Ever since starting the Abnormal Realm blog, I have been asked many questions about the paranormal from cryptids to urban legends. Recently, someone had inquired on what equipment to use in a ghost investigation which inspired me to write this post. The procedure, techniques and methods in conducting an investigation are the same now as they were 20 years ago, but the equipment used has changed with the advancement of technology. A camera may still be a camera, yet what I used in the 90s couldn’t allow instant editing of images and upload to the internet. Within the last decade, I have tried to keep up to date with any new devices in ghost detection and there has been a few. I will be introducing a few of them in a three part series on lesser known equipment used in the paranormal field by first starting with the Spirit Box.
The Spirit Box or Ghost box is among the category of electrical devices used to talk with spirits or the dead which has been called Instrumental Transcommunication. The most common known involving paranormal investigation is electronic voice phenomena or EVPs. Now the Spirit Box is used as electrical medium where it scans through AM and FM radio frequencies and the belief is the entity could then manipulate the audio channels to form words or phrases to communicate in real-time.
Now before continuing on with the Spirit Box, I would like to give a brief history on Instrumental Transcommunication. It begins with the legend that Thomas Edison had invented a machine to communicate with spirits which to this day remains unproven. Just to note, many believe Edison was the father to EVP. One of the first people to have claimed to use an electrical device to talk with ghost was Attilan von Szalay. He and Raymond Bayless were known to experiment in created a machine they claimed to record many spirit messages. Friedhrich Jugerson was noted to increasing the concept of EVP from his books Voices from Space and Radio-link with the Dead . He wrote about his experiences in what he believed was recording voices of the dead with a tape machine.
In 1979, William O’Neil and George Meek created the Spiricom which was a frequency generator that they claimed would allow two-way communication with ghosts. They alleged that a ghost of a scientist help them in the development of the device. In the end, the Spiricon was revealed to be a hoax. By the early 2000s, radio enthusiast Frank Sumption was accredited to inventing today’s Spirit Box or as some would call Frank’s Box which he contributes its creation to the assistant of ghosts. This part I leave you to decide on. The Spirit Box or Frank’s Box is a radio receiver that continuously scans through radio frequencies at a certain rate. It doesn’t lock unto any station as the idea is it plays through this white noise of random music, voices and static. Here, the theory is with all this random audio sounds going off, any paranormal entity can use to communicate with anyone listening.
Now the Spirit Box started to become more popular among paranormal groups during the mid-2000s as many have created videos demonstrated its usage in their investigations. Now does the device actually communicates with ghosts? Some would claim the spirit box does work, others say it doesn’t and there are those how just don’t know. Certain groups had even advised and given warnings not to use the box as it could be dangerous. This device now seems to be a standard equipment in paranormal investigations especial on those reality ghost hunting shows.
Back in 2005, while attending a convention, I sat in for a spirit box session. Now the individual demonstrating the device had it plug into speakers for all to hear and had the audience pick the questions. Now the questions asked had to be simple in which could be answered by yes, no, maybe or anything not requiring more than three words. This seems to be a constant theme with any communication with spirits to me. Now what I observed seemed like the individual might as well had been shaking a magic eight ball for answers to what people were asking. My take on the Spirit Box is it’s not reliable and I would not use it any paranormal investigation. If you were to ask me if ghosts are actually communicating through it, I don’t know that is for you to decide.
Batchelor, Dennis. “What is a Ghost Box or Spirit Box, and Where Can I get One?”. Simply Ghost.com. (Accessed February 25, 2015). http://www.simplyghost.com