Go Beyond Now
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Unusual electromagnetic field effects are often observed in association with reported paranormal activity. Two leading theories offer conflicting explanations for the nature of this EMF-Paranormal association. Go Beyond Now suggests a third model, a synthesis of the two mainstream theories. We believe that observation and analysis of the anomalous electromagnetic effects associated with paranormal activity can provide some of the most useful and scientifically credible evidence to help researchers establish the true nature of that mysterious something we call the paranormal.
Part 1 - The Theories:
Paranormal energy forms interact with electrical circuits, electronic devices, and living organisms in ways that suggest a strong electromagnetic field is sometimes associated with paranormal activity.
We'll call this "The Electromagnetic Model" of paranormal energy. We've all heard reports of ghostly activity where lamps flicker, TV sets turn themselves on and off, mysterious voices and sounds come through radio and stereo speakers, etc. Since light is also a form of electromagnetic radiation, paranormal researchers could argue that all visual sightings, including the appearance of "orbs" and other mystery objects in photographs, should also be classified as electromagnetic. And let's not forget about EVP which, by definition, is electronic in nature.
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The Electric and Magnetic
EMF radiation can influence the human brain's bio-electrical processes in ways that stimulate subjective experiences which are mistakenly perceived as external events by the person exposed to the EMF radiation.
We will call this the "Persinger Model" after Dr. Michael Persinger, the Canadian neuroscientist who has attained pop status in certain circles for his famous lab experiments in which the brains of test subjects were exposed to concentrated pulses from electromagnets mounted on a motorcycle helmet. The Persinger Model suggests that unusual but explainable factors such as electrical effects from natural events like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, solar flares, etc., or even the man-made sources of electromagnetic radiation so common in our modern environment are, in reality, the true stimuli responsible for reports of paranormal activity.
Free-roaming discrete electromagnetic energy forms exist which are capable of interacting with other electromagnetic systems, they are capable of producing certain physical effects, and they are also capable of influencing human cognitive processes.
This is the proposed "Go Beyond
Now Model". Based on the wide variety of
historical background reports concerning paranormal activity, our model assumes
that discrete paranormal energy forms do exist, they can sometimes be visually observed
or photographed, and, from time to time, their presence can be deduced by
the occurrence of otherwise unexplainable physical events.
These paranormal energy forms are capable of influencing human brainwave activity in such ways that they can literally "impose" thoughts and "artificial perceptions" directly into our minds. This ability to, in effect, bypass the normal channels of sensory input (eyes, ears, etc.) can cause people to perceive or to simply "remember" things that are not real in the normal objective sense. However, such perceptions and false memories do have an external causal basis, they are not merely hallucinatory-type experiences.
Part 2 - The problem with EMF Meters:
In light of the above theories, it follows that paranormal investigators would want to observe and measure the electromagnetic fields present at an investigation site. EMF meters, sometimes called Gauss or Tesla Meters, seem to be appropriate tools for the job, and indeed these have been adopted as standard equipment by paranormal investigators everywhere.
EMF meters were originally designed to help locate sources of EMF radiation and to measure the electromagnetic fields surrounding appliances, industrial equipment, power lines, etc. A few sharp marketers have come out with EMF meters that have pictures of cute little ghosts printed on them, but you should be aware that none of these devices was really engineered for use as a "ghost detector". Also, you should understand that the cheaper units have about the same amount of scientific value for paranormal research as the expensive ones. Which is this:
Power Line Tower
NONE AT ALL !
Sorry for yelling but I wanted to get your attention. Yes, I know you've seen lots of TV shows with paranormal investigators (professors and plumbers alike) walking around with their EMF meters in hand and going bonkers every time the needle swings or the digits start running amok. You've read all the ghost hunting books, magazine articles, and websites that teach the use of EMF meters for paranormal research. Maybe you've invested a big chunk of your own cash toward the purchase of one and you don't want to hear me telling you it was all a waste.
OK, I apologize. What I really
should have said before is this:
NONE AT ALL !
also carries a
Here's the problem(s):
1) EMF meters are intended to measure the level of EMF radiation coming from a known source when the meter's sensor head is at a known distance from that source.
2) The meters are usually calibrated to measure EMF's being produced by equipment operating at standard AC power line frequencies (60 Hz in the U.S., 50 Hz in most other countries).
For these reasons, the numbers displayed
by an EMF meter
3) EMF meters do not and cannot differentiate between normal and paranormal EMF effects!
-- BUT --
Again, even with the Tri-Field or
other more advanced EMF meters,
in which EMF meters are typically used by most
It's hard to let go of old imbedded notions. Your mind is telling you something's wrong here. Your cursor might be moving toward that little x button in the top right corner of this page right now. Look, I told you in big bold letters right on the homepage that I was going to ask you to question everything you thought you knew about the paranormal, and this is one of those things.
