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For my Stories in the Cemetery Ghost Hunting Experience tours in downtown Charleston, my guests get to use real paranormal tools of the trade. Those tools include grid pens, various thermometers, a spirit box among some other gadgets. The most important of all these gadgets is the EMF Detector (or electromagnetic field meter).
You may have seen this gadget used on paranormal TV shows or have heard about some digital apps for your phone. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of the EMF detector, how it’s used, why it’s used and give you some real data about this gadget.
There are several types of EMF detectors. The most commonly used in a paranormal investigation is the K-II meter, a single axis point meter that measures all electromagnetic fields. What this means is that it can pick up fields created by your cell phone or smartwatch. This is the meter I use with my tours for the simplicity of use. If used properly, this meter can and will detect activity. It’s a great device for this type of investigation because there is no scientific data being recorded for studying. It has simple LED lights so that it can be seen in the dark and well, it’s an inexpensive piece of equipment.
The trifield meter measures with three-axis points for accuracy. Some trifield meters can even separate the AC/DC types of readings to eliminate any manmade electromagnetic fields like microwaves and cell phones. This leaves only anomaly fields to be detected as pieces of data that paranormal activity is actually occurring during your investigation. I will be investing in this slightly more expensive piece of equipment in the near future for my tours so that guests can see the K-II reading as well as the trifield reading to make a determination of an actual haunting.
What is an Electromagnetic Field?
Without having to write a full textbook on the subject of EMF’s, I’m going to add this video from Krystal Leandra. She does an excellent job explaining the physics of electromagnetic fields and why EMF meters are so important to our investigations. Leandra has other great videos too, so be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel.
Reading an EMF Detector on my Tours
Great, so now that you understand (or kinda understand) how EMF’s work and why measuring them is so important to paranormal investigators. Let’s dive into why this gadget is so important during one of my tours.
At the beginning of all my tours, I inform my guests that the EMF detector will lead us into other uses of the paranormal investigation equipment. With spikes on the K-II meter, we may be able to communicate with spirit activity through spirit boxes, catch quick glimmers with the grid pen or even see a drop in temperature. The person using the K-II needs to be vocal and watching the meter consistently and tell the rest of the group when he/she sees a spike.
We first try to debunk the spike on the meter. Is it pulsing? Is it a steady light? Are there streetlights or crosswalks nearby? Erraticism is what we are after. We need that erratic array of lights moving all over the meter in order to determine if we need to move forward with other gadgets or if we are standing on an electrical grid.
Please remember, that my ghost hunting experience tours are on the streets of Charleston. I do not take my guests inside any building, nor do I have anything rigged in any of the set locations. In fact, I cannot guarantee that the tour through the alleged haunted locations will even give us activity during that tour. I’ve had several occasions where a very active location gives off absolutely no activity or data from time to time. This proves not only to me that the location is haunted, but also to my skeptics in the group who listen to previous tours before coming to their own tour.
I record all my tours for two reasons: first, to listen for EVP’s or electronic voice phenomena, and second, to give my guests a souvenir for taking the tour. All of my tours are available here:Tour Audio.
Scientists for decades claim that using an EMF detector while ghost hunting does not claim that there truly is an entity nearby or that a spike on the meter determines paranormal activity.
It is said that electromagnetic fields can have an effect on the brain, thus causing the brain to hallucinate and create the illusion that spirit activity is occurring. These studies started with a neuroscientist, Michael Persinger who claimed that hallucinations can occur when dealing with specific frequencies in electromagnetic fields.
Through research on the effects of EMF’s on the brain, I came across the World Health Organization’s article on those effects. It reads in conclusion:
“There is little scientific evidence to support the idea of electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Recent Scandinavian studies found that individuals do not show consistent reactions under properly controlled conditions of electromagnetic field exposure. Nor is there any accepted biological mechanism to explain hypersensitivity.” (World Health Organization)
We are all exposed to electromagnetic fields on a daily basis through cell phones, kitchen appliances and the numerous screens we use in our daily life. Although consistent screen usage can and will cause headaches and/or migraines, these are minor effects caused by excessive usage.
I usually give the EMF detector to the skeptic on my tours. I can almost certainly guarantee at least one major skeptic per evening. I do this because it is up to the skeptic to be amazed when the meter lights up and their reaction is hard to hide.
Using EMF Apps
I keep a backup EMF meter on my phone while touring with my groups. Although I haven’t researched the exact technology of how this works through a smartphone, I have tested it with several locations and around my office equipment. They seem to not be as sensitive to EMF detection as say a K-II meter, but still gives a reading nonetheless. Some of them even give you a description of what could be giving off the electromagnetic field which makes investigating very interesting.
I will be investing in a trifield meter for future use on my tours and for my private investigations. This should provide more data and eliminate some debunking that I normally would have to do with the K-II meter. I will update this post once the gadget is received and tested. Who knows, I may do an “unboxing” video.
As for my belief in EMF meters; I believe they can determine unknown forces in the earth’s electromagnetic field. As for proving this theory, hopefully someday with all my research now posted on this website, my work will be studied more in-depth by those looking to prove the validity of the gadgets we choose to use while ghost hunting.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and show me your gadgets! Which EMF meter are you using for your investigations? What evidence have you recorded with them?
More than just a Blog
This is episode 29 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.
E42: The Stone Tape Theory and Lodge Alley – Stories in the Cemetery
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Stories in the Cemetery Tours
Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?
References used to inspire this post
Frazier, Karen. “How EMF Meters Work.” 2020. love to know. https://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/ghosts-hauntings/how-emf-meters-work. 6 April 2020.
Leandra, Krystal. How does an EMF meter actually work in Paranormal? 27 May 2017. YouTube. 6 April 2020. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzS7C0y_i50>.
Radford, Benjamin. “Can Electromagnetic Fields Create Ghosts?” June 2017. Skeptical Inquirer. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2017/05/can-electromagnetic-fields-create-ghosts/. 6 April 2020.
World Health Organization. “Electromagnetic Fields.” n.d. https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index1.html.