Ghost hunting equipment leap in logic – We can’t measure spirits

Saying He Has Felt His Dead Daughter’s Presence, An Engineer Develops Devices To Measure It.

In 2004, 17-year-old Melissa Galka, a senior at Granby Memorial High School, died after the car she was driving hit a tree in town.

Within days of her death, her father said, she begin communicating with her family.

“She started doing things like ringing the doorbell, changing TV channels, turning lights on and off,” Gary Galka said Monday. “Then one time she came into my room and I felt her sit on the edge of the bed.”

Now Galka has a thriving trade in paranormal detection devices, launched as a result of those eery events.

Galka, an electrical engineer who owns a firm that distributes test instruments, began developing hand-held devices that purportedly can detect unusual vibrations in a room, temperature variations — “hot and cold spots” — and other effects associated with the paranormal. Galka also created a voice recorder, the “spirit box,” that he says can record responses from any “spirits” that might be present.

This past weekend the family was featured on “Ghost Adventures,” a Travel Channel TV program that explores paranormal phenomena. Through one of the devices, a voice is heard on the show saying, “Hi Daddy, I love you.”

The Galkas insist Melissa’s presence around them is absolutely real, and that Gary Galka’s instruments show it.


Source: Hartford Courant

Oh, dear. My sympathy goes out to Mr. Galka on losing his daughter. His way of coping is to attempt to contact her. Doing such a thing personally is none of the public’s business but creating devices and making such a claim, that it connects to deceased loved ones is not something you can accept on face value.

His ghost hunting devices sound like the typical equipment ghost hunters use. None have even been shown to detect spirits or anything related to spirits because we don’t know spirits even exist. So we can’t measure them. There are environmental variations all the time that may be measured by these devices (temperature, humidity, vibrations, stray noise or radio waves, electromagnetic radiation, etc.). All we can say is that (maybe) they measure those variable. (Note: many ghost devices are poorly designed and don’t even measure anything well.) To say that they are measuring anything related to the paranormal is not valid.

Ghost hunters who use such equipment have made a huge leap in logic, going beyond the capacity of the equipment. It’s not science, it’s scientifical. It’s not spirits, it’s your perception of them.

  18 comments for “Ghost hunting equipment leap in logic – We can’t measure spirits

  1. April 30, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    How does one explain the voices on the tape? Especially when the voice of Melissa Galka was heard from her voice mail on her cell phone. This was done for comparison from the then living teenager and the voice as heard on the device? These devices may measure every phenomena you wrote. Radio waves, electromagnetic radiation and lastly stray sounds. I watched the Travel channel, Ghost adventure episode. Those were words I heard, not stray sounds. What I was hearing sure sounded like a human voice of an adolescent young woman.

    • April 30, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Do we know EXACTLY how those sounds were captured, processed and stored? Were the sounds altered, enhanced, hoaxed? Also, devices that pick up stray radio waves can be recording stray programs with a female voice. Maybe all these things have come into play. All these options are far more likely than us having to rewrite our understanding of existence and physics. No one has been able to explain or even reliably record EVPs. And if there is truly life after death or communication such as suggested here, there is NO other corroborating evidence that is strong, it’s all people telling stories about what they subjectively saw or felt. We need to look for converging reasons why we would make such a leap in understanding. It needs to overturn what we already have established IS true. Instead, this is wishful thinking.

      Also, please don’t even suggest that Ghost Adventures is in any way rigorous or groundbreaking. It’s a TV show. It’s not where I go to look for knowledge. No one should.

  2. Chris
    May 1, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Ghost Adventures is just a guy wearing too much make-up and hair gel walking around screaming at “demons”.

    They hit the nail on the head here. I do think the possibility is there for some form of consciousness to exist after death. Along with a few odd personal experiences, this lead me to explore the paranormal investigation world. I can tell you from personal experience, there is not a single piece of solid, credible, reproducible evidence that as ever came out of that field that indicates what they claim it does. I gave it up after I realized how poor their methods were and how the majority of the field has absolutely no clue what science or scientific even means.

    Ghost Adventures, and all the other shoes are not actually reality, they are very heavily influenced by production and ratings requirements.

  3. Scott Godlewski
    May 1, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I really am sorry for the family’s lose. And I’m sure their immense grief has something to do with this belief. That’s understandable. But for the GA show to be exploiting and reaffirming a delusion is a huge ethical mistake. Shame on all of these shows for pulling this kind of garbage.

  4. May 6, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Ah where to begin? Zak Bagans and his crew are passionate about the work they do,if you cant see that your not a good judge of character.There are phony ghosts shows on tv but ghost adventures is not one of them.Seriously are these guys going to travel all over the US and Europe and not be exposed if they were really a fraud,especially with todays media.In response to an earlier post I am willing to reconsider our existence and physics.Understand that technology is pushing through boundaries in many fields not just cellphones.If you believe we landed on the moon with 69 tech and we have satelites that can scan the color of your eyes from outer space,then I will put my money on an electrical engineer being capable of designing a device that can register electro-magnetic energy possibly from a spirit.Technology is reaching the point of bridging the gap between the living and the dead.If this scares you then you may want to ignore it,if your a sceptic that does not believe in ghosts then you may as well not believe in a soul.A ghost is a soul that has chosen to remain in earth realm,or come and go as it pleases.Mr.Galka is an electrical engineer,as far as im concerned engineers are more intelligent than 95% of humanity.They are responsible for designing the stealth bomber and supercars that do 250mph.Modern science combined with world class engineers and technology will continue to rewrite our understanding of many fields.Off the topic a little bit I have to say it saddens me that we live in a socity that glorifies hip hop stars,porn stars,stupid over payed athletes that averaged D’s in college and self proclaimed bussiness professionals like the bafoons on wall st. When in actuality it’s the welders,machinists,engineers and architects that built the world we live in and keep humanity and civilization moving forward. Take care of one another,later.

    • May 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      Marlboro Dude:

      Whoa. Lot’s of things in there.

      Zak Bagans is entertaining and all but it’s a TV show. He’s an entertaining character. That’s my judgement. But he IS NOT finding ghosts. No one ever has as of yet that the rest of the world can confirm. If they do, it will not be on a TV show. TV shows are not real life, Dude (and I think it’s fair I can call you Dude). Please note, I’m not calling Zach a fraud. He probably sincerely believes in what he does, as do most paranormal researchers. It’s just that they are not really doing what they think they are doing because they are very caught up in belief and know little to nothing about how to think about these problems in terms of knowledge we have established about the world. Instead, they make a WHOLE lot of stuff up that sounds right. It isn’t.

      Technology and ghosts. We have better and better technology, sure. But the problems lie in defining what ghost hunters are measuring. They are measuring environmental variables. A change in these variables IN NO WAY equals spirit activity. It doesn’t even mean something odd. It could be completely normal. Paranormal investigators could stand to improve significantly in gathering “evidence” – taking adequate background data, calibration, recording and interpretation. Because of the flaws, their data is nearly worthless. I do not see that technology is getting any closer as you say. Nothing suggests that except wishful thinking from paranormal investigators.

      Ghost hunters come into a situation of claimed paranormal activity with a preconceived idea that they are in there to DOCUMENT paranormal activity. They believe it exists. But there is a core problem with this. We’ve never defined what a ghost is because we’ve never agreed we’ve found one. We DON’T KNOW what it is, how it came to be, how it behaves, what the characteristics are. So, when ghost hunters say they have proof, that’s just wrong. It’s very wrong and quite silly.

      When someone claims something odd is occurring the REAL questions should be 1. Is there something actually happening (confirm that) and 2. What could be the cause?

      See the difference in approach? Find paranormal activity vs what could be happening here. Totally different.

      From what I have consistently seen, ghost hunters assume the witness is telling everything accurately and it is presumed that paranormal activity exists and may be found here. Then, they seek out any anomaly they can find and call it “paranormal”. I do not think most do even an ADEQUATE job of thinking about all the things that could be causing it. Or, most likely, they don’t want to because they are in the position to support the paranormal explanation. That is not an explanation at all.

      I don’t believe in a soul, no. (Thought that would be obvious.) There is no evidence for such a thing.

      Your assumptions about engineers is off base. Lots of people are intelligent. While I totally agree that we idolize all the wrong people in society, lots of different people contribute to the advancement of humanity. Here is a critical point I wish more people would get: engineers are NOT scientists. They are not trained to be. They solve problems in an entirely different way. Engineering is math. They are not often familiar with research design or social factors or psychology. You did not say, but you suggest, that Mr. Galka is uniquely qualified to discover ghosts through technology. That does not follow. You make way too many assumptions and leaps in logic. The idea of ghosts in our culture (different in other cultures) is currently wrapped in with technology. But, to understand it, we MUST include social, psychological, economic (paranormal is a business to some), educational, cultural, religious, I could go on, aspects that come into play. It’s WAY WAY more complicated that this box measures ghosts.

      But something tells me that you believe in ghosts, are a spiritual person, and are partial to engineers.

