The Philip Experiment

Do you believe ghosts exist? If you do, what are they? Souls, disembodied spirits, echoes of the past, hysteria or the physical manifestation of the human mind. The knowledge of ghosts goes back for centuries and could be found within every culture throughout the world. There is much information and material on the matter, yet plenty remains unknown and unproven . Scientific experiments have been conducted in the past in discovering the existence of the afterlife and ghosts. One of the most notable investigation conducted is the Philip experiment.

In 1972, in Toronto, Canada, a group of parapsychologist, led by Dr. Owen, proposed a theory the paranormal phenomenon of ghosts was actually the physical manifestation of the human mind. They would conduct an experiment using the scientific method to replicate the events and experience of a ghost. The group involved contain eight ordinary individual with no acclaimed abilities, powers, fame or knowledge of the paranormal.

The group’s overall objective was to create a ghost through expectation, imagination and visualization. The method to achieve this goal was to create a fictional character whome they could communicate with through seances. The group created Philip Aylesford and fabricated a backstory to this character. Philip was a 17th century aristocratic, Englishman that had a tragic love affair which led him to taking his own life. All members of the group spent time in developing, discussing and imagining Philip in preparation for the experiment.

The group for about a year participated in seances to communicate with the fictional ghost. One night, Philip was able to communicate with by taps or rapping to yes/ no answers. Soon, the group described experiencing increase paranormal activity as Philip would shake or move the table around, heard ghostly voices, lights dimming, cold spots, etc. Dr. Owen repeated the experiment with other different groups, repeated the same effect and concluded it to be successful. Even thought the paranormal experience was believed to be resulting from the human mind, no scientific explanation was offered.

The Philip experiment was believed to be successful as it was able to be recorded and film. The research grew in fame as it was replicated by other groups with their own creation of fictional ghosts they communicated with. Despise all the documented results, the experiment has been criticized to be faulty on conclusions, observations, lacking anything scientific and even labelled as hoaxes. The resulting paranormal phenomena of the Philip experiment has been in an endless debate whether created by forces of the human mind or an entity was summoned.


“The Philip Experiment.” Long Island Paranormal Investigators. Access Jan. 8, 2015.


3 thoughts on “The Philip Experiment

  1. Kaine Andrews

    I’ll have to watch the video later, but assuming it hasn’t already been brought up, here’s a mindbending idea for you; what if, while in the process of “creating” the ghost, the participants were actually in contact, unknowingly, with a real spirit, who fed them the details they used? Not saying that’s what actually occurred… But it’s an amusing possibility.



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