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The wrong technology
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: The wrong technology Reply with quote

There is much misunderstanding about the equipment that is used for investigating paranormal activity. Most of it is useless because the phenomena that it's supposed to be measuring has never been measured in the first place.
Here's my opinion on the usefulness or uselessness of some of the more common equipment that is being touted as essential for Ghosthunters.

Infrared thermometers are the most commonly misunderstood of the ghost hunters tools. These handheld devices measure the surface temperature of the object they are pointed at. They measure surface temperatures, just like your vision measures surface colors. If your eyes can see something, an IR thermometer can measure its temperature. However, ghost hunters mistakenly use these devices to detect what they believe are cold spots in supposedly haunted locations. IR thermometers are not capable of detecting something without a visible surface. In reality, an IR thermometer is even less likely than your vision to see a hazy apparition. Therefore if there were a hazy invisible apparition floating in the middle of the room, infrared is perhaps the worst technology to detect it.IR readings inside a room are merely showing temperature gradations on the walls, caused by heating and AC, insulation variances, studs, wiring, or pipes behind the wall, radiant heat, recent proximity of another ghost hunter, sunlight, temperatures in adjacent rooms, or countless other causes.

Infrared motion detectors work on the same principle. If the amount of IR radiation striking the sensor changes, an alarm can be activated. Such a change is caused by a sudden change in temperature within the detector's field of view, or a significant movement by an object with a visible IR signature. A ghostly cold spot moving within a room could not be detected, unless it also cooled the walls or floors enough to trip the activation threshold.

Particle detectors are devices that measure ionizing radiation. The most common particle detectors are Geiger counters, also called halogen counters. These work by measuring cascade effects caused by incoming particles that strike molecules of halogen gas inside the detection chamber. Typically, alpha, beta, and gamma particles are detected by these. It's not the most common of ghost hunting tools, but occasionally you will see someone pointing a Geiger counter around the room, though you may hear them describe it by any of several fancier and more high-tech sounding names. It's a Geiger counter. For a ghost to emit ionizing radiation, it would have to be an awfully sick ghost; or be composed largely of unstable radioactive metals. Ionizing particles don't just appear out of thin air, they are emitted by the decay of unstable isotopes that are typically heavy and have significant mass.

EMF meters are perhaps the best known of all the tools in the ghost hunters repetoire. EMF meters detect electromagnetic fields, and are used in ghost hunting on the premise that ghosts emit electromagnetism, though this claim is never supported by any suggestion of what the power source might be. There are many different types of EMF meters. More affordable units, such as those typically used by television performers or 'investimagators', need to be held precisely for a period of time at each of the three axis to get a reading, and so they are clearly not used on television in a manner that would produce any useful result. When they are, or when a more expensive three-axis meter is used, they are designed to detect the operation of electrical appliances or wiring. Ghost hunters are usually thoroughly accessorized with every electronic gizmo under the sun: radios, mobile phones, flashlights, cameras, TV cameras, and other ghost hunting accessories; and all of these will produce a result on the EMF meter. Building wiring or appliances will also be detected. But, even in an environment with no electrical devices at all, the presence of the TV camera alone renders the EMF readings totally useless. Even without ghost hunting equipment, electrical wiring, or a TV camera, a sensitive meter can even detect the oscillation of a steel filing cabinet vibrated imperceptibly by footsteps. In the midst of all the absurd amounts of EMF pollution on a TV ghost hunting set, the pretense that the alleged EMF field of a ghost (who's not carrying any batteries) can be identified, is foolish, wrong and shows an ignorance of the basic science behind the device.

Ion detectors The few commercially available ion detectors are available online almost exclusively through ghost hunting and alternative wellness web sites, which gives some clue of how useful they actually are. Ions occur naturally in the atmosphere from a variety of sources: solar radiation and weather being the main ones. Also, if you go to a part of the country where radon gas is an issue, an ion detector taken into the basement can go crazy sensing airborne ions created by radon decay. Ghost hunters prefer to regard this reading as indicative of the presence of a ghost. Ion detectors can also sense the presence of static electricity, so if your ghost is carrying a large static charge, you ought to be able to see it scuffing its shoes across the carpet.

