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This book, which covers Visions and hallucinations, explains what causes them and summarises how many hallucinations have been caused by each event or activity. It also provides specific help with questions people have asked us, such as ‘Is my medication giving me hallucinations?’.

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Observations placeholder

Brian Branston, Executive Editor of the Travel and Exploration Unit of the BBC witnesses the poltergeists of the church hall



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Science and the Spook – George Owen and Victor Sims

A young man aged 35, of extroverted and practical temperament, and whom we will describe as "George", a very brilliant commercial photographer, took over a disused church hall in London as a studio.

Before long he found the atmosphere uncanny.

Poltergeist events ensued. Lamps swung on their cords, heavy screens were thrown down, oil-cars sailed gently from place to place, and invisible forces pulled and pushed George's assistants. Strangest of all a teleportation phenomenon occurred. The witnesses were most trustworthy people.

Drops of water fell as from "appearing points" in mid-air.

This sounds impossible, but it is not the first time it has been reported by sound and sensible people.

George mentioned his troubles to Brian Branston, Executive Editor of the Travel and Exploration Unit of the BBC, whom he happened to know. Brian, prompted by a desire to help George, and perhaps tempted to explore across "the bourne from which no traveller returns", organized some regular sittings or seances in conjunction with his colleague Bob Saunders and some experienced investigators from the SPR.

The type of séance adopted was a simple one; table-turning. This is often done as a harmless parlour game. A few people sit round a table with their hands on the top. After a while the table may rock.…..

…Well, the results of seances at the hall were very interesting, and told in Bob Saunders's A Mild Case of Haunting (Routledge) which …... described this fascinating case in full. Some readers may be already familiar with some of the dramatic developments as they were the subject of a BBC programme of the same name in which one of us (ARGO) gave a commentary on the happenings and their implications.

It transpired that George suddenly became a trance medium, ostensibly communicating information relating to a violent multiple tragedy that occurred a quarter of a century before. During one of his trances he was supine on the floor.

 Brian Branston was surprised to see what resembled a column of smoke about ten inches high which appeared to originate in the corner of George's eye. No one had been smoking, and no other source of smoke or vapour was present. Mr Branston is a man of unhurried judgement and we are quite sure that what he saw he really saw and accurately described.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items


Activities and commonsteps