ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS: Are EMF Detectors useful tools for Paranormal Research?

Posted on November 26, 2012


By: Demetrius (Co-Founder of the OCPRS)

            When the OCPRS was founded, one of the objectives was to collect data on equipment believed to measure paranormal phenomena. The OCPRS thought it best to also examine the paranormal theories accompanying the various forms of technology. The theology and teachings of the Church would be compared to the beliefs and practices of mainstream paranormal researchers and parapsychologists. In addition to religious and philosophical views, various sciences needed to be examined in regards to the technology used. Initially, this was no easy task.

            As far as paranormal researchers are concerned, EMF (Electromagnetic Field) detectors are a very popular piece of equipment to use. Unfortunately EMF detectors are a greatly misunderstood form of technology. EMF detectors were never designed with the intent of equipping paranormal researchers or parapsychologists with an instrument to measure paranormal phenomena. Instead, EMF detectors are used to measure the electromagnetic fields produced by Alternating and Direct current machines and other related equipment. There are also EMF detectors that are used to measure the electromagnetism produced by the earth. Overall, EMF measuring instruments are used as tools throughout various technological industries and sciences. The OCPRS has used EMF detectors in a variety of its own investigations, and only as part of the objective to examine certain technologies associated to paranormal theories. Interestingly, only one location provided any unusual data – the Mackenzie House. Before exploring the EMF readings taken at the Mackenzie House, some aspects of EMF and paranormal research still need to be addressed. It is important to explore some of the beliefs accompanying the practices of paranormal research in order to either validate or disqualify them. More importantly, how well do such paranormal beliefs and practices hold up to what is known through the experiences of the Church.

Paranormal “Science” & EMF

            According to the most popular and widespread theories accepted by most paranormal researchers is that EMF meters can detect spiritual activity; the presence of “ghosts.” How so? The soul is thought to be made-up of energy, and/or to be capable of using energy to manifest itself in various ways. Whether most paranormal researchers are aware, or not, the application of EMF detectors also attempts to define the soul. However, the type of energy is never directly identified, but some paranormal researchers and even parapsychologists believe that energy can be found in the human body where the soul resides during life. A somewhat popular theory is that the human soul is essentially the bio-electric energy produced by cells called neurons. Having already addressed some aspects of this theory elsewhere, some additional considerations will be made here.

            The central nervous system includes billions of cells – neurons – which send electrical signals from the brain to every organ of the body. There are many different types of neurons, each communicating through electrical signals and chemical synapses. Between the cells themselves there exists a tiny gap. The gap is too wide to rely solely on electrical signals. To close or bridge this gap neurons release chemical neurotransmitters which either help send a signal or inhibit signals. Science does not suggest that neurons retain consciousness or qualify as the “soul.” Neurons are simply a part of a much more complex biological process in regards to how the brain functions.

            These bio-electric signals are generated through the corpus – the body – and are not separate from the biological make-up of the body. At the moment of death every cell found in the body also begins to die – neurons included. At this point the neurons cease to create bio-electricity. Here, the question of what becomes of the bio-electrical energy is of importance. According to paranormal theories making use of physics – in most cases, Thermodynamics – the theory asserts that energy changes from one state to another, but can never truly be destroyed. Of course, this is a general assessment of the First Law of Thermodynamics. As a form of energy, the bio-electricity is thought to change from one state to another at the moment of death since energy can never be destroyed.

            There is, of course, a problem with applying Thermodynamics to the belief that a soul is comprised of the bio-electric energy produced by neurons. It is important to note that Thermodynamics deals with the Physics of heat and cold energy, and methods of heat/cold movement such as radiation, conduction, etc. Thermodynamics does not address electricity as changing from one state to another!

             Yet, it is not an entirely absurd idea to recognize a relationship between electrical energy and life. Even popular culture has been influenced by this relationship. Scientists such as Luigi Galvani (1737-1798 A.D.) experimented with electricity and the animation of dead animals – a frog – but even he was able to conclude that the essence of life, or the soul, is not electricity. Eventually popular culture would be influenced by the 19th century author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelly. In her most famous story, life and electricity are connected, and most certainly she was herself influenced by scientists like Galvani. Somehow popular culture absorbed the ideas of science and science-fiction and impressed them into the general consciousness of human spirituality. Life is energy, but is the bio-electric energy found in the body, the soul?