Cameras of different types are used by ghost hunters. Sometimes they'll take a conventional visible spectrum camera and snap away, in the hope that spirit orbs or other manifestations will appear on the processed film or more commonly the digital image. Suffice it to say that all such images are well established artifacts of photography and of cameras, and well understood by knowledgeable photographers. They happen every day in photographs that have nothing to do with ghosts. Near infrared photography is the monochromatic "night shot" video that you see all the time, and that your home video camera probably offers. The light source is an infrared bulb on the camera, similar to the invisible light source inside your TV remote. These cameras record only what near infrared light is reflected from the subject, and of course they also record other near infrared sources, which are relatively common. Far infrared photography is the thermal imaging discussed previously. It's simply a visual display of the same heat sources detected by IR thermometers and motion detectors.

Dowsing rods are probably the least controversial of ghost hunting tools, in that increasingly few people accept that they have any useful function. Yet ghost hunters still employ them. And why not? A self-described psychic's untestable verbal reports are under the psychic's complete control. They cannot be tested, measured, or duplicated by others they say only exactly whatever the psychic wants to say. Dowsing rods simply give the dowsers another way to communicate whatever they choose to communicate. Since the rods are held in the dowser's own hand, they move only when the dowser wants them to move, and do not move when the dowser doesn't want them to or simply move due to the ideomotor effect. No form of dowsing has ever passed any type of controlled test, and no dowser has ever proposed any plausible hypothesis suggesting that dowsing might be an actual phenomenon. It is among the most childish of pretended ghost detection methods. The only thing you can learn from dowsing is which way the dowser wants to swing his dowsing rods in the mistaken belief that he or she is tapping into some invisible energy.

Audio recording gear is used when the ghost hunter hopes that EVP (electronic voice phenomena) will appear on the recording. An EVP is said to be the voice of a ghost, and the claim is that ghosts can talk perfectly well but can only be heard on an electronic recording. This means that recording gear has the ability to convert inaudible frequencies into audible ones. Engineers do not design this capability into most recording gear, since a change of frequency of perhaps tens of thousands of hertz would render all recordings completely useless and horrible to listen to. So, like they tend to do with all the electronic gear they carry, ghost hunters completely misunderstand, misuse, and mischaracterize the functions of these instruments.

DB
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Iain Lawrence



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agrea on a lot of what you say here, but Im afraid the EMF account is wrong. A pre-investigation EMF map should always be done which shows where EMF levels are and at what level, this includes Cameras and other pieces of equipment. Any investigator worth his or her salt will know about EMF interferance at various distances and voltages. Also it has to be understood that equipment usages will have an effect on EMF readings. This is standard procedure, or should be..( they don't do it on tv)..EMF meters are used in industry to detect the movement and presence of Electromagnetic energy given off by equipment and wiring. In these cases also other electrical equipment at very high voltages is used in those environments and the same care is used. So yes EMF meters are of use during investigations, but are only usefull when used correctly. As for anomilys giving off EMF, sorry no! It is believed (not prooven) that anomilys make use of Electromagnetic energy in conjuction with negative ions in the air as an aid to manifestation. The energy is apparantly conducted through the ions, which are drawn into a small area in order to attempt the manifestation. Yes not prooved..but it would explain why a room goes cold during events, as the temprature in the air needs ions in the air in order to conduct its self. No ions, no heat. So obviously Im not saying EMF meters do work for paranormal investigation, but it would be a grave fault to exclude them. P.S EMF spiking is not proof of a ghost, it can be caused by many things..I wish someone would train TV presenters properly.
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geez Iain you're busy today Smile

How is my EMF account specifically wrong?. I can't extrapolate the 'wrong' bit from your post.

DB
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Iain Lawrence



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you pointed out that ghosts emit EMF..apparantly they don't, they utilise it in conjunction with negative ions..not emit..
and you said they were no use around other electrical equipment...they are used in industry around electrical equipment.
Do you see now?
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'on the premise that ghosts emit electromagnetism'

premise |ˈpreməs|
noun Logic
a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion : if the premise is true, then the conclusion must be true.

EMF readers are no use - in detecting EMF readings from ghosts - because we don't know how a ghost (in all it's wonderful forms works) around other equipment that may emit EMF frequencies that would render any data meaningless. How can one extrapolate an EMF that is ghost generated from that of an electrical device generated?.

they utilise it in conjunction with negative ions

How do you know that Iain? Do you know how a ghost works? How do you know a ghost emits ions, either positive/negative or jelly baby flavour? if you do then please tell the world Shocked

Come on man. You've read the books, done the research and you know as well as I do that there is no valid, credible, tested mechanism in either our known science or fanciful speculations that adequately answers and provides testable hypotheses for how ghosts etc manifest.