All I can ask for now is that you trust me. I have over 40 years of experience with electronics and over 20 years of professional involvement with the study of atmospheric electricity. The observation of both natural and man-made electromagnetic radiation has been a long-standing personal hobby of mine. I don't want to be rude, but I'm tired of arguing about this with people who don't know anything about EMF measurements except what they've read on ghost-hunter websites or seen on TV. I'm just telling you this for the good of paranormal researchers everywhere:
The way in which EMF meters are typically used by most
If you don't believe me then
please, I invite you to show me one single legitimate scientific text that
mentions something about paranormal investigators having proven the existence of
a paranormal energy form recently.
A propagating, polarized,
There's so much mumbo jumbo about EMF meters on ghost hunter websites today that Google has a tough time screening for articles detailing their proper use. Here's a few...
Here's a very respectable tutorial re EMF meters from a paranormal site in the UK: Parascience
Using digital EMF meters for paranormal research is doubly absurd. A reading of "4.4862" will not be more accurate or more indicative of anything meaningful than a read-out of "between 3 & 5" from an analog meter would be.
Furthermore, digital meters (meters with numeric displays rather than a moving needle) will not give satisfactory representations of transient events.
Sudden EMF outbursts that appear and disappear quickly don't allow adequate sampling time for digital meters. These meters are great for measuring the radiation from a continuous source. You may see numbers flashing wildly on your digital display, but so what?
To observe spontaneous events and to get a sense of the power curve associated with transient EMFs, analog meters make more sense -- IF you insist on using an EMF meter at all that is.
An analog meter's needle should move smoothly and it's response time should be fast enough to alert you to the presence of a quickly passing and short-lived EMF burst. In this way, it can give you a rough indication of the EMF source's wave action.
In other words, how slowly or quickly did the needle rise and fall, was it a smooth up and down movement or did it go up-down-up-down for a bit?
That's the kind of information that might have evidentiary value for paranormal research, NOT meaningless numbers on a dial!
OK, while I'm waiting, this might be a good time for me to take one small step down from my anti-EMF-meter soapbox. Remember, what I've been saying is that it's the way these meters are typically used that's flawed, but...
To be fair, there is one valid and very legitimate use for an EMF meter that is practiced by some researchers. This is conducting a baseline EMF survey of the site being investigated. You should identify and record the location of every source of EM radiation that is present, and you should obtain a reading of the overall EMF background. For these purposes, either an analog or digital meter would be acceptable, but note: Here I'm talking about identifying and measuring the normal and steady sources of EMF, not the transient and potentially paranormal sources!!!!
The thing I have been
specifically and strongly objecting to throughout this commentary is the
idiotic practice of walking around with a hand-held EMF meter waiting for something
paranormal to register on it. And yes friends, I must confess that I myself have, from time
to time, been guilty of performing this same absurd ritual.
My meter told me that "something" had
How could I be sure if the spiking meter was caused by a poltergeist or by some normal event like a nearby refrigerator suddenly powering up, a static discharge in the atmosphere, or a passing trucker with his CB radio cranking out a few hundred watts of RF energy? And believe me, even if you have an EMF meter that you think is sensitive only to certain frequency bands, you can never rule out the passing CB radio as a potential source of transient readings. My next door neighbor will be happy to give you a demonstration. CB's are just one of many thousand potential sources for spontaneous, transient, not immediately explainable, but still perfectly normal EMF sources that can never be ruled out -- not even if you're in a remote location at a house with no electrical power.
Let me repeat:
An EMF meter can tell you that
something happened that caused a
The way in which EMF meters are typically used by most
AlphaLab's TriField Natural EM Meter
The Gauss Master, aka Dr. Gauss
Part 3 - A Proposed Solution:
Still, wouldn't it be nice if there was a way we could confirm those potential sources of paranormal EMF energy?
I put on my
Go Beyond Now
thinking cap and started asking questions:
How can we identify the various
unknown sources of transient EMF readings?
These are the kinds of basic, sharply focused questions that I think paranormal researchers need to be asking. If you can frame your questions in very specific and practical terms, you can design tests and experiments to come up with objective answers. By tackling little pieces of the puzzle at a time we might eventually put the big picture together. Baby steps first, the giant leaps will follow.
As I pondered the problem of identifying paranormal EMFs, there were several assumptions that seemed reasonable based on the rather large body of historical evidence. True, that historical evidence is mostly anecdotal and always controversial, but it's a starting point.
