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10 Paranormal Events Explained Logically

For countless millennia, humans have sought to explain strange and inexplicable phenomena through concepts of the paranormal and supernatural. Ghosts, poltergeists, curses, and possessions have populated folktales for as long as stories have been told. While the mysterious and uncanny will likely always capture our imaginations, many seemingly paranormal occurrences actually have logical, scientifically verifiable explanations—once you take off the tinfoil hat and put down the Ouija board, that is.

With advances in fields like psychology, physics, and biology, formerly “paranormal” events have been revealed to stem from simple illusions, misinterpretations, or natural phenomena. The following 10 mystifying events demonstrate how science has unmasked so-called paranormal activity—revealing that a logical explanation often lies right beneath the surface… if you’d just stop clutching your crystals long enough to see it.

10 Shadow People

Many people report seeing shadowy humanoid figures out of the corner of their eyes. They vanish when threatened with overpriced crystals, chakra magnets, and dream catchers. It’s not that they’re afraid of your New Age weaponry—it’s simply your brain pranking you. While these “shadow people” are often interpreted as ghosts, they’re more likely caused by the periphery drift illusion, where objects in peripheral vision seem to rapidly dart or dart—an adaptation that may have helped our caveman ancestors spot saber-tooth tigers sneaking up on them.

Our brains tend to interpret these false motions as shadowy figures, filling in details to envision a full-fledged apparition. But in reality, there was probably never an actual spirit there—just your brain playing tricks, thanks to evolution doing a pretty shoddy job.[1]

9 Haunted Dolls

Reports of possessed or haunted dolls moving on their own, changing facial expressions, or emitting eerie sounds at night seem spooky—but it’s likely your brain playing tricks on you thanks to the uncanny valley effect. Your brain struggles to decide if dolls are alive or unanimated, causing you to see agency where there is none—like a doll’s joints creaking, which you interpret as an evil cackle. Your brain thinks it’s detected something supernatural when really it just can’t process ambiguous stimuli correctly.

So throw away your sage and holy water; that “haunted doll” is probably just harmlessly malfunctioning, not possessed by a demon like the History Channel would have you believe. Next time your doll creaks or changes facial expressions, don’t rush to perform an exorcism. Chances are it’s not possessed—your brain’s just having a tough day at the office.[2]

8 Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)

When ghost hunters capture supposedly paranormal voices on their recordings that clearly say, “Buy more crystals!” they’re probably just picking up residual radio signals, electrical noise, or infrasound- frequencies too low for human ears but detectable by recording equipment.

But ghost believers will ignore radio interference to claim they’re “speaking to spirits of the dead,” failing to realize ghosts would probably have more interesting things to talk about than encouraging you to expand your crystal collection. Ghost hunters capturing voices on recordings that tell you to buy more crystals are probably not communing with spirits. More likely, it’s a radio DJ on a low-budget station trying to keep his job. Next time, try a logic box instead.[3]

7 Shadows Caught on Camera

When you think you’ve captured a creepy apparition in a photo, but it turns out to just be dust bunnies, dirt smudges, or lens flare that your imagination transformed into a demonic visage, don’t feel bad—your camera is just as susceptible to tricks of the light as you are.

Photos of “shadow ghosts” often reveal themselves as nothing more than harmless specks, dust, or residual charges on old film that your brain, with its need to identify faces in every pareidolia-inducing pattern, mistakes for the presence of spirits. Before you break out the séance supplies at the sight of a shadow in your photo, remember, it’s probably just a dust bunny with a taste for the theatrical. [4]

6 Old Houses with Strange Activity

When the lights start flickering, and doors slam by themselves in that supposedly “haunted” old house you just bought cheap, the culprit is likely radon gas seeping from the soil—not ghosts getting rowdy. Radon exposure causes all the classic symptoms “poltergeists” are blamed for, such as hallucinations, memory loss, and anxiety—even lights seeming to switch on by themselves. Creaks and bangs likely come from the normal settling of old structures as temperatures change, not supernatural entities moving your belongings around just to mess with you.

