It’s that time of the year again: when we take a look through our dungeon of research papers (AKA: The Altmetric Explorer) and re-animate the papers that have given us the heebie-jeebies over the past year! This time we’ve exhumed papers on a multitude of spooky subjects from sleep paralysis to Churchill’s essay on Alien life.
The top three scientific explanations for ghost sightings
From scary stories to electromagnetic fields and toxic hallucinations this paper gives some research-backed theories as to why people experience ghost sighting. If you’ve ever heard a bump in the night, seen a spooky spectre or sensed a suspicious spirit, this is the paper for you.
Sleep Paralysis, “The Ghostly Bedroom Intruder” and Out-of-Body Experiences: The Role of Mirror Neurons
This article explains the common phenomenon of sleep paralysis and why often terrifying dreams can spill into reality, creating frightening hallucinations for people who wake up unable to move. Whilst this condition used to be associated only with people suffering from narcolepsy, it is now thought to affect 20% of the general population.
Why we’ll always be obsessed with – and afraid of – monsters
Exploring the history of humans perpetuating fear and why we still experience it today — from everyday anxiety to the worries of climate change. In this paper, the author starts from the 1700s all the way through to modern day giving us a breakdown of why in an age of reason and analytics we’re still giving each other the spooks.
‘Satan Mourns Naked upon the Earth’: Locating Mormon Possession and Exorcism Rituals in the American Religious Landscape
This article examines four accounts for Mormon exorcism rituals from 1830 to 1977, and the development of possession and exorcism belief and practices within the faith. The paper also looks at the historical similarities of Mormon dispossession rituals and those of the Protestant and Catholic groups.
What is for Dinner? First Report of Human Blood in the Diet of the Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat Diphylla ecaudata
Did you know there are three species of bat that rely on blood as their only food? In this study, the authors investigate the sources of the blood consumed by the bats and have found that in some cases it comes from humans!
Winston Churchill’s essay on alien life found
Apart from being one of our best-known wartime leaders, Winston Churchill was also passionate about science and technology. In the late 1950’s Churchill penned an essay entitled ‘Are we Alone in the Universe’ based on the framework of the ‘Copernican Principle’ — the idea that, given the vastness of the Universe, it is unlikely that humans on Earth are unique.