E.M.F.stands for ElectroMagnetic Field or Frequency. EMF is measured before and during paranormal investigations based on two main theories. The first is that EMF can be used by spirits as a battery source for energy needed in order to manifest activity. The second reason is that people can be affected by high EM fields and the higher fields can make them THINK they are experiencing paranormal activity. Possible effects include nausea, hives, and hallucinations as well as the feeling of being watched. An example of this research can be found here.
Paranormal investigators use special meters to detect the EMF in a reportedly haunted location. These meters are designed to detect E.L.F. or Extremely Low Frequency fields as illustrated below.
There are two main types of EMF meters, single-axis and three-axis. The main differences between these two meters are the number of inductors the meters have. The inductor is what allows the EMF meter to measure an EM field. As you have probably guessed, a single-axis meter only has one inductor and a three-axis meter has three. However, it is how the inductors are oriented that makes one meter better than the other. Single-axis meters are generally oriented in the X-axis of space. Most single-axis meters will have an arrow indicating where the inductor is oriented within the meter as illustrated below.
Three-axis meters have inductors oriented in the x, y, and z planes of space. These are the planes that make up our three dimensions that we exist in.
So why are three-axis meters better than single-axis meters? Well the main reason is that the three-axis meter will display the highest field strength no matter how the meter is oriented where the single-axis meter needs to have the inductor oriented toward the highest EMF source in order to read the correct highest field reading for that location. The three-axis meter will take a reading from each of the inductors and then display the highest one. Some three-axis meters even allow you to isolate one inductor at a time so that you can determine from what inductor the meter is detecting the highest field which can help you track down the EMF source. Examples of some common single-axis and three-axis meters are included below.
EMF meters can pick up many things, including two-way radios and cell phones, so it is important to NOT jump to conclusions when using the meters and always try and find a source for any high readings or spikes. Even if one can't be found, an EMF spike alone is not evidence of the paranormal. EMF meters are NOT ghost detectors so please don't use them as such!
E.V.P. stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon. These are defined as voices captured on audio recordings that were not heard by the investigators at the time the recording was made. EVP's are divided into five classes:
|Class A||A clear and distinct voice or sound that is universally accepted and undisputed, because it must be understood by anyone with normal hearing and without being told or prompted to what is being said or heard. It can be heard without the use of headphones.|
|Class B||A voice or sound that is distinct and fairly loud. This class of voice is more common and can be heard by most people after being told what to listen for. It is usually audible to experienced persons who have learned the skill of listening to EVP. It can sometimes be heard without the use of headphones.|
|Class C||A faint and whispery voice or sound that can barely be heard and is sometimes indecipherable and unintelligible. It may have paranormal characteristics, such as a mechanical sound. Most investigators would apply objectivity and disregard it, but may save it for reference purposes.|
|Class R||In order for an EVP to receive a Class R rating it must have a meaning to it when played in reverse. Some EVPs will have a meaning when played normally and a different meaning in reverse. When this happens it will have two classifications. For example a Class A, EVP with a excellent and clear meaning in reverse as well, would be titled a Class A-RA, EVP.|
There are other classes of EVP but PIM does not think anything below Class C is actually anything to make note of and should be discarded. In fact, PIM discards most EVPs that would fall into the Class C range. PIM's motto is, "When in doubt, throw it out."
Another type of audio that can be captured that is considered paranormal is called a Disembodied Voice. Essentially, this is a voice that is heard by the investigators during an investigation, but it did not originate from any living person. The main difference between this and an EVP is that a Disembodied Voice is heard at the time it is captured, whereas an EVP is not heard at the time and isn't discovered until the audio recordings are reviewed at a later date.
EVP Do's and Don'ts
DON'T: WHISPER!!! Many EVPs are captured as whispers and if you are whispering it will be very hard to distinguish your whispers from any responses you might be getting.
DO: Speak in full voice. This will ensure you will be easy to distinguish from any possible EVPs.
DON'T: Eat something that will disagree with you before an investigation. The noises of your stomach digesting can be very loud when you are in complete silence.
DO: Tag any noises you make during the course of an investigation. Even the most inocuous sound can be picked up by audio recorders and be mistaken as an EVP. Always call out any sounds you make or you know the source of whenever you can. This will also train you to be more quiet during EVP sessions.
DON'T: Ask one question right after another. You need to allow at least 10 seconds of uninterrupted silence to allow any responses to be recorded. Otherwise you might talk right over an answer that will not be heard as a result.
DO: Ask questions! There really are no stupid questions. Also who knows if something is waiting for you to ask something so it can answer you. If you never speak up, no evidence is gathered. Don't be shy and jump right in. Just remember to NOT whisper and leave 10 seconds between questions and you are good.
PIM breaks hauntings up into four main types: Residual, Intelligent, Poltergeist, and Inhuman. These are listed in the order of their prevalence.
Residual: This is commonly described as a videotape playing over and over again and seemingly random times. It is believed that a residual haunting is trapped or imprinted energy on an environment. Generally this occurred because something traumatic happened at the location. The event may not have resulted in anyone dying, but it could have. The biggest thing to note about a residual haunting is that it does not have intelligence. This means that there is no consciousness there to acknowledge you or anything that is going on. Thus, setting up trigger objects or doing EVP sessions at a location with only residual activity will do no good, as there is nothing there with consciousness to respond.
It is believed this kind of activity has a trigger which causes the "tape" to play and the activity to occur. The trigger may be a time of year, day or time of day, event such as an argument or someone crying, or even something like playing a game of cards. Determining what the trigger is for the residual haunting is key to trying to capture it. There is a theory that certain materials in the bedrock of locations such as quartz or having a running water source near the location such as a river can increase the chances of a residual haunting occurring, but there have been no conclusive studies to support this theory.
Intelligent: This type of haunting is the main type of haunting investigated by paranormal investigators. As the name implies, this type of haunting has intelligence, or consciousness associated with it. For those that believe ghosts are spirits of the dead, this is the consciousness of that deceased individual. Whatever it may be, it can respond to questions, react to trigger objects, and interact in many ways with the investigators. This type of haunting is very fun to investigate because you are only limited by your ingenuity when it comes to thinking of ways to interact with whatever might be there.
Poltergeist: Hollywood has told us that poltergeist means "noisy ghost" in German. Hollywood was close, but it actually means "rumble ghost", which I guess could be construed to mean the same thing. The thing that Hollywood got completely wrong in the Poltergeist movies is that poltergeist activity is caused by a ghost of some sort, generally an evil or demonic one. In actuality, poltergeist activity is caused by a living human who is referred to as the human agent.
The human agent historically has been a female that was going through puberty, although there have been some cases of male human agents as well as older female human agents. It is believed that the physical changes that the girl’s body is undergoing combined with other emotional, psychological, or physical variables results in the activity manifesting. This activity is believed to be psycho-kinetic or PK in nature. This means that the person is able to move physical objects with their mind. It is thought that this comes as a result of a self-preservation reaction by the brain when the subject is not dealing with certain things in a healthy way.
The one thing Hollywood got correct was a lot of the activity that was portrayed. Activity can include large objects being thrown around a room, pennies raining from the ceiling, people being scratched, punched or pinched. In some poltergeist cases physical or sexual abuse may be at the center of the activity and usually the person responsible for the abuse is the target of any attacks. The person who is the human agent is generally very afraid whenever activity occurs and they aren't aware that they are causing it nor do they have any control over it. Determining who the human agent is the key to stopping the activity and this can be done by simply observing who is present when activity occurs and who is not. By process of elimination you can figure out who the human agent is and once they are made aware that they may be causing this activity to occur, it usually stops.
Poltergeist activity is very rare and there are only a handful of true poltergeist cases throughout recent history. The chances that you will experience this type of haunting is very low.
Inhuman: Thanks again to Hollywood, when you hear the term inhuman haunting we automatically think of a demonic haunting. However, inhuman hauntings refer to any hauntings caused by something that never walked the earth as a human so this would include angelic, animal, and elemental hauntings. Angelic and animal hauntings are pretty self-explanatory, but elemental hauntings are less well known and require some further explanation.
The basic concept of an Elemental refers to the ancient idea of the elements Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, and Aether as the fundamental building blocks of nature. They were prominent in many of the native cultures throughout the world. Elementals are referred to by various names. In the English European tradition these include Fairies, Elves, Devas, Brownies, Leprechauns, Gnomes, Sprites, Pixies, Banshees, Goblins, Dryads, Mermaids, Trolls, Dragons, Griffins, and numerous others. Gnomes are an example of an earth Elemental and Nymphs are an example of a water Elemental.
It is believed that elemental spirits possess supernatural powers and are usually invisible to humans, living among the trees, rivers, plants, bogs, mountains, and minerals. They attach themselves to practically every natural thing. Earthly Elementals are the metaphysical cause of earthquakes, floods, gales, thunderstorms, and wild-fires. Animism, which is the oldest known human spiritual practice, is the belief that Elementals inhabit all things. The belief in Elementals predates all the major religions.
