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Do Skeptics get Spooked?

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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby caniswalensis » 02 Jun 2010, 07:44

Hi all,

Spotting this topic was a prime motivator for me to register here. It touches on an experience I had at the end of '08.

I think it is perfectly predictable and natural for skeptics to get spooked. Whether skeptic or believer, we are all humans, and all subject to the same psychological & physiological processes.

Below in green text is a post I made at another forum shortly after my "experience." I hope you find it appropriate to this thread. I would really be interested in hearing opinions on it.

Regards, Canis

Hi all,

Well, I'm a skeptic and I had a disconcerting experience a few weeks ago at work. I was working late, and was the only one in the building. I left my office to go over to the factory floor to retrieve some documents that needed updating.

The factory is housed in a large wooden-framed metal sided building. When all the machinery is shut down & the people are gone, there is still a fair bit of noise from the building itself. It creaks, little bits of debris fall from the ceiling and there are a lot of small little noises that come from who knows where. Almost all the lights are shut off as well. So you understand, it is quite a bit different to be on the floor after normal working hours. I have never considered it spooky or anything, just different. If I had to describe it in a word, I would use "peaceful."

So anyway, I am down there looking at this document book with a flashlight so that I can see which documents I need. Like I said, most of the lights are off. When all of a sudden, there is a relatively loud crash about ten feet behind me. It startled me pretty good because every thing was quiet and I knew that I was the only one there.

After I retrieved my skin and got back into it, I grabbed the documents and started to hurry for the door. I was actually shaking at this point.

Then I made myself stop. What was happening to me? I was the only person in the place, so I was in no danger, and I don't really believe in ghosts. Why was I shaking? Why was I hurrying? It didn't make sense, but I was overcome by a feeling that I can only describe as "dread."

I forced myself to go back to where I was standing. I turned around and looked at where the noise came from. I was looking at a rack of die boards. I went to look at it and closer and found one of the die boards lying on the floor where it should not have been. The die board falling over would have made a sound consistent with the crash I heard. I assume that the station operator left it leaning against the rack (a common practice) and it just happened to fall over when I was standing there.

So there I had the explanation. It was a perfectly normal thing. There was nothing to be afraid of. I was never in any danger. So why did I have this feeling of dread? I made myself stand there until the shaking stopped, but I felt very nervous the whole time.

I know that I was shaking because I got a huge shot of adrenaline. I am guessing that the whole experience put me in "fight or flight" mode. I suppose that's why I started to hurry away from the scene.

Now, here is the really interesting part. It has been a about a month, but now whenever I am working late and alone one the factory floor, something that I used to consider quasi-pleasant, I get a resurgence of these feelings of dread. I feel like I am in danger and I want to get out of there as fast as I can. Every little noise now makes me start & look in that direction, when before, they barely even registered. I half to remind myself that there is nothing that can harm me, and I make myself stand around a few extra minutes to listen to the noises, identifying them and looking around at things to reassure myself.

I am slowly retraining myself to accept being in the darkened factory as a pleasant experience again, but I am left wondering at the need to do so. I am not normally averse to being in the dark, and will often walk around in the dark at my home, since I know where every thing is. I am not more easily startled by noises than the average person either. I am not sure why this one got to me so bad.

Did this startling noise trigger some kind of primal mechanism in me? Was I somehow instantly reprogrammed to perceive the dark factory as a place of danger? If so, does this say anything about how we perceive reportedly haunted locations? I am really interested in hearing other peoples take on this.

Regards, Canis

P.S. I know this was a long read, my thanks go to anyone that made it through.


.....and there it is, folks.

As an update, over the next couple months after originally making this post, I was able to successfully "reprogram" myself to not feel this dread on the factory floor. I went down and worked there after closing as much as possible, and would spend time walking thrrough the place at any excuse. I even had a "ghost hunt" at the urging of some online friends. I took pictures and attempted to communicate with any spirits there. I found no spirits, but did catch a glimpse of "Big Doug," a large racoon that we named after the maintenence man. The upshot is that I am once again at ease in the dark factory, and feel like it is a peaceful place without all the daytime ruckus going on. :)
Last edited by caniswalensis on 03 Jun 2010, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby ciscop » 02 Jun 2010, 10:12

what a great story!!
thanks for sharing
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby Nostradamus » 09 Jun 2010, 05:31

Great story. Much appreciated.
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby ProfWag » 09 Jun 2010, 05:35

Nostradamus wrote:Great story. Much appreciated.

Heeeeyyyyy, look who it is! Welcome back!
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby Scepcop » 20 Jun 2010, 22:03

Nostradamus wrote:I got spooked a while back. My wife and I were watching 24. It was one of those scenes were everyone has at least 2 guns in their hands and they intend to use it with maximum damage. Suddenly there was a smash, crash, bang, smash downstairs. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Now sure who yelled the loudest. When nothing was broken on t he main floor of the house I went into the basement a little jumpy. I was calling out fairly loud to the wife who was by the phone. "Coming around the corner, coming around the corner." If there was a burglar in the house I wanted to give them ample time to get out before I got there. Nothing was broken in the basement. So I went back up to the main floor.

