EMF Reality Check – Are EMF Spikes Really Ghosts?

At haunted places, many ghost hunters look for spikes in electromagnetic fields (EMF). Those spikes can be detected with devices like EMF meters and hiking compasses.

However, many ghost hunters think the ghosts create the EMF energy.  I’m not certain that’s true.

Let’s assume that humans have at least two parts: a physical body and a spiritual presence. The latter lives on, perhaps as a ghost.  But, in life, why don’t those spirits (or the bodies containing them) give off similar EMF energy?

It’s true that the human body contains some measurable electrical charge. Some people believe that bodies responds to magnets.

However, even on the highest setting, EMF meters rarely measure any significant energy spikes caused by a living human body… even a highly emotional one.

So, since a body + spirit does not emit significant EMF spikes — in contrast with what we detect in haunted places — why would ghosts create them?

There are only a few possible answers. Each one is distinct. The theories don’t work well in combinations.

Here are the leading theories:

  1. The body limits the spirit’s ability to generate electromagnetic energy.
  2. A living person’s spirit is not entirely in the vicinity of his or her body. When the spirit becomes whole again after it’s freed from the body, the spirit regains its power… literally. That increased power is measured as EMF energy.
  3. EMF spikes at haunted sites aren’t energy emanating from the ghosts, but from “the other side” as portals open for ghosts to enter our world.

We don’t have enough evidence to conclude anything with certainty. I lean towards the idea that EMF spikes indicate open portals.  I’ve talked about this before.  I’m basing that idea on recent studies in quantum physics, especially related to gravity.

Physicists know that gravity is leaking into our world or out of it. No one is sure where the leaks are, or if they’re uniform across the unified field (aka, reality) that we inhabit.

Let’s say that most physicists are right, and parallel universes are real.  Temporary openings between worlds may involve a transference of energy from one side to the other.

Yes, I’m building on speculation. To me, it seems logical that EMF spikes indicate open portals (or doorways) between the worlds.

Of course, if that’s true, it leads to another puzzle: If ghosts are passing through a doorway or portal, it means that they’re not trapped here. In fact, they’re “crossing” back and forth regularly.

Also, I can debunk my theory with this question: If the EMF spike comes from the open portal, how do ghosts use EMF devices (meters, Ovilus, ghost radar, etc.) to communicate with us? Are they opening and closing doors between the worlds, to create the EMF spikes as replies?  That seems preposterous. (Not impossible… just unlikely.)

I’m not sure where this discussion leads, but it’s important to question why we have EMF spikes in haunted locations.

Ghosts and the Fourth Dimension

Tower of London, photo by MysticEartIn a 2007 article for the Dallas News (now unavailable), Mary Ellen Botter talked about a Tower of London watchman who saw two ghostly figures.

When the two figures vanished, the watchman wondered, ‘‘Was the past seeing the future or the future seeing the past?’’

That’s a good question.

When we encounter a ghost that’s not simply stored, residual energy, why do we assume that he or she is in our time?

Is it possible that we’re in a doorway – perhaps a vortex – and the “ghost” perceives us as spirits, too?

It seems like many ghosts have a specific reason to visit our world. For example, the spirit may have unfinished business. Or, the ghost may not realize that he or she has died, and is confused about what to do next.

But, some instances – particularly in profoundly haunted locations – where the fourth dimension of time seems transparent.

Or, maybe both the ghost and the modern-day observer are at a spot where each can see into each other’s universe or time. (If that sounds vague or confusing, keep in mind that this is just a glimmer of an idea.)

In an episode of the BBC TV show, Torchwood, the “Captain Jack Harkness” episode offers intriguing possibilities for ghost hunters.

What if we don’t assume that ghosts are dead people? What if we ask them to do something – leave a note, or move something specific – that we can find in our (later) time? (The movie, Kate and Leopold, is another example of this.)

I’m not sure what would be necessary to suspend disbelief enough to actually witness the change or find the note that was requested. (I’m reminded of the movie, Beetlejuice. In a book, the couple read that the living won’t see the dead.)

This may sound too fantastic. However, it’s important to explore every possible theory and avenue of research.

