Amateur Ghost Hunters Think Devices are ‘Ghost Finders’

One of my biggest pet peeves lately is when the media (or even ghost hunting groups) claim that any devices used in paranormal investigations are “ghost-detecting equipment.” It just furthers the myth that anything caught with these devices is automatically a ghost, and prevents people from thinking more critically and searching for rational explanations first. I came across this article today, which features some amateur ghost hunters (“amateur” is even in their group name) and it is quite apparent that either these guys or the author of the article thinks that this equipment can find ghosts.

ghost hunting, ghost hunter, equipment, New York Paranormal SocietyA NEW wave of ghostbusters equipped with the latest technology are braving Queensland’s haunted hot spots looking for things that go bump in the night.

Matthew Zyderveld, core member of newly minted Brisbane Amateur Paranormal Investigators, began researching ghost-detecting gadgets after reality TV rekindled his interest in the supernatural.

“I started looking around online to see how much equipment was, and I realised ‘Hey, it’s cheap. I can afford this’,” he told the Courier-Mail.

The basic equipment the group uses on a ghost hunt includes an electromagnetic field meter – available for around $60 online – a voice recorder, an infrared thermometer to check for temperature fluctuations, a digital camera and a 99c smartphone app that claims to translate supernatural communication into English.

Mr Zyderveld and fellow investigator Andrew Small have already used their equipment to investigate two supposedly haunted locations in Brisbane including historic Wolston House, an 1852 National Trust homestead with a reputation as a haunt for troubled souls.

They said their investigations left them convinced their equipment was picking up evidence of supernatural activity, including communication from another realm.

“People can be sceptics until they actually go in and get some kind of results,” Mr Zyderveld said.

“I don’t fully understand how death and what happens after death works, but I have no doubt the devices do pick up some kind of responses.”

Other paranormal investigation groups using similar technology have been springing up in Queensland and around Australia, using social media to share resources and information.

Brisbane Ghost Tours operator and author of Haunted Brisbane Jack Sim said more people were becoming interested in the supernatural and he regularly saw amateur ghost hunters out in the city’s spooky nooks and crannies.

He cautioned against wannabe paranormal sleuths relying solely on gadgets to detect the departed.

“They’re really useful tools and a lot of fun and they may well lead to some big breakthrough one day but to my mind you’ve really got to begin with, ‘Is there a history of a joint being haunted?’ ” he said.

“To my mind, if you combine a bit of scientific equipment with some good history, you might be onto something.”

But University of Queensland Associate Professor of Philosophy and paranormal sceptic William Grey said anecdotal evidence should be scrutinised carefully.

There was no scientific basis for believing modern technology could detect paranormal activity, he said.

“I don’t dispute for a moment that this equipment will detect electromagnetic fields,” he said.

“What I find extraordinarily dubious is the suggestion that these technological devices can be used for detecting a ghostly presence.”

Ok, first off…there is no smartphone app you can download that will actually let you communicate with ghosts. If you believe that it can, I have a bridge that I can sell you, for a very good price. We don’t know yet how to communicate with ghosts, and anything we do in this field is an educated guess, at best. So to think that someone came up with an app that can convert your phone into a ghost communicator, and is only selling it for 99 cents, is just ridiculous. I sort of understand the theory behind it, but any knowledgeable investigator knows that using a phone on an investigation can wreak all sorts of havoc with the rest of your equipment. Bad idea. But I am glad to see that professor William Grey chimed in on this. As he said, these devices, such as an EMF detector or K-II meter, merely search for electro-magnetic fields. Not ghosts. The theory is that ghosts may use EMFs in order to manifest, and if a high EMF reading is found where there shouldn’t be one, than that is a bit outside of the norm (or paranormal, if you will). But that doesn’t mean it’s a ghost. It is completely irresponsible for these people to go out, form a team, and conduct investigations when they have no idea of how to use their equipment and what their findings might mean.

0 comments on “Amateur Ghost Hunters Think Devices are ‘Ghost Finders’

  1. Good grief. How are these people making it in the news with such lame stories? I’m worried about the quality of reporting in this country anymore. Thank goodness for bloggers like you keeping facts straight!

    1. This is my concern Court! It just seems like groups are willing to say and do anything in order to get some press, and I don’t quite understand the need for them to all make a name for themselves. Actual ghost hunting is not exciting enough, apparently, so people have to fudge the evidence and make outrageous claims, and the media runs with it. And all the peabrains who watch Ghost Hunters and think that is reality just keep buying into it.

  2. The truth of the matter is…even when any of these groups find “proof” on their fancy gadgets…how many of us (level headed people) actually believe it to be authentic?? It’s 2011, pretty much ANYTHING can be tweaked, adjusted, messed with…etc. I also think that the majority of us are hopeful skeptics anyway. Sure, we all want “proof”, but unless I am the one finding it and I know it was pure, I will remain extremely skeptical of everyone else’s “evidence”.

  3. There is no link between ghosts and electromagnetism so it is not a theory. In fact, it was just something someone like the guy in your article made up and now everyone carries an EMF detector. Worse than people who think EMF meters detect ghosts are people who think they are different from Ghost Hunters and are just exactly alike. If you carry an EMF meter you believe it has something to do with Ghost hunting, which, from a skeptic’s perspective, puts you in the same category as people who think EMF meters detect ghosts.

    1. FYI

      a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

  4. In my experience you DON’T need 95% of the stuff they sell….we use basic equipment and still capture some good stuff that we can’t explain…simpler is better..these people that sell this stuff is not in it for the research they are only trying to make a quick buck and it sickens me

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