Thought this little article may interest you...
Sometimes parapsychologists are able to refute sceptical arguments with a pleasing completeness. It is actually relatively rare to find a sceptical counter-argument which is actually testable!. Many sceptical comments on experimental work aer vague, somewhat defamatory, or no more than assertions in the absence of any corroborating facts or logical derivations.
Guy Lambert, the propounder of the 'geophysical theory' of poltergeists, cannot be criticized for any of these failings.
Lambert proposed that underground water channels, such as streams and sewers, may create poltergeist effects if they run beneath or close to the foundations of buildings.
Specifically, when a head of water builds up in such channels, the building(s) may be subjected to spasmodic upward thrusts of physical force (known as 'water hammers'). In turn, these water hammers may produce the seeminglyinexplicable movements of objects as well as creaks and groans in the fabric of thebuilding which might be taken for poltergeist rappings.
If Lamberts theory is correct, we might expect to find a higher incidence of effects following abnormally high tides, downpours, or flooding ( a testable prediction ).
Later, Lambert suggeste that local seismic disturbances, too weak to register on ordinary seismographs, might also contribute to poltergeist activity.
Such theories are by no means new. Concern about underground water effects date back at least 200 years. Lamberts contribution was to collect evidence in a systematic way which allowed him to test these theories.
He found no difficulty in showing that some cases of poltergeist activity could be directly accounted for by subterranean events.
There were, however some questionable steps in his logic. He showed for example, that poltergeist effects appear to cluster around costal and tidal areas, where tidal effects are strongest. Unfortunately, as critics pointed out, these are exactly the regions which usually have the highest density of population. Historically, rivers and coastal waters have been vital for cheap transport, and settlements grew up around them (Rotterdam, London, New York etc).
So of course there are more poltergeist in these areas. There are more people in these areas.
The first all out attack on Lamberts theory was mounted by Dr. Alan Gauld, a psychologist at the University of Nottingham, and Tony Cornell, a Cambridge graduate with many years 'experience of poltergeist research. First they attacked Lambert on theoretical grounds. Gauld and Cornell were ready to accept that a small minority of very minor poltergeist effects, such as small scale rapping noises, and groans, could be the result of water hammers or subsidence. However, as they pointed out, geophysical theory could not account for the peculiar trajectories of moving objects often associated with poltergeists, or the most dramatic phenomena (such as moving heavy objects), or the seeming purposiveness of the poltergeist. The theory would also be hard-put to explain case where effects occur in a building only when a specific person is present within it. Finally Gauld and Cornell argued, most houses are incapable of withstanding subterranean forces of sufficient strength to actually move objects about inside them: they would simply fall down.
In 1961, Gauld and Cornell were lucky enough to get their hands (and equipment) on a number of structurally sound terrace houses which were scheduled for demolition. After extensive discussions with the municipal authorities, they were given permission to do what they liked with the houses. Equipment was brought in to produce physical forces of the kind Lambert stated were responsible for poltergiest effects - except that the forces which Cornell and Gauld produced were far greater in intensity than the ones which Lambert claimed could explain poltergeist effects.
Even when producing vibrations in a house which were so strong that they could be felt two houses away by placing a hand on a wall, no movement of objects even remotely resembling poltergeist effects was observed at any time. Both horizontal and vertical vibratory effects were generated, and at the end of the experiments they were so strong that Cornell commented " you could actually hear the house singing with vibrations". Despite this, nothing like a poltergeist object movement was observed. Eventually, with the real risk of the houses actually collapsing or the equiment disintegrating, the researchers concluded that Lambert's theory had been given a decent burial, and that if they pressed on with their experiment they might well be buried too.
Taken from 'Explaining the Unexplained for Teddies'
Sleepy Teddy. xxx
*crawls back into toybox and falls fast asleep*
Edited by Hammys Teddy, 04 May 2004 - 02:23 AM.