Vibroacoustic Phenomena Reception and Analyzation
If you are a fan of any form of paranormal television programming you will have seen ghost hunters or paranormal investigators walk around a location with a variety of equipment with flashy lighting and often with audible alerts. Most of these devices are variations of an electromagnetic frequency meter which senses changes in the local electromagnetic field, also known as EMF. Some paranormal investigators believe that paranormal entities can either produce their own EMF field or have the ability to alter localized EMF fields whether by the nature of their presence or by intelligent manipulation. After an initial EMF sweep of the premises before and after reducing electromagnetic radiation sources (often referred to as going lights out) and documenting your findings, any handheld equipment should be put down and permitted to do its intended purpose and not carried around as our own electromagnetic expenditures can influence the readings, however that is another topic for another day. Audio phenomena such as those that have a history of controlled scientific exploration by people with advanced college degrees can often result in misperceived paranormal activity, however if you watch the paranormal television programming you will rarely see this particular subject investigated and analyzed when it should be a major focus at the beginning of a paranormal investigation to either confirm or rule out vibroacoustic phenomenon as a possible cause of situations that are perceived to be paranormal. Television shows are orchestrated to focus on the spooky and not the science as it will draw the largest viewing audience. As a serious paranormal investigator we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard to research, investigate, analyze, and find the best educated opinion for our clients and not be biased to quickly jump to an assumption of a paranormal cause because it is more enjoyable for us if it were so. Most of us got into this field for the spooky, but it is important to not jump to that conclusion or lean towards that conclusion without working the science first.
Vibroacoustic phenomenon is a term that refers to when audible and or non-audible frequencies combine with vibration and the result influences human physiology or inanimate objects. This is not paranormal theory, and is a subject of science that has had controlled scientific method based experiments by scientists with advanced college degrees.
The average human ear can detect and resolve audible frequencies between the range of 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz (often spoken as 20 kHz.) As it pertains to sound the term Hertz refers to how many times per second that the electromagnetic sound wave passes by a given location. Analogous to waves moving across the surface of an ocean, sound waves move in a similar fashion and Hertz is a term used to measure that motion. The term Hertz was adopted in 1933 and named after German physicist Heinrich Hertz who made groundbreaking discoveries as it pertains to electromagnetic radiation. If you listen to an FM radio station at frequency of 98.6 MHz on the dial you are listening to a station that is transmitting at 98,600,000 Hertz. On the AM dial a station at 580 kHz is the equivalent of 580,000 Hertz. There are sound frequencies outside of the normal frequency range that the human ear can resolve. Sound frequencies below 20 Hz are known as infrasound or infrasonic and sound frequencies above 20,000 Hz are known as ultrasound or ultrasonic. While infrasound is limited to a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum below 20 Hz, ultrasound technically runs from 20,000 hertz (20 kHz) up to a few billion Hertz, however for todays discussion we are discussing the frequency range between 20,000 hertz (20 kHz) and 150,000 hertz (150 kHz.)
Ultrasound is often used in medical practice as a tool to be able to view the inside of the human body. The waves of ultrasound bounce off of objects inside your body and return to the ultrasound device which has a detector to measure the time it takes for the ultrasonic waves to return. Software is used to then give a visual representation of these measurements allowing a doctor to see a picture of the inside of your body. Some animals use ultrasound to help guide their movements. This behavior is known as echolocation. Animals such as bats, porpoises, toothed whales, and dolphins emit ultrasonic frequencies and can analyze the sound as it reflects off of objects and returns to them in order to consciously find their way around in locations with minimal lighting.
While very few humans are able to produce infrasound it is used by such animals as alligators, hippopotamuses, peacocks, okapis, giraffes, elephants and rhinoceroses in order to guide and communicate within large packs or over long distances up to hundreds of miles. Infrasound is also generated by elements of Mother Nature such as large waterfalls, ocean waves, thunder, volcanos, earthquakes, avalanches, lightning, and the calving of icebergs. There are man-made producers of infrasound such as sonic booms, diesel engines, electrical transducers, wind turbines, diesel engines, and some specialized audio speakers.
So if you are unfamiliar with how these sound waves play any part in the paranormal research and investigation field of study you are saying to yourself by now why haven’t I seen any of this on the paranormal television shows and what does any of this have to do with paranormal investigations? It has everything to do with paranormal investigations and every paranormal investigator should be familiar with these subjects and in addition have technology in their equipment arsenal in order to detect infrasound and ultrasound as well as analyze it using specialized computer software. Let me explain to you why this is so.
