Paranormal does not usually imply a scientifically sound phenomenon. However, when science is used to verify the observation, the situation changes. This is where a variety of sensors come into play. After all, it is called extra sensory perception (ESP).
In the United States, a push in the scientific community to empirically study paranormal experiences led to the creation of the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University in 1930. Today, several universities offer degrees in parapsychology in their psychology departments. For a Ph.D. in parapsychology, course studies could include quantitative experimental methods and research design. As the root of behavioral psychology, experimentation courses for parapsychology offer focused training in provable detection programs as well as statistical analysis and report-writing.
For those who consider parapsychology a pseudoscience, proponents note that few people believed in the germ theory of disease until scientists like Snow and Pasteur investigated and developed what became rigorous proof of the unseen phenomena in the 1850s.
The study of parapsychology typically includes five key areas:
- Telepathy sharing or receiving thoughts or feeling directly
- Clairvoyance accessing information about events distant in time or space
- Precognition predicting future events before they occur
- Psychokinesis (PK) manipulating objects or physical systems using mental powers
- Survival studies continuing to exist in some form and communicating after death
Among the phenomena/measurements that researchers want to observe for paranormal activities are electromagnetic fields (EMF), temperature, audio, infrared and ultraviolet images, motion detection, and more.
EMF meters measure fluctuations in electromagnetic fields that may result from paranormal occurrences. Temperature guns measure the air for the cold spots but a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera could also be among the items in a paranormal researcher’s toolbox to detect a drop in temperature or a cold spot that is often associated with paranormal activity.
Ultimately, like any other modern technology, enterprising companies will integrate different technologies into a single product. The Paranormal Puck is an example of this integration. The Paranormal Puck 2 monitors EMF, temperature, humidity, light levels, barometric pressure, movement, and ionization / static levels. It works with smart phones and tablets.
The Spirit Box
Perhaps the most intriguing or controversial measurement tool is the ghost or spirit box. Falling into the broader classification of instrumental trans-communication (ITC) devices, the theory is that a spirit can communicate with people using white noise. Research has shown that sounds other than spoken language can be captured on a ghost box.
One of the more widely known devices is the P-SB7 Spirit Box®. First demonstrated on Ghost Adventures “LIVE” show on October 30, 2009, the spirit box provided “real time” responses to an investigator’s questions for over 40 minutes. The device uses a millisecond adjustable Forward or Reverse frequency “sweep” technique coupled with a proprietary high frequency white noise distributed between frequency steps.
With the goal of facilitating communications, the Ovilus 5 also converts environmental readings into words. In the dictionary mode, words are voiced from the on-board dictionary based on environmental readings. However, there are other modes that a researcher can use including draw mode, energy mode (to visualize dynamic energy fields similar to an oscilloscope readings), log mode, motion mode (that uses a built-in accelerometer to visualize small movements), phonetic mode, and a true/false mode (based on high or low energy levels.
For those who are skeptical of or interested in the use of these devices, they can all be found and ordered on Amazon or through a Google search.