Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots?

By on June 17, 2014 // Ghosts & Phantoms // 13 Comments

Image: twitter.com/mattwi1s0n via CC by 2.0
Image: twitter.com/mattwi1s0n via CC by 2.0

One of the many signs of a haunted house is the existence of alleged cold spots, areas where the temperature inexplicably drops, leaving haunted individuals with supernatural chills.

I’d like to explore this concept from two perspectives: 1.) if ghosts were real, why would they cause cold spots?; and 2.) assuming they’re not real, what other explanations exist for strange temperature variations in the same room?

If Ghosts Are Real…

We’ll start with the assumption that ghosts are real. This is a very complicated assumption, by the way; while nearly half of Americans believe in ghosts, there’s no solid evidence they exist.

And even if they truly are physical entities, we don’t know what they’re made of, we don’t know what they’re doing, and we don’t know how they exist.

Ghosts simply fail every test of verifiable scientific evidence, not to mention the laws of physics.

That said, I’ve read my fair share of theories on the matter of ghosts. One of these is that ghosts are energy. Other theories suggest they’re made up of special particles, perhaps neutrinos, or that they’re actually visitors from other worlds, their presence forming a kind of dent in our universe, which may affect the surrounding environment.

Therefore, the most common theory for why ghosts, and indeed any form of paranormal activity, cause cold spots is that, in order to manifest, they must pull energy — that is, heat — from the environment. This makes the area around them unusually cold. They are energy, and require energy to exist.

Unfortunately, this also contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

In an interview with The Guardian in 2011, physicist Brian Cox shared his thoughts on this. “It’s my view that the existence of ghosts would contravene the second law of thermodynamics,” he said, “The principle of the conservation of energy, and the fact that entropy always increases; you’d be hard put to throw that away. You’d have to rip the book up; that’s what it would imply if you saw a ghost.”

And If They’re Not…

This is where we dive into the incredibly mundane, because when we find these strange anomalies, whether they be cold spots or EVPs or anything else, there’s no particular reason to believe they’re paranormal. While we may want to believe, at the end of the day this “evidence” only amounts to “weird stuff we noticed.” There’s no hypothesis being tested, no experimentation, no scientific method. Only observation.

What, then, are the mundane explanations for ghostly cold spots? Drafts, for one. Anything that provides air flow, such as open doors, windows, vents, or chimneys. Air moving through the room and heat exchange occurring via convection may cause certain areas to feel colder than others. Remember: heat rises, and when it cools it settles back to the floor.

Additionally, in warm areas of low humidity, you may sometimes experience a chill as moisture evaporates from your skin.

Never underestimate the power of suggestion, either, as simply believing you’re in the presence of a ghost may have a strong effect on how you perceive your environment.

Anyway, I want to know what you think about ghosts. Do they exist? And if so, what do you think they’re made of? Why do you think they would cause cold spots? Let me know in the comments.

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About the Author

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.
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  • I think it has a great many things to do with our perceptions and beliefs. If a person who has absolutely no knowledge of the existence of ghosts observes a cold spot or strange sounds or even unexplained events – their reaction would most certainly be to explain it by means other than crying ‘ghost’.

    If a person who solidly believes in ghosts however observes the same thing – obviously suddenly the draft becomes a ghost, the old wooden floors creaking become ghostly footsteps and strange movements of objects becomes other worldly interference.

    As for my own opinion on ghosts…

    If they exist they definitely do not exist as we perceive them to exist. The most logical explanation for me has always been that what we perceive as ghosts are nothing more than time distortions.

    As time is not as simple as we think – it’s possible that it’s full of random anomalies and things we do not understand. Such anomalies could in essence cause time distortions which result in us gaining glimpses of either past or future events in an area that are (at the time of perception) as real as we are. It might even in fact effect the temperature of the given area at that very moment. Our lack of understanding of what we see causes us to draw our own conclusions, as it has always been.

    It’s no different than showing ancient people any number of current concepts, devices or ideas. They’d explain it as alien, demonic, ghostly etc. – Similar to how we now most likely incorrectly perceive mere time distortions in our universe brought on by natural forces as ghosts.

    • Rob

      First, fantastic comment and thanks for visiting.

      I agree with your thoughts on perceptions and beliefs. I think this is particularly evident with ghost hunters, or even just stories of “haunted” places — before you even enter the house, you’re primed with the idea of ghosts and paranormal activity. I want to see them investigate a house that isn’t “known” to be haunted (you know, tell them it is, then see what they find).

      I’ve also often considered the idea that ghosts are temporal anomlies. I suppose it’s entirely possible that “ghosts” are beyond our comprehension as three-dimensional beings, or just a natural phenomenon we haven’t described yet. I’m not sure how we’d ever test for this, but it’s a compelling theory.

    • I’m sure they’ll find a whole selection of evidence to support their theories on the haunted location even if it isn’t haunted.

