Fla. Prof: Ghosts, Zombies, Vampires Really Aren’t Real
By CIO Staff
Ghosts, zombies and vampires. The stuff of fiction, meant to terrify young fearful children and morbidly amuse adults? No doubt about it. Everyone knows that … right?
Don’t be so sure.
According to a research paper assembled by University of Central Florida professor Costas Efthimiou, not everybody is convinced, and he wants to use science and math to prove such dastardly incarnations are no more than products of the imagination, the Associated Press reports via HoustonChronicle.com.
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Efthimiou cites a 2005 Gallup poll that found 1 in 3 Americans believe that residences can be haunted, and therefore that ghosts exist, according to the AP. However, he calls on Newton’s law of action and reaction to shoot down the belief that ghosts move among humans, noting that if a ghost were to walk, it would apply force to the substance below it, the AP reports. Yet ghosts are typically portrayed as passing through walls and other objects—an impossibility if their movement yields force on substances they’re in contact with, according to the AP.
So say goodbye to Casper and those specters of Christmas past, present and future, ye believers. But what about zombies and vampires?
To disprove the existence of zombies, Efthimiou examined what is considered to be the most well-known—and believed—example of a human-turned-zombie in recent days: the 1989 case in which a teenage Haitian boy was pronounced dead and buried, before rising from his grave a day after he was laid to rest, the AP reports. Efthimiou said research eventually proved that the boy was never dead; rather he was under the spell of a creature similar to the deadly Japanese pufferfish, which caused paralysis and blocked his speech, according to the AP.
Finally, Efthimiou donned a calculator to shoot down the myth of vampirism, the AP reports. The physicist posits that were one single vampire to bite—and therefore infect—one victim each month, it would take only a few years for the world to be completely inhabited by the vile creatures, according to the AP. Efthimiou attempted to prove this conclusion via math, and he started his calculations on Jan. 1, 1600, with one single vampire and 537 million humans. The researcher found that by July 1602, the number of humans on the planet would reach zero, according to the AP.
These findings may seem quite silly to many, but Efthimiou and his peers say that a large chunk of the general public still needs convincing, the AP reports. The same Gallup poll that found 1 in 3 Americans believe in ghosts also found that upwards of 20 percent of Americans believe in witches and that the dead can communicate with the living, according to the AP.
“We’re talking about a large fraction of the public that believes in subjects that scientists believe are out of the question,” Efthimiou said, the AP reports. His paper on the subject is lined up to be published in either the Physics Education journal or the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, according to the AP. It can be accessed here.
Want more Halloween-related content? Check out our 25 Terrifying IT Horror Stories page for a glimpse at the dark side of technology. But beware, these tales may leave you with nightmares for weeks to come.