Picture this: It’s 1960. You’re settling in to enjoy an X-rated film at a local theater, minding your own business, when suddenly, a man appears draped in a sheet and wanders back and forth across your line of sight. Would you find this spooky? Or just incredibly weird and annoying? Or would you even notice at all? Over at the BBC, experimental psychologist Matthew Tompkins writes about a faintly ridiculous experiment by parapsychologist A.D. Cornell, who, in 1960, decided to try manufacturing what appeared to be a supernatural experience by “haunting” unsuspecting people, to see how they responded. He started by wearing a white sheet in two somewhat obvious environments: a cow pasture and a cemetery. Most who came by didn’t buy it, though; only four of 142 possible witnesses seemed to spot him, and none of them were sold: The first person described the apparition as “a man dressed as a woman, who surely must be mad” another assumed that it was “an art student walking about in a blanket”. Two witnesses, when questioned together, did realise that the Experimental Apparition was probably intended to simulate a paranormal event, but went on to note that the effect was spoiled… Read full this story
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