In particular infrasound is most likely to be present in some of your investigations, but the results of the influence of infrasound is often misinterpreted as paranormal activity. Infrasound can cause inanimate objects and living beings to physically vibrate. If you turn up your stereo you will hear and feel objects vibrating around the house. You can not hear infrasound, but when it is present and of moderate strength it can have the same effect as a stereo speaker would. How many investigations have you conducted where someone reported feeling or hearing something shake in the room or something move across a flat surface? Infrasound can cause this to occur. How many investigations have you conducted where someone reported bouts of feeling uneasy, anxiety, panic, shakiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, agitation, annoyance, cranial pressure, tinnitus, fullness, or fatigue? The aforementioned symptoms are all related to infrasound exposure. As with most biological influencers on our planet some people are more effected by infrasound than others. NASA has shown us that the human eye resonates at 18 Hz. That falls into the infrasound range. Infrasound can also cause our eye to resonate the infrasound causing many of the symptoms that I listed. These physical symptoms are all often associated with paranormal activity, however they are also all symptoms of exposure to infrasound for those who are sensitive to it.
There are also two phenomenon that in particular that are of particular interest in regards to infrasound and possible misinterpretation as something being paranormal.
Firstly there is something called a Helmholtz Resonance. This is a phenomenon named after Hermann von Helmholtz who was a German physicist, philosopher, physician and polymath. A polymath is someone who has vast knowledge about multiple subjects who draws upon that knowledge in order to solve problems. While Helmholtz had many significant accomplishments in his long career, he is particularly known for his work with sound. In 1962 he wrote a book called “On the Sensations of Tone” in which he spoke about a device that could analyze complex sound and pick out specific frequencies from that sound. He built some of these devices and they are now known as a Helmholtz Resonator. As it pertains to paranormal investigations how many times have you heard someone report a spooky moan, a whistling sound, humming, or whispering? These reports could be caused by a Helmholtz Resonance which is sound created by moving air passing over a cavity such as a small hole in the pole of a metal fence, a deep crack in a window frame, the top of a glass bottle, or other similar situations where there is a cavity in an object. Are you searching for causes of a Helmholtz Resonance as a possible source of sound that is being reported as paranormal? In addition it is possible that some of these Helmholtz resonances can also fall into the infrasound frequency range.
Secondly there is something called a Schumann Resonance. On average, at any time there are approximately 2,000 active thunderstorms in the Earth’s atmosphere. This results in approximately 50 lightning bolts being produced every second. Lightning causes the formation of an electromagnetic wave that continues to travel through the atmosphere far away from the lightning bolt. There is a layer of Earth’s atmosphere that begins approximately 60 miles above ground known as the ionosphere. The lower level of this part of the atmosphere forms a barrier to these electromagnetic waves and acts as a mirror to these electromagnetic waves and bounces them in a different direction. Some of these electromagnetic waves have the ability to combine and the process can continue building the strength of the electromagnetic wave. These electromagnetic waves can create what can be referred to as an electromagnetic heartbeat as they combine and bounce off of the atmosphere and can get trapped allowing for a consistent repetition. This natures heartbeat is a repeated pulse. These waves are very low frequency and typically fall into the infrasound range. How often do you hear stories about paranormal activity being amplified during storms? Could this be due to the increased electrical activity perceivably causing increased paranormal activity? Could it be the Schumann Resonances are causing enormous amounts of infrasound that cause physiological effects on humans and effects on inanimate objects causing perceived but not paranormal activity. Could it be one, or the other, or both? We all got in the paranormal investigation field because of being drawn to the spooky. However we can’t forget that science must come first to ensure we aren’t making false assumptions of paranormal activity.
Now how about ultrasound? Ultrasound which is non-audible frequencies above 20,000 Hz (20 kHz,) just like infrasound, can cause physical symptoms in some human beings. Those physical symptoms include shifts in sound perception, altered blood sugar levels, electrolyte imbalance, fatigue, headaches, nausea, problems with sleep, cognitive impairment, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, and irritability. Again, aren’t those symptoms often associated with a paranormal occurrence? In some cases could it be ultrasound causing the symptoms and not something paranormal?
Ultrasound can be produced by some living organisms such as but not remotely limited to praying mantises, beetles, lacewings, moths, a variety of rodents, toothed whales, bats, and dolphins. Many animals use echolocation, which is ultrasonic frequencies to aid in guiding their movement. As for man made mechanics there are a multitude of sources of ultrasound including light bulbs, dog whistles, plug in pest control devices, burglar alarms, motion sensors, some vehicle sensors, automatic door openers, fish finders, and many everyday household appliances just to name a few.