1) As discussed earlier, we proposed that paranormal energy behaves in ways that are similar to electromagnetic energy and that it is capable of interacting with normal electromagnetic energy systems.
We can build on this first assumption and conclude that standard electronic devices such as radios, tape recorders, and yes, even EMF meters should be capable of detecting and observing paranormal energy in some way.
2) Paranormal energy effects are
spontaneous and transient; they behave
somewhat like static discharges -
lightning, auroras, electric eels, and such.
3) Most reports suggest that paranormal energy manifests itself as a discrete source. By "discrete source" I mean that it has a spatially restricted presence as opposed to appearing everywhere all at once. It is usually observed as moving, sometimes slowly, sometimes very quickly, but its movement is usually confined within certain parameters.
I realized that these three assumptions gave me the basis for an experimental procedure that would subject our hypothetical paranormal EMF energy to a scientifically meaningful test. This experiment can be done by anyone involved with paranormal research using simple and inexpensive equipment. As a matter of fact, it could even put all those EMF meters I was previously complaining about to some good use for a change!
Alright then, if, at least for the sake of the argument, we accept the assumptions of points 1 and 2 above, then point number 3 gives us a key to resolving the question of how to distinguish normal electromagnetic energy sources from paranormal ones. That key is the simple fact that most normal sources of electromagnetic radiation don't move. Except for a few easily identifiable and controllable exceptions, most normal sources of electromagnetic radiation definitely do not move around inside a building. Refrigerators, TV sets, fluorescent lights, furnaces, air conditioners, etc., the sorts of things that might power up unexpectedly and produce unknown transient readings on an EMF meter, these things tend to stand in one place. Therefore, paranormal energy sources should be detectable and identifiable by the unique characteristics of their movement!
If it moves, it's paranormal !
we need to do is
devise a system that's capable of detecting the kind of electromagnetic
Well, maybe it isn't quite that clear-cut, but almost. Yes, there are a few normal sources of EM radiation that could be moving around inside a house. The most obvious examples are cell and cordless phones, or the wireless communication headsets used by some investigators. Even when not actively in use, these might be sending out signals that a very sensitive detector could pick up. Other electronic gadgets you don't usually think of as being transmitters, including tape recorders, remote controls, watches, calculators, computers, iPods, etc., might be sending out unsuspected EM radiation too. Fortunately though, in a properly controlled investigational setting, it should be a simple matter to ensure that these types of devices either are not present or aren't turned on, and most importantly, that they aren't moving around during your observations. Oh, and don't forget about dogs wearing wireless fence collars, they shouldn't be wandering around in the investigation zone either.
Now, let's assume you've managed to account for and control all the potential normal sources of moving electromagnetic radiation in and around the house (or area) being investigated. What about more distant moving sources such as drive-by CB truckers, radio transmitters from emergency vehicles, passing cell phones, that sort of thing?
The system I'm about to describe will enable you to distinguish these relatively distant EM sources, even moving ones, from EM sources that are located inside the perimeter of your detector system. However, if the place you are investigating is fairly close to a busy road, say within about 50 feet or so, it would be prudent to take additional steps to monitor the passing traffic in order to avoid being fooled. Simply having someone posted to watch for vehicles with big antennas might help, monitoring the CB and emergency service radio bands is also feasible. I'll have more to say about this elsewhere, but for now, let's assume you will be conducting the experiment more than 50 feet away from any roads or highways.
Go Beyond Now's
Proposal for a System to Identify Paranormal Energy
|At least two detectors will be required
the predicted motion of a paranormal energy source. The graphic at right shows an array of 3 detectors.
Use more to cover larger areas.
The detectors can be analog EMF Meters or similar devices capable of detecting and/or recording broad-band electromagnetic radiation. Note: digital EMF meters (meters with numeric displays) are not suitable for this application.
Optimum spacing between the detectors must be determined with experience. For general purposes, placing the detectors at least 5-6 feet apart from each other, up to a maximum of about 10-15 feet is recommended. For large buildings and open areas, investigators should employ sets of 2 or more detectors in each room (or zone) to expand the coverage area.
|This graphic illustrates the scenario in which a strong
but relatively distant source of EMF energy is detected by the array. The EMF signal will reach each detector simultaneously and
it will register at about the same level on each detector.
The distant source might be a fixed and steady signal, or moving and sporadic. If the source is relatively distant from the detector array, it will register at about the same level for each detector regardless of whether it is in motion or stationary. A moving source might display a gradual rise and fall in the meter readings, but all meter needles would be observed to swing up or down in unison with each other.
