We had a high old time in Episode 92 wondering why ghosts say ‘whooooo’; now David, mostly in Carlisle has written in with an intriguing theory:
I think the answer might be linked with dead bodies and the noises made by escaping gases and what was thought in days gone by as the spirit/soul leaving the body. I’m sure I have read this in historical accounts, especially in times of plague etc where mass graves were not unknown.
I also have in mind a story from my Dad, who was a policeman, relating his first day at work:
To get police officers over the initial shock of coming into contact with dead bodies they would make sure they had a stint in the morgue on their first day. He told me that many police officers (Quincey title sequence-esque) would faint at their first sight of a dead body/autopsy. On his first day he was asked to carry a body with another officer down a spiral staircase to a basement morgue at his station and, quickly getting over the initial shock of what he had been asked to do, he get on with the job. With his hands underneath the body’s arms they manoeuvred it down the staircase. Meanwhile, knowing what he was doing, my Dad’s sergeant was outside and as a practical joke threw stones at the outside roof of the staircase. The resulting noise surprised my Dad and he dropped the body, the resulting impact making a noise akin to the WOOOOO!! of a ghost. My Dad nearly fainted thinking the dead body was coming back to life, while his fellow officers creased up in laughter. Suffice it to say he never forgot his first day in the force and got over the experience to have a very successful career.
So in essence, the corpse was like a big whoopee-cushion? Good to know one can still pull some jolly pranks even after death.