If it were only as easy as grabbing your paranormal investigation equipment and running into a location and having yourself a fun time investigating for the evening. There are so many scientific situations that a paranormal investigator should be familiar with as to help explain paranormal activity, or perceived paranormal activity that may have a natural cause. Someone might mistake a bunch of scenarios that present themselves as paranormal activity, when they may have a real world scientific explanation. Such things as ionospheric radio wave propagation, Charles Bonnet Syndrome, cryptomensia, and jamais vu are just a few of the many situations that could possibly be misinterpreted as paranormal activity. It is our duty as a paranormal investigator to provide the most accurate information to our clients, and in order to be able to do that we must have some understanding of a plethora of science related subjects in order to avoid making false positives. Today I will be discussing Schumann Resonances which is another phenomenon that could present itself to affect a paranormal investigation.
The ionosphere is a region of Earth’s atmosphere that ranges from 30 to 250 miles above the surface of the Earth. The ionosphere has what is known as a anisotropic current, which means a current that varies in magnitude when measured from a different direction. An example of anisotropic would be sliding your hand along a beam of wood. If you go with the grain it will feel much smoother and have less resistance. If you go against the grain of the wood it will feel rougher and have more resistance. The situation is similar with the electrical conductivity of the Earth’s ionosphere. It varies with the differentiating direction of conductivity flow. This behavior of the ionosphere causes a closed waveguide to be present between the ionosphere and the surface of the Earth. An everyday day example of a closed waveguide would be the coaxial cable that brings the television programming from your satellite dish to you cable box inside of the house. While that example is one that is made by mankind, the closed waveguide between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere is one found naturally in nature. Due to the Earth’s shape having limited dimension there is a resulting action where the Earth-ionospheric waveguide acts as a resonant cavity. A resonant cavity is a location where electromagnetic or mechanical energy oscillates at a higher amplitude than the surrounding area, meaning that electromagnetic radiation flowing through a resonant cavity is stronger for certain frequencies than it is for others. So to simply everything there is a phenomenon caused by a naturally caused situation between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere where there is amplification of certain electromagnetic frequencies that is greater than other frequencies. These frequencies are known the Schumann Resonance. These frequencies are within the Extremely Low Frequency band which ranges from 3hz to 60hz. The human ear can generally hear within the range of 20hz to 20,000hz. Sound frequencies between 0hz and 20hz are called infrasound. Although it is rare, some humans can hear down to 18hz. The Schumann Resonance frequencies are 7.83 Hz (fundamental), 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. Two of those frequencies fall below a human’s ability to hear them. A side note is that elephants, rhinoceros and hippopotami can hear infrasound and use it to communicate when in large herds.
So how does this all come into play in a paranormal investigation?
Some humans have been found to be sensitive to infrasound. Infrasound has been reported to cause problems with the inner ear, vertigo, imbalance, intolerable sensations, incapacitation, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, and bowel spasm. It is also reported to cause resonances in inner organs, such as the heart. Do some of these symptoms sound like something that someone has reported when describing a sensation that they perceive to be paranormal in nature? Whether it is during a storm, or on a nice quiet night, infrasound could be present and causing a problem.
What are some meteorological phenomenon that Schumann Resonances have been linked to? Firstly there are sprites, which are flashes of bright red light above storms. In addition a few other upper atmospheric phenomenon which are similar include emission light of very low frequency (ELVES), Jets which are a type of lightning, Transient Red Optical Luminous Lineaments (TROLLs) which can appear after a sprite and appears as a red spot with a faint tail, pixies which are white light above a thunderstorm, Green emissions from excited oxygen in Sprite Tops (GHoST) which can appear after a red sprite, and Gnomes which are a spike of light that points upward from the top of a thunderstorm. Schumann Resonances are also linked to short term earthquake prediction. They can be used to monitor global warming and are used during geophysical studies to locate offshore hydrocarbon deposits.
Now you are asking what do Schumann Resonance have to do with my investigation?
Due to the increased amplitude of the frequencies that I mentioned earlier that are below the level that a human ear can hear, it can do one or more of a few things.
Firstly, it can create additional interference and electric noise with your devices. While I always use a Faraday cage on my voice recorder, I strongly suggest that they are used if investigating during a storm
Secondly, there is the possibility for a greatly increased level of infrasound which can affect the people conducting the investigation. Be aware that there may be spikes of infrasound at 7.83hz and 14.3hz which you can not hear. For those sensitive it can cause strange sensations that could be misperceived as paranormal.
There is equipment available to receive infrasound and give it a display read out on a laptop. To purchase the device you are looking at spending around $350 and a compatible laptop and included software is necessary. The device does not work by itself.
Investigating in a lightning storm poses multiple challenges. Interference from lightning, Schumann Resonances, other infrasound, barometric pressure changes, and potential increase of ionospheric radio wave propagation can cause a great amount of interference with your equipment or your investigators. If you know there is going to be an electrical storm I suggest rescheduling the investigation. I am aware some people claim there is more activity during a lightning storm and love to investigate during them, but in reality the extra interference with EMF meters, REM pods, cameras, and audio equipment isn’t conducive to a clean investigation. Your goal is to find the truth for the client and not to have extra fun with the spooky. I would suggest conducting recreational ghost hunts during storms for the extra fun, but schedule scientific paranormal investigations on days when there will not be electrical storms.