Saturday, 10 September 2005 01:00

Ghosts At Muncaster Castle?

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Muncaster Castle in West Cumbria has had hauntings reported for many years, particularly in the 'Tapestry Room' but scientist Dr Jason Braithwaite, has been doing some investigating...

Dr Braithwaite carried out some scientific tests in the Tapestry Room in October 2004, but it's not until this week that the results have been published.

Here's the story from Lakeland Today:

An academic paper published in the current issue of the European Journal of Parapsychology suggests that a combination of an unusually high magnetic field and movement could account for many unusual experiences.
The paper is based on research carried out at Muncaster Castle, reputedly one of Britain's most haunted castles. It was written by Dr Jason Braithwaite, a cognitive neuroscientist from the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre at Birmingham University and Maurice Townsend, from the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena.
The research focused on the Castle's Tapestry Room, where there have been a particularly large number of unexplained events, with many of the most striking reports coming from overnight occupants of the Tapestry room bed. These have included the sounds of children crying and screaming, feelings of another presence in the room, of being watched and even touched, fleeting visual apparitions and the sound of footsteps. The reputation of the Tapestry Room at Muncaster Castle has meant that there is a waiting list of people who want to spend a night in the room to find out for themselves whether it really is haunted.
The Penningtons, who own Muncaster Castle, have fully supported Dr Braithwaite's scientific research since its conception in the early 1990s.
Peter Frost Pennington said: "People come from all over the world to visit the Castle or even stay in the Tapestry Room. Every year we get fresh reports of unusual phenomenon, for which there is apparently no rational explanation. So we are very keen to find out what is happening here."
Dr Braithwaite carried out a number of tests around the bed in the Tapestry Room shortly before Halloween last year.
These tests revealed that there is a strong and severe deflection in the Earth's magnetic field around the bed, so much so that a magnetic compass is pulled away from north by over 90 degrees. The anomaly can still be detected up to two metres away from the bed.
Using a custom made device called a magnetic anomaly detection system (MADS), Dr Braithwaite found that there are also significant variations in the magnetic field around the bed.
Dr Braithwaite said these results may well explain many of the strange experiences that people have reported while staying in the room.
"Anyone lying in the Tapestry Room bed," he commented "is clearly immersed in a strong, complex, and varying magnetic field. The variability of the fields would be greatly exaggerated by relatively modest movements in either the head of someone on the bed or of the metal mesh underneath the mattress."
"We know from previous laboratory research that complex magnetic fields can cause some people to interpret sensations and events, that they cannot immediately explain, as paranormal activity.
"These fields may also induce more elaborate forms of sensory hallucination ranging from the feeling of a 'sensed presence' to seeing a fully formed apparition."
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