If you encounter a particularly vivid spirit that may actually be in his or her own time period, ask them to leave a sign for you to find.

If that works, I’d love to hear about it.

Mental Illnesses Redefined: First UFOs, Next Ghosts?

A news story caught my attention today. There’s a movement to reclassify encounters with UFOs as “normal,” in psychiatric terms. I’m not sure how serious this movement is, but it’s worth noting.

Those of us who encounter paranormal phenomenon often preface our stories by saying, “I know how crazy this sounds, but…” I do it myself, because – frankly – I wouldn’t believe half of what I talk about, except that it’s my story and I know that it’s true. (For the record: I believe in ghost phenomena, but I don’t believe all ghost stories.)

However, by including disclaimers when we report our true ghost encounters, we may be doing our community a disservice.

As recently as the late 19th century, most people took ghosts and other paranormal phenomena seriously.

During the 20th century, spirituality–including the belief in spirits–turned almost a full 360 degrees.

At first, most people believed, but then some became skeptics… sometimes very vocal skeptics. Others lost their faith in everything mystical, magical, and spiritual.

But, by the late 20th century, spirituality was on the rebound, from earth-based religions to new and mainstream beliefs, to ghost studies.

It’s important to maintain that forward-moving momentum. Let’s continue to remove lingering, 20th century stigma from the belief in paranormal phenomena.

Let’s avoid putting our encounters in a “crazy” context, and state what we experience without disclaimers.

Thanks in part to websites and TV shows, one in three people believe in ghosts, and one in every two people believe in extrasensory perception (ESP). That makes us fairly “normal” in society’s trends.

Spirituality–including a belief in spirits–is growing. Let’s be part of that by sharing our true stories without disclaimers, apologies or embarrassment.


Here’s the press release that sparked my comments:

Exoconsciousness and Psychopathology: A Psychiatric Reclassification of UFO Extraterrestrial Experiences

Phoenix, Arizona (December 12, 2007)—Rebecca Hardcastle is presenting a paper on Exoconsciousness and Psychopathology at the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division, Karl Jaspers Society of North America, on Saturday, December 29, 2007, at the Marriott Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

In the legacy of John Mack, Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, Hardcastle advocates for a reclassification of the UFO extraterrestrial experience from pathological to normal. She bases this reclassification on 1.) the experience of quantum consciousness and 2.) the culture of contact evident in mainstream media coverage of UFOs such as Presidential Candidate, Dennis Kucinich’s, sighting and former Governor of Arizona, Fife Symington’s, press conference calling for full disclosure of UFO related military and government information.

Hardcastle created the concept of Exoconsciousness to describe the extraterrestrial origins, dimensions, and abilities of human consciousness. She maintains, “Consciousness is our most precious natural resource.”

According to Hardcastle, “mental illnesses are a by-product of the individual’s ability to function in culture and community. As culture transforms with information, such as disclosure of extraterrestrial visitation, new communities and belief systems form. These changes in culture generate possibilities for redefining experiences, such as UFO extraterrestrial contact, as normal.

Further information is available at http://www.exoconsciousness. com

Ghosts, Communication and Spoon-Bending

spoonThis isn’t exactly about ghosts.

It started with an action poem by Billy Collins is a good starting point for discussions about the dead (aka ghosts, spirits, or those who’ve crossed over): the dead.

That got me thinking.

After several decades of investigating ghosts, I’ve formed a few opinions.  One of them is this: Ghosts usually react to us the same as they did (or would have) in life.

They’re still the same people… right? The difference is their physical forms.

  • Short-tempered people are still easily angered and frustrated spirits.
  • People who, in life, were able to see the silver lining in any cloud, continue to do so after they cross over. And so on.

If you attribute more (or less) to them than you would if they each had physical form, that’s relatively unfounded speculation. (Also, maybe they still have bodies in their new realm of existence.  We just can’t see their bodies — or see them clearly — when they visit our world.)


But, as ghost hunters, the poem raises questions.

  • What cues to we give to ghosts to indicate that we’re open to communication with them?
  • Do we insist that the communication has to be on our terms, as if we’re directing a play?
  • Do we demand taps on a table, or a specific manifestation based on stereotypes?