This was a mystery. Nothing broken yet both of us heard a loud, crashing, smashing noise. Then I realized that the dog had her head hanging down. Our dog sleeps on the stairs. I know what you're thinking. Someone will step on the dog and fall down the steps. This time the sleeping dog rolled over fell down the steps.

No ghost, but it made me jump.


I've had that experience several times in my CA home. Loud crash in the next room yet nothing had fallen or broken. Very odd. Never knew what to make of it.

To answer the OP's question, I get scared in big houses when I'm alone there. In small houses it's no big deal if I hear strange noises. But it's hard to walk around dark hallways of a big house when you're alone there. The worst of your imagination gets to you. Any of you ever seen the movie "The Changeling" with George C Scott? He was all alone in a huge house during all the paranormal activity and walked through dark hallways and attics alone. I can't imagine who would want to live in a house like that alone.

The proximity to your neighbors also matters. If the neighbors are right next to you, it's less scary cause you know there are people nearby. But when they are farther away or you are living in a house in the forest, that is far more spooky at night.
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby Scepcop » 20 Jun 2010, 22:07

NinjaPuppy wrote:I believe that many of the unexplained noises heard in the average home are caused by critters of all species. Aside from the domestic pets, you have rodents, squirrels, racoons, birds, owls etc. that can make someone think that there is something possibly paranormal brewing. Some of those critters can make some pretty unusual noises when spooked, so what even might be thought of as 'voices' can be two critters fighting for territory in your walls.


How do rodents make the loud crashes and thuds though? The sounds are like something heavy hitting the floor.

Do you think that when the house settles at night from the heat during the day, expanding and contracting in its structure, that that could cause loud thuds?

I'd say the only real haunted experience I've had is the one I posted in the paranormal experiences board. I heard the doorknob in my room turn and snap back into place while alone. And later a loud tapping on the wall from the side I was on, not outside. Very spooky. But I was glad to have a genuine experience finally.
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 20 Jun 2010, 23:23

Scepcop wrote:How do rodents make the loud crashes and thuds though? The sounds are like something heavy hitting the floor.

Since you know that nothing actually hit the floor in this particular instance, that is the only possibility that can be ruled out. So what we have here for discussion is an unexplained sound. That is a fact. I say that rodents can make loud crashes and thuds because they are known to forage and chew. If a small critter is living in your walls, they will drag food and/or nesting material for warmth or comfort into those spaces. The size and type of the material will vary by critter. Squirrels are IMO the most interesting critter as they will grab just about anything available and make a storage locker out of any dwelling. Should a pile of unshelled nuts break loose, it's going to sound pretty spooky as they tumble down the walls, banking off of electrical conduit, heat ducts and anything else in their way until they land on the floor between those walls. If a critter has chewed into any of the structural portions of the dwelling, you can have pieces of wood actually drop from the ceiling to the floor.

Scepcop wrote:Do you think that when the house settles at night from the heat during the day, expanding and contracting in its structure, that that could cause loud thuds?

It can cause all sorts of sounds. Sounds from plumbing and HVAC is a real quandry as well. Expansion of a pipe or heating duct rubbing on a metal strap or main beam can drive you nuts. It can sound just like footsteps as the pipe expands or contracts along the strapping that holds it in place. If conditions are right, it can sound like a full blown explosion when ducts pop due to expansion and contraction.

Scepcop wrote:I'd say the only real haunted experience I've had is the one I posted in the paranormal experiences board. I heard the doorknob in my room turn and snap back into place while alone. And later a loud tapping on the wall from the side I was on, not outside. Very spooky. But I was glad to have a genuine experience finally.

Not to try to say that what you experienced was any less than paranormal but even doorknobs can have their springs stick only to release later and scare the crap out of someone. At least that is one 'logical' explanation that any skeptic would like to point out. They would also never pass up the opportunity to debunk just about anything we can throw at them in favor of ghosts being real.

I come from an area where household ghosts are not a rare item. The house that I grew up in was full of noises, some explained and some certainly of the paranormal variety. Where I live now is locally famous for it's haunted residences and businesses. My current dwelling is most definitely NOT haunted or occupied by anything that can be deemed paranormal. This is a first for me!
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby Scepcop » 21 Jun 2010, 00:07

The thing with the doorknob is that it was not used or touched. I always left that door open. Plus the door knob does not stick at all. If you came over and examined it, you'd see that. Perhaps someday I can make a video of it and show you. So I ruled out that explanation.
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Re: Do Skeptics get Spooked?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 21 Jun 2010, 00:18

Scepcop wrote:The thing with the doorknob is that it was not used or touched. I always left that door open. Plus the door knob does not stick at all. If you came over and examined it, you'd see that. Perhaps someday I can make a video of it and show you. So I ruled out that explanation.

No need to show me proof. The last house I lived in had an exact same doorknob thing. Not to mention, I would get up in the morning and find my patio sliders open all the time.

I lived alone at the time. I would always let the dog out before going to bed for the evening and I would close and lock the patio door with the latch and then check to make sure that it was locked. I would get up in the morning to find the sliders wide open to the outside. Since this happened regardless of the dog being caged for the night or not, I knew it wasn't the dog.

All of the doorknobs in that house would turn on their own as well as the deadbolt in the garage being unlocked from the inside from time to time. I was used to this sort of thing but guests would be totally freaked out.
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