Consulting Medical Professionals

            The OCPRS consulted some medical professionals in the Toronto area who deal with dying patients on a regular basis. Presenting the general ideas surrounding the paranormal theory, some interesting considerations followed. Although EMF detectors used by paranormal researchers were dismissed as insufficient for the purpose of measuring bio-electricity produced by neurons, there is a relationship between life and electricity, which is indeed related to the basic idea of the paranormal theory discussed here. Among the many insights provided, one in particular is worth mentioning here.

            EEG (Electroencephalography) is used among medical professionals to measure the electrical activity of the brain. The EEG measures the voltage produced by ionic current flows found in neurons. When there is no brain activity – electrical signals – the patient is considered brain dead. An EEG is one of the methods used to determine death. Knowing this, there is a relationship between life and bio-electric activity. The OCPRS asked what happens to the bio-electricity following death? There really was no answer that could be confirmed medically. It would seem as though the bio-electricity simply weakens, dissipates, due to the neuron cells dying. Medical science can measure life through the electrical activity of the brain and other organs of the body. Unfortunately, medical science does not have instruments designed for the express purpose of measuring bio-electrical energy beyond death, and apart from the human body.

            The paranormal theory may be somewhat misguided – especially where Thermodynamics or EMF technology is concerned – but it is not entirely absurd. The theory may be a product of pseudo-science but it does take into account how life and death are defined on a theoretical basis. One problem in such theory is the compulsion to define the soul apart from Christian teachings. What is inevitable is how the emphasis of paranormal theory and the exclusion of Christianity will lead to misguided conclusions. In this case, the misapplied science is used to define the nature of the soul, and not simply measure it. Is it absurd to explore what the soul is, and whether or not it can be measured? The OCPRS does not believe so, and nor do many people engaged in the study of human spirituality. Using technology to measure spiritual activity remains at the heart of the matter. Do EMF detectors have the ability to detect the soul? Although the answer appears to be no, EMF detectors continue to be used among paranormal researchers with some degree of success.

Other Problems & Possibilities

            The circumstances involved in ghost phenomena are many, but share similarities in terms of the experiences described. For instance, haunted locations and poltergeist phenomena include similar types of experiences. Reports vary, but many describe experiences involving electrical energy – unexplained loss of battery power to equipment used in paranormal research, electrical lights flickering, toys without batteries suddenly working, static interference in radios, etc. The incidents involving electricity are often used to promote the paranormal theory that “ghosts” are either made-up of some form of energy, or can use the surrounding energy to manifest themselves to the living.

            Ghost phenomena, is not limited to incidents involving only electricity, but also includes auditory incidents, such as raps against walls, or disembodied voices. There are also reports of furniture moving, and various objects being manipulated. Electricity is not a factor in these incidents. The paranormal theory which attempts to explain why EMF detectors are used, do not take these other experiences into account. These other incidents belonging to ghost phenomena do not support the idea that “ghosts” are made up of a measurable form of energy. The flaw in the paranormal theory is of course overlooked for the sake of conforming ideas to circumstances supporting whatever it is the individual wishes to believe. In turn, the conclusions conflict with the spiritual teachings found in the Church. Despite this, paranormal researchers continue to promote “ghosts” as a form of energy simply because ghost phenomena includes incidents whereby electricity is a factor.  It would be equally ridiculous to assume “ghosts” are physical in their nature simply because furniture is moved about by unseen hands. Regardless of the inherent problems with the paranormal theory, many paranormal researchers are satisfied, and the theory becomes a foundation of faith and spirituality. Misguided spirituality is a consequence of paranormal research, and presents additional problems concerning the relationship between technology and spirituality.

            Technology and spirituality are united throughout various paranormal theories circulating today. Most experiments involving EMF detectors are closer akin to techniques belonging to modern spiritualism rather than science. Most paranormal researchers do not simply use EMF detectors to identify and provide rational explanations, but instead use them in a way comparable to Ouija boards. Under these circumstances, the participant(s) of the paranormal investigation ask questions, such as, “Are there any spirits here?” A reaction from the EMF detector serves as a, yes. The EMF detector used in this way is similar to how mediums contact spirits at a séance. At this point the EMF detector has less to do with science, and more to do with the religion of modern spiritualism. Also, in this example it becomes obvious that the EMF detector is not detecting. Instead, it becomes the technology through which spirits are communicating. Much like the Ouija board, the EMF detector serves as a means to communicate with spirits. What must be kept in mind is that when EMF detectors seem to be detecting unusual anomalies – or when genuine – most paranormal researchers seldom ask if the technology is detecting or if the spirit is manipulating? This prompts the question: Can spirits manipulate energy, just as they do matter? According to a variety of reported experiences, it would seem that spirits – or to be precise, demons – can manipulate energy. Why this is seldom emphasized is due to the fact that it does not support the paranormal theory that “ghosts” are a form of measurable energy.

