EMF Meters…Why?

emfOf the many posts on this website, some are more popular than others.  Some topics seem to strike a chord with readers, or perhaps it’s my treatment of those topics that stir the hearts and minds of the few who happen across my work.

One of those popular posts has been what could be called a ‘review’ of the infamous Ovilus.  That’s actually a string of posts, but the latest has gotten more attention than the others overall.  I’m not certain that the Ovilus post is popular because people agree with my point of view, but if the commentary following it is any indication, many do not.  And that’s ok, anyone and everyone is entitled to disagree with me.  I’m generally quite willing to debate the issues and make my own case, and at the same time, I’ll happily listen to your well-reasoned arguments (providing they are well-reasoned, on topic and not personal attacks).

Another post that was popular is my critique of EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon.  I wasn’t exactly charitable with that topic, though I didn’t think I was being particularly harsh either.  I simply said that the evidence gleaned through so-called EVP research isn’t evidence of ghosts.  Or rather that it can’t be considered evidence of ghosts because there are too many other possible causes for the phenomenon.  Though I acknowledge the skeptic explanations of pareidolia or even delusion – which, although it can seem like a dismissive and insulting suggestion, is a good possibility in some cases – I’m actually talking about other environmental causes, like unexpected electromagnetic fields and their effect on recording mediums, as only one example.

Today’s post is connected to that very idea.  Among the tool kit of the modern Ghost Hunter there are numerous pieces of equipment that are considered staples of the endeavour. Flashlights, cameras, micro-recorders and maybe even the Ovilus (much to my own chagrin).  But the one device that nearly every Ghost Hunter relies on in their investigations is the EMF meter, and I question this practice in much the same way as I question the collection of EVP data.

EM_Spectrum_Properties_edit.svg_The EMF meter is, for those not already familiar, a device for measuring electromagnetic fields in the general proximity of the device’s sensors.  Electromagnetic fields are everywhere, quite literally.  Our environment, that is the entire planet, is inundated with waves of energy.  The most powerful come from our sun, most of which is absorbed by our atmosphere, but everything that uses electricity in any way also generates an EM field.  Electromagnetic energy is a form of radiation and it is measured along a spectrum – the electromagnetic spectrum – which includes at its extreme ends: Gamma radiation and ELF waves (extremely low frequency).  Along the spectrum between Gamma rays and ELF are frequencies that correspond to radio waves (which includes cellular signals and other communications transmissions) and even the light spectrum that we’re able to detect with our eyes (the visible light spectrum).

EMF meters are generally designed to measure AC currents that are generated by electric appliances with frequencies between 50 and 60 Hz, with obvious variation between different models, but they can all detect EM fields outside of those generated by AC current.

Now, to be perfectly clear, I’m not qualified to argue about the technical specifications of EMF meters, nor am I an expert on electromagnetic theory, but I do have a working understanding.  I submit though, that such knowledge isn’t necessary to see the flaw in this situation.  I’ll explain.

extech_emf_sensorIt’s really as simple as this: there are many possible causes of EMF fluctuation in a given space, and as long as there is doubt about what caused the reading, it cannot be attributed to any one phenomenon.

The more experienced among you will already be gearing up to type out a comment pointing out that you, specifically aren’t claiming that these readings are attributed to one phenomenon and/or that baseline readings are always taken (though I doubt the word “always” applies) to differentiate those readings from what are commonly called emergent EM fields (that would be an unexpected field of electromagnetic energy that doesn’t appear to have been caused by sources that contributed to the baseline reading.  Unexpected and unexplained.)  If that’s you, the one getting ready for a fight, relax, I’m not referring to you.

With some exception, the Ghost Hunter will claim that this emergent field is evidence of the presence of a ghost, or more reasonably evidence of a paranormal event.  It is not.

Well, let me hedge my bets a bit here; it probably is not.  Even with the utmost care taken to minimize the influence of electrical appliances in the area, there are errant EMF fields everywhere, fluctuating, cancelling each other out and permeating every structure and every living body.  They’re there, and they can be measured by an EMF meter.  Cheaper meters are much more susceptible to interference from errant EMF than are the more expensive meters, which generally work in a different way than say, the K2 meter.

But all of this is beside the point.  Unless the source of the field can be identified, it cannot be attributed to any one phenomenon.  But I repeat myself.

The infamous K2 Meter

The infamous K2 Meter

Much of this boils down to a problem the paranormal community is dealing with in a most ineffectual way.  The question is, why do Ghost Hunters use EMF meters in their investigations?  I’ve asked around, and I got some weird answers.  Some talked about the likelihood that an unexplained field was direct evidence of the paranormal; basically saying that if baseline sources are ruled out, it must be paranormal.  Others said, indirectly, that they do it because someone else does (not in those words of course, but when one says that they don’t understand it well enough to explain it, so go check so-and-so’s blog for an answer, the logical inference is that they only do it because so-and-so made them think it was a good idea).

And this leads me to the real point: having not had the opportunity to survey the entire community of Ghost Hunters around the world, I’m stuck with generalizations, but from what I have seen and the conversations that I’ve had, a large portion of that community really doesn’t understand what it is they are measuring with an EMF meter.  Many use models that don’t even given them an actual EMF reading, they just have lights that turn on when a field is detected.  What, if anything, does this tell you about what is causing the field?

The presence of an unexpected or unexplained electromagnetic field is an anomaly.  It may or may not be relevant to the investigation at hand, but in order to determine its relevance, one must identify its source.  It answers no questions to simply squeal and declare that there be ghosts here.

From a scientific standpoint, there may be some merit to the idea that certain phenomena can be identified and/or tracked using a measurement of electromagnetic energy.  However, for that endeavour to bear fruit, the researcher must have both an understanding of what the meter is measuring, how it measures it and what that measurement means in relation to every element of the environment in which it was observed.  Pointing your meter into a dark room and declaring that any readings you get are the result of ghosts is quite silly.

So, I said it.  I meant it.  And I fully expect that many will disagree.  I know that there are also quite a few who agree with me, and I cordially invite both groups to voice their opinion on the matter in the comment section below.  If you don’t wish to enter the argument, then I ask that you simply ask yourself, if you use an EMF meter to search for ghosts or for paranormal activity: why?

I arrange letters into specific combinations that, when considered in relation to other letters, sometimes make people laugh, shake their heads, and occasionally utter death threats. In a former life I was also an expert surveillance and background investigator.

Yes, I was a spy. No, I wasn’t spying on you…probably.

I also blog at: www.mysteriousuniverse.org and www.dailygrail.com

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  • Thomas van Andel

    Firstly,before someone says ghosts exists,it has to be scientifically proven that there is life after death .If ghosts exists they would be around ALL the time, not only during night time.What is it ,they’re afraid of light ???As a Ham[Tech class], I have a Field Strength Meter in my shack that measures EMF,that’s all it does ….

  • Paranormal People

    Precisely my point…there are too many questions that need to be answered first, before the use of EMF meters can be useful in research.

  • http://mospiritseekers.wordpress.com Patrick Keller

    I won’t outright disagree with you, and I can’t say that I am an expert on the topic of electromagnetic theory either… but I would hope most paranormal investigators used the EMF meter as a tool to to add to other responses and readings, temperature, EVP, pressure, noises, feelings, etc. When many things happen or spike during the same moment, it’s more and more likely that there could be something present (in my opinion). Even then, most of the time I will never categorize something as for sure paranormal. I have a lot of EVP “artifacts” or “possible EVP” because I almost never know without a doubt that it is paranormal. It may be a flaw in the field, but I get more people mad at me because of that skeptic side. I can’t NOT be honest and say that I know what something is when I don’t. I think more investigators should think that way. I think you’re going to get different responses depending on if they’re the “ghost hunters” or paranormal researchers, who I like to think of as lifelong learners, readers, and researchers of the paranormal.

  • http://mospiritseekers.wordpress.com Patrick Keller

    Oh… and I’m not going to lie. I totally want an Ovilus… even though I’ll be skeptical of that too. :-)

  • https://www.facebook.com/tony.percy Tony Percy

    The use of inappropriately calibrated, and the common place poor operator understanding, of EMF meters reminds me of, and I’m not the first to point this out, Phythons ‘the machine that goes Ping!’.

    It almost calls for a ghost-hunting parody sketch.

  • http://www.ikops.org Gerry Bicknaver

    I use the meter for the purpose for which it is designed to find EM fields, not to claim “evidence” of spiritual activity. Several of our clients had made claims of “being afraid to enter a room”, or “feeling like someone/something was watching them” when they were in a particular room or area of the house. This was usually the result of high background EM fields, due to house wiring,older appliances, and even the house being in close proximity of overhead high voltage lines and towers coupled with the clients hypersensitivity to EM fields. One of the meters I use is a Spectran NF-5020 spectrum analyzer. It can measure the strength ot the magnetic component of an EM field in Gauss(G), Tesla(T)and it can also measure the electrical component of the field in Volts/meter(V/m).

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Gerry, you might be interested in reading my posts on the God Helmet. I don’t know if you’re already familiar with Persinger’s work, but you might find then interesting.



    Thanks, everyone, for reading and responding.

  • Beth A

    I know a lot of paranormal investigators use a K-II Meter to rule OUT any kind of spirit activity. Low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields in the home have been reported to cause headaches, anxiety, depression, nausea, fatigue, chills and hallucinations. If you get unusual readings and can rule out anything paranormal, putting a family at ease, surely it’s a good tool to have around?

  • Martin J. Clemens

    I agree that it’s a good idea to ease the anxiety of the people involved, but, sincerely, how can you rule out anything paranormal (or not paranormal for that matter) if you have no idea what caused the meter to spike? The only thing you know is that there was a field present. With the K2 specifically, you don’t even know how strong the field was or at what frequency it was measured. How does that help?

    If it’s just being used as a visual aid to ease tensions, I would submit that there are more effective methods available.

  • Rob S.

    I concur with Gerry and Beth. The EMF meter is used more so to point out naturally occurring sources in the house which can cause problems to people who are sensitive to it. During a case a few years ago, the client’s basement was chock full of wiring that was poorly shielded. We showed the client the results and advised to have an electrician come in and take care of the problem. After this was done, the client reports of paranormal activity stopped.

    We’ve also used EMF devices to try to communicate with possible spirit activity. Using basic questions to have the K2 light up as a YES repsonse to a question, pretty much like you would see on a TV show. We’ve had some success with that technique, but again I will state this does not prove the existance of a ghost. Yes it is possible that some naturally occurring EMF field would spike the instrument right after we asked certain questions.

    That leads right back into the argument about any device being used for paranormal investigating. There many investigators who would say that using a K2 or Trifield meter to communicate with spirits have been successful. The skeptic will say pish-posh coincidence. After hundreds or thousands of coincidences taking palce, when do we finally say, “Gee, there might be something going on after all.”

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal cincyparanormal

    This might be stretching things a bit, but here it goes. Has anyone considered that perhaps our own psyche or a part of our unconscious mind could be setting off the meters as well? If a ghost is just our soul, do we not have one while we are alive too? Can our minds and body (which emits its own EM field) direct that energy at an object such as a K II, or other type of EMF meter and cause the results that we wish to achieve?

  • Doomshroom

    Wouldn’t that mean that we would be capable of manipulating simple electronic devices without accistance of wires or wireless devices (f.ex. bluetooth kind of a), also known as psychokinesis which hasn’t been scientically proven yet?

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    I’m not sure about the using of electronic devices, especially those which operate in higher radio frequencies. The human body does emit energy around 60 Hz, similar to what comes out of a wall outlet, but at a much lower voltage, it is measurable with a trifield natural meter, or shows up on an oscilliscope if you touck your finger to the scope’s test probe.
    If those energies could be used to manipulate the enviroment around us.

  • gewisn

    Other than that “it’s been reported” that EMF fields cause people to get headaches, hallucinations, anxiety, insomnia, depression, (or whatever else you care to name) has this idea ever been rigorously tested?

  • James Kelly

    I have been an active paranormal investigator since 2004. I belong to a very skeptical group and we do not allow any usage of any device that “Talks” back to you.

    Investigators use these devices because it’s easy to collect evidence, or what they consider evidence.

    These devices are all fraudulent and it boggles the mind that people believe that scanning radio frequencies looking for ghosts is the way too go.Use of devices such as the “Paranormal Puck” or “Ovilus” is just the current fad of rubbish out there on the market supported by people who do not research how their equipment works.

    Here is one thing that boggles my mind. If ghost do indeed exist, how would it possible that they could automatically know how to communicate to the living through one of these devices?????

    EMF meters should only be used to check EMF bleeds from faulty wiring and appliances. We once had a client that complained that he was hearing ghost voices and seeing apparitions throughout his entire home. When we scanned his home with EMF meters, we found al alarm clock with a high EMF field over 200 mg cramming into his temperal lobe every night when he was sleeping. When he removed the clock upon our advice, his ghost problem went away.

    But just to be fair,in our most active house to date,we conducted a scientific investigation at a residence and had three EMF meters constantly spiking between 1.0 to over 5.0 mg no matter where we were in the home. Our natural Trifield meter had no spikes. So, we tried to communicate with whatever might be in the home and it began responding to our questions with a Cell Sensor EMF meter. We set the criteria and asked it to flash three times for yes, and twice for no answers. The meter began to respond to each question using that criteria. It was amazing and it was the only time we ever experienced that on a case. Just remember, we conducted over 5 investigations in that home, there was never any A/C EMF issue in the home ever. But that night, the meters were raging.

    We also captured bizarre EVP evidence and some of the clearest and best intelligent voice responses that same night of the EMF readings. My director and I stayed all night at the home while the owners were out of state.

    We had no explanation for what was going on there that night. During one of the interactive Meter questioning sessions,we captured an EVP that backed up the meter evidence. This is what happened:

    I jokingly said ” You like me meter don’t you?”

    A few seconds later an EVP voice said ” Yes” This voice was recorded on a digital unit down the hallway in the kitchen while we were in the den.

    If any of you want to hear this evidence, I will post the links from our web site so you can hear them.

    So, can phenomena manipulate equipment? Yes it can. But it’s very rare when it happens in my opinion.

    EMF mete

  • gewsin

    A) “EMF meters should only be used to check EMF bleeds,” except when it happens to you?
    B) What makes you think EMF from a clock radio (or fridge, or high tension lines, etc) can cause paranormal experiences? The fact that your client’s problem resolved after removing the radio only tells us that B followed A, not that A caused B. How come people working with MRI machines or pt’s getting scans done don’t constantly complain of hallucinations within those massive magnetic fields? How come electric company linesmen don’t complain of ghosts all along the lines? How come nobody who used the high-power “bag phones” (5 watts transmitting power) of the late 80’s and early 90’s never complained of ghosts forcing them off the road?
    Let’s test this. Take 10 of the most “sensitive” people you can find. Put them in a room where they are separated only by a blanket from at least 5 clock radios with verified high EMF output. Plug all the clock radios into a single power strip (A) with a single switch. Put right next to that another power stip (B) with a switch (but not plugged into anything). Every 10 seconds, randomly flip one of the powerstrip switches (so they can hear the switch, but no idea which one). Each time you flip a switch, ask the participants to circle “ON” or “OFF” on a paper. See if they get the answer right more than pure chance would predict. There are four conditions A=on, A=off, B=on, B=off but only A=on actually turns on the clocks, so 3/4 trials will actually have the clocks off. See if the group, or any one person, correctly identifies the times the clocks are on more than 50% of the time, across at least 40 trials. Be sure to video the results from an angle where we can see the clock radios and the participants. 40-50 trials which last 10 seconds each will take less than 9 minutes, so there’s no reason to have to edit the recording.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Geswin…that is an excellent proposal!

    I don’t personally have the means to conduct such an experiment, but if anyone else should like to try it, I beg of you, please share your results with me!!! I would be more than happy, rather excited actually, to publish your findings! (Though, my blog hardly qualifies as a reputable peer-reviewed publication, I would still jump at the chance)

  • James Kelly

    I am just relaying my experiences. We debunk or explain about 95 percent of all haunting claims. The 5 percent we can’t dismiss. Of those cases, only two had high levels of EMF in the environment. So, I can’t say that it is related, but in some cases it might be.

    Now remember, we conducted 5 investigations of this home, There was only two small EMF bleeds in the kitchen and that is it.

    The night my director and I stayed all night in that home. We captured bizarre vice recordings that supported the beeping meters.

    There was also a ghostly moan that filled the home at one point. We had 15 audio recorders with camera equipment stationed throughout the house as well. We had meter interaction, EVP voice interaction, and a disembodied sound. The only thing we did not capture was any type of video or photographic evidence.

    I also checked the cell phone towers in the area. there was not one within 5 miles of the house. Cell phone towers are notorious for setting off single axis EMF meters. We even checked the outside of the home for any type of fraudulent perps…. There was no one out there.

    We had a Sperry EMF meter along with two Cell Sensors and one Trifield natural meter ( DC Current). The A/C current meters were spiking all night long no matter where we moved them. It had never happened before, and we did one more investigation afterward. No EMF spikes at all. Plus, only the one meter seemed to answer the questions we posed. We even changed the battery. It had no effect. These were all AC meters projecting EMF.

    This had to be some type of PK going on or something paranormal. We had no other explanation. We even have one EVP disagreeing with me when I tried to change the order of how we communicated with it.

    I talked to my director and said, “Was it three beeps for yes? Or, two for no?” Then you hear a very stern voice say ” NO!” and then a second later say ” NO!” once again. Crystal clear. Not the crap you see on these awful paranormal shows.

    We have had several cases where we had abnormal EMF bleeds in a home when we scanned it. Either from poor wiring or faulty appliances. When the owners took care of the issue, the ghosts went away.

    We never go out and try to establish communication with an EMF meter. That is bogus. But there is not much you can do when the meter tries to establish communication with you. It’s never happened since.

    I think the EVP evidence combined with meter interaction and disembodied moan that filled the home was enough to tell us that something very unusual was happening that night.

    I have read articles on this site about how EVP evidence is not evidence at all. That is just ridiculous. In my experiences EVP is the most important thing to capture in an intelligent haunting situation.

    In this same home, as we were giving the client the results of our first investigation, her dead cat began to meow at my feet as I was sitting in the living room. There was nothing there. She had told us that her cat would come back from time to time and meow. We did not believe her. Then, it happened. This place was unreal and I probably will never investigate another place like it.

    I like your experiment. But I don’t think I could ever find sensitives I could trust for such an experiment.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    James, did you happen to check on solar/geomagnetic activity for the time period in question?

  • http://mospiritseekers.wordpress.com Patrick Keller

    James. More investigators should put this much thought into a thorough investigation. I like your thoughts.

  • james Kelly

    Yes we did. It was very quiet that night. Just remember, this case was out of the norm for us. It had two previous owners that had no activity whatsoever.

    Martin, please read David Rountree’s book ” Paranormal Technology”

    He has been researching EVP for over 30 years. My evidence supports his theory that EVP are tiny bits of EMF from the audio spectrum. It’s not conventional sound at all. He has conducted some great EVP experiments that backs his theory. He is an audio engineer.

    I understand why people don’t think much of it. I did not either until I began to capture it in places that had other reports of activity.

    If you want me to post one of my best ones I ever captured, I will post a youtube link here. I captured it at the Bird Cage theatre in Tombstone in December of 2007. This one EVP changed my outlook on EVP’s. It’s a loud crystal clear intelligent response. Author Jeff Belanger asked me permission to use it in his documentary.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Um…the electromagnetic spectrum and audio frequencies are not related. Light cannot, does not directly create sound. EM energy can affect the electronics of a recording device, but that’s as far as the crossover can possibly go.

  • James Kelly

    Thank you Patrick. It just kills me to deem somthing paranormal. My first focus is try and explain what is going on. Our team has been around since 1994. We are the oldest group in the State. We are not allowed to use any of the bogus talking equipment out there in the market. I only use digital recorders, omni directional microphones, Shotgun microphones since my job is to get audio evidence. I use two recorders in a room, one acts as a control recorder. If a sound or voice is on both recorders, it is almost always dismissed. I can use up to twenty recording devices if I need to.

  • james Kelly

    Martin. Please read his book. It might change your mind. Or at least get you to think about it. He also has evidence that when and EVP is caputured, bumps of EMF are detected at the same time.

    He uses specialized equipment. Stuff that I will never be able to afford

  • Martin J. Clemens

    I’ll look into it, and I acknowledge that there could be a link between EVP and EMF, insofar as EMF can and does have an effect on the digital audio recording process, but I reiterate, there is no connection or relation between electromagnetic energy and the audio frequency spectrum.

  • James Kelly

    He also did experiments with mediums he trusted and was able to detect EMF changes in the environment when they asked the spirit into the circle during seances. Interesting stuff.

  • Steve O (SPI Michigan)

    My team typically uses EMF detectors and KII’s to help find problem areas with wiring, grounds or bad electronics, like was mentioned in some other comments. It’s amazing how many clock radio plugs peg the EMF detector to max. And these things sit right next to people’s heads while they are sleeping. EMF sensitivity is a real thing, and just having someone move a clock to the other side of the room or replace it has seemed to help in many cases. Air conditioners, toys, home ground on water pipe, cordless phone bases, etc. I even helped my mother-in-law with some of her head-aches with it when I found that corner of the living room she always sits at night was loaded with plugs giving off high fields and once they were all removed her issues decreased greatly.

    We always go in with a small amount of skepticism and try to find logical explanations as much as possible. Most times, there’s just something they didn’t know, realize or think of. We still get hits in areas where we know there is no power and random KII hits that seem like interaction, but again, it’s all theory so it’s something that we can rarely try to claim as a spirit or ghost.

    But some people think everything is a ghost, so it’s something you have to approach with care on how you present evidence or findings. While everyone on my team has had their own personal experiences and have our own beliefs and thoughts on the subject, the last thing we want to do is influence any client in the wrong ways. Not everything is paranormal. Some things may never be explained. but some things just really make you wonder and think there is something going on. :)

    And keep up the articles! These are great and have a real grounded approach to things. not everyone will agree with your viewpoints, but different opinions and point of views are always a good thing!

    And I agree with the assessment of the Ovilus! It’s a paranormal 8-ball! I keep waiting for the thing to say “Ask Again Later!”

  • James

    Hi Steve,

    Ghost shows have a big influence on what type of equipment is used in the field. The K-II became a star overnight when Ghosthunters used it on their show near the Tate murders. I think the K-II is the biggest piece of junk out there. I remember when our team was getting ready to investigate The Birdcage Theatre in Tombstone,someone turned on the air conditioning in the hotel room and a K-II meter went off in the same room! We had a good laugh on that.

    I like using the Cell Sensor because you can ask for one flash or two flashes and get it. The other meters such as the K-II have all the lights on the LED panel turn on then off. Makes it hard to prove interaction.

    Speaking of the Birdcage Theatre, I captured this EVP, probably the loudest and clearest EVP I have ever captured and it was an obvious intelligent response to my question. I am posting the link here. Author Jeff Belanger asked me permission to use it in his documentary. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing then forward it to about the 3:10 mark. It was captured on December 27th, 2007. There were five of us on the main floor conducting an hour long EVP session. I was monitoring the session with a shotgun microphone and heard nothing the entire time.

    When checking the recording devices, this loud voice was captured only on one recorder. The control recorder was just a few feet away and picked up nothing. There is actually more than one voice on this capture. This changed my view on EVP evidence forever. It is a valid phenomena and should be studied by science.

  • http://gravatar.com/oddzilla Steve O (SPI Michigan)

    James, to me, the KII is most useful when the lights are out. The lights go off in the dark when we’re near something, we double check in the direction where the lights get stronger with an EMF detector and a flashlight so we can see the numbers. We do also carry a Cell Sensor and try to mix it up between the three to try and get consistent readings between the three. And lots of things have become popular with the ghost shows. Too many people believe that every device spike or creak in the dark is a ghost.

  • gewisn

    What’s the evidence that any device reaction heralds a ghost?

  • James

    I do the same Steve. Use multiple meters while scanning a building because the single axis meters are just plain inaccurate.And that is the only thing they should be used for.

    Your looking for large spikes in EMF anyway.

  • James

    We don’t even know if ghosts exists. I like to call it paranormal phenomenon. But they could exist. And I am only talking about the evidence I personally have obtained on investigations.

    I will relay an incident that happened to me that suggested ghosts may exist.

    I was waiting for the rest of my group to get back from a history lecture. I was standing alone in an old schoolhouse built in the 1880’s at the Vulture Mine in AZ, practicing EVP with a digital recorder. About three minutes into the session I asked, ” If there is a presence here please rap twice on the wall.”

    A few seconds later something invisible walked to my left and out the back door of the building. I first thought this was a hoax and I ran out of the building and checked the A-Framed roof.

    No one was there.

    I then checked the desert bushes and no one was there. This place is 13 miles out in the desert and once was the highest producing gold mine in AZ in the 1800’s and closed down in the 1940’s.

    I was stunned. This building had no attic or basement. You can google it online and see a photo of it. Search: Vulture Mind Old Schoolhouse and you can see it.

    I was stunned. I could not debunk it. But I also realized that I was alone and many people could say I faked it. Months later I had the audio clip looked at by an ex-navy sonar operator and he said he had specialized equipment to check it out. I sent him the raw clip and he said he knew I did not fake it because the sound waves of the footsteps were abnormal.

    This is on our website if you would like to hear it.

    I did everything to debunk it. Something that sounded like boots walking past me was what it was.

    I don’t know if that was a ghost. But I would like someone to explain what they think it was because I finally had scientific proof in my mind that I witnesses something special.

    Whatever it was. I think most people need to experience something like that before they open themselves up to the possibilities of what might be happening in our environment.

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    I’ve designed and built, and am still testing a 2 channel audio recording system that on one channel a microphone(audio side) is used for input and on the other channel I’m using a voice pick up coil like what is used in recording phone conversations(EMF side). Each channel is kept separated during the audio processing, just a small adjustable amount of gain, or amplification. Each channel’s signal is then sent to a stereo digital audio recorder. The idea was to see if EVPs were more audio in nature, or EMF related by analyzing both tracks from the recorder after an EVP session.

  • gewisn

    Gerry, that’s very interesting. David Rountree might have some very useful suggestions, if you’re interested. Please test it with dozens of “normal” events (various voices, knuckles on walls, footsteps on various surfaces, etc.) and record the tests on video. Perhaps you would be good enough to post the tests on youtube, maybe with a spit screen showing the video of the event on one side and the recording analysis on the other side. Then we’d have baselines to compare to reported paranormal phenomena.

    Come to think of it, perhaps we ALL should be posting tests of our equipment (from K-II to audio recorders to Ovilus) on youtube. We could develop a whole library of tests with specific equipment, that everyone can use for comparison. One thing to always consider is reliability: Does the test produce the same result every time, and does the test produce the same result in multiple units of the exact same type? If we think we got a hit on one meter, I always like to test 2 meters side-by-side. We should the same with tests, do the test multiple times with more than one device.
    Is there already a youtube channel for this?

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    He might. I haven’t corresponded with David since we were both on the old “I Am Haunted” website. Since I use my device at private residence investigations, our group doesn’t post videos of the investigations because our clients privacy is highly valued. I have on one occasion not only recorded an EVP from my audio box, but also captured it on the audio portion of the video recording.

  • gewisn

    I would never ask you to post recordings from investigations w/o the client’s permission.
    I was talking about video recordings of controlled tests of the new setup.

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    Sorry about the misunderstanding. I haven’t video taped any testing. Once the devicec is completed I go through a series of electronic functional tests then set up the gains of the incoming signals to ensure that the outputs to the audio recorder aren’t distorted or clipped. I’m not sure how cooperative the entites in the house would be helping me test thedevice. Since we just moved and most things are still in boxes, it may take a while until I get around to doing more tests. Our group doesn’t go to the pay to investigate places, we mostly do the residences/property, except the time I took some of my gear with me on a cruise and to a tour of some Mayan ruins.

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  • http://TheParanormalAnalyst.com Matt


    I really enjoy how many of the above commentators are using their devices. I must point out that many paranormal groups claim to record EMF spikes in conjunction with other phenomena. I will be the first to say that using an EMF detector solely as a means to detect paranormal activity is foolish, but if a strong correlation can be established between an experienced phenomenon and an EMF spike, that is certainly an interesting piece of evidence that may help point to a cause.

    With that said the record for EMF use is abysmal. If the EMF detector is to be used it needs to be tested in various environments, by various people, using various devices. We really need to establish a better understanding of the unseen forces that can trigger a spike. I haven’t seen anyone do this. I also haven’t seen any skeptics demonstrate how other influencers can generate a false positive which is a great transition to my next point. It’s just as easy to criticize as it is to believe. The hard work is in the objective investigation.

    You talk about how there are so many forces at work it is pretty much impossible to attribute anything to a ghost. I am no expert in electro-magnetic fields either, but this notion highlights an ignorance on everyone’s part. We need to answer the questions, will a microwave tower provide a brief spike in EMF or will it be sustained? What will increased solar activity look like to an EMF meter? How will EMFs change through the normal operation of appliances and other electronic devices? Through collaboration with the experts I think it would be possible to weed out many causes and see whether EMF spikes are explainable through other means. At least we need to attempt such an effort.

    Skeptics need to be careful in addressing this issue. To dismiss the possibility out of hand when ignorance persists is not the right solution. This ignorance of EMF exists on all sides, but we should not dismiss nor accept the use of EMF’s for the detection of paranormal phenomena based on our ignorance alone. Until more work is done we can’t definitively say EMFs are in no way related to what many describe as ghosts nor can we conclude that a relation exists.

  • James

    I agree with you Matt. Dr. Andrew Nichols and Dr. Loyd Auerbach tested EMF meters many years ago and concluded that they offer no benefit to investigating paranormal phenomena. Yet, I see the Auerbach now carries a Trifield meter wherever he goes while investigating.

    In my ten years of investigation experience we had just a handful of cases that we could not dismiss or explain and deemed that location as active. EMF was never an issue in any of them except one case where in 5 investigations, we were bombarded with EMF readings from 3 different meters the entire evening my director and I stayed in the home alone. The Cell Sensor, as I mentioned before seemed to be answering our questions with 3 beeps for yes, and two beeps for no. This astounded us.

    I later did some research and the closest cell tower was over 3 miles away since we were on the outskirts of Phoenix in the desert.

    It’s never happened since. But, I just can’t dismiss EMF like many others have done.

    We ruled out PK in this incident since there were only two of us in the house and it never happened to us again.

    So, either the phenomena was controlling the meter or was manipulating the EMF field in front of it. We did use a Trifield Natural meter as well as three different A/C meters. All three A/C meters were spiking continously the entire night but the Trifield was quiet with no response what-so-ever.

    I consulted with Auerbach on this case and he thought it might be some type of intelligent haunting case. However, I always suspected that the client had some PK issues that might have created the phenomena we recorded at the house.

    It is interesting to note that the house had no EMF issues at all except for your typical bleeds in the kitchen area…

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    Matt, it’s not just microwaves that can cause a false trigger but all kinds of RF (Radio Frequency) such as cell phones and EM garbage as well as lightning, or maybe “dark lightning” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424210319.htm The article stated that a radio reciever in North Carolina picked up the radio discharge from a thunderstorm in Venezuela 1864 miles away. It appears that thunderstorms may be another cause for false triggering of EMF meters as well. As an electronic engineer, and HAM(amateur) radio operator, I have experimented with generating some types of radio and other electro magnetic interference to see what, if any, affects it had on EMF meters (yep, the infamous K II is the worst/ most easily triggered by RF/EMF). I haved performed tests on my K II, T-1392 Digital, data logging EMF meter, Trifield Natural EMFmeter, and my Spectran NF-5020 Spectrum Analyzer. You know the CFL light everyone is wanting you to have in your home? They emit all kinds of RFI and EMI (radio frequency interference, and EM interferrence), thay can back feed this interference onto the power lines in a house causing what is known as “dirty power”. I had heard the rumors about CFL bulbs, but until I verified it with an osciliscope I didn’t really believe it. Today, I refuse to use these type of bulbs in my house in order to keep everyone here from being exposed to unnecessary RF radiation.

    I read that your Trifield meter is the “Natural” type, it is designed to filter out man made, or AC EMFs. It will register only natural, static, or what is known as a DC field.

  • http://TheParanormalAnalyst.com Matt

    But that’s why the correlation is important. If we can understand the signatures of common sources of EMF and account for them we are left with the possible thunderstorm or other anomaly that may trigger a spike. A spike alone should indicate nothing in terms of evidence of paranormal phenomena, but in direct correlation with another experience this is something of note. If this correlation was observed by multiple independent groups now we have something interesting. If it happens a handful of times we can chock it up to coincidence, but if there is a strong correlation we have something to look into.

    We need to do a better job understanding the signatures of these other influencers. Will a CFL cause a spike in EMF, or a baseline increase? I understand that there are many potential sources for EMF but no one has really tried to take several meters and see if they could understand these signatures and develop some standards and practices to reduce false positives.

  • http://TheParanormalAnalyst.com Matt

    In reflection it may be better to frame this as a question because I have no answer for it:

    Can we account for common EMF signals to a degree where a correlation between EMF spikes and suspected paranormal phenomena be significant?

    I haven’t seen anyone do enough to answer that question yet. That’s really what I was trying to get at.

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    I guess I need to get motivated and start doing some research. We recently moved and all of my equipment is still in boxes. Thanks for the ideas. If I find anyting significant, I’ll post it and hopefully someone else might be able to duplicate it for verification.

  • gewsin

    Gerry, please post regardless of whether you get anything significant. The negative results are just as important as the positive ones.

  • http://gravatar.com/cincyparanormal Gerry Bicknaver

    Now everyone can help out with some experimentation. Tomorrow a CME should hit the earth around around 3 P.M. Not sure what side of the planet this will be on, but if anyone is available, it might be a good time to break out the EMF meters and see if there is any noticable changes or activity.

  • http://TheParanormalAnalyst.com Matt

    Would microwave towers, seismic activity and solar activity have a wide area of effect? If they do you could eliminate these by putting a second EMF outside of the investigation site. Have a camera record the EMF readout (or data-logger) and have a watch or the camera clock synchronized to your own. If you notice an abnormal reading inside the house, go back and check the camera to see what the reading was for the exterior EMF at the same time.

  • cincyparanormal

    Hey Thomas, what kind of meter do you have?  I too am a HAM, general class.
    Gerry  KC8VSD

  • max

    I do agreed just using EMF or EVP without using technical knowledge to investigate or in technical point of view is to troubleshooting the problems, regardless it is ghost or not. It is considered a repair man doesn’t know the electronic principle and trying to do repairing jobs. furthermore the spirit entity may have no effect on EMF at all. As those have studies electronic would know that our technological world principle is a ideal calculation. But in real there are many complex sources of noise can interfered with equipment on how they operated.

    With those people don’t even know the basic electronic principle and trying to explain electrical theory. It is like town people went to jungle and the jungle man think that they are God.

    Everything has science in it , although human at current sci still lack of understanding or fully understand on all the context and play safe for not believe it is true until it is proven. Just like Chinese Traditional Medication , which slowly gained the recognition as what it does. But this did not mean that you should ignore science at all when it is not able to explain or just by said it cannot be proven in sci.

    One must proven that the phenomenon it is not related to all electronic and electrical science and even quantum mechanic (it not mean that ghost may not follow this theory ,just mean we haven’t evidence on how it work or related). Then it would said that plausible it is something extra or unexplained phenomena and if on same time it is able to linked to intelligent on the being. Then it is plausible to said may be it is what they claim. But it could be otherwise, as one may thing it is spirit ,but it may be other being all together.

    With many decade human living in this world , some are close enough to proof that their existence. But unfortunately that they didn’t follow proper method so that it can be rule out other possibilities of the phenomena that occurred. But with different encounter i do believe some of them very did encounter the spirit. But others may need to find out if they silly enough to believed what they encounter is may some other phenomena that they claimed(you claim it is ghost ,but it may be demon or electrical disturbances in future sci). Question is ,why you want to proof it is ghost so hard? it is because you want to know after life or the true or just to be curious?

    if you happen to go to ASIA , there are people actually raising ghost to help them to do something that human can’t do, it would be more easily and directly studies the so called ghost.

    Knowing the fact that in ASIA have many this type of event and cursing, it would be more easily to studies ,since it can repeat or reproduced the steps easily in the scientific way.

    Ghost ? people called it spirit. what the different?