Published in the April 2013 issue of The Paranormal Inquiry
In a previous article I discussed some of the more common tools used in paranormal investigations, specifically EMF detectors, their uses, specs, and shortcomings. One of the problems with these devices that I neglected to mention is well worth discussing. The biggest caveat to using those EMF detectors is that, while they will display the intensity or magnitude of the electromagnetic field that they are detecting, none of them can display the frequency of that EMF. There are devices available that will show the frequency of EMFs, but almost no one uses those because of their high costs and they are complicated to use. Now you may ask yourself, "Self, why the heck would I want to know what frequency an EMF is?". Well, a better question is, how do you tell a paranormal EMF from a normal one? To find the answer you must first know what normal, everyday EMFs are.
So what exactly is an EMF? Well, the most basic answer is, it is a physical field created by a moving electrically charged particle. Electromagnetic fields are all around us all of the time. They are one of the four fundamental interactions of nature and encompass everything from the Earth’s geomagnetic field to sound, radio and light waves, to radiation from space. These waves travel in a wave-like pattern like ripples on a pond. The distance from one peak to another peak of the wave is its wavelength. The number of wave peaks in a given measure of time is its frequency. Each type of EMF has its own frequency range, for example, sound in the human hearing range is generally between 20 hertz (Hz) and 20,000 hertz (20 kHz). Human vision (visible light) is in the 40 terahertz (THz) to 800 terahertz (THz) range. The human body has been measured giving off EMFs from 40 Hz to 100 Hz and the brain from 0.5 Hz to 20 Hz. And most of you already know that man-made electricity produces EMFs in the 50 Hz to 60 Hz range.
EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) have been cataloged in the 100 Hz to 3,000 Hz (3 kHz) range. There have also been some found in the lower 60 Hz to 80 Hz range. Now you can see why it could be beneficial to know the frequency of an EMF. For example, you are doing an EMF sweep and you get a peak at the 3 gigahertz (GHz) frequency, then it is highly probable that it is a cell phone or other man-made radio device creating the EMF.
After studying the work of more research oriented groups like New Jersey’s S.P.I.R.I.T. Lab, I have been inspired to assemble systems to more accurately measure and catalog EMFs. One method I found which is cheaper than the high-end EMF detectors was the combination of a hand-held oscilloscope with a Magcheck MC-95 calibrated EMF sensor. This allows me detect EMFs and identify their frequencies while being able to remain on the move. Another advantage to MC-95 EMF sensor is that it can be used with the input of an audio recorder.
So why would I want to do that? Well, it has been theorized and strongly supported that EVPs are EMFs in the audio frequency range. By connecting the EMF sensor to a microphone input, I can actually record EMF levels on an audio track and hear EMFs. What better way to test and possibly verify EVPs? So I assembled an audio data collection system consisting of a Tascam DR-40 four channel recorder, a dynamic microphone, the Magcheck 95 sensor, and a data logging sound level meter. I record tracks one and two with the internal condenser mics, the external dynamic mic on channel three, and the EMF sensor on channel four simultaneously. Then I can view and listen to all four tracks in audio software for analysis and sync the sound level meter data as well. This gives me a very complete picture of any suspected paranormal event recorded on audio and eliminates much of the guess work involved with reviewing sound files. This rig, the ADCS as I call it, made its debut at the PI’s Paranormal Studies Retreat at the Onaledge B&B recently and I’m currently reviewing the files. I will post any interesting captures I find. The ADCS is the audio portion of a much larger data collection system I’m building that will monitor, measure, and record all manner of environmental data in hopes that it will help define some of the things that are associated with true paranormal events.
Next month, the journey continues a little farther down the rabbit hole.