EMF at the Mackenzie House

            The OCPRS has compared various paranormal phenomena to demonic activity. In doing so, it is abundantly clear that demons are indeed responsible for ghost phenomena in general. Capable of manipulating energy or matter, demons may be the real source behind the success of EMF detectors and other technologies penetrating the ITC Spiritualist’s set of beliefs and practices. The investigations and research conducted at the Mackenzie House by the OCPRS certainly suggested that the experiences reported there may have indeed been demonic molestations rather than “ghosts.”

            In the previous investigations – July 30, 2011 and October 1, 2011 – at the Mackenzie House, the EMF detector reacted to two different areas in questionable ways. In the first instance, an electromagnetic field was detected by the basement floor, just a few feet away from the stairway. There were no visible signs of a power source which could account for the EMF reacting near the floor. There is a power outlet behind a dresser, but strangely it was not the source for the EMF reacting nearby the floor. The OCPRS believes the electromagnetic field may be the product of electrical wiring beneath the floor. However, no records could be located to verify if electrical conduits were set beneath the floor during periods of renovation. Also, the EMF anomaly could not be reconciled to any of the previous reports of paranormal activity belonging to the Mackenzie House.

            The front doors of the house were the second area to provide strange EMF measurements. During this portion of the investigation the doors were shut and locked. There were power lines leading to the side of the house, where the doors were situated. The EMF detector was not reacting to the power lines. As the EMF detector was pulled away from the doors, the strong electromagnetic field faded and only grew intense again when brought toward the power lines. Once again, the electromagnetic field measured at the front doors could not be reconciled to any paranormal reports belonging to the Mackenzie House. One possibility that was noted by the OCPRS was that perhaps a security system was wired behind the doors. This could only be verified when the front doors were opened during the day.

            On one last visit to during the day – August 2, 2012 – the OCPRS expected to find a security system behind the front doors. There were none. Of course, these were exterior doors to the front entrance, and inside there is another door which remains shut at all times – public access being restricted to the back of the house for tours. Having access to the interior entranceway, photographs were taken and observations documented. Inside the entranceway there are another set of steps. Along the face of the steps are two power outlets. Both were active and the EMF detector reacted accordingly when brought towards them. Directly above in the center of the entranceway hung a gas powered lamp, as was used during the time William Lyon Mackenzie occupied the house. It did not create an electromagnetic field. Standing in the center of the entranceway, the EMF detector reacted very strongly. When the EMF detector was moved away from this center point – regardless of direction – the electromagnetic field weakened and eventually nothing could be measured. Having described the area and what occurred through EMF detector, why did it register such an unusual and unexplainable anomaly? The electromagnetic field existing in the very center of the entranceway of the house was highly unusual. Is this evidence of something paranormal?

            Given the reputation and history of the Mackenzie House, the EMF readings could not be dismissed so easily. However, the OCPRS considers these strange electromagnetic fields as questionable anomalies, rather than something paranormal. The reason for this is largely due to the fact that nothing remotely paranormal accompanied these anomalies in the strictest sense. Also, the location of the house examined did not reflect any of the previous reported experiences of ghost phenomena. In the previous investigations and collected research, the OCPRS concluded that the Edmunds experienced demonic molestations. If demonic activity was indeed the source of what transpired at the Mackenzie House when the Edmunds lived there, then why not now? The OCPRS believes that perhaps the EMF readings may still have some rational explanation. Yet, if something paranormal caused the EMF detector to react, demonic influence may indeed be responsible. EMF detectors do not detect demons, and this is not what the OCPRS is stating. The reaction of the EMF detector depends on spirits influencing either the electromagnetic field or the mechanisms of the technology in some way. Knowing that demons have the ability to manipulate energy or matter, perhaps the EMF detector served as some form of attempt to deceive or distract the OCPRS. The truth is that no worthwhile conclusion can be made from such speculations. As a candidate for potential demonic activity, the Mackenzie House most certainly qualifies.

            Finally, what more can be said about EMF detectors? Having examined various perspectives on EMF as it concerns ghost phenomena, the OCPRS cannot see any real value in the use of EMF detectors for use in paranormal investigations. More data may be required, but EMF detectors are in themselves incapable of detecting spirits.