Yves Lignon, specialist in haunted houses and paranormal phenomena, has written several books on the subject.


B. Colin / 20 Minutes

  • This Saturday is Halloween, the opportunity to tell horror stories.

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    makes you discover those of cursed places or haunted houses all over France.

  • Yves Lignon, author of several books on paranormal phenomena, deciphers these beliefs around the paranormal.

Pianos that play by themselves, white ladies by the side of the road or even ghosts who wander in the corridors of haunted houses.

For centuries, accounts of paranormal phenomena have fed the collective imagination.

As Halloween looms, these stories are emerging from the closet.

For forty years, Yves Lignon, has investigated cases of this type, always with one objective: to look at the facts from a scientific angle.

Founder of the parapsychology laboratory, he has written numerous books on the subject and answered

20 Minutes



Does the concept of a haunted house really exist?

Or, in everything we call paranormal, there is a double meaning: that of science and that of cinema and fantastic literature.

On the ground, we see a reality.

It may be repeated noises and crackles.

We then use scientific means to explain it, such as water infiltration for example.

Simple explanations that sometimes people don't want to think about.

This is the case of a lady near Toulouse who was told that the day the trucks stopped passing by her house, it would stop vibrating.

There are also scams, saying that the house is haunted so as not to pay its rent, we have seen cases.

And then there are situations where science does not have the means to explain it.

It is rare but it does exist.

Have you come across a lot of scientifically unexplained cases?

Between 1974 and 2008, we received 1,118 stories of haunted houses and places in the Toulouse parapsychology laboratory.

We have opened investigations for 97 of them.

And out of these 97, I retained eight where I told myself that we were in the presence of a scientifically inexplicable reality.

That's enough to say that objects that move on their own, musical instruments that play without a musician, it's a reality.

Scientifically we see, but scientifically we do not know an explanation, this is the definition of the paranormal.

And what do we say to ourselves in the face of these phenomena when we are more of a Cartesian like you?

We think that in 50 years, 100 years we will know.

You know when the Greeks heard thunder they said there was a household quarrel among the gods.

For the haunted house, we are at about the same stage.

One day we will discover new scientific theories that will explain the phenomenon of the haunted house, that I have no doubt.

There is the material aspect in the paranormal.

And the psychological dimension?

There are people who are confused, unsettled and who see things that do not exist.

This concerns the human sciences but not the exact sciences.

People often find outlets elsewhere, especially in times of crisis that are conducive to the development of the sordid wonder.

What do you think of the ghost hunters that make the heyday of some TV shows?

Much trouble.

They don't know the files from a scientific point of view.

We search for ghosts without asking the preliminary question of the very existence of ghosts.

Who says haunted house, says ghost, says manifestation of deceased people.

It is without scientific basis and it discredits the research.

Haunted houses exist, but ghosts don't?

Scientifically, a distinction is made between haunted houses and ghosts.

Haunted houses are the displacement of objects and incongruous noises, pianos that play by themselves.

Ghosts are a whole different matter.

We have even less information on the apparitions, only once was there one in a laboratory context, during a reconstruction of a spiritualism session in the laboratory, in 1929.

The supernatural is not new.

Why this passion for these phenomena over the centuries?

There have been some since Roman Antiquity.

Pliny the Younger tells one that could be very modern, a story of a skeleton hanging on chains.

Under the Ming dynasty, palaces were only built with zigzagging corridors because it was said that ghosts walked straight.

It is truly universal.

The human being needs the marvelous, me first.

But these paranormal questions also drain a whole bunch of charlatans ...

In France in particular, because there are no specialized scientists, unlike the United States or other countries, where universities have laboratories that look into the subject.

There is a huge void and quackery thrives if science leaves the space free.

Entering into communication with the dead brings in money and it corresponds to a need because human beings in general have always refused the finality of death.

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