      I don’t know how things are where you live but our ghost hunters in South Africa are idiots.

      Usually the best of them are reduced to scaring themselves in dark places and then pointing out orbs on photos as the reason for the ‘presence’ – which are in fact mere dust particles lit up by a camera flash.

      The Ghost Brothers from that one spoof movie does come to mind when thinking of the name Ghost Hunter.

      I believe that the people who truly do experience paranormal events are the innate and unknowing.

      Also as you call them, temporal anomalies…this theory might in fact be the most logical since most haunted locations are places with great history are they not? This implies that many events have occurred there and might even continue to occur into the far distant future. Perhaps so much happening in certain places is too much for our continuum to handle. It might be more fragile than we know!

  • Simon Hardi Gunadi

    Ghost is exist, every bible of every religion has mention about it.
    If you talk about ghost, is same like you talking about God, you cannot see, cannot feel but He is exist.

    • TheAngryArgentine

      No evidence for ‘him’ either. Tough luck.

    • Steven

      Evidence is too many. Go and look at voodoo which is anti-Abraham faith religion

      Islam + Christianity + Judaism = Ibrahimic faith.
      Voodoo= opposes Ibrahim faiths but pretend to be Christians.

    • Steven

      In Islam,
      ghosts is made of fire.
      ghosts are Christians,Jews,Muslims,Hindus.
      ghosts have countries.
      ghosts have armies.
      ghost marry and have kids and die.
      Quran directly address to both
      O you two prominent beings which are Ghosts and humans.
      Those who take help of ghosts will die a miserable death and end up in hell.

  • Chow

    for me ghost exist because they might be a glimpse of other parallel universe as i red another article .. but my point is even if the ghost existed in our time maybe because they have reason or purpose why they are still existed in this world.. just saying.

  • Diegotorees1233

    is the cold spot in my hand that’s means that there is a ghost next to me?
    I know that the temperature is high but i can feel something cold in my boy.
    This sentence is not for laugh but I think a ghost is hugging me, i know is that may be dumb but it could be true.

  • -=zero=-

    yep they’re real alright for me though. i have seen things no normal person would want to and could do and yeah maybe there are other explanations to what i had experienced before but i’m pretty sure that its all real and there is no way its gonna be explained to why this type of shits stills happens to me :3

  • Phyllis Cornelius Nordhoff

    In the early 1980’s I was a tour guide for the old historic “Teller House” Hotel located in Central City, Colorado, we were open locally for the tourists & a part of the history lessons for the nearby schools who used to bring bus loads of students to the mountain town. One of my jobs before a scheduled tour was to dust the furniture and run the vacuum in all the historic rooms, one day as I was preparing for a school tour and dusting an old “diamond dust” mirror which was an essential part of my tour, I suddenly felt “hands” encircling my waist and a voice whispering my name, “Phyllis”, I swear to you I not only heard my name but I felt the very “air” on my face along with my whispered name. This was the first supernatural experience I ever observed but unfortunately NOT the last, until I finally moved completely away from that town. . .but that is another story.

  • Brent Butler

    It doesn’t contradict the Second Law whatsoever, any more than wood consumed in a fire contradicts it. If energy consumed produces a product or reaction, that is the balance of the Second Law. In the case of a ghost, the heat consumed by the ghost is no different than the fuel consumed by the fire. The fuel is consumed to give substance to the product of its use – in one case the existence of the fire – in the other case the existence of the ghost.

  • Freedom

    When we were kids, the cold spots in our old house intrigued us. Sometimes we’d hunt for them. Many times we’d find one and walk right into it and try to stay in it while calling to the others to come and see. That cold spot would then move a foot or two away as if someone was stepping away from us. We’d follow it around that room as it kept moving away from us until it would disappear entirely. We’d be so disappointed not to be able to find it again and we would search diligently for it, too. Sometimes it would leave that room and go out into the hallway or go across the hallway into another room. Other times there would be multiple cold spots in a certain room and all of them would disappear at the same time. It was a treat for us to find one, for we never knew where one would be. Sometimes a cold spot would simply disappear immediately as soon as one of us discovered it. We knew they weren’t drafts, for we knew exactly what a draft felt like. We had no idea what they were but we were intrigued by them. We also lived with the sound of footsteps walking upstairs almost nightly. Many times our names would be called yet our parents never called us. Other times we’d clearly hear someone walk over to our bedroom door even in broad daylight. We’d turn around to see who it was… but no one would be there. At night the entire property’s atmosphere would change and feel scary and none of us wanted to go outside. We had ducks and tried hard to make sure we fed, watered and penned them up in the barn before it got dark. There were rooms in that barn which were scary even during the day. One side room was small, the size of a single stall and it had iron bars on the window. That was the scariest room in the barn. There was a tack room beside it but that room felt ok. The barn’s attic was the 2nd worst place. No matter how much we tried to conquer our fears of those two places, each one of us would still be affected by them the next time we’d go into the barn.