Is Mould Haunting You? Maybe, Say Scientists

This is really fascinating. Researchers at Clarkson University are studying whether the air quality in reportedly haunted buildings could contribute to the ghostly experiences had there by comparing samples from “haunted” buildings to air samples at “non-haunted” buildings. Medicaldaily reported that ‘since toxic mold can trigger psychosis, they believe the real reason that one pesky poltergeist will not leave you and your ancient house alone has to do with air quality and your own sensitivity to indoor pollution.’

Professor Shane Rogers who heads up the research team says that “experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by individuals exposed to toxic moulds. Psychoactive effects of some fungi are well-known, whereas the effects of others such as indoor moulds are less researched.

“Reports of psychiatric symptoms including mood swings, hyperactivity, and irrational anger, as well as cognitive impairment are prevalent among those exposed to moulds. Other reports include depression and loss of memory function. More recent work is emerging that supports brain inflammation and memory loss in mice exposed to Stachybotrys charatarum, a common indoor air mould, as well as increased anxiety and fear.”
This sounds plausible and it will be interesting to see what the research shows. However we have to be careful not to present this as an already established cause of alleged paranormal experiences as the research hasn’t been completed and to dismiss cases a priori based on the ongoing research would be irrational. I also think the “symptoms” that Rogers associates with mould make it sound as though this is just the new infrasound or Experience-Inducing fields hypothesis… and not everyone feels depressed, anxious or fearful when they have these weird experiences.
Not only that but we also have to take on board the fact that some cases of people experiencing so-called Toxic Mould Syndrome have been found to be suffering from pseudo-diagnostic conditions – a bit like wifi-intolerance or sick building syndrome. In fact, this clinical review of cases of Toxic Mould Syndrome found that many of the people being studied had underlying conditions that contributed to the symptoms.One thing we can be sure of is that explaining paranormal experiences is a complicated process, but it will be interesting to see what the comparisons of air quality in these locations reveals, if anything.
About Hayley Stevens 442 Articles
Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

2 Comments on Is Mould Haunting You? Maybe, Say Scientists

  1. Very interesting article. As a profession I deal with indoor air quality in mainly pharmaceutical research buildings. There are many factors associated with our environment that can affect our well being, temperature, humidity, dust, spores, pollen etc. I can see every reason that mold/mold spores could be a contributing factor, especially in a setting, such as a domestic home, that the occupier is in contact with the substance for extended periods. I look forward to the results of this research from a professional and personal point of view.

  2. Interesting thesis. Similarly, I have been wondering if carbon monoxide could account for reports of alien abductions from cars on highways. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, people fixed their own cars, we had leaded gasoline, and, of course, we didn’t have emission testing. But then came the energy crisis of the late ’70s and concerns about car exhaust pollution…and abductions moved indoors. I will add mould toxicity to my reading list.

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