Paranormal Phenomena: Ghostly cold spots

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ghostly cold spots

People often report 'cold spots' in haunted locations. These are small areas (or sometimes whole rooms) that feel significantly colder than the surrounding area. They are considered a sign of ghostly presence.

When thermometers are placed in rooms where cold spots are reported they generally fail to register any drop in temperature. What is more, only certain people seem to feel these cold spots and others can stand in the same place and feel nothing. Some people see this as a sign of a paranormal origin with some people more 'sensitive' than others. Others see it as a sign that cold spots are simply imagined.

However, there is another possibility! There are natural phenomena that have a real physiological effect on someone without a conventional thermometer registering any change. For instance, draughts cool people by increasing evaporation, which does not show up as a temperature change. And then there is radiant heat!

Radiant heat is produced by surfaces (such as walls, windows, furniture, etc.). The temperature of the heat given off is directly related to the temperature of the surface ('black body radiation') and NOT to the surrounding air. It is radiant heat that is measured by those infra-red ('laser') thermometers that you point and shoot. Radiant heat goes straight to other surfaces nearby, including people.

It turns out that people are particularly sensitive to radiant heat which is why radiators in a room 'feel' warmer than convection heaters. If a person is facing a cold surface, such as a single-glazed window on a cold night, they will 'feel' cooler because they are receiving less radiant heat from it than the surrounding warmer walls.

So here is another source of 'cold spots' that doesn't register with conventional thermometers (that measure air temperature). With so many normal possibilities to choose from, the paranormal cause looks distinctly low down the list!


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