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.