Infrasound and anxiety

There are some indications that infrasound can cause weird feelings, even suggest ghostly apparitions. Here are some excerpts from articles:

A Different Kind of Ghost Story
By Caroline Kraus and Paul Morledge,

Called “infra-sound,” or infrasonic sound, which is defined as sound waves with a frequency lower than 20 Hz …, this particular pattern of energy can cause a number of ghostly effects, from a cold spooky breeze to breathlessness and rising feelings of fear, with excessive perspiration and shivering.

The physiological effects of infra-sound were studied and recorded by NASA scientists in the mid-1970s, and they include watery eyes, visual distortion, increased muscle tension, quivering in the extremities, and a heightened sense of impending death.

Little house of horrors
New Scientist vol 179 issue 2405 - 26 July 2003, page 30

(about the haunted house that Richard Wiseman is building)

Unearthly vibrations created by infrasound are also reckoned to be capable of inducing hallucinations or feelings of unease. Wiseman is keen to have it in his arsenal of tricks. “It’s a subtle form of vibration, and can make candles flicker, for example,” he says. “And believe me, it does feel odd.”

From the E-Skeptic Newsletter of September 22:


By Jonathan Amos
BBC News Online science staff, in Salford
(This article from the BBC News Online is on how church organs may trigger feelings of spirituality in church attendees)

But in a controlled experiment in which infrasound was pumped into a concert hall, UK scientists found they could instil strange feelings in the audience at will.

These included an extreme sense of sorrow, coldness, anxiety and even shivers down the spine.

So, infrasound appears to be able to generate feelings of anxiety and more, unlike what Cecil reports in this Straight Dope Classic. Well, things have changed since June 1975.

Paul De Belder

The original question regarding infrasonic sound referred to a “dusty and dimly remembered mystery”. I believe it was Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators Secret of Terror Castle.