Right now I should be using my down time for something more constructive like reviewing evidence, filming b-roll, or flat out doing some website updates. While all of that stuff is really important I realized that I also need to be writing more. One of the main goals of this group is not just to “catch” ghosts, or scare the crap out of each other on the weekends; but to inform our readers and further our understanding of the data that we have been collecting during these investigations.
You have probably heard us talk about the readings we receive on our EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) detectors. Why are these readings important, and how do they relate to the paranormal? Well, it’s a bit of a loaded question but I’m happy to explain. First off, Electromagnetic Fields or “EMF’s” are all around us all the time. Some are naturally occurring while the rest are a result of our ever advancing technology. Almost anything electronic you use creates a magnetic field. That’s because electricity itself carries a polarizing magnetic field within its charge. There are several things that can interrupt and even manipulate these fields. A perfect example is your home’s WiFi. That WiFi digital radio signal carries with it magnetic waves. Granted much of it is too low and inconsistent to actually detect with a normal EMF detector, but it is there. Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: the higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. An electric field will exist even when there is no current flowing. If current does flow, the strength of the magnetic field will vary with power consumption but the electric field strength will be constant.
Naturally occurring EMFs can be detected and will also remain consistent when detecting them in the location that they are found in. These can be caused by different things such as Farris metals in the earth, underground springs, and certain combinations of minerals deposited in an area, and other naturally occurring things that would require further study to pinpoint. In short; there are certain hot spots on the planet where you will find an EMF field even with not power lines nearby.
So, why are we tracking them? Well that one should be straight forward enough even if it’s all theory. So, if we are looking for intelligent entities that are made up of energy we can assume a few things. (A) Whatever energy they are made up of should be somehow detectable. (B) Even if we don’t know exactly what kind of energy that is, its presence should interrupt or manipulate EMF in some way or another the way all other known types of energy do and that effect should also be detectable. I’m not going to get to far into it; but the other reason we track them is that several studies have related long term exposure to high level EMF to hallucinations, feelings of paranoia, uneasiness, and anxiety. Even illness has been theorized as a side effect of long term exposure. In cases where we find consistent high levels of EMF and no hard evidence of anything else we usually recommend that what people are experiencing may not be a haunting, but EMF over exposure. Allot of time taking steps against this makes all the problems go away. It’s a catch 22 though, as an argument could be made that entities are attracted to the energy fields which I also think could be true. But if I have one without the other, it makes things simpler to sort out.
Okay, so how do we tell an “anomaly” from an already existing EMF source? Two checks make this simple. First and foremost we check the USGS website before even going on site. This is the official map of the United States that shows the magnetic fields and their strengths in given locations. It even tags full blown geomagnetic scientific anomalies that have not been fully researched and that are unusually high. This data changes constantly and is updated daily by the USGS. If we know ahead of time that we are going into an area tagged as an EM hotspot, we can make a few assumptions about the readings we are going to get that might register as a false positive. The other test that we do is before doing anything we turn off any electronic equipment in the area or kill the breaker if possible. Then before doing any kind of tests we take a baseline reading with both of our EMF detectors. By creating a baseline of an area we can determine what is considered abnormal and/or a fluctuation in ambient fields.
One thing that annoys me is when watching ghost hunting shows you will often see the investigator making two major mistakes. One you will see them freaking out over spikes they get while moving around. There is no way to tell if that is a true fluctuation. Your movement itself causes fields to bounce, change direction, and block signals completely. Readings should be taken while standing still as to avoid causing a wave inconsistency yourself by moving your body. At the same token, I frequently see investigators moving their meter around trying to follow the spike. What many people don’t realize is they are creating their own spike. If you shake an EMF detector you actually create an EMF. One of the sensors in the device itself is… a magnet. Moving an EMF Detector too fast will create a false reading. The second thing I see that bothers me is that rarely will I see an investigator check what’s on the other side of a wall electrical wise. Sure you may have killed all the lights in the room, but there is still current running to the switch. Unless you are familiar with wiring, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
EMF detectors are a very accurate and sensitive tool that is useful to use in the field. But unless you understand what you are doing, the data is actually useless. Always use every resource available, and reserve judgment on a particular spike until you have ruled out the obvious. Just because I get an unexplained spike doesn’t mean there’s a ghost; but, it does mean there’s an explanation. Whether it be related to the field itself, or an intelligent entity manipulating it. Who is really to say? But combine solid results with other proof happening at the same time, and you have something.
To check out the USGS website for yourself and check geomagnetic anomalies around the US, visit their website here: http://mrdata.usgs.gov/magnetic/ - Also, you can use the plugin they provide for Google Earth for a more hands on real time view of magnetic fields.