London, Apr 1 : The site of a vase flying off a shelf by itself and crashing 12 feet across the room can strike fear of ghost in anyone's heart. But according to two physicists, such kind of an activity, called as poltergeist phenomena, may have nothing to offer in the way of ghost evidence.
Rather, they suggest that children are behind the poltergeist activity.
According to Pierro Brovetto, whose last known address was the Instituto Fisica Superiore, in Cagliari, Italy and his colleague Vera Maxia, children generate poltergeist activity by channelling energy into the quantum mechanical vacuum.
Through the study, the researchers wanted to explain the origin of poltergeist phenomena, characterized by objects flying around the room "of their own accord".
The researchers note that poltergeist encounters have been reported around the world and across different cultures, but tend to have one thing in common.
"Poltergeist disturbances often occur in the neighbourhood of a pubescent child or a young woman," New Scientist magazine quoted the researchers, as saying.
Therefore, Brovetto and Maxia have come up with a mechanism to explain just how these women and children create such havoc.
And like so many problems that arise in adolescence, puberty gets the blame here too.
"Puberty is a modification of the child body which involves various organs, chiefly the brain," the researchers said.
The researchers hypothesize that the changes in the brain that occur at puberty involve fluctuations in electron activity that, in rare cases, can create disturbances up to a few meters around the outside of the brain.
These disturbances would be similar in character to the quantum mechanical fluctuations that physicists believe occur in the vacuum, in which "virtual" particle and antiparticle pairs pop up for a fleeting moment, before annihilating and disappearing again.
Brovetto and Maxia believe that the extra fluctuations triggered by the pubescent brain would substantially enhance the presence of the virtual particles surrounding the person.
This could slowly increase the pressure of air around them, moving objects and even sending them hurtling across the room.
The study is published in the journal Neuroquantology.