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Skyler Sanders Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1102 October 30th, 2013

On the Hunt: A look into Paranormal Technology Alright everyone, pass it around. As the yearbook got to me I noticed, without a doubt, that there was another person standing behind the girl in the photo. It wasnt just another person, you could see right through him. It was a ghost. That was one of the most memorable days in my AP English class that year. It was close to Halloween so my teacher, Mrs. Smith decided to share a ghost story. She told us about the time when she was the yearbook teacher and she was in charge of taking pageant photos. When she finally got the photos developed something was very strange. Standing right behind the pageant girls was a man. Even after trying their hardest to figure out how the image of a man came through in the picture, they couldnt. Yet after thirty some years it is a story she continues to tell her students every single year. Why though? Why are we (humans) so interested in seeing ghosts? We have no proof or evidence to believe these entities exist, yet we are still drawn to the proof of their existence. Over the years since Mrs. Smiths little ghost story I have remained interested in the little things that make me think about ghosts and I have noticed more and more about these things on T.V. and in the movies. In the past few years I have seen movies and television shows that attempt at making one believe that such entities are real and that they can, in fact, prove it. Ghost hunters and paranormal investigators regularly attempt to capture the existence of ghost via the
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use of technology. The question is, does this technology prove that we, humans, can communicate with paranormal entities, or does it moreover play with our imaginations? By definition a ghost is the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons (as provided by dictionary.com). A ghost hunter is simply one who attempts to track down these souls using common technology. However, there is much debate on whether or not the technology is used properly and with any scientific knowledge. Benjamin Radfords article in Live Science- The Shady Science of Ghost Hunting believes that in ghost hunting, often the less scientific, the more likely a researcher is to find evidence. Radford believes that ghost hunters misuse the technology in their hunts and considers a paranormal investigation to be nothing more than a waste of time. the equipment is only as scientific as the person using it; you may own the world's most sophisticated thermometer, but if you are using it as a barometer, your measurements are worthless. Just as using a calculator doesn't make you a mathematician, using a scientific instrument doesn't make you a scientist. says Radford. In contrast, Dave Juliano, owner of the GhostHunter Store in Mt. Holly, NJ is a strong believer in the technology used to hunt down and prove the existence of the paranormal. Juliano has been featured on the History Channel, National Geographic, and the Travel Channel. In fact Juliano has a website, ghosthunting101.com, dedicated to teaching others how to preform a safe and effective ghost hunt. In a typical ghost hunt, a team will set up a number of different technological equipment in hopes of returning from their stake out with certain evidence of ghosts. According to Dave Juliano some of that equipment would include a digital camera, digital voice recorder, video camera, EMF (electromagnetic field) detector, compass, motion detector, and a thermometer.
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One of the most widely used pieces of equipment used by ghost hunters is the camera. David Rountree, the author of the book Paranormal Technology takes a greater look at the digital camera and why it is used. The unique part of the digital camera for paranormal investigative purposes [however] is the ability to see an expanded light spectrum, exclaims Rountree. Humans can only see light through a bandwidth of about 380 to 750 nanometers, the digital camera is capable of seeing more of the spectrum. The use of the digital camera is simple, but easily misconstrued. As stated in Ghost Hunting in the 21st Century, a short essay by John Potts, [a] photograph can produce extremely misleading representations of a [ghost/haunted] site, due to a wide range of factors such as flash, dust on the lens, double exposures, camera angle, or simply the ambiguous manner in which light may be captured in a photograph . However according to ghosthunting101.com a photograph is an excellent way to capture the image of a ghost. Juliano does admit that using a camera only produces satisfactory results if it is used in the right setting. He insists that a ghost hunter should take several precautions, such as tying up his or her hair, prohibit smoking at the site, keep camera away from breath, be cautious of dirt and dust in the area, etc. All of these elements, if photographed could look like an orb or vortex, which are what ghost hunters primarily look for when trying to capture an entity in a photograph. The International Ghost Hunters Society defined their theory of orbs in photography. "...Through our research we found that an orb represented the soul of a departed person... We teach that a spirit is represented in an orb configuration pattern... when it comes to rest, meaning that it is no longer in motion, the spirit energy that is compressed within the orb is released. In the book Paranormal Technology, Rountree states that there is no way to tell a dust particle orb from a plasma or paranormal orb but he does insist that there are certain methods of how to capture these orbs and why.
