Why do ghost hunters use EMF meters?
First of all, EMF meters do not detect ghosts. Well, they probably don’t. Researchers who have been doing this for decades will tell you that using equipment like EMF meters is for the purpose of detecting the effects ghosts have on the environment. Since we still don’t know what ghosts are, it is the only way. We take base readings and then we compare those reading against supposed paranormally active situations and then we look for differences. Even many of the investigators on TV will tell you this. How the TV producers spin this information is usually very different. It is often easier to say EMF meters detect ghosts as opposed to explaining the science behind the technology. The big mistake many researchers do is take the shows for granted as a source of real science and hard work.
The ELF-Zone Meter
The ELF-Zone Meter is a product of paranoia. It was created for those fearful of getting cancer or brain damage from CRT computer monitors, microwave ovens and other high energy devices. Laboratory tested and calibrated, the ELF-Zone Meter is a model of simplicity. It has only three colored indicator lights for different levels of electro-magnetic field levels. These levels are Green: 0-2.5 mG (“Safe”), Yellow: 2.5-7 mG (“Caution”) and Red: 8 or more mG (“Danger”). It will measure ELF/VLF (Extremely Low Frequency and Very Low Frequency) magnetic fields in the frequency range of 20-10,000 Hz, with a minimum sensitivity of 0.25 mG. Very Low Frequency is the spectrum extending from 10 to 30 KHz, as designated by the Federal Communications Commission and Extremely Low Frequency is the band of radio frequencies from 3 to 3000 Hz. ELF was at one time used by the US Navy and Soviet/Russian Navy to communicate with submerged submarines.
The ELF-Zone Meter is a very simple to use single-axis meter. Single-axis means the meter is directional and must be pointed in the direction you want it to detect. We have often used it to detect artificial sources of EMF when mapping a location for non-paranormal magnetic sources. Alarm clock radios, stereo speakers, ceiling fans and CRT monitor have been known to set it off. It has even gone off in what can only be described as high-energy paranormal environments. These are situations in which case no artificial or natural sources can be accounted for. Natural sources would include the area between the Earth and Earth’s ionosphere where electrons are made to oscillate from lightning strikes. The oscillation gives off a resonance frequency of 7.8 Hz. Sudden ionospheric disturbance (SID) in the atmosphere caused by solar flares can also cause a natural spike on these meters in the right situations.
The K–II EMF Meter
Contrary to popular belief, the K–II Meter is not a second generation EMF meter. There never was a K-I version. Actually the K–II comes from K–II Enterprises, the manufacturer and creator of the K–II EMF Meter. They also produce sonic dog trainers and deterrents. The K–II meter is usually priced from $50 to $100. The previously mentioned ELF-Zone meter is usually priced around $13. The K–II meter is available two ways – with or without an on/off toggle switch. Without the alteration of an installed toggle switch, the K–II requires you to hold down a top mounted thumb switch. Releasing the switch turns it off. When you first touch down on the switch, it does a quick battery check and will light up for about a second. Some paranormal investigators will place a coin into the switch to keep it on.
The K–II Meter also detects ELF/VLF. Its range in ELF is 50 to 1,000 Hz and in the VLF range 1,000 to 20,000 Hz. This, as Ron and I discovered later, opens a whole can of worms when it comes to using the K–II anywhere near civilization. As far as EMF is concerned, the K–II Meter (or simple the K–II in paranormal circles) has five colored indicator lights versus the ELF-Zone Meter’s three. The levels as indicated by the lights are two Greens: 0-2.5 mG and , one Yellow: 2.5-10 mG and two Red: 10-20+ mG. Almost exactly like the range of the ELF-Zone Meter, huh? Not exactly when you consider that extra sensitive VLF range going all the way to 20,000 Hz (or 20 kHz).
Hertz or Hz is named after Dr. Heinrich Hertz, the physicist who developed the theory of radio waves. It is the unit of measurement of one cycle per second when one radio wave passes one point in one second of time. So, if I am at point A and you are at point B and I send you 20 radio waves to you at point B from point A in exactly one second, that is 20 Hz. Electromagnetic radiation is a phenomenon that takes the form of self-propagating waves. It consists of electric and magnetic fields which oscillate (frequency) in phase perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy production. EMF carries energy and momentum that interacts with matter it comes in contact with.