DB
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Ten301



Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D B Sweeney wrote:
'on the premise that ghosts emit electromagnetism'

premise |ˈpreməs|
noun Logic
a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion : if the premise is true, then the conclusion must be true.

EMF readers are no use - in detecting EMF readings from ghosts - because we don't know how a ghost (in all it's wonderful forms works) around other equipment that may emit EMF frequencies that would render any data meaningless. How can one extrapolate an EMF that is ghost generated from that of an electrical device generated?.

they utilise it in conjunction with negative ions

How do you know that Iain? Do you know how a ghost works? How do you know a ghost emits ions, either positive/negative or jelly baby flavour? if you do then please tell the world Shocked

Come on man. You've read the books, done the research and you know as well as I do that there is no valid, credible, tested mechanism in either our known science or fanciful speculations that adequately answers and provides testable hypotheses for how ghosts etc manifest.

DB


I am new to this forum, but there is something that immediately became apparent to me while reading the posts...

D.B. Sweeney, you are correct that it is not known how ghosts manifest, or even if they truly exist. However, while others are trying to "think outside the box", try various methods and attempt to understand the phenomena, you seem content to simply sit at your keyboard and criticize them for their efforts. Their research, while very possibly wildly off base, may nevertheless shed some light on this subject.

Okay, we get it. You're a skeptic, as we all should be. But your continual, non-stop drone of (to paraphrase) "How can you expect to explore the nature of ghosts if you do not know what they are?" whenever someone mentions something they want to try gets a bit old, even for a newcomer to this forum. With that line of reasoning, few discoveries in any field would have ever been made.

Perhaps misguided, perhaps not, but others are out in the field making an honest contribution to the understanding of this subject. Perhaps I'm simply a rude and obnoxious American. I mean no disrespect, but must ask the following question...

Other than sitting in front of your computer and being critical, what has been your contribution?


Last edited by Ten301 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:07 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Iain Lawrence



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thankyou for your input Ten301 and I suport you there, but it is important that people like D.B Sweeny scutinise what we do. It makes us streadfast and causes us to ensure our facts and research are water tight. Theory is the route to knowledge when it comes to the unseen quantum, sub atomic world and this is were realist flounder. They find it hard to see past atomic science.
D.B. Sweeny...In reply to your question..I didn't say anomalies emit emf or ions. I said they utilise them..we do not know the make up of a ghost..thats a fact, but investigators have found a link to emf and the temprature drop and the ion count in environments which have experienced phenomenon. From this they use there common sense and look at how this could accure and in what way. It appears that by using an EMF meter the emf appears to consentrate in an area and the ion count is also consentrated in that said area. Also the temprature is seen to drop on digital thermometers which would lead us to the idea that the ions have been utilised with the emf in the environment to in order to manifest by using the ions as building blocks in order to manifest. This is a theory..just as newton used theorys and other brilliant scientists. The laws of relativity, gravity etc none of these could be prooven at the time they were theorys and these man were call idiots and mad men, some were cast out of the royal acadamy.( I probably would be because of my spelling). We are looking for answers and useing new science in order to do this. We are not magicians or witch's, they were killed for seeing outside the box.
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Ten301



Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scrutinize? Absolutely, and within accepted boundries, everyone has the right to their opinion. I have enjoyed reading D.B. Sweeney's posts.

However, it seems "Mr. Sweeney" prefers to criticize the process before it even begins, which is quite strange as, at this point, all possibilities and theories are equally valid. Simply stating that we do not know what ghosts are (if, indeed, they exist) so therefore cannot have a point of reference to begin the process to examine the phenomena is a much too convenient stance. I believe Mr. Sweeney realizes the "Catch 22" nature of what I understand his opinion to be, and is the same thought process that causes endless debate on this and many similar paranormal forums. Actually, every forum has its D.B. Sweeney, and usually more than one. I agree that it is definitely beneficial overall. However, if we do not yet have that point of reference, then what is the harm of doing some poking around to try to determine it, and why should we be criticized for doing so?
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Iain Lawrence



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done I agrea. It would make life easier. Its like driving your car with the brakes on. But life is life and we have our cross to bare lol. Ill look out for your input. Keep up the good work and enjoy yourself here.
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ten301 welcome, good to have you on board.

Good to see you come straight onto the forum with all guns blazing. I would have thought a bit of decorum would have been slightly more appropriate for your first post, but that's your prerogative.