Radio transmitters and other electrical equipment could generate this type of signal; lightning and other atmospheric electrical effects might also be responsible.
|The next graphic illustrates the
scenario of a relatively close EM source acting upon the detector array. The signal will register
noticeably higher on the meter nearest to the source and lower on the more
distant ones, unless the source is equidistant to each detector. In that
case, all readings would be about the same, similar to the distant source
scenario described above.
Regardless of whether the signal levels observed on each meter differ significantly or read about the same, the important factor is that with a nearby stationary source, the meter needles will swing up and down in unison on all detectors.
Examples of sources that might show transient but stationary EM characteristics include household appliances that power on and off automatically such as refrigerators, heating and cooling equipment, aquarium heaters, telephones, computers, etc.
|The final graphic illustrates the
unique characteristics that can serve to confirm a bona fide paranormal
energy form and to provide scientifically credible evidence for the
existence of an electromagnetic radiation source that cannot be explained
by normal causes.
In this situation, the EM source is known to be moving because it is constantly changing its position relative to each of the detectors. Notice that the meter needles do not swing in unison, some will rise and others fall as the radiation source moves correspondingly closer or farther away.
The only "normal" explanation for this class of observation would involve someone moving around the area with a transmitting device of some sort, a phone, walky-talky, etc. Obviously, the investigation team must be responsible for taking steps to ensure that this doesn't happen during the observation session.
I've shown analog meters with moving needle dials as the detector units to illustrate the basic principles behind my proposed paranormal energy detector system. Any good analog EMF meters could serve as detectors, but the obvious practical problem is devising a system to monitor them. You would need to have an observer stationed at each meter, constantly watching and recording changes in the meter readings. The observations would need to be reported in a precise and synchronized fashion on the part of all observers. Alternatively, a video camera could be focused on each meter to record any needle movements during an observation session, and this would make excellent use of multi-channel video surveillance systems.
Better yet, an ideal paranormal energy detector system should provide a way to monitor, display, and record the readings directly from each meter or sensor unit simultaneously, and it turns out that your trusty computer can be used as a powerful tool for this purpose. There are a number of good software programs that will enable you to use your computer as a chart recorder or oscillograph type device. With some of these programs, it's a simple matter to feed the signals from any two detector units through the input of your computer's soundcard. Soundcards usually provide for stereo input through either the microphone or line input jacks, so with that method you would be limited to using just two sensors but two sensors can be sufficient for detecting the predicted motion of a paranormal energy source:
|This graphic represents two sensor units
with their outputs being fed to a computer equipped with software that
interprets the varying electrical signals and displays their value as a
waveform on the monitor screen in strip-chart or oscilloscope fashion. Cell
1 in the animation illustrates the normal background condition with no
unusual signals being detected.
In cell 2, a radiating electromagnetic source has appeared close to sensor #1 and the corresponding waveform (the blue line) is seen to rise on the monitor screen, while sensor #2's waveform remains relatively flat.
Cell 3 shows that the electromagnetic source has moved equidistant to each detector. Now the red line corresponding to sensor #2's output has gone high, about equal to the signal displayed for sensor #1.
In cell 4, the EM source has moved closer to sensor #2, farther away from #1, and the waveform lines on the screen have actually crossed as the output level of each sensor responds to changes in the proximity of the radiating source.
Once again, the confirming factor is that the energy levels detected by the sensors and then displayed on the monitor will not go up and down in uniform fashion if the EM source is relatively close by and moving in relation to the sensor positions. In an actual system, the waveform display lines might be constantly and rapidly moving all the time, making it difficult to catch anomalous activity in real time. Fortunately though, suitable software programs enable you to record the readings from an entire observing session and then review them at slower speeds and with zoom capabilities to allow you to search for the characteristic signals when your time permits.
Any other corroborative on-site observations could be used to help in the identification process. Say, for example, that a book flew off a shelf or a chill was felt by the investigators at a certain time. You would be able to review the recorded data from your electromagnetic sensor array and see whether any anomalous EMF signal had been recorded at the same time.
Of course, with more than one computer and multiple pairs of sensors, you could cover larger areas, and eventually, once you're familiar with the basic principles and operational procedures, you might want to move up to a more advanced system using multi-channel inputs fed into the computer's serial port or a USB input rather than the two-channel only soundcard. We'll have more to say about this kind of system soon, but for now...
I hope I've presented the basics of this experimental approach in an understandable fashion and that you will join in conducting the experiment with whatever methods and resources you have available. If you have any questions, please contact me. Click here.
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Paranormal Energy Detection System
The material on this website (except where otherwise indicated) has
been prepared by J. Hale.
All original content is copyright protected and all publication rights are reserved. Effective September 1, 2006, and beyond.