History of The Ghost Frequency

History of “The Ghost Frequency”

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you ever hear creepy noises and wonder if that was a ghost?  You are not alone in asking yourself these questions.  One night in the early 1980’s, scientist and researcher Vic Tandy was working alone.  Suddenly he thought he felt the presence of a ghost in the room where he was working.  In his own words: “I was sweating but cold, and the feeling of depression was noticeable.  There was also something else. It was as though something was in the room with me.”  These feelings led Tandy down the path of understanding why he felt and heard the things he did.

The Story of “The Ghost Frequency”

One night, researcher Vic Tandy was working very late, alone in his lab. He started feeling very anxious and had a strange sensation that he wasn’t alone in the lab. From the corner of his eye, Tandy saw a moving gray cloud that disappeared as soon as he turned around. The vision scared Tandy enough to hurry home and not return until it was daytime.

The next day, Tandy returned to the lab. One of his hobbies was fencing and he busied himself doing some work on his fencing sword, with the handle held in a vice. Although there was nothing touching it, the blade suddenly started to vibrate wildly, terrifying Tandy.

Tandy could have convinced himself that he was working in a truly haunted laboratory and run out the door, but the scientist in him had a realization. The movement of the foil looked similar to that of a sound wave – perhaps there was a sound that he couldn’t hear that was causing vibrations in the room!

After some exploration and a quick conversation with the lab’s facilities engineer, Tandy discovered a newly installed fan in the lab was emitting a frequency of 18.98 Hz – a low, rumbly tone that humans can barely hear. Coincidentally, 18.98 is very close to the frequency at which the human eye is thought to vibrate. Tandy deduced that the ghostly figure he had seen the night before was an optical illusion caused by his eyes being affected by the sound waves. Tandy investigated this phenomenon further and later wrote a paper entitled “The Ghost in the Machine.”


What makes the hair on the back of your neck stand-up? Why do some people, like Vic Tandy, claim they’ve seen ghosts?  The answers can be found in the science behind these phenomena.  During the month of October, our exhibit Spooky Science offers visitors the chance to, not only read about the science behind fears but, experience this science as well.  Bring the entire family and discover the science behind what makes us afraid.