Today I will discuss one of the elephants in the room as it pertains to certain equipment that can be seen being used at paranormal investigations on television and on the internet. There are some devices used on paranormal investigation shows that to some people seem possibly questionable to the ability of the equipment to perform the task that it is claimed to be able to do. Theories often spread like wildfire across the paranormal investigation field as well as the ghost hunting field. Just the obscure thought that the potential of a device even to a small extent being able to accomplish what it is claimed to be able to do will send many ghost hunters and paranormal investigators into a frenzy to grab their debit card and order the new device on the internet. Those who conduct scientific paranormal investigations are quite aware that often you spend hours sitting in a room conducting various activities with no response on the paranormal side of things. Then you get to watch video and audio of you doing that for hours at a time. The thought of a new piece of equipment to possibly make the investigation (or ghost hunt for those who do it recreationally) more interesting and enjoyable as well as its possibility of actually doing what it is claimed to do, often creates an adrenaline rush and people can’t wait another second to get the new device. While over the years there have been pieces of equipment that have come on the market that are extremely beneficial to paranormal investigations or ghost hunting, there are other pieces of equipment that, in my opinion, can’t scientifically do what they are advertised to do. Today we will discuss various pieces of equipment used during paranormal investigations and/or ghost hunts that I personally choose not to use, and why I choose not to use them.
K II meter (pronounced K2) – Ahhhhh the old K2 meter. When paranormal investigating and ghost hunting was making its first huge climb in popularity this century everyone had a K II device. It quickly gained a reputation as a ghost or spirit detector. I remember seeing shows on tv that claimed it had to be a spirit or ghost setting it off every time it lit up. Others used it as a basic EMF meter to find man made electromagnetic radiation or as a focus tool during Direct Voice Phenomenon and Electronic Voice Phenomenon sessions. At the time it was one of the more flashier pieces of equipment on the market and it showed results very easily. However there is a reason why it lights up like a Christmas tree so easily. It is an unshielded EMF detector. What does that mean? It means that the components that sense electromagnetic radiation can and will react to anything, and I mean ANYTHING. What can set off the K II device you ask? Your Apple Watch transferring data to your cell phone, any of your cell phone’s cellular or WI-FI activities, the infrared focuser on cameras and phones, a kids walkie talkie down the street, an emergency vehicle’s radio transmission nearby, a cell phone tower, a truck driving by, a Wi-Fi router, a light bulb, a human body, ionospheric radio wave propagation from thousands of miles away, lightning dozens of miles away, the neighbor’s radio controlled toy car, a drone being used nearby, the cat walking across the room, solar radiation, another K II meter nearby, need I go on? With no shielding this device is so sensitive that anything with any sort of electromagnetic radiation will set this thing off. With the device being unshielded and so sensitive I feel that it can not be used reliably as you can’t be sure to any extent of what is setting the device off. You don’t know if it is a spirit in the room or someone’s overpowered citizens band radio a thousand miles away whose radio transmission has bounced off the ionosphere and ended up where you are. I feel that these devices, hypothetically, are only good to be used during your investigation walkthrough to get base readings, and even at that you would want to use a more sophisticated device. Personally I wouldn’t use this device for a paranormal investigation or a ghost hunt.
Ghost Box / Spirit Box / Frank’s Box -This device was proposed and created by Frank Sumption in 2002. He proposed that a modified short wave radio would allow a deceased entity to speak to the living through the device. Frank claimed that he received the instructions on how to build the device from the spirit world. Although there isn’t science of any kind to back up his proclamations many in the paranormal investigation field began using copies of the device as they enjoyed the premise that such a device could be feasible. Users of this device believe that somehow after death a spirit has gained the skillset to speak through radio waves being picked up by the device, which scans through radio frequencies at a fast rate. Some people swear by this device, but they may not understand the deeper science pertaining to the device, electromagnetic radiation, and the capabilities of a deceased human spirit. Personally I would love it if the device could do what it is claimed to do, or that a paranormal entity after death gained the skill set to engage in a superhuman feat of speaking on radio frequencies or manipulating the device to allow it to do so. The desire for such a device to exist and the want for its advertised capabilities to be true by so many people that you will still find forms of this device being used everywhere. What you are hearing when using this device are snippets of radio transmissions from broadcast radio stations. Some people claim that what you are hearing is a spirit speaking, or a spirit controlling what words get through. If you put the device in a faraday bag which blocks out most radio signals you will find that the device has gone silent. I am someone that has been a radio communications hobbyist for nearly 30 years. I run one of the largest communication groups in the world. Any radio technician will tell you that the ghost box can not do what it is claimed to do. I ask again how in death does a spirit gain the ability to speak using FM radio or modify the components of a radio to speak through it? There is something called Observer Expectancy Effect. In this case it basically means that the person using the device expects it to do what is claimed that it can do, and perceives any output from the device in a way that it backs up their personal desire for the device to do what it is claimed to do. Please don’t spend any money on this device. At least the K II meter can be used to find radiation sources in a house. I wish there was a device that did what is claimed the ghost box could do, or that people gained the skill set to do what is theorized that they can do after death. I am sorry. None of it is true. Please step back for a minute and think with some general scientific logic. What is claimed of this device isn’t scientifically possible.
