Hum thing spooky is happening here
A LEADING paranormal investigator is to use the science of sound in a bid to shatter the spooky reputation of an Old Town tourist attraction.
Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe, a "parapsychologist" on Living TV's Most Haunted, will attempt to prove that low-frequency noises are responsible for ghostly goings on in Mary King's Close, as opposed to paranormal activity.
The experiment will be the showcase event of this year's Ghost Fest - the annual festival of all things spooky that will take place in May.
Dr O'Keeffe and a team of investigators from Liverpool will lay pipes around the underground close that will emit "infrasound" frequencies below 20Hz - on the cusp of human perception.
They will then invite members of the public to report any unusual experiences during a brief tour of the attraction to see if paranormal events occur more often in the areas where the infrasound is being generated.
Speaking from his offices at the University of Paris, Dr O'Keeffe said he was excited about the experiment, the first detailed study of the phenomenon at the attraction. He said: "Low frequency sound is legendary - from military weapons to the tiger's roar and now to haunted houses. This event hopes to uncover some of the truth behind the legends.
"The infrasound generator was specially built for the experiments. We're not sure how people will react or if anyone will report a ghostly presence, but it is what will make the event so exciting."
The experiment comes just a few years after experts examined the close and discovered that two areas which had been identified as the most haunted had naturally-occurring low frequency sound in them. Since then, paranormal investigators have speculated whether the sound may be responsible for unusual or ghostly experiences at the attraction.
Dr O'Keeffe's investigation will be just one of the highlights of the ghost festival, which organisers are hailing as the biggest and best to be staged in Edinburgh.
Now in its third year, the ten-day showcase will see the return of scientists, physics and investigators who are aiming to scour the city for proof of the Capital's spooky legends. Among the other events will be overnight vigils at the underground vaults below Niddry Street and Blair Street as well as clairvoyant gatherings, storytelling sessions, tarot nights, a psychic fair and a bus tour of haunted Midlothian.
A team of experts investigating the effects of Electronic Voice Phenomenon - or "white noise" - will also stage experiments at Mary King's Close, the vaults and an old schoolhouse in the grounds of the Camera Obscura.
A spokeswoman for the festival, which was shortlisted for a national Scottish Thistle Award last year, said: "We are very excited about this year's Ghost Fest, which is shaping up to be the biggest and best. We have a host of new events and new locations which we hope will be more than enough to keep avid ghost hunters or the most hardened of sceptics happy."
The third annual Ghost Fest will take place from May 11-20. Full details will be available on www.edinburghghostfest.com on Monday.
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