Now as was stated in the beginning of this section when most people hear the term inhuman haunting they think demonic haunting. As such, it is pertinent to include a section about demonic hauntings here as well. First and foremost, demonic hauntings are very dangerous and should not be treated lightly. Whether you believe in demons or not, a demonic haunting essentially has all the hallmarks of a poltergeist haunting except for a few exceptions.
The first is that many or all religious items displayed in the home will go missing or be turned around or upside down over a period of time. The second is the smell of sulfur just before or during when activity is occurring. A third thing that is sometimes noticed during these sorts of hauntings is it seems that one person is affected more than others and behavior changes are noted about that person. However, it is hard to say if this is a psychological result of living in a haunted location or if something outside of that person is affecting them adversely.
Demonic hauntings are very serious, however the chances of your coming in contact with a demonic haunting is 1,000 times less likely than you would experience a poltergeist haunting. There are no well documented demonic cases that we have been able to locate. They are DEFINITELY not as common as the television shows and movies would have you believe!
And Other Photographic Anomalies Explained
There is a lot of controversy in the field regarding orbs. There are many people who think that strange balls of light caught on still images or video are embodiments of spirits of dead people. Although I can see this maybe being a comfort to someone who is grieving over a recently deceased loved-one, I see no other positive reason for this belief. The truth of the matter is, 99.9% of all orb pictures can be explained as dust, insects, mold spores, or pollen. PIM believes calling orbs anything else is either ignorant, misleading, or both.
There are microscopic things floating in the air all the time, we just can't see them. Things like dead skin cells, animal dander, and textile particles are suspended in the air. When the flash from a camera catches these particles just right, the light reflects back out of focus and creates the ball of light that we see. Below are examples of different types of orbs that were created by doing simple experiments to recreate what many people are capturing and calling orbs. Some have been borrowed from other websites as well.
Some insect orbs are very evidently insects but others are harder to pick out. These orbs are usually brighter due to the higher density of insects compared to dust. Many times they are flying and thus a moving orb is created. Insects are small and fast and easily missed, especially in the dark. Don't be fooled.
Notice how the rain orbs look like they are moving upward. This is due to the refractive properties of water. Rain drops have most of their mass in the bottom due to gravity and as such when the light from the flash enters the rain drop it leaves via the path of least resistance, which is straight out the top. This makes it look like the orbs are moving upward.
Snow orbs are more similar to insect orbs because they appear brighter due to the greater density that most have. However, you can get very different shapes from snow depending on how much water is in each flake. You have heard that there are no two snowflakes that are exactly the same right? Well think of how many different orb shapes snow could make.
Some people will attribute the intention of a "spirit" based on the color of the orb captured. White or yellow equals nice spirits who are looking out for us and black or red orbs indicate evil or negative spirits or even demons that want to do us harm. The reality is that you can capture an orb of any shade of the rainbow that is dust. Think about it. How many different colored fabrics exist today? If you have a piece of clothing, a carpet, a drape, or bedding that color you can capture an orb the very same color with ease. The bottom line is the color of the orb doesn't mean anything so please don't assign meaning to something that is meaningless!
There are also things that are captured in pictures that are not orbs but look like ectoplasmic mists or vortices. These also have very common explanations.
For ectoplasmic mists, it is usually exhaled breath, cigarette smoke, or water vapor. It doesn't have to be below or near freezing in order to be able to see your breath. If the temperature drops quickly during a hot summer day you can easily see your breath when it is 60+ degrees outside. The same phenomena can cause mist to appear above the ground that is not able to be seen until illuminated with a light.
Cigarette or cigar smoke is generally whiter in appearance, but is also commonly mistaken for ectoplasmic mist.
When it comes to vortices, or holes/portals in our reality that spirits move back and forth through, they are usually caused by a camera strap, hair, or even spider webs being caught in front of the lens of the camera.
Is there such a thing as a true orb? Yes! We are all made up of energy and we use lots of things that use energy and all these things can create orbs. Ever hear of ball lightning? Until scientists recreated it in the lab it was considered a paranormal event. Ball lightning is a great example of a natural orb. A natural orb should emit its own light and not need any external illumination to be visible.
So if I see a ball of light with my eye did I just see a ghost? No! Just because you witness that doesn't mean it is a ghost. As stated previously we are all made out of energy and for all you know that orb came from you. Without other evidence to back up paranormal claims, what you saw was just a ball of light, but that doesn't make it a ghost. Now if you captured an EVP at the same time saying "Hey, that glowing green ball of light is me," then we are getting somewhere. To PIM's knowledge though, that has not happened yet.
If you have any questions about the above please email Noah at firstname.lastname@example.org.