Armchair Ghost Hunting… Innovative, or a Really Stupid Idea?
Staying home? Want to try some “armchair ghost hunting”?
I’ll admit it: This might be one of my stupider ideas. (A whole lot of ghost hunting involves testing wild & crazy ideas, just to see what happens. Now and then, one actually works.)
If this idea appeals to you, I invite you you to play along, as well.
Frankly, I need others’ input. Not just their results, but alternate ideas for related tests.
This is sort of like treating the TV (or your computer monitor) as if it’s haunted.
I have my doubts that this works, but – since I’m at home, anyway – I’m trying all kinds of remote ghost hunting ideas.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need a comfy place to sit, a TV, a ghost hunting show on the TV – preferably a real-time ghost hunting (though those are infrequent on TV) – and some kind of ghost hunting equipment.
It could be an Ovilus, or an app that “talks” at haunted sites. Or, you could use a pendulum (with a numeric chart) or even dice. I’ll suggest alternatives later in this article, but I encourage you to come up with your own ideas.
Of course, you’ll also need to take notes as you test this idea.
What I’m doing
For the past couple of months, I’ve been watching ghost hunting shows – mostly old Ghost Adventures episodes, and the newest season of Most Haunted.
I’ve been watching both shows on Really, a British cable network. (Ghost Adventures is available on Hulu and online, too, but I haven’t tried those resources, yet. )
I’ve watched TV with my Ovilus III next to me, set to dictionary mode. I’ve used a pen & paper to note the results.
I wanted to see if the Ovilus “said” anything, and if the words were a good match for whatever was happening on the TV.
Ordinarily, my home has few EMF spikes, so the Ovilus is not likely to react, even if I leave it on for an extended time.
The Ovilus III has a 2,048 word vocabulary, but I haven’t estimated the odds of a “close match” during a typical ghost hunting show. (I’m not sure it’s possible to calculate that.)
My results, so far
Watching Most Haunted, my results have been vastly better if I research the location, first.
That suggests a connection between my awareness and what the Ovilus says.
Since I haven’t looked ahead in the UKTV listings, to see which Ghost Adventures episodes were scheduled, I haven’t researched them at all.
But, in general, the Ovilus seems more chatty during Ghost Adventures than during Most Haunted. In fact, some Ghost Adventures episodes seem to send the Ovilus on a tirade.
At best, I’ve seen about 20% correlation between the Ovilus’ words and what was on the TV screen at that moment.
Until today, I wasn’t sure this experiment was worth an hour a day.
Ovilus III v. a “control” word list
Today, before turning on Ghost Adventures, I decide to try a “control” list of words. Would they match the TV show as closely as the Ovilus did?
To test this, I printed a list of 50 random words. (I used a random word generator.)*
Right away, I saw six (of 50) words that could match almost any Ghost Adventures episodes: hunt, ask, call, shivering, spooky, and terrify.
Then, it was time for Ghost Adventures. (In the U.S., Eastern time zone, it starts at noon on weekdays.) Today’s episode was from 2012, Horror Hotels and Deadliest Hospitals.
I kept the Ovilus running – and took notes – even through the commercial breaks.
As the Ovilus “spoke,” I noted it by the next sequential word on the random list. (That is, until the Ovilus spoke, I didn’t count the random word, even if it was a good match for the TV show. In addition, I followed the exact sequence of the random words list; I didn’t skip around.)
This is far from scientific, but it’s a start.
During the show and its commercials, the Ovilus spoke 45 times.
11 of the Ovilus’ words were a good match for the what was happening on the TV. (In general, the Ovilus seemed to speak about two to three seconds before the matching moment on the show. I didn’t stretch the window beyond that.)
Only five of the words on the random list were a good match at the same time. And, of the six that seemed likely to fit any Ghost Adventures scene, only one — the word “spooky” — correlated to what was going on, at the time.
Some of my decisions were admittedly biased. When Zak was talking about a skeptic, the Ovilus said “jerk.” That’s the word I would have used, myself, so I counted it.
When two voices spoke in EVP, almost simultaneously, a counted the random word “double” as a good match. (The Ovilus had said “yield” at that moment; clearly, that was not a match.)
As I said, this isn’t scientific at all, but it makes sense to me. It’s a starting point.
The most interesting part of today’s experiment was during the scenes at the Goldfield Hotel, where — as Zak and his team investigated — a brick had moved on its own.