So before spraying sage and chanting incantations, first try checking for radon levels, caulking drafts, and inspecting your wiring—mundane explanations often reveal themselves once you put down the novelty Ouija board. Next time, try a home inspection instead of a séance. Just because a house is old and creaky doesn’t mean it’s teeming with ghosts. It might just need a good plumber.[5]

5 Electronic Equipment Malfunctions

When your toaster starts talking in demonic Latin, remote controls fly across the room, and your laptop demands blood sacrifices, don’t grab the crucifix just yet—chances are high that electromagnetic fluctuations, not paranormal entities, are to blame. Electronic devices are highly sensitive to even tiny changes in magnetic fields, which induce stray voltages that get misinterpreted as signals or inputs.

Those “ghost hands” pressing remote buttons are probably just your device malfunctioning as it experiences natural magnetic fluctuations from metal objects, storms, or the earth itself—not a poltergeist infestation, no matter what ghost hunters would have you believe. So when your toaster starts demanding blood sacrifices, it’s probably not possessed. However, if it starts speaking Latin, you might want to consider getting a new toaster.[6]

4 Unexplained Noises

Loud bangs, scratching sounds, and strange voices heard in the night seem spooky—but the vast majority actually stem from common causes, not ghosts trying to freak you out. Your brain finds patterns in random noise through pareidolia, causing you to perceive familiar sounds where none exist. So that creepy voice you swore you heard was probably just the washing machine motor or your pipes groaning as the heating clicked on.

Apply Occam’s razor, and the simplest explanation—lacking paranormal nonsense—is almost always the truth. The logical scenario is that you’re interpreting ordinary acoustic phenomena through a lens of horror movie tropes and ghost stories, not that any actual unearthly entities are haunting your house. Next time you hear a creepy voice, it’s probably the washing machine complaining about overwork, not a ghost.[7]

3 Unexplained Black & White Photographs

When supposedly “supernatural” black and white photos reveal faces of the dead or depict impossible scenes, it’s usually due to lens flares, residual film charges, double exposures, or simple hoaxes—not actual contact with spirits. Photos with mysterious anomalies often reveal themselves as ordinary phenomena once technical factors are understood.

So that ghostly visage haunting the photo is likely nothing more than a bit of dust on the lens or a chemical reaction in the film, not evidence of the afterlife. So, what is that ghostly visage in the photo? It’s more like a sneaky speck of dust on the lens or a photobombing lens flare.[8]

2 Ghosts Caught on “Ghost Hunting” Shows

When you believe the spirit of a recently deceased loved one is contacting you through mysterious knocks, voices, or images, the culprit is far more likely to be a neurological condition like hallucinations, illusions, or memory errors—not actual messages from the beyond.

Our brains are wired to find meaningful patterns, even where none exist, which can convince us we’re experiencing the supernatural when really mundane processes provide the true explanation. Before you get swept away in the drama of ghost-hunting shows, remember that the most haunting thing about them might just be their TV ratings.[9]

1 Personal Encounters with Ghosts

Many people confidently recount personal encounters with ghosts—seemingly providing compelling firsthand evidence of the paranormal. However, studies show that a huge majority of these ghost sightings result from misperceptions, illusions, and hoaxes rather than actual spirit contact. Shadows, reflections, and pareidolia often mistakenly trigger perceptions of ghostly figures.

Carbon monoxide leaks and emotional states like anxiety or grief can produce hallucinations interpreted as spiritual encounters. Memories are inherently fallible and susceptible to confabulation, distorting recollections of anomalous experiences over time. For ghost stories to be credible, independent corroboration and rigorous testing are essential—but most rely solely on anecdotal accounts from individuals whose senses and memories failed where logic should have prevailed.

Many ghost sightings can be attributed to a trick of the optics or a brain in overdrive. Next time, try wearing your glasses and see if that ghost turns out to be a bathrobe hanging on the door.[10]

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Written by Lee Byford

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