I was recently lucky enough to sit through a screening of The Quiet Ones and was fascinated by the true story aspect. It turns out it was based on the Philip Experiment 1972 which took place in Toronto, Canada.
The film was good – but the actual events were even more enthralling…
It all started back in September 1972 when the Toronto Society for Psychical Research teamed up with poltergeist expert Dr. A.R.G. Owen.
Between them they wanted to create a ghost!
They didn’t want a seance of old ladies or Ouija boards – they actually wanted to CREATE a ghost. They were both enthralled by a Buddhist theory that allowed you to ‘will’ an entity into existence.
Dr Owen was obviously very experienced in the paranormal side of things but the other eight members of the group were not.
They came from different walks of life and had varying occupations and interests – none of them exhibited any psychic abilities of any sort.
So the Philip Experiment was set up to see if this group could indeed create a ghost. Their first task was to actually create a fictional character to base these experiments on – enter Philip Aylesford.
They treated Philip as if he was a real person and painstakingly created his history and his personality. They even came to a group conclusion on his demise and went into detail about how he committed suicide.
Philip’s persona was gradually built up to a realistic level and they even had a picture sketched so they could visually see the character.
So they had everything they needed – his story, history and his pictures. They then meditated on Philip as a group and this lasted about a year with quite pathetic results (as you could imagine!).
Time For Change
Yes the experiment was starting to border on the ridiculous – it was time for change!
At the suggestion of Kenneth J. Barcheldor, a psychologist, they abandoned the more scientific approach and went with something a little more ‘spooky’.
Considering a lot of the group were finding it hard to concentrate on a character they knew was fictional they decided to hold a seance. This seance would hopefully provide a much more realistic atmosphere for Philip to materialize within.
Imagine their surprise when it worked!
The very first seance brought with it contact with an entity thought to be Philip. There was a sudden tapping on the tabletop taking them all by surprise. When they asked the invisible character if it was Philip it responded with another tap!
The astonished group then proceeded to ask questions to the entity regarding Philip’s history. It was communicating through a ‘one tap for yes – two taps for no’ setup.
The entire group were fully aware of the correct answers to these questions due to the fact they invented them. The entity was getting every question correct but also adding extra details to the history.
These new details started to become more and more consistent and contained oddly accurate information regarding actual historical events…
Things started to get a little out of hand after a while and the group experienced many paranormal occurrences.
At times the lights in the room would flicker on and off and the table they were using would start to levitate and shake. Strange noises would appear in the distance and seem to get stuck in the dark corners of the room.
Philip was not an idea in their heads any longer – Philip was real!
He was developing into something a lot more complex than the group ever imagined possible – he was becoming independent.
But the group was not one of these mysterious groups that do everything behind closed doors. When they realized they were onto something they opened the doors to the public and invited guests in to experience the strange happenings themselves.
There are even reports of video or film footage being taken of one of these extraordinary seances.
The Philip Experiment 1972
So did this group actually manage to ‘will’ a ghost into existence?
The people who combined to make up this group had no idea what they were dealing with and they freely admitted it.
Some experts think it was all a product of the human mind – their collective knowledge on Philip manifested itself subconsciously. There were actually further experiments with different newly created characters that ended up with the same result.
Or did the group manage to open some sort of portal or door – were they actually communicating with ‘something’ we have no knowledge on. Was this a demon playing on their desires and waiting for a moment of weakness to strike at them?
Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below…