest in a room immediately adjacent to the room where Moody, unbeknownst to Radin, had his apparitional encounter. The rumbling was not frightening, but felt unusual because the impression was strong and unmistakable, yet Radin could find no source of vibrations. At one point, he saw a brilliant blue-white sliver of light flash in his peripheral vision, followed by a strong sense that there had been ballroom dances in or near the room in the distant past. He assumed at the time that the flash of light was a reflection of a car=s headlights, but later learned no cars had passed by.
INTERVIEWS WITH WITNESSES
During the first day of the present investigation, Roll interviewed Countess Piper. She said there had been no haunting-type incidents in the Castle itself since the prior investigation, but several in the Gatehouse, a separate structure where she lives. Roll later interviewed a witness who had seen apparitions near the Church during a wedding. These and the incidents in the Gatehouse will not be discussed here. During the previous investigation a curious anomaly was recorded inside the AGhost Room@ consisting of a significant negative correlation between electric and magnetic field measurements as recorded on the Emdex ( p=0.0007). The meaning of this finding is unknown.
Equipment and Method
The equipment and method utilized in this investigation were the same as those employed at Dragsholm, with the following exception. Instead of focusing the investigation on several haunted sites within the Castle, the present study was focused on the question whether our equipment would detect an anomaly on the third floor where three previous witnesses had had anomalous experiences and where an anomalous reading had been obtained on the Emdex field meter. To keep Nichols blind with respect to the target site, he had not read the previous report.
Late in the afternoon of February 17, Nichols attempted to obtain a subjective impression of which area or areas in the Castle might be haunted by touring the structure by himself and without instruments, while Roll and Countess Piper were in the downstairs dining area. During the following two days Nichols took measurements throughout the Castle, still without any knowledge of the location of the target site.
The only area that felt unusual to Nichols was the third floor, roughly where the three previous witnesses had apparitional experiences. In the case of Nichols however, his experience was restricted to a sensation of Aenergy@ in this site.
The only area where an anomalous reading was obtained was on the third floor. The ambient geomagnetic field throughout the Castle was normal, averaging 2-3 Milligauss. In an area of the third floor centering on a doorway dividing a ballroom from an adjacent parlor, the geomagnetic field strength was measured at 157 Milligauss. The effect was not transient, but remained stable throughout the period of investigation.
The main outcome of the present investigation at Engsö was the discovery of a geomagnetic anomaly on the third floor of the Castle, where three witnesses had previously reported apparitional experiences. We attribute this discovery to the use of a geomagnetometer instead of an electromagnetometer.
It is unknown why the anomaly was restricted to the third floor. If the origin of the field were geomagnetic, we expected it to be detected also on the floors below, which it was not. It is possible that iron bearing rocks or other magnetized building materials were used in the construction of the third floor, resulting in this highly localized anomaly.
Whatever the origin of the geomagnetic anomaly, it corresponded to a site where witnesses had had unusual perceptual experiences and where another type of magnetic field anomaly had been recorded.
It should be noted that the negative correlation between electric and magnetic fields obtained in the study by Radin and Roll (1996) was a transient phenomenon since it disappeared later in the day. This contrasted to the magnetic anomaly recorded in the present study, which was stationary and constant.
SUMMARY OF TWO CASTLE STUDIES
Could the anomalous instrumental readings in the two castles have been due to errors of observation or PK on the part of Nichols? At Engsö, these possibilities seem remote in view of the haunting-type experiences reported by witnesses in the critical location, and the prior instrumental observations at the site, of which Nichols had no knowledge at the time.
At Dragsholm, these possibilities cannot be discounted in view of the fact that Nichols had interviewed Jens Brantenborg Hansen, and for that reason paid special attention to the Theater during his instrumental investigation of this structure. Since Nichols repeatedly checked the geomagnetometer and the temperature gauge, it seems unlikely that his readings were the result of mis-observation.
Persinger (1988) has suggested that abrupt changes in magnetic field strengths, rather than extended exposure to strong fields may induce anomalous experiences. At Engsö the experiences may have resulted from the movement of the witnesses through a normal field to an area of high magnetic strength. In the Theater at Dragsholm similar effects may have resulted from exposures to transient energies emerging in the same area.
In the past, scientists have dismissed haunting experiences as psychological fantasies with no basis in the real world. Investigations by the authors and others suggest that the phenomena are real, and that they may have a physical source.
The wide range of experiences which may be triggered by exposure to geomagnetic and electromagnetic fields reflect the same versatility which is evident from the uses of electromagnetism in the devices that are so familiar to us. Just as these energies, when processed through electronic systems, can become the sounds and images of television, so too can they stimulate the brain to experience visionary encounters.
The anomalous experiences reported at Dragsholm and Engsö Castles, and at many other reportedly haunted sites, as well as the otherworldly experiences at Asacred@ sites, have traditionally been associated with spirits of the dead or other non-corporeal entities. It seems likely that many of these experiences were catalyzed by exposure to electromagnetic fields, including the natural energies of the earth and skies.
Psi researchers must consider these perspectives as it becomes increasingly clear that past investigations into the electromagnetic correlates of anomalous experiences have frequently been dismissed on insufficient grounds.
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1 The authors gratefully acknowledge support for this investigation by the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene, Freiburg i. Br., Germany. We also appreciate the cooperation of the owner of Dragsholm Castle, Flemming Bøttger, and of Countess Catharina Piper, Engso Castle. Typing and editorial assistance was provided by Mary West Barclay.
2 This skeleton is not the original. The first skeleton was removed, bone by bone, by souvenir collectors among the visiting tourists. The plexiglass screen was erected so that the same fate would not befall her replacement.
3Mr. Bøttger had mentioned this incident during a previous investigation, but Roll had not included it among the ghost experiences because it may have had a normal explanation. The Castle had been occupied by German soldiers during the War, and the older Bøttger thought it possible that a straggler had remained in the Castle, suddenly to emerge. This explanation seems plausible because the figure disappeared close to a staircase leading out of the room.