Any community worth its history has some ghost stories. Ghost hunting stories and equipment are part of where many of us live. Where Wharf 21 is located is no different. In fact, our community has a ghost tour, a business of spirits making appearances.
But so do many other locations… these tours are good business. They blend beliefs, experiences, family legends, history, science, local narratives. Of course, there is a lot of content — articles — critical of belief in ghosts, and of ghost hunting. But all this criticism fails to appreciate the way in which some of these articles reveal the community.
(By the way, we recently did an article on an EMF meter (a radiation/energy detector) meant specifically for ghost detecting purposes. It is the Cambridge Labs Rechargeable EMF Meter / Radiation Detector. The article is here.)
The popularity of the paranormal
Is science a drain on our imagination? It shouldn’t be. In an era of advanced physics and science, you might think ghost hunting stories and equipment would be less popular. After all, regular reality is weird enough. But that isn’t how it goes. Ghost hunting equipment, witnessings of the strange and haunting, are more not less common.
Glitchy devices? depends on how you look at it.
So, many businesses are selling devices for detecting paranormal presences. Energies that somehow cross boundaries or “leak” from one domain of reality to another are the target.
Most of the equipment used for such detective work is not specifically made for ghost hunting. They are electronic devices such as EMF meters (EMF = electromagnetic field). Or EVP recorders and so on.
Originally made for routine engineering functions, ghost hunters have adopted them. The device that produces confusing or misleading data, is exactly what is wanted.
These devices include EMF detectors, thermal cameras, full-spectrum optical recorders. EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recorders. And motion detectors, thermometers. The last, because cold spots in the air can indicate ghostly activity. (I did not know this…) Oh, and laser grid projectors. A pattern is projected on a wall, and if it is interrupted without apparent reason, it may be because of ghostly activity.
Some EMF meters used for paranormal entity detecting:
Ghostly signatures and the media
There is no shortage of stories charging that ghost hunters do not practice science or real investigation. That’s probably true, and many of these articles are scientifically valid. Hunters who seek evidence of ghosts, begin from the assumption ghosts exist. Then they go about looking for data that might support the assumption. Here are some examples of content making the case that ghost hunting is flawed.
Critical articles also make the claim that ghost hunters use devices that do not work well. The instruments are not broken or defective, per se; just easily misled. In other words, they produce questionable data. But that is exactly what the ghost industry wants, the articles claim.
After all, our culture immerses us in a sea of EMF. Cell phones, radios, or other electronic devices can set these detectors off. But, Eureka! The ghost industry finds the blurry, unreliable, or erroneous data useful. (At least, that is the accusation.) The investigators are drawn to and sift through data that appears confusing or anomalous. The signature of the ghostly conceals itself in apparent junk data…
Still, is that the end of the story? — we don’t think so, but that is a topic for another time… In the meantime, here is something from the other side of the argument: a link to a famous book about the Duke University Parapsychology Lab: