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Haunted people syndrome revisited: empirical parallels between subjective paranormal episodes and group-stalking accounts

Dagnall, Neil and Drinkwater, Kenneth (2020) Haunted people syndrome revisited: empirical parallels between subjective paranormal episodes and group-stalking accounts. Mental Health, Religion and Culture. ISSN 1367-4676

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Abstract

Research suggests a Haunted People Syndrome (HP-S) is defined by the recurrent perception of anomalous subjective and objective events. Occurrences are traditionally attributed to supernatural agencies, but we argue that such interpretations have morphed into themes of “surveillance and stalking” in group-stalking reports. We tested a series of related hypotheses by re-analyzing survey data from the 2015 Sheridan and James study to explore statistical patterns in “delusional” group-stalking accounts (N=128) versus“non-delusional” (control) accounts of lone-culprit stalking (N=128). As expected, we found that (i) account types had different Rasch hierachies, (ii) the Rasch hierarchy of group-stalking experiences showed a robust unidimensional model, and (iii) this group-stalking hierarchy correlated significantly with spontanous “ghost“ experiences. However, we found no clear evidence for “event clustering” that might signify contagious processes in symptom perception. Findings support the viability of the HP-S construct and the idea that experiences of group-stalking and haunts share common sources.

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