As Zak showed what had happened, my Ovilus said a rapid sequence of words, none of which seemed relevant. (The words were: bones, short, outside, carrier, and eat.)
But, it was so different from the Ovilus’ behavior during the rest of the show — and during my other, similar experiments — it may be noteworthy.
Or, yes… it may be a coincidence.
Want to be part of this experiment?
Today’s test may have been a fluke. My previous experiments weren’t consistent enough (or dramatic enough) to decide anything… yet. I’d like others’ input.
If you want to try some “armchair ghost hunting,” it’s easy.
All you need is any device that seems to respond to ghostly energy. (Even a homemade pendulum might work.) It doesn’t have to be as fancy as an Ovilus.
If you’re using an electronic ghost hunting device, turn it on while you’re watching a ghost-related TV show, movie, or documentary.
For lower-tech tools, just set them up as if you’re in a haunted location.
With dice or a pendulum (and numeric chart), you might start with a numbered list of random words. Roll the dice regularly throughout the show, and jot down the word that corresponds to that number. See if it “makes sense” in the context of what’s happening on the TV.
Or, use your phone and a random word generator. (There are lots of apps for this.) Regularly click to generate a word. Does it fit what’s going on – at that moment – in the ghost hunting show?
Basically, I’m looking for anything that connects with the ghostly energy you’re witnessing on the TV show. Even though there’s a major time-space gap.
Note the results.
If you test this, I hope you’ll share your results (and opinions) at this HollowHill.com article.
For now, I think this could be interesting, but there may be a lot of trial-and-error to fine-tune this. So, your input (and results, even you say this is a really stupid idea) could be very helpful.
*Since posting this, I’ve improved the control option. I copied the Ovilus III word list and numbered it. (That link – updated so it prints on just 13 pages – is a PDF at Google Drive.)
Then, I’m using a random number generator (selecting 50 numbers among 1 through 2048) to choose enough words (20 – 50 seem good) for a typical Ghost Adventures episode.
After that, I’m using the numbers to create a sequential list of Ovilus words, based on what the random number generator selected. (Same order, but listing the corresponding words from the Ovilus III list. I hope that makes sense; this is easier than it probably sounds.)
In theory, this should tell me whether the Ovilus’ choice of words is more accurate than a wholly random selection from the same collection of words.
Update: Thursday, 26 Jun 2017
Using the Ovilus III word list is a big improvement. I think it’s a more specialized list than the Random Word Generator list I’d tried, earlier.
In other words (no pun intended), the RWG list included words that were more generic and could fit a wider range of events. So, it seemed to match more moments on the TV.
Today, I tried two different word lists. Both were randomized from the Ovilus III list. After watching the King’s Tavern episode of Ghost Adventures, I was astonished.
During Ghost Adventures, out of 41 times the Ovilus was triggered, 12 words “said” by the Ovilus were a good match, and one more was close (but not quite right).
That’s about 30% accuracy.
Is that significant?
Maybe, but maybe not.
Usually, the randomized words weren’t even close. One of the lists matched twice (with a so-so third match). The other list had no matches at all.
This suggests that the Ovilus really is doing more than just spitting out random words from its dictionary.
Of course, I’ll continue these experiments. It’s too soon to reach any conclusions.
Update: Monday, 13 Nov 2017
I’m still testing this, and have expanded my viewing to include other ghost hunting TV shows.
The more I work with this idea, the better it looks. In the past week, there’s been an increase in exact match, topical words said by the Ovilus, seconds before someone on the TV says the same words.
So, yes, it looks like this works.
It could be coincidence. That’s why I need some second (and third, and fourth…) opinions.
I’m not convinced the percentage of accurate responses is worth the time & effort.
And, I still need to compare my TV research with on-site research at the same site.
Update: December 2020
Re-reading this now, I’m not convinced these tests proved anything… except the lengths I’ll go to, to find some new approach to ghost hunting.
My 30% accuracy rate – with the Ovilus – may have been a fluke. And really, is 30% accuracy significant?
Maybe there’s some variation of this that might work, so I’m leaving this online for others to morph and test.
You might have a breakthrough. If so, let me know. I’ll happily set aside time to see if I can replicate your results, on my own.
And, worst case, you’ll have had a good excuse to sit and watch ghost hunting TV shows.