Firstly, apart from my posts on here you know nothing about me. FYI I spent over ten years 'out in the field' investigating cases - everything from poltergeists to what people class as residual hauntings - ten years before pseudoscientific 'teams' like TAPS made it fashionable.I also still do around 3 investigations a year. I've also spent over 35 years researching the subject. By profession I'm a photographer and provide help in an advisory capacity on several paranormal websites, have given talks to ghost hunting groups and have contributed to a number of articles on the subject over the years.I frequently attend seminars and lectures given by some of the leading names in paranormal research and the academic fields associated with it.

Your 'all possibilities and theories are equally valid' point is incorrect. 'We do not know what ghosts are' is a fact that you really cannot dispute or logically criticise anyone for stating it unless you have a problem with it. I don't 'criticize' anyone Ten301 unless I have a damn good reason to to so.

New discoveries are made in science by asking questions, forming theories, testing hypotheses and challenging beliefs. One of the beliefs that frequently comes up on forums is 'Ghosts did it' so why is it not logical to ask what a ghost is?. Why do you get so irked because someone is asking questions, wanting more information?. If someone posts that ghosts emit ions then sure of course I'm gonna ask how they came to that conclusion - what do you want me to do, pat them on the back and say 'Geez man do they, that's us one step closer to knowing what ghosts are' or do we do what any rational person or scientist would do and ask how that conclusion was formed and what kind of evidence they have to support it?.

I happen to have a lot of respect for Ian Lawrence even though I very often disagree with him and anyone else who takes the time to respond in a polite but challenging way to my posts. What I don't respect is someone coming straight onto the forum being sarcastic and downright rude to existing members.

DB
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flossy
Moderator


Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 4902
Location: UK tyne/wear (geordie land)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

welcome ten301 Wink
you cant judge someone from a couple of posts ten301, if you took the time to get to know our members you would realise that they are very clued up on the paranormal subject(thats very much includeing DB)
infact DB would be one of the first people i would turn to for advice on the subject, as he has pointed out not every thing that goes bump in the night is paranormal Wink
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Flossy, I appreciate your support. There's a right way and a rude way to disagree with someone. Ten301 does make some valid points but on one hand he or she says
'I have enjoyed reading D. B. Sweeney's posts'
and on the other posts
'your continual, non-stop drone of (to paraphrase) "How can you expect to explore the nature of ghosts if you do not know what they are?" whenever someone mentions something they want to try gets a bit old'. That's a bit like saying 'I enjoy Justin Biebers songs but his singing gets on my nerves'.

I'll debate the paranormal with anyone providing they exercise a modicum of politeness, have a sense of humour and are prepared to be questioned - otherwise what's the point of posting on a forum if you're not prepared to have your views questioned or challenged?. As the old saying goes, "If you don't like the ectoplasm, don't shove wet muslin up your nose" Wink

I hope Ten301 continues to post - everyone's viewpoint has a right to be heard irrespective whether other members agree or disagree with it.


DB
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Iain Lawrence



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 419

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still didn't say they emit ions, they utilise them..We don't give off food we eat in order to live..slightly diferent but you know what I mean. and yes its theory. I lot of equations I consider are theory based. But thats how new concepts and sciences are born. But we do have to consider all possibilitys and just because part of a equation can not be seen does not mean it doesn't excist. Scientist use this process constantly. ie; 1+-=5..
the missing number is obviously 4, but when we're dealing with unknown and unseen variables we certainly have to look outside the box. Thats how the elemental table was created. To exclude the possibility that these yet unknown elements would be involved within an unuxplainable concept or equation would be silly. No I can not proove many of the concepts of which I bring to the table, buy Im meirly being farward thinking. In a forum such as this Im walking a thin line as people generaly see things from a pysical perspective. What we are dealing wit here in many cases is none physical and researchers have been fighting an up hill battle with many concepts within the paranormal world for many years. Its about using you knowledge and imagination within the realms of possibility and completeing aquations with as much almost common sense as possible. Please have patience with my angle of enquiry as I can not (in most cases) proove my theorys..but they do answer a lot of strange questions and give food for thought toa lot of people. I may somtimes get some things slightly amiss, like we said Im dealing with un known variables, but the concepts and equations are sound.
Thankyou for reading
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair comment Iain, I'm pretty much with you on this. I'll post a longer reply in due course Smile

DB
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D B Sweeney



Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Posts: 2842
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am new to this forum, but there is something that immediately became apparent to me while reading the posts.
Ten301

Yeah me too mate - you've obviously not read all my posts just the ones you have a personal problem with. Perhaps when you've got some basic history of posting I'll be able to tear a new one for you buddy. In the meantime don't just cherry pick my posts - read em' all, then weep.

DB
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