Ovilus – This device was invented by Bill Chappel and originally sold for $600. Bill claimed that this device has the ability to sense changes in temperature and magnetic fields (which isn’t junk science, as those devices have been around for years), however he claims that he has figured out a way to basically use it as a “universal translator” that you would see used in Star Trek. Bill claims that this device understands fluctuations in temperature and magnetic fields and converts the sensed fluctuations into verbal language. He believes that he has figured out a non-verbal language used by paranormal entities by manipulating temperature and electromagnetic fields and has translated that language into English through the Ovilus device. Due to a strong desire for a device like this to actually do what is claimed of it, it spread like wild fire and you will see many people use this device to this day. While I whole heartedly wish that the device had that ability, it doesn’t. Paranormal entities as a whole group didn’t work out a language consisting of manipulated electromagnetic fields and temperature fluctuations that Bill then learned and translated into English through a translation device. Your downloaded Ovilus like cell phone app doesn’t do what it is advertised to do either. The app and physical ovilus or ovilus like device are good for entertainment purposes only. They are not a universal translator for a spirit language of manipulated temperature and magnetic fields that all spirits have learned. Bill went on record in an article in October 2016 saying that he doesn’t believe in ghosts.
Kinect Structured Light Source Camera (SLS Cam)- This device has a few different functions that work together. Firstly it is a light projector that emits infrared light similar to the pen style green laser grids that paranormal investigators use. The software within the device tracks every single infrared dot that it sends out. The device also has an infrared depth sensor. The infrared depth sensor has what is known as a CMOS sensor. CMOS stands for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. This sensor converts protons into electrons which are then digitally processed to create an image that is then projected onto a viewable screen. CMOS sensors are very commonly used in digital cameras. The infrared depth sensor receives back the infrared light that was sent out and reflected back at the device. Some of the returning infrared light has been manipulated by various objects and shapes within the room. Some of the manipulation is stronger while some is weaker. The CMOS sensor prepares this information for the software in the SLS cam which interprets the returning infrared light and computes the distance of the objects that the infrared light has bounced off of. It does this measuring something called “time in flight” which is the time it takes the infrared light to be projected by the camera, bounce off of an object, and return back to the camera’s depth sensor. Using this information the camera projects a visual representation on its LED screen. This device has practical purposes, but I feel that it has no practical use in the paranormal investigation field. I am sure that you are asking why do I feel this way? Any unbiased experiments with this device have found that it takes objects already there overlays a stick figure over them. It seems to interpret almost anything as a figure such as a doorway, bag of trash, electric boxes, walls, support beams, windows, construction imperfections, tables, televisions, light fixtures, etc. The list is virtually endless. Anything viewed on this device will be seen flailing around. “But, Mr. Extreme if the stick figure disappears and another appears, it means an entity has moved or one disappeared and another took its place. It has to be paranormal.” No, It just means the SLS camera has locked onto a different object in the room and overlayed it with a stick figure. “But Mr. Extreme I asked it to wave at me and after asking multiple times it did. It has to be paranormal.” No, that is called the Infinite Monkey Theorem. That means that if you ask long enough the result is bound to eventually happen. “But, Mr. Extreme I entered the frame and it reached out and touched my hand. It has to be paranormal.” No, your physical form changed the parameters of what the camera was sensing and it linked you and the other object that it had been focusing on together. In reality even if an SLS Cam could do what is advertised of it an SLS Cam needs to be used in a room with absolutely nothing in it and aimed at a wall that is all of the same color with no physical deformities. That is how they make character movements in many video games. They record someone with sensors on them against a green screen. I get it, you wish more than anything that the device could do what is claimed of it. It would be wonderful if it did. Unfortunately it doesn’t. What you are experiencing is Observer Expectancy Effect. You so strongly wish for this device to do what is claimed of it, that you are subconsciously and not so subconsciously choosing to believe what you are seeing is paranormal, because you want it to be paranormal. Unfortunately due to something known as Semmelweis-Reflex many people believe that this device can do what it says it can, and nothing you can say or do will change their mind because it wont support their preexisting beliefs about the device. I am sorry but the SLS Camera is not a ghost or spirit cam. The usage of it in the paranormal field was made in the script from one of the Paranormal Activity movies that then got picked up by one of the paranormal television shows that is known for its willingness to assume all equipment works in the paranormal field as it is proclaimed to do and that everything they find has to be paranormal. After those two happenings it spread like wildfire. As much as you do, I wish this device was capable of doing what it is advertised to do. Unfortunately it isn’t. Please don’t spend your hard earned money on this device.
I know that many of you don’t want to hear this but, do you remember the old adage that if it is too good to be true… it probably is. The KII Meter, Ghost/Spirit/Frank Box, Ovilus, and SLS Cam fall into that old saying. I, like you, wish whole heartedly that these devices could perform the tasks that is proclaimed by the companies that make them. Unfortunately they do not. I know that due to the Observer Expectancy Effect many of you swear by them and due to the Semmelweis-Reflex nothing I say here will convince you otherwise. The lead investigators of the two most respected paranormal investigation TV shows Ghost Nation and the new iteration of Ghost Hunters will only use equipment that they know is reliable. Do you see them using the four devices that I spoke about today? No you will not. I completely understand why you were lead to believe these devices could do what they are advertised to do. That coupled with your desire for them to actually perform those tasks led you to believe that they were actually able to do what is claimed of them. However, they can’t do what is claimed of them. Please put your money and investigation time into technologies and investigative techniques that are reliable and can do what is claimed of them during paranormal investigations.