As many paranormal researchers know, the K–II Meter cannot be used anywhere near someone with a cell phone in which the cell phone’s power is on. It does not matter if it is on vibrate or not. Just being on and capable of receiving calls generates enough of an RF (radio frequency) to register on the K–II. This will vary depending on brand and how often the cell phone will check for incoming calls, text and SMS messages. There are two common frequency bands that all cell phone carriers use. The cellular band referred to as 1900 uses the frequencies 1850-1990 MHz. The other band is PCS which is the 800 MHz band which uses frequencies in the 824-894 MHz range. Most of our cellular phone signal products work on one or the other. Cell phones give off varying degrees of ELF and VLF depending on what “mode” it is in, the model and manufacturer, etc. 2 Hz: to avoid uncomfortable modulation for the ears from the surrounding noise, when speech is absent. 8.34 Hz: emission frequency of the signal related to reception conditions. 30/40 Hz: emissions of various electronic elements and internal oscillators within the cellphone. 217 Hz: modulation of the carrier-frequency namely the microwaves used by GSM/DCS cellular systems. All of these fall within the detection range of the K–II. Cordless phones, WIFI stations, pagers, RFS radios, walkie-talkies, microwave ovens, radar detectors, cable boxes, ceiling fans, traffic lights, cb radios, ham radio towers, cell phone towers, power stations and thousands of other examples of modern technology also give off RF signals within the range of the K–II Meter that would would not really be considered EMF sources.
A little help from E. A. Poe
When Ron and I drove through Baltimore City we left the the K–II Meter on and running. Ron has the model that has an added toggle switch. We would switch back from simply holding the front mounted switch to using the toggle. Low and behold, we occasionally received different readings depending on which option we used! It would appear that the toggle switch acted like some sort of powered antennae when used instead of the push-button and increased the signal. A colleague of mine with both versions confirmed this. When we drove by a WIFI coffee bar, the K–II peaked. When we were within 40 feet of a radar equipped intersection, it peaked. When we drove by someone in another car who was using a cell phone it, peaked. Many times we simply coundn’t tell what was setting it off. When we reached the Westminster Burying Grounds in downtown Baltimore we began to search around using different EMF and RF detectors along with the K–II. This included the Alpha Labs Natural Trifield EMF Meter, a MagTemp, a Cell Sensor EMF Meter, a Ghost Meter EMF Meter, a Gauss Master and an E.Smog Scout Lux. When we found artificial sources of EMF, the Cell Sensor EMF Meter, Ghost Meter EMF Meter, Gauss Master and E.Smog Scout Lux all detected the same sources equally. They were also unaffected by RF signals. The Natural Trifield Meter did not detect artificial sources unless it was set for RF. Then it detected some things even beyond the range of the K–II. We were not, unfortunately, privy to any paranormal activity that day. We also did some readings at my own house that confirmed some of the earlier sources of RF.
How some ghost hunters use the K–II
How I have often seen this device used since 2008 is thusly: A K–II Meter is placed somewhere (on the ground, floor, table, etc.) and someone talks to it. The impression is given that the investigator(s) is talking to the spirits present and encouraging them (the ghosts) to interact with the K–II Meter. I have been given two theories behind this technique. One: That the ghost or ghosts get close enough to the K–II Meter that they (the ghosts) affect the readings. Two: The ghost or ghosts actually enter the electronics of the K–II Meter and manipulate it for communication. Honestly, the second reason is not only far-fetched, but downright ridiculous. There is no evidence anywhere in the annals of paranormal research to suggest that people become electronic engineers when they enter the state of ghost-hood. The first possibility is far more likely and believable. Nevertheless, we cannot prove scientifically that what is being witnessed is by ghostly interaction. How do we know it isn’t psychic influence by the investigators? You want results and therefore project results.
The K–II Meter is built like a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. It may be used for paranormal research in places like the Amazon or Congo and maybe even the Arctic Circle. Any place too close to other pieces of technology and it will give the user false positives. When I first began seriously researching the paranormal in 1999, I thought all orbs were ghosts and misty pictures taken in the wintertime were as well. I learned otherwise. The best known users of the K–II Meter, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of TAPS and TV’s Ghost Hunters fame recently renounced the K–II Meter in an online article. Some sources have come forward to me and have said that they have seen certain K–II endorsers using the push button (original unaltered) to “fake” a reading. What they do is hold the button down, release it, and then press again so that the battery-check function looks like a ghost detection. Some, more clever con-artists have used their cell phones and other RF sources in order to hussle would-be investigators and clients. If you are looking for an inexpensive EMF Meter, I recommend the Cell Sensor EMF Meter, Ghost Meter EMF Meter or Gauss Master. Even a compass is better than the K–II Meter.