As I have discussed there are a multitude of sources of infrasound and ultrasound produced by Mother Nature, animals, and some of our everyday technology. Infrasound can even be easily produced by a malfunctioning motor in a mechanical device such as a fan. Ultrasound can be be produced by everyday household appliances. We are surrounded by producers of infrasonic and ultrasonic frequencies and they can have many physiological effects for some people.
Keeping in mind everything that I just explained why doesn’t every paranormal investigator have a device that can receive and computer software that can analyze infrasound and ultrasound frequencies? Why don’t you see these devices on paranormal television shows? Please keep in mind these shows want to keep as much of the spooky lore as possible because that’s what the viewers are hoping to see. If they took the time to do the deep science except for a small niche group they would lose most of their audience. While there are a few paranormal television shows that I do enjoy they are not a good representation of a scientific paranormal investigation. Infrasound and/or ultrasound could be a cause of many cases of perceived paranormal activity and it is extremely important to investigate and either confirm or rule out the possibility of infrasound and ultrasound as an influencer before leaning towards a paranormal cause.
For several hundred dollars there is readily available technology to purchase from Amazon and eBay by the leading manufacturer of the technology that can detect infrasound. There is a semi-popular cell phone program that claims to be able to receive and monitor infrasound, but there are two big problems with this. Firstly, most cell phones use a kind of microphone known as a “Micro Electrical Mechanical System (also known as MEMS) which is a tiny electret condenser that is consistently holding an electric charge that varies current based upon various sound inputs resulting in a signal recognizable to the software on the phone. These mics are very small and have limited frequency ranges. I have spoken with a few people who are involved with the design of these microphones and they have said only top of the line versions of these mics have the ability to receive some infrasound and it is limited at that. Secondly the phone software does a horrible job of separating audible and non audible frequencies on its output readouts. This software is unreliable at best and shouldn’t be used during a paranormal investigation.
I use a device that is especially designed to receive infrasound and in addition it connects to my computer so a program can maintain a record of what the device is sensing on a graph keeping track of time and intensity. The device is called an Infiltec Infra 20 Infrasound Monitor. The software that I use to analyze the readings is called Amaseis which is primarily designed for seismologists to monitor infrasound frequencies in order to predict upcoming earthquakes, however it can be used for the purpose that I use it for. As for detecting ultrasound I also have a device called a BatBox Baton Ultrasound Monitor. It is designed to pick up a wide range of ultrasonic frequencies and convert them to audible frequencies that we can hear. This device can also be connected to my computer and a software program called BatScan allows me to see graphical read outs of what the device is sensing. Yes the device is designed to monitor the echolocation of bats, however it works perfectly for my intended purpose as it covers a wide swath of frequencies.
Having these devices in your equipment bag and learning the operation and analyzation of these two devices and their analyzation software should be of utmost importance to paranormal investigators as it can find a scientific explanation for what is often misinterpreted as paranormal activity. Integrity and reputation plays a big part in what we do. Do you want others to see you exhausting every scientific avenue possible and even conferring with people with advanced college degrees to ensure accuracy of your findings so you can be confident and recognized as a knowledgeable and trustworthy paranormal investigator? Or do you want to rush to paranormal conclusions because you believe it would be more enjoyable if you believe there is paranormal activity everywhere and be seen as an overzealous ghost hunter? Just think how enjoyable it is to be able to lean towards a paranormal cause after eliminating as much science as possible. Yes, using a higher level of science drastically reduces the spooky interpretation, however I enjoy being able to explain much of the perceived paranormal activity with science and give my clients piece of mind that what is going on is within their control. In addition when I can not explain something with science and my network of those with PhDs can’t explain it either it makes the feeling of possibly finding paranormal activity that much sweeter as it has incredibly more legitimacy then an unscientific opinion that something is paranormal because you want it to be and didn’t do thorough scientific research.
I highly suggest that all paranormal investigators familiarize themselves with at least the basic science of infrasound, Schumann Resonances, Helmholtz Resonances, and ultrasound and learn how they can effect human physiology and the physical symptoms that they create as well as how they can effect inanimate objects. I also suggest that as a top priority above having any other equipment in your gear bag that you pick up the aforementioned infrasound and ultrasound receivers as well as the software for the computer or laptop that you use at investigations and learn how to properly use the devices and their analyzation software. It may allow you to explain some of your cases of reported paranormal activity to have a natural or man made cause that could be remedied by the client. Our top priority is to find the truth and help our clients and in many cases that means explaining the perceived spooky with everyday science. For many people the spooky may be more fun, however our fun can’t take precedence over the truth for our clients.
Always remember. Science fact comes first, science theory comes second, and paranormal science comes last.