If a ghost has communicated in a particular way in the past, focus on that.

For example, if you hear an unexplained shuffling noise or footsteps, ask the ghost to repeat that. Don’t ask the ghost to do something entirely different, such as moving an object.

(Remember in the movie, Ghost, when the Patrick Swayze character struggles to move objects in the subway, following Vincent Schiavelli’s instructions. Sometimes, spirits need time to learn to manifest.)

Even if the manifestation makes you uncomfortable – such as the ghost at The Falstaffs Experience who breathes on women – always ask the spirit to repeat what they did before, exactly.


If you’re sure a ghost is nearby but not responding to you, here are some ways to communicate:

1. Use your EMF meter (or dowsing rods, pendulum or hiking compass) to record responses to questions. One surge can be “yes,” and two can be “no”… or something like that.

2. Tapping seems to be popular among spirits. Recommend that the spirit tap on something that will make noise easily. (In the 19th century, a tambourine was used by some mediums. Even a soft tap on a tambourine can sound very loud.)

3. Bring a small, light, smooth ball with you, or a feather, and ask the spirit to move it. (Video this, if you can. Sometimes the movement can be so slight, you’ll think that you’re imagining it, unless you can study it later — frame by frame — on your computer.) You can use a lit candle for this, too, and ask the ghost to make the flame move or flicker.


Make it easy for the spirits to communicate. You’re asking them to influence physical objects in our world, from their non-physical (or at least “other”) world.

Then again, the spirit may believe that matter can’t be influenced without physical effort… and he (or she) doesn’t have a body to do that.

Consider this: What if you learned to influence matter without physical contact, or with very little? Could you show the spirits how to do this? Would your understanding of the process help? Could that be shared empathically?


Spoonbending.Author Michael Crichton (The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, etc.) talked about his experiences at a spoon-bending party:

“I looked down.

My spoon had begun to bend. I hadn’t even realized.

The metal was completely pliable, like soft plastic. It wasn’t particularly hot, either, just slightly warm. I easily bend the bowl of the spoon in half, using only my fingertips. This didn’t require any pressure at all, just guiding with my fingertips.

I put the bent spoon aside and tried a fork. After a few moments of rubbing, the fork twisted like a pretzel. It was easy. I bent several more spoons and forks. …

Of course, spoon bending has been the focus of long-standing controversy. Uri Gellar, an Israeli magician, who claims psychic powers, often bends spoons, but other magicians, such as James Randi, claim that spoon bending isn’t a psychic phenomenon at all, just a trick.

But I had bent a spoon, and I knew it wasn’t a trick. I looked around the room and saw little children, eight or nine years old, bending large metal bars.

They weren’t trying to trick anybody.”

— Michael Crichton, Travels, 1988, pages 319-320, quoted at the Wikipedia entry about psychokinesis

To help ghosts communicate with us, perhaps we should explore related “paranormal” phenomena. Maybe we learn the rules of their world. With those insights, we may be able to connect with the spirits more readily.

What if EMF is Leaking into Our Universe?

light explosion - emf -gravityAre you familiar with recent discoveries in physics?

There are two leading theories about gravity.

  1. It’s leaking into our universe, or
  2. It’s leaking out of our universe.

In both cases, physicists already agree that there are parallel universes.

So, how does that apply to ghost hunting…? Here’s how: The same “leaking” between universes might explain the elevated EMF readings that we get in haunted locations.

If you’ve seen the NOVA series, The Elegant Universe, you know how EMF and gravity are related. (If not, visit that link and watch some of the videos. At least see the one called “Escaping Gravity.”)

Tri-field EMF meter illustrationSo, what if elevated EMF levels indicate locations where there is traffic between our world and the world in which ghosts live?

What if EMF “leaks” through that passageway along with the ghost, the same way that cold air enters a warm home when you open a door or window in winter?

It might be a one-time opening between the worlds. Or, it might be a portal.

This is all speculation, but it might explain something about ghosts and EMF levels in certain locations.

Or, it might be about EMF and nothing else.  Either way, it’s fun to consider and it prevents closed minds about what we’re witnessing at haunted sites.