In future, will possible use of electromagnetic waves in the electromagnetic radiation spectrum allow supernatural forces to travel through optical fibres, coaxial cables used in TVs, and electrical and phone lines, which will make it easier to understand paranormal occurrences and then to sense, image and even talk to them?
Paranormal events (ghosts and spirits) have always been a point of discussion in almost every society whose existence is described as beyond normal experience or scientific explanation. In contrast to scientific hypothesis of evidence based on empirical observations and experimental data, existence of the paranormal does not have a base on empirical evidence, but rather on anecdote, testimony and suspicion. Notable paranormal beliefs include those pertaining to extrasensory perception (for example, telepathy), spiritualism, and the pseudo-science of ghost-hunting, crypto-zoology and ufology.
Scientifically, energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can change from one form to another. If living soul is also a form of energy, then after death it will always be there in some form of energy. In the electronic era, when electronics-based technology has developed to provide many miraculous devices and their applications for the mankind covering almost every inch of the electromagnetic spectrum of radiations, it is expected that advances in electronic instrumentation will make it possible, one day, not only to record the existence of supernatural events but also to talk to them. This article is an effort to briefly summarise the latest developments in the field of electronic instrumentation towards sensing, imaging (terra-hertz and thermal) and recording paranormal events.
Electronics and the supernatural
We have seen developments in electronics from simple semiconductor transistors to today’s super and quantum computers. Everybody today will agree that computers and electronics have forever changed our way of life. There are electronic systems and integrated chips in everything we are using in our day-to-day life activities. Today, when we are all surrounded with smart electronic equipment, working as per our instructions and desires, and proving to be as good as the sixth sense, we can always expect some encounter with some supernatural phenomena. Scientist Nikola Tesla also said not to dismiss ideas that appear supernatural or not of science as Physics, as these extend beyond what is scientifically known today.
The future will show that what we now call occult or supernatural is based on a science not yet developed, but whose infant steps are being taken as we speak. In the past, scientists thought that electricity and electronics could be an important link between our world and the world of the dead—even Nikola Tesla believed that radio could be a means of communication with spirits. Other scientists too thought that electricity could give life to the dead, and they believed that spasms with shocks were attempts of bodies to return to life. It is expected that with the help of smart electronics instrumentation, within the next few years, the fact of eternity of existence will have advanced from the realm of questioning to the realm of certainty.
Over the years of technological developments, we have at our disposal adequate electronics-based technical devices to test facts by experimentation. Many modern-day conveniences are electronic in nature, and such devices as cellphones, computers, stereos and TVs are not only useful, these are also testaments to the triumph of science and technology.
Ingenuity and reason have given us capabilities far beyond anything that we have naturally. Yet, imagination connects the fruits of that labour with the supernatural. There are two prominent ways in which the supernatural is connected to electronics. First, there is a claimed connection between electromagnetism and ghosts. Ghost hunters claim that ghosts create electromagnetic radiation or consist of electromagnetic energy. Repeated claims have been made on the show Ghost Hunters.
Second, a direct connection between electronic devices and the supernatural is often asserted. The most common form is the so-called electronic voice phenomena (EVP). This occurs when individuals claim that supernatural entities, especially spirits of the departed, communicate through static in electronic devices.
With no universally-accepted methods of investigating the paranormal, beliefs of investigators can greatly influence the outcomes of their own investigations. Many procedures to detect paranormal activities have been tested using dowsing rods, electronic voice recorders, energy detectors, video cameras, electromagnetic field meters, Geiger counters and so on.
Though none of the methods to track paranormal occurrences have been scientifically proven so far and evidences provided are scientifically debated, yet all investigators assert about the success of their method.
However, in pursuit of scientifically-verifiable evidence, advanced tools and electronics have been employed. The art of recording EVP is one of the most widely-accepted methods of collecting evidence. Given below are some of the methods for investigating paranormal events.
