This article and podcast episode is for those newbie ghost hunters that recently purchased a spirit box or have never used one before. These beginning methods are exactly what we use on the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience. That’s our revolutionary ghost tour, where I take you ghost hunting in Charleston, South Carolina and you get to use all of my equipment. I then give you all recordings back for review, including spirit box recordings along with notes of my findings during a spot check.
For starters of following this article and knowing how to refer to the terms of a spirit box, let’s get familiar with the terminology.
Spirit Box: A radio sweeping device that is used for communicating with spirits. The white noise is the medium for spirits to use and communicate.
Faraday box: A metallic lined case or box used for reflecting any radio chatter to come through a spirit box, thus only giving white noise as the medium.
Ratio of Accuracy: The measurement used based on the sweeping speed and relevant information obtained during a spirit box session. The Ratio of Accuracy goes up when the spirit box is sped up, but less voices/words/sounds are heard. This will be further explained as we move through each method mentioned in this article..
Disembodied Voice: A voice heard that can be proven that it was not radio chatter coming through a spirit box. Take note that a disembodied voice is best caught through a recording of a spirit box so it can be analyzed or through a digital voice recorder.
Radio Chatter: Voices coming through a spirit box that can be identified as a deejay, a song lyric, or a commercial advertisement.
Sweeping Speed of “1” on our SBox. This is equivalent to your 350ms on the SB7 or SB7T models shown on paranormal TV shows.
Important Note!: Radio chatter will come through: song lyrics, deejays, commercials. For beginners, this is what you’re listening FOR. Use those deejays, commercials and song lyrics to find the hidden message. The example I normally provide during the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience is ask your alleged spirit to tell you the color of a red barn. If you get the answer in a song lyric of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, you’re on to something.
How I tell my guests on the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience to listen to this sweeping speed.
Low Ratio of Accuracy: There are going to be dozens of things heard while listening in this slow sweeping speed. Most of which will be irrelevant.
- Short time frame: 15 minutes.
- Make a list of all voices heard (take note that gender doesn’t matter)
- This can and should include radio chatter such as deejays, song lyrics, and commercials.
- Star or highlight all terms that are relevant to your alleged haunted space.
- Divide your highlighted terms by the total number of terms. For example one relevant term out of ten would be a 10% ratio of accuracy.
Here is a ten second audio clip of a spirit box on this speed.
Sweeping speeds of “2” and “3” on the SBox. Equivalent to speeds of 250ms and 150ms on the SB7 and SB7T spirit boxes.
- You still may catch radio chatter (deejays, song lyrics and commercials) during these speeds and that’s okay.
- Make a separate list for each sweeping speed for comparison.
- Keep your time frame for listening to these sweeps to 15 minutes.
- Take note of any and all terms that may have relevance to your alleged haunted space.
- Your ratio of accuracy with these speeds should go up as you move through each list, though each list will be shorter than the next.
Here are two sound clips of Sweeping Speeds two and three.
Sweeping speed of “4” and/or used with a Faraday box. This is equivalent to the speed of 100ms on your SB7 and SB7T spirit boxes.
- By this point, your ears should be somewhat trained on how to listen for voices. That’s the point of the Beginner and Intermediate exercises.
- Radio chatter will be minimal so you can count on the ratio of accuracy to increase.
- Using a Faraday Box will guarantee that voices heard are not radio chatter, so your Ratio of Accuracy if using one of these handy accessories is 100%. Finding just one voice (EVP) is still a phenomenal catch!
- To learn more about Faraday Boxes/Cages and how they work, click here.
Using an ANC attachment/feature of a spirit box.
- ANC stands for Adjustable Noise Control
- I’m placing this feature under advanced methods due to the high ratio of accuracy discovered when using this feature no matter which sweeping speed is used.
- I have found that even using 350ms sweeping speed produces about a 60% Ratio of Accuracy of terms heard.
- This feature attempts to take out any white noise being produced in between radio stations, thus only providing terms. With the more advanced SB11-ANC spirit box, which doesn’t record, it can be difficult to determine at a slower speed if the voice heard was indeed not radio chatter. In other words, take the terminology heard and investigate it to see if it is accurate to your investigative space. There’s truly no way of telling if what you heard in real time was disembodied or radio chatter. What matters is the message.
- Every investigator works with ANC a bit differently (let’s face it, every investigator works with a spirit box differently), so you’ll have to find the best setting for your listening skills before heading into an investigation.
- The ANC feature is available in the upgraded SB11-ANC spirit box, or as an attachment for the SB7. Stories in the Cemetery uses both and the one attribute that differentiates the two are the capability of using earbuds with the SB7 versus an open speaker to use the feature along with a two channel sweep (FM and AM together) on the SB11.
Ratio of Accuracy further explained…
Slower (beginner) radio sweeps mentioned above are going to have a long list of terms heard with a small amount of those terms being relevant to your haunting.
- Example: 100 terms with 10 being accurate to your haunting gives you a 10% Ratio of Accuracy (Low).
Your intermediate radio sweeps will have less words, but possibly the same amount of relevant terms creating a higher Ratio of Accuracy.
- Example: 50 terms heard with 10 being accurate to your haunting gives you a 20% Ratio of Accuracy (Intermediary).
Advanced Methods will create a much larger jump in Ratio of Accuracy especially if using a Faraday Box. However, I will provide the heeded warning that using these advanced methods takes plenty of patience (over time, this will be more than a 15 minute session).
- Example: 20 terms heard with 10 being accurate to your haunting gives you a ratio of 50% (High)
- Example: 3 terms heard while using a Faraday Box and 2 are accurate to your haunting gives you a Ratio of Accuracy of 67% (High)
I’m always going to recommend to any new investigator to train their ears on a spirit box before diving into the fastest sweep possible because that’s what is shown on television. Regardless of my opinion of the television shows, I’m going to ask that those of you at home respect the craft and know that your idolized TV show stars started somewhere to train their ears on how to listen to a spirit box.
It may seem silly and/or ridiculous to listen to radio chatter for messaging from the spirit world, but conducting investigations on a nightly basis with this method teaching tourists and locals how to listen, I have yet to have an investigation where a very distinctive message did NOT come through. The method may not be as effective for an experienced investigator, but it is more effective for the newbie investigator.
I’ll also point out that listening to a spirit box in the order mentioned above (beginner, intermediate and advanced) will also train your ear to identify disembodied voices better since you will be so very familiar with radio chatter coming through. Not that the radio chatter’s distinctive message or direct answer isn’t exciting, but finding the actual voice of the alleged spirit at hand helps to solidify gender and tone of voice. This is especially helpful if dialects/accents are a factor in your haunting.
To see the difference of all four sweeping speeds, I am leaving a clip of ten seconds of each one consecutively so you can hear the difference, It will play twice, so you have a comparison of the fastest to the slowest.
To learn more about the art of listening to a spirit box, Stories in the Cemetery offers a Spirit Box Boot Camp that walks your new paranormal team members through the motions of the process listed above along with performing an Estes Session. All spirit boxes and ITC devices are included in the Boot Camp along with earbuds, blindfolds, and noise canceling headphones. Click the banner above to learn more or use the “Let’s Go Ghost Hunting” chat bubble to get a hold of me today.
ANC Mini Noise Control for Spirit Boxes and Ghost Hunting. (n.d.). Ghost Stop. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from https://www.ghoststop.com/anc-mini-noise-control/O’Callaghan, J. (2021, December 2).
What is a Faraday cage? Live Science. Retrieved September 13, 2023, from https://www.livescience.com/what-is-a-faraday-cage
Podcast Episode 45
This article complements episode 45 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.