Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Festival Of Fear: Day 14: True Story Tuesday: The Philip Experiment

~ by Marie Robinson

Everyone has given thought to life after death, or the possible lack thereof. Some people believe they know what comes after, and everyone’s got their own opinion, but we still have no indisputable evidence of the afterlife.

John Pogue’s 2014 film, The Quiet Ones, deals with such subject matter, and stars Jared Harris as Joseph Coupland, an Oxford professor determined to disprove the existence of ghosts. Brian (Sam Claflin) is a cameraman hired on to film Professor Coupland and his group of students as they perform experiments on a disturbed girl (Olivia Cooke) who seems to cause supernatural phenomena.

The Quiet Ones
While Jane believes she is haunted by a spirit named Evey, the professor and his group believe that she has rather created the entity through her unhealthy state of mind; therefore, to produce better results in their nighttime “séances”, they torment her during the day playing loud, obnoxious rock music in her room. Sure enough, night after night, objects move by themselves, and strange noises such as banging and loud footsteps can be heard, along with other increasingly disturbing phenomena.

Drawing of "Philip"
Without giving too much away, let’s just say the Professor’s theory is put to the test as the “haunting” intensifies. While The Quiet Ones is purely fiction, it was inspired by an actual study, called The Philip Experiment.

The Philip Experiment took in place in the early 1970’s in Toronto. Dr. George Owen of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research put together a group of 8 whose goal was to create a ghost.
 They collectively invented the ghost’s name, Philip Aylesford, and his history. Philip Aylesford was an English aristocrat from the 17th century, dwelling in Diddington Manor in Cambridgeshire (a real place). Married to a cold, cruel woman, Philip began to have an affair with a gypsy girl. When his wife discovered him she accused the girl of witchcraft and had her burned at the stake. Devastated by the loss of his love, Philip threw himself from the top of his manor house and ended his own life at the age of 30.

Having a complete knowledge of their imaginary ghost was important to make him “real”. The group would sit around a card table with their hands laid out flat before them, as they would have done in a traditional séance. They would call out to Philip and ask him questions, which he would respond to through knocks on the table. While Philip never actually appeared or manifested, he would shake the table and sometimes make it rise from the ground.

Another film (a terrible one, I might add) that draws inspiration from this study is The Apparition (2012), in which a group of students try to create a ghost by studying a photo of a deceased person.

It is a common belief among parapsychologists that a person’s emotions and psychological state can create supernatural activity; for example, it is thought by some that adolescent girls going through puberty are able to create poltergeists through psychic energy. In Buddhism a Tulpa is a being or energy-spirit created solely by thought. The human mind is a strange and powerful thing.

What do you believe?

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