Electronic voice phenomena
In the field of ghost- and spirit-hunting, EVP technology specifies sounds found on electronic recordings, which are interpreted as spirit voices. Parapsychologist Konstantīns Raudive (1909-1974, Russia), who popularised the idea in the 1970s, described EVP as typically brief, usually the length of a word or short phrase.
Supports always consider EVP to be a form of paranormal occurrences often found in recordings with static or other background noise. However, scientists regard it as a form of auditory paredolia phenomenon and a pseudoscience. Routine explanation for EVP includes apophenia (that is, perceiving patterns in random information), equipment artefacts and hoaxes.
Paranormal energy detectors
The field of electronics has given detectors of various phenomena such as psycho-energy detectors, ion detectors, magnetic field oscillator detectors, electric charge detectors, ion detectors, etc.
An electronic device called ghost detector (ghost meter), which contains a circuit that can detect oscillations in the magnetic field—defying the thinking that paranormals are caused by ghosts—is just concentration of ions in the air. Commercial ghost detectors are easily available in the market, and these are nothing more than electromagnetic field (EMF) meters, which are capable of measuring EMFs.
Electronic equipment not only detect paranormal phenomena, these are capable of recording voices of spirits, of the past and even registering images of auras, spirits, the dead, etc. The first scientist to study and discover the phenomenon called instrumental trans-communication was Swedish researcher Friedrich Jungerson. He recorded voices that were speaking in an extinct language. With that, he unchained a true legion whose purpose was to record the silence or white noise to find voices or even achieve communication with the beyond.
Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is the ability or side-effect of any object or radiation that may be a supernatural entity’s presence, which can cause nearby electronics to malfunction. EMF meters measure electromagnetic radiation that originates from various sources including the Earth, people and electronics. These are calibrated to measure noticeable changes in EM radiation to detect radiation from unidentified sources at different frequencies all over the EM radiation spectrum. High levels of radiation as well as their movement in the area can be documented to investigate further.
It has been found through experiments by many researchers that paranormal occupancy is strongly accompanied by RF disturbances ranging from a few hertz to many kilohertz. A simple yet super-sensitive paranormal activity recoding circuit can be designed, which can be used for detecting sensitive paranormal existence within a range of ten metres. Many such circuits can be built and placed at definite intervals for securing a large area. Each circuit incorporates an alarm at output, which sounds immediately on detecting a paranormal intrusion, and is ideally suitable for areas prone to paranormal activity.
Since the 1920s, when Thomas Edison hinted that he might have attempted to build a ghost machine to communicate with the dead, others have tried to apply a scientific method to prove the existence of life after death. However, so far, such attempts have not met with any success. Till date, all groups (amateur and professional) involved in paranormal investigations have their own set of protocols regarding paranormal existence and investigations.
Majority of paranormal investigators—at least the ones experienced enough to realise that most alleged supernatural events can be attributed to environmental conditions—do not simply hunt down disembodied spirits but use technology to measure as many environmental factors as possible at a given site and look for clues that suggest the perception of a paranormal event as the result of some naturally-occurring factors. Only after ruling out those natural factors can an investigator consider the possibility that a case may be supernatural.
Investigators need to improvise with technology tools as till today there are no equipment that can actually detect paranormal activity—these can only collect data. They can use such instruments as environmental sensors, cameras and recorders to monitor the environment and notice anomalies. If there is a correspondence in anomalies or data with other information, such as personal experiences, it means they might be experiencing paranormal activity.
Many paranormal investigators have built and used various electronic devices like digital video cameras (blimp cams), sensors and voice recorders for investigating paranormal events. So far, they may not have been able to get anything really substantial as far as ghosts and spirits are concerned, but such valuable electronic devices can prove to be a stepping-stone for future investigations.
Future generation of electronics instrumentation will be a mixture of electronic and supernatural forces. In future, possible use of EM waves (from very-low to very-high frequency range) in the EM radiation spectrum will allow supernatural forces to travel through optical fibres, coaxial cables used in TVs, and electrical and phone lines, which will make it easier to understand paranormal occurrences and then to sense, image and even talk to them.
Dr S.S. Verma is professor at Department of Physics, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur, Punjab