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A flash on a typical camera bombards the environment with an intense emision of photons. These photons are traveling at the speed of light. White light is made up of elements of the entire light spectrum, even though we cant see it So suppose these photons bombard a cold plasma-like energy form that is vibrating in the frequency range of ultraviolet light. The plasma would absorb the photons and begin to glow brighter in the UV spectrum. Even though our eyes would not be able to tell it, the camera would be able to pick it up and record it. -David Rountree (Paranormal Technology)
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The infrared thermal scanner is another form of equipment used by paranormal investigators. The scanner is used to detect and isolate what is known as cold spots, once a cold spot is found the ghost hunter will try to capture something greater on camera. These cold spots are nothing more than what they sound like, a space in which a drop of temperature has been noted. The correlation between these temperature drops and ghosts are by no means scientific but rather just an idea. Many times both the thermal scanner and cameras are set off by motion detectors which are set up in numerous places at the set location. When the detector senses motion it sets a trigger in the camera and then it automatically takes a shot. Whether or not the motion is that of a ghost or not is once again left up to whoever is conducting the experiment. Another piece of important equipment used by ghost hunters and mentioned by Dave Juliano is the digital voice recorder. The voice recorder is used to record sounds and is then played back and reviewed over a laptop computer. The goal of recording is to attempt to detect any communication either AVP (Aural Voice Phenomena) which CAN be heard with the human
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ear or EVPs (electronic voice phenomenons) not heard by the human ear. According to Potts, The major criticism of EVP has always been that any apparent spirit voices are likely to be the product of the imagination Tapes or audio files generally reproduce an aural field of hiss, static, hum, and noise generated by the properties of the recording device or medium. However, Rountree argues the meaning of EVP in his book. He states that because EVPs cannot be heard by the human ear, they are not sound but rather an electromagnetic phenomenon. Rountree states, A microphone is an electromagnetic transducer and as such, acts as an EMF sensor, due to the voice coils response to the field fluctuations. The coil movement induces a current which is recorded by the audio recorder. When we play it back, it sounds like sound, even though it isnt. An EMF meter is another extremely common device used amongst ghost hunters. The EMF meter simply detects fluctuations in electromagnetic fields. When Tom Cook of Tomgadgets.com (a website in which ghost hunting tools and equipment are sold) was questioned (by Benjamin Radford) about the science behind tools he sells he replies At a haunted location strong erratic fluctuation EMFs are commonly found. It seems these fields have a definite connection to the presence of ghosts. The exact nature of that connection is still a mystery there exists no device that can conclusively detect ghosts. As far as the connection between magnetic fields and the supernatural goes, there is no scientific evidence that proves (or disproves) any relation. Benjamin Radford concludes in his article that ghost hunters are entirely antiscientific and illogical. if one area of a home is colder than another, that may indicate a ghost; if an EMF meter detects a field, that too may be a ghost; if dowsing rods cross, that might be a ghost. Just about any "anomaly," anything that anyone considers odd for any reason, from an

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undetermined sound to a "bad feeling" to a blurry photo, can be (and has been) considered evidence of ghosts. On the other hand there are those like Dave Juliano who spend everyday selling his equipment, updating his site, teaching his class, and making special appearances for being a renown ghost hunter. Dave has spent the last 27 years tracking down spirits and capturing them on camera and vocal recordings. On Daves website he reveals his background and interests in the spiritual world insisting that he has a connection with the spirits which allows him to communicate with them, with or without technology. There is obvious skepticism when it comes to the technology that is used by ghost hunters. The question however, is can humans communicate with ghosts via technology? I wouldnt count on it. As far as science today goes, there is no real evidence that anyone has ever been able to communicate nor photograph an actual ghost. There is no such tool that has been tested to detect ghosts. There is also no proof that the ghost hunting equipment that is used and the science behind the use even correlates. For instance, although ghost hunter use electromagnetic field meters to determine magnetic fluctuations, there is nothing that suggests that ghosts have anything to do with magnetic fields. If anything ghost hunting equipment, at best, is purely for fun and excitement. Who wouldnt love to go out to the old cemetery off Main St. with a pack of friends and their brand new ghost hunting kit and scare some of their buddies?
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Works Cited "Paranormal Research investigation anomalous phenomena scientific ASSAP" Paranormal research investigation anomalous phenomena scientific ASSAP. N.p.,n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. <http://www.assap.ac.uk/index.html>. Potts, John. "Ghost Hunting in the 21st Century." From Shaman to Science: Essays on Humanity's search for spirits (2004): 211-230. Print. Radford, Benjamin. "The Shady Science of Ghost Hunting." Live Science 27 Oct. 2006 n.pag.www.livescience.com Web. 22 Oct. 2012 Rountree, David M.. Paranormal technology: understanding the science of ghost hunting. New York: iUniverse Inc., 2010. Print.
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