Context-induced paranormal experiences: support for Houran and Lange's model of haunting phenomena

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Jun;84(3 Pt 2):1455-8. doi: 10.2466/pms.1997.84.3c.1455.


Houran and Lange's psychological model of haunting phenomena predicts that contextual variables alone are sufficient to induce poltergeist-like perceptions. 22 subjects individually visited five areas of a performance theater and were asked to notice the environment. 11 subjects in an informed condition were instructed that the location was haunted, while 11 in the control condition were told that the building was simply under renovation. Subjects' perceptions in both conditions were recorded via Green, et al.'s 1992 experiential questionnaire which contains 10 subscales related to psychological and physiological perceptions. Analysis yielded significantly more intense perceptual experiences on nine of the ten subscales in the informed condition, indicating that demand characteristics alone can stimulate paranormal-type experiences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Parapsychology*
  • Perception
  • Random Allocation
  • Research Design
  • Suggestion*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires