Caveat Emptor: Ghost Radar Is Fake!

1) Start by picking your favourite number

2) Multiply by 3 then

3) Add 3, then again multiply by 3

4) You’ll get a 2 or 3 digit number….

5) Add those digits together.  If you end up with another two digit number add those digits together until you have one digit.

Now Scroll down…

With your number in mind check the list below to find which fortuitous path I have divined from universe for you:

  1. Become a lecturer on the quantum physics science tour
  2. Start a New World Religion and recruit Sylvia Brown
  3. Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, then send him a written critique
  4. Quit your job and become a faith healer for your local homeless shelter
  5. Stay on your current path; you are righteous and wholesome
  6. Start a Sherlock Holmes re-enactment society in your basement.
  7. Announce your candidacy for the office of the President
  8. Invent and apply for a patent on a free-energy device
  9. Send the value of your last three paycheques to me through the PayPal Donate button above
  10. Drool in the corner for an hour every day
  11. Become a Scientologist
  12. Start a religious-military cult and populate it with those who got #10

Okay, you can stop picking other numbers, the Universe has spoken. I’ll be expecting payment before the 1st of the month.

Have I made my point, or should we go on?

GhostRadarThis has been a lesson in the virtues of critical thinking.  I suspect that the vast majority of you got a chuckle out of the above math magic, and then quickly decided it must be some sort of a scam (others may already be looking for accepted payment methods), and I also suspect that the point of the above test is not lost in the humour of it all.

It would seem, from the vast array of tom-foolery going on the in the western marketplace, that the people of America (the Continent) are entirely the most gullible people on the planet.  There are exceptions of course (so cool your jets on that strongly worded email for a minute), but occasionally there comes a product that is so fantastic, so wondrous, so ridiculously fake, that we can’t help but open our hearts and our wallets as we clamber over one another to get a piece of material happiness.

In the paranormal world especially; we enthusiasts, hobbyists, researchers and investigators are inundated with a catalogue of products that are touted to offer us exclusive insights into the ethereal world of ghosts, ghouls and goblins.  In a perfect world, these products would be constructed based on science, based on proven methodologies and on commercial accountability.  They would be backed by fiscally responsible and morally dependable companies, and they would be marketed with transparency and honesty.

k2_meter_good-2Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.  Of the untold numbers of products and devices that the paranormal community is bombarded with, there are some that stick out as being…worthy of some scrutiny.  In recent years such devices as the K2 Meter and the notorious Ovilus I have dragged the paranormal research community through the proverbial mud.

Whether we’re talking about an overly sensitive and poorly designed EMF meter, or in the case of the Ovilus, a pre-programmed random word generator, the consequences are the same in every instance.  Flocks of would-be ghost hunters swarm various online retailers in hopes of purchasing one of these devices that’s purported to change the metaphysical world forever.  Invariably, these devices are debunked by learned men and women in the field, but not before a host of lesser informed people wastes their time and money on the product, and worse yet, not before so-called evidence of paranormal activity is showcased with a thank you nod to these ridiculous pieces of electronic crap.

Now, however, we have a new technological enemy; one that is combined with a trusted name, a financial giant and with a long standing history of general consumer popularity…the I-phone.

I should say, right of the bat that it isn’t the I-phone itself that’s the problem.  In-and-of-itself it truly is a technological marvel, providing instant and easy connectivity between people and information; a perfect tool for today’s culture and society.  No, it isn’t the I-phone itself, it’s actually an I-Phone app that I’m questioning today.

Ghost Radar, developed by none other than Spud Pickle.

As outlined on the Spud Pickle website for this particular application, Ghost Radar measures quantum flux (quantum fluctuation) in the atmosphere and translates that into any one of a variety of display modes, from a cartoony graphic radar screen, to a numerical value.

g_iphoneI had to give my head a shake when I first read the above on their website.  I mean, the I-phone seems like a pretty sophisticated device, but I don’t recall hearing that it could measure quantum flux.  After all, it’s only a cell phone, albeit, a cell phone on steroids.

By the developers own admission, the I-phone itself doesn’t have the necessary equipment on board to actually measure quantum flux.  Among its many capabilities, the I-phone and the I-pod touch carry a host of electronic gizmos that make them work as a cell phone, mp3 player, mobile computer etc (respectively).  Such as Wi-Fi transceivers, touch sensors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, speakers and microphones, some of which are designed to allow the device to be aware of its physical environment, and to display its various media according to its attitude or movement.

It does not, however, house any type of laser micrometer; its chronometer is not accurate to within one millionth of a second (as would be required for quantum measurement), it doesn’t have the hard memory necessary to house the highly complex calculations and mathematical theories needed to quantify any such fluctuation, and simply put it doesn’t have the ability to see quantum particles, nor does it even have the basic ability to detect electromagnetic frequencies (EMF).

Right off the bat, the I-phone fails as a ghost hunting device, just from a look at its hardware; but what really does this software do?  Is it anything more than a glorified random output generator?  All indications are that the answer is ‘no’, it is nothing more than a cleverly programmed cell phone application that generates seemingly non-random display results.

graphOn the Spud Pickle website you’ll also find a host of user testimonials, most of which are nondescript kudos to the developer for making such a ‘cool app’, but some are more detailed pseudo-analyses touting unbelievable results.  And I warn you, beware what you believe from some anonymous tribute to a questionable device.  This application is not capable of doing what the developer claims, however, just as any analog or digital recording device can be manipulated by ambient energies to provide mysterious EVP’s, so too can the I-phone be manipulated by the same energies, though this is not a technological market cornered by Apple, nor is it the exclusive domain of the Spud Pickle application developer.

On an aside from the above, Digital Dowsing, the makers of the infamous Ovilus I (the “I” being an indication of a generational product) and the Ovilus III, have terminated production of the Ovilus I and have since replaced that product with their own I-phone app: I-Ovilus.

Now, while I’m personally pained by their lack of creativity with the naming of their application, I want to point out that this transmutation of their original abomination is no less ridiculous, and in fact, since the I-phone contains none of the measurement hardware contained in the original Ovilus, the I-Ovilus is in fact even more useless than its namesake.

The moral here, besides the obvious, is that in our pursuit of an understanding of this strange and beautiful world around us, there are no easy answers.  There is no button to push, no machine to rely on and no computer to tell us the answer.  This remains a burgeoning field of academic study and lain before us is a long and winding path of hard work and experimentation.  If anything, the popularity of the above devices and applications is a simple testament of the divide between those in the paranormal community who seek truth, and those who seek notoriety, and even yet, those who seek only cheap thrills.

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Martin J. Clemens

Author, Editor, Tweetaholic at Martin J. Clemens
Writer, Canadian, Fortean Addict...and lover of science and history. "As for me...I know only, that I know nothing..." I also blog at www.dailygrail.com and mysteriousuniverse.org
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