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Quantifying the phenomenology of ghostly episodes: Part i-need for a standard operationalization

Houran, J and Laythe, B and O’Keeffe, C and Dagnall, N and Drinkwater, K and Lange, R (2019) Quantifying the phenomenology of ghostly episodes: Part i-need for a standard operationalization. Journal of Parapsychology, 83 (1). pp. 25-46. ISSN 0022-3387

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© 2019 by Parapsychology Press. We review conceptualizations and measurements of base (or core) experiences commonly attributed to haunts and poltergeists (i.e., “ghostly episodes”). Case analyses, surveys, controlled experiments, and field studies have attempted to gauge anomalous experiences in this domain, albeit with methods that do not cumulatively build on earlier research. Although most approaches agree, to an extent, on the base experiences or events that witnesses report, the literature lacks a standard operationalization that can be used to test the factor structure of these occurrences or allow meaningful comparisons of findings across studies. Towards filling this gap, we identified 28 base experiences that include subjective (or psychological) experiences, more typical of haunts, and objective (or physical) manifestations, more common to poltergeist-like disturbances. This qualitatively-vetted list is proposed as the foundation for new measurement approaches, research designs, and analytical methods aimed to advance model-building and theory-formation.

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