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Playing to an Empty Room: Ghost Hunting and ‘Singapore Theory’

Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and author or coauthor of nine books, including Bad Clowns.

Q: I saw ghost hunters using something called “Singapore Theory” to find ghosts. What are they referring to?

A: Rich Newman, author of several books on ghost hunting, including The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide and Ghost Hunting for Beginners, endorses “Singapore Theory,” which assumes that playing music from a particular era (that, presumably, of when a spirit was actually alive) will instigate a response on the part of the ghost. . . . Since you do not know what particular era a spirit may be from, you will probably want to keep a folder of MP3s that range across time . . . [including] classical music, some Civil War-era songs, jazz from the turn of the century, blues, and more. . . . By re-creating the environment the spirit was once comfortable in while alive, you may get the responses you want and capture some evidence of the haunting. (Newman 2011, 90–91)

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