Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 30, 2016

Why the G.R.A.N.T. Society Doesn't Use Fancy-Schmancy EMF Meters

First of all, what are we talking about?
The EMF detector was designed and used for detecting Electromagnetic Fields.  Electromagnetic fields, or EMF, are created by the movement of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).  EMF are present in the world around us from power lines and transformers to microwaves, computers, toasters and cable boxes.  EMF meters measure the fields produced by alternating current or AC, this is the type of electricity that runs through most things in your home or office.  Direct current, or DC, fields are stationary like the Earth's magnetic field -- most EMF meters cannot measure direct current fields.

EMF meters, in designs such as the K-2, the ElectroSensor or the Trifield Meter for example, come in two types,  single axis and tri-axis.  The tri-axis meter is so named due to its having three built-in probes that will take measurements in three equally orthogonal directions at once.  This is why tri-axis meters are able to take more accurate readings and why they are more expensive than their single axis counterparts.  As single axis meters contain only one probe, they measure the EMF in only one direction.  They are more affordable however, they are often used incorrectly.  In order to get an accurate EMF reading, single axis meters must be rotated in three equally orthogonal directions, meaning three directions that are at equal right angles to each other, in order to acquire the proper data about an electromagnetic field. 

Normally, EMF meters are used to diagnose problems with electrical wiring, power lines and electrical shielding effectiveness, this is what they were designed for, but many ghost hunters and paranormal investigators swear by the inclusion of an EMF meter in their toolkits.

If one believes that ghosts contain some electrical residue, EMF meters would be a good way to detect their presence.  These instruments yield tangible data and data collection lends credibility to an activity that most scientists consider pseudoscience or "junk" science.  However, as of now, there is no solid evidence that proves a connection between the use of EMF meters and the presence of an actual ghost.

Many people request EMF readings of their homes and businesses for a variety of reasons and there are many companies that will perform such tasks upon request.  In doing so, the company will take into account everything about the house or business that can affect the electromagnetic fields.

Like I stated above, EMF are present all over your home and office.  Emissions from appliances and electrical devices vary by type and from model to model.  They also vary with distance and over time and whether the device is plugged in or turned on, whether it's running on the high setting or if it's charging.  A proper reading will take into account the location of the electrical panel, the wiring in the walls and ceiling, a television on the opposite side of the wall, a computer in sleep mode and even the wifi signal and its strength.

Knowing what I just stated, when a group of ghost hunters or paranormal investigators enter a location and start reading the lulls and spikes of an EMF meter, one would hope that they took all of this into consideration.  Some would think that turning everything in the home or business off would solve the problem and the spikes shown would be evidence of a wandering spirit.  However, it is very difficult to ensure that everything in a modern home or business is completely off.

There are many appliances, such as power transformers, LED displays, cable boxes and the like, that slowly draw electrical current.  All of this adds up to more than one would expect.  Additionally, many appliances have cyclic power draws so they may be off for a while but come on for a few minutes every now and then, like refrigerators and air conditioning units.  Even metal reflects radiation, creating overlooked hotspots.  Things like metal window frames, filing cabinets and metal furniture are all examples of non-electric things that can be possible contributors of electromagnetic fields. 

Many EMF meters are extremely sensitive to cellular activity.  Cell phones continuously searching for a tower, incoming calls and text messages and other cellular activity can cause the meters to register a reading.  Other things that can cause EMF meters to register a reading include the gear and gadgets in the ghost hunters' and paranormal investigators' tool kits, things like walkie talkies and anything with a power source. 

Given everything explained in this article about various sources of electromagnetic fields, there is one simple, yet imperative fact that many ghost hunters and paranormal investigators overlook.  All of the EMF data collected is completely useless if they do not take and record baseline readings.  Without an awareness of the baseline readings of a location before investigating it, any subsequent reading will have no meaning because there is nothing with which one can compare it.  An EMF spike or hotspot in a house doesn't mean anything if one is unsure whether it's like that everyday, all day or only on Mondays at 4pm when the reading is taken.  A baseline is imperative for any kind of scientific comparison and all baseline readings must be taken under the exact same conditions in which the investigation is to take place, such as time of day or night, lights on or off, etc.

What about abandoned buildings or ruins or open fields?  
I've learned that when dealing with electromagnetic fields, there is always more than meets the eye.  A baseline reading is still necessary no matter what the location.  One is sure to find that there are EMF readings in the most unlikely places.  A little investigation may be necessary to find the source of the EMF before jumping to conclusions.

So although we may know a little about them, why don't we use fancy-shmancy EMF meters?
We can do a lot of research and run a baseline and use an EMF meter to search for and find anomalies in a particular location but no matter what we do and whether we do it perfectly correctly or not, the fact remains that there is no definitive proof that a change in an electromagnetic field directly correlates to the presence of a ghost or spirit.  If you have discovered otherwise and can provide that proof, I expect to be able to read about it in Scientific American.

With all of that said, I do know that there is evidence of EMF emissions causing health problems from insomnia to nausea and even paranoia.  So what if we suspect a person is having problems due to sensitivity to EMF emissions?  We find a local company that can do a professional EMF assessment of the person's home or business.  While I can play with dozens of EMF meters and read all about them and talk with electricians about readings and effects, this is not my profession and I will respectfully leave it in the hands of people who do this on a regular basis.

So what does the G.R.A.N.T. Society do?
As the GRANT Society, we go to people's homes or offices to lend a service.  We are called because people have questions.  Despite the fact that there is no current proof that ghosts and spirits and demons and curses exist, fear is a real and tangible thing.  Often, the cause of a haunting can be explained by stepping back and looking at the whole picture rather than hyper-focusing on what is going wrong.  

We start by ruling out what may be going on without the person or family realizing.  Poorly insulated windows and a minute air current under a door can create a misunderstood cold spot.  The soft brushing of leaves against the wall of a house can be misunderstood as voices whispering beyond the window.  People misunderstand things all the time, that doesn't mean they're stupid or overly dramatic.  Once you put a few of these misunderstood events together, it can feel a little overwhelming and scary.  

Our task, when we are called, is not to agree with their fear and "fan the fire" so to speak, but to put their minds at ease.  We listen, we learn about the person or family and we practice comfort and understanding.  Quite often, things happen that we can't explain or prove; sometimes right in front of us!  We do not pretend to know everything and, if we are faced with a conundrum with which we have no answer, we step back a bit and do more research. 

Once we've come to a conclusion, or sometimes several conclusions, as to what may be the cause, we offer suggestions that will help ease the person's or family's troubles.  We don't tell people what to do and blame them if it doesn't work.  We don't practice spiritual rituals with which we, or they, have no personal connection, such as the Native American practice of smudging in the home of a family who is not Native American.  We don't attempt things we are not trained to do.  We don't perform.

If the person or people we're helping do not follow our advice or if what we suggest does not work for them, we go back and try to figure out what else we can do.  If they choose another route, so be it, we will allow them their space because they have that choice.  But either way, we never leave them hanging.

In all we do, in our work with helping people, in our day to day jobs, with our friends and family and people we've just met, we leave our egos at home and try to follow the most basic rules:  Be respectful, be honest, be courteous, be sympathetic and empathetic, be kind.

*Researched and written by Tanya & Lopaka Kapanui