News “Flash”: Ghost hunters’ flashlight trick is not paranormal. Explanation revealed.

A contributor to the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) forum, a premier site for skeptical discussion, has posted a superb video detailing why the ghost hunter flashlight communication method appears to work. Turns out it is not paranormal at all. Just science.

This is SO good. It’s what TESTING is all about. (Ghost hunters have no idea how to do that.). It should be shown in a classroom.

Well done, Verklagekasper, from Germany!



Some ghost hunters use a flashlight to communicate with ghosts. Typically, the performing ghost hunter turns the flashlight’s head to a position where the lamp easily goes on or off by the slightest touch. Then the ghost hunter puts it on a table or on the ground and starts asking questions. Eventually, the flashlight seems to respond by going on or off. The questioning goes on, and the flashlight keeps going on and off without any noticable force affecting it. The ghost hunters claim that the flashlight is operated by a spirit.

But there is a physical explanation for the flashlight repeatedly going on and off by itself. This video presents experiments with the Mini Maglite 2-Cell AA (Xenon), which happens to be the model used in the TV-Show “Ghost Hunters” that made the trick popular. Experimental results and considerations of contact physics reveal that the trick is actually caused by a heat cycle.

Source: YouTube and the JREF Forum:

Video is 21 minutes.


  8 comments for “News “Flash”: Ghost hunters’ flashlight trick is not paranormal. Explanation revealed.

  1. Ben Radford
    March 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Brilliant! Great piece, Sharon!

  2. Ken Biddle
    March 26, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    I wrote an article on this for the Bent Spoon magazine, after attending a “public ghost hunt” where a news reporter swore this was the real deal. After demonstrating it was science, and not woo woo…he got pissed off, complaining that I was ruining everyone’s good time. Good to see more being written about this kind of BS being passed off as “scientific investigation”

  3. Ben Radford
    March 27, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    …And that’s why I love me some Kenny Biddle!

  4. March 27, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    This is why I love all 3 of you!

  5. Lordgords
    March 27, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Superb video,but none of the ‘believers’ will care for the science,nor will they be watching this video,their open minds snap shut when confronted with real evidence……they will dismiss it as trickery or ‘just science’ I work with people like this, and they make me wish for an afterlife too, as long as i don’t have to put up with their moronic numbscullery!

  6. idoubtit
    March 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    No name calling please. While I understand your frustration at people who don’t wish to consider the broader view, ad hominem attacks are not helpful.

    The value of this video is that is out there and provides a great response to those that say such a thing is paranormal. It obviously is not. The physical explanation is far more plausible than spirits communicating with us… That’s some solid ground to stand on.

  7. idoubtit
    March 27, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Is a love fest… where’s the beer? “I love you, man…”

  8. March 27, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Come on. We all know that molecules are just quantum spirits. This proves ghosts are responsible!

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