'The Apparition' trailer summons ghost of the Philip Experiment

The new trailer for Aug. 24 film The Apparition centers around a group of young researchers who set out to create a supernatural entity. Starring Tom Felton (Malfoy from the Harry Potter flicks), Sebastian Stan (Bucky from Captain America: The First Avenger), Ashley Greene (Alice from the Twilight movies), the trio postulate that ghosts only exist because humans believe in them - and that those beliefs and thoughts can actually create thought-form "hauntings."

Based on what we see in the short clip, the film doesn't look very original. With the tagline, "Once you believe, you die," there seems to be a lot of leaning on The Ring, The Grudge (good to see the Yurei is still getting jobs) and Paranormal Activity. And there's a weird paranormal fungus that looks kind of out of place - and is it threatening New York City and the world, as well?

But what makes The Apparition interesting is that it looks to be (very) loosely based on a true story, which we'll explore after the jump...

In the 1970s, a group called Toronto Society for Psychical Research (TSPR) gathered eight of its members and set out to create a ghost. Led by Dr. A.R.G. Owen and his wife (a former MENSA chairperson), the group crafted a fake biography for a 17th century nobleman they named Philip Aylesford. They sketched a portrait of Philip (right), surrounded themselves with images of castles a noble man from that time might have live in, and set out to summon Philip in the manner of an old-school Spiritualist seance.

By visualizing Philip, they would ask him questions and received answers in the form of raps on a table. Philip seemed to have a personality in his communications, and the team experienced a mist forming over them and reported that the table would move a significant amount on its own.  Philip could also supposedly control a breeze in the room and dim lights on command. Interestingly, none of Philip's "answers" revealed substantial facts about himself or his time that the team wouldn't have already known - which suggests the answers were emerging from the team's subconscious minds.

Eventually, the so-called "Philip Experiment" was performed in front of an audience of 50 people and filmed by a television crew, and the rappings were caught on tape (some of which you can watch here).

The experiment was recreated using new ghostly creations. And while some point to it as evidence of the mind's power - and the power of suggestions - others say the groups unwittingly summoned a real entity who just answered when they were trying to conjure Philip.

However, there were no reported encounters with evil mold, ghostly Ring girls or citywide threats. So The Apparition might have just slightly tweaked the story!

For more info on the Philip Experiment, check out Stephen Wagner's story on About.com.

-Aaron Sagers