      • GalePom
        May 15, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Ok in reading all this I must first start by saying that up until that show aired I was a doubter. I also never watched it but that night my husband did. I watched it the next day on DVR. I have to say that something happened that night that now makes me rethink my thinking on this stuff. My son died about 2 years ago. I live 20 hours away from where the Galkas live but do hove family that lives near there. My son spent all of his summers visiting his relatives there. Now keep in mind my sons death was not announced in their local news papers nor did the Galkas have any knowledge of my sons death. What we heard on that show that night was our sons voice all the way down to his odd way he siad his s. Two months ago I would have said there is no such thing as ghost. We further got hold of Mr. Galka and asked him to ask a trick question that only our son would know. Now also keep in mind there are no recordings available anywhere of my sons voice as an adult, so the show could not have copied this or gotten this info anywhere. The unknown male voice on the show had said some more things in which they sent to us.
        Now in this I have to say that you can say whatever you want but I for one think that we could be one the verge of something new in technology. That being said we have to think back on history and how down through time lots of scientist of our past where laughed at when they introduced new ideas. Also in the field of engineering there have been times in history where folks looked on and laughed. Point in case Orville and Wilber Write, they where laughed at and folks said that man would never fly, but we do it everyday without a second thought. Medical Doctors are doing research on what happens after you die. I recently read an article where they were studying patients who go into cardiac arrest, in the study they ask the patients to describe what they saw afterwards. If medical doctors are studying it maybe there might be something to it. For years patients have described what has occurred while they had flatlined. And in most cases they where accurate in their descriptions.
        Now with all of this I myself have to think many things are possible. Only someone who thinks they know it all would say some of the things that you have said here. And in my 51 years in life I have found that those who think they have all the answers are usually not that intelligent. Real intelligent people think outside the box. Think beyond what they can immediately see. And that describes every great inventer and scientist in history. I love it when people try to come off as though they know something when they don’t.
        And with that I will close in saying. I don’t know it all so that is why I am not a person to spout out a lot of nonsense.But the internet is full of those who do.

        • May 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM

          I’m very sorry you lost your son. But there is personal evidence, and there is verifiable, scientific evidence. That is TWO very different things. You may find your personal evidence extremely compelling. But I can not because I do not have the same emotional set up to receive it as you do. The only reliable, universal evidence is that which is taken under controlled conditions and is reproducable, not subjective.

          I do not rely on TV shows to convince me of anything. Please consider that they are edited and enhanced. I understand why you would feel the need to believe in the power of technology but this is a false hope. We tried for a century to reach beyond the grave but we are no closer. Perhaps there may be a breakthrough but it will be based on a scientific discovery, not something from someone’s garage. We are past the point of simple discoveries.

  5. GalePom
    May 15, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    By the way Idoubtit engineering is a science that is why it is taught in the science departments at universities. That is why it is called computer science, not computer math. Also you must have a license to call yourself an engineer. It just shows you intelligents level. So when you come on the internet and post things maybe you should do a little research and get your facts correct.

    • May 15, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Wrong. I am a scientist and am licensed to practice my science (geology) in my state. There is an engineering department separate from science. The basis is math, and research is not taught. Computer science is a colloquial term, not a technical term, better defined as “the study of”. The practice of licensing is PRIMARILY a business and consumer protection issue. Licensing reflect competence, not intelligence

      DO NOT tell me to do my research unless you have done yours. Nothing annoys me more.

  6. GalePom
    May 16, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Engineering is considered a “materials science” and is classified under natural sciences. All science is observation, experimentation, and research. Engineering therefore qualifies as a science.

    As far as engineering not being taught as science in schools, I point to the best (arguably) engineering program in the country, the Speed School:

    http://louisville.edu/speed/

    Now … if engineering is not a science, or taught as science, then why have they recently won multiple Fulbright awards and grants for science?

    The fact that you claim the basis of engineering is math, shows how little you know. For example, the discipline of Chemical engineering – The application of physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering principles in order to carry out chemical processes on a commercial scale. So, in order for one to be a Chemical Engineer, one must know more then one science. Do your research, sorry if this annoys you, but obviously you haven’t.

    • May 16, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Science and engineering is frequently grouped together because of core courses.

      Want more?

      From Henry Petroski, a professor of engineering and history at Duke University,

      Science is about understanding the origins, nature, and behavior of the universe and all it contains; engineering is about solving problems by rearranging the stuff of the world to make new things. Conflating these separate objectives leads to uninformed opinions, which in turn can delay or misdirect management, effort, and resources.

      From Discover Engineering

      Engineering is not science. Engineers generally don’t “do” science. Science is about discovering the natural. Engineering is creating the artificial.

      They have a tendency to venture outside the rational:

      An engineer is a professional trained in engineering; the design and construction of devices or other works. They put science into practice, designing the stuff that makes civilization.

      Most engineers are as sensible and reasonable as anyone. But engineers as a group have a noted, and indeed quantified, tendency to pontificate on things well outside their area of expertise, to the point of actual fallacy.

      It is NOT the same as science. Yes, they use science but the mindset is different. It is more problem solving than discovery. And each engineering field is a little different. Engineers are not taught research methodology. This story is about someone who not only doesn’t understand how science works, but he hasn’t tested his products, he just believes they work.

      This is also not contributing to the discussion any longer so, end of it. See our comments policy.

  7. marlboro dude
    May 17, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Alright, enough already about the differences between scientists and engineers. NASA employs people of both groups to work together to achieve a common goal. And whenever our wonderful space program discovers something new,skeptics from long ago generations turn over in their graves.As far as not watching TV shows for ANY kind of info that comment is ridiculous,so next time animal planet presents me stats on a King Cobra I should have it verified scientifically before I believe it. I am not a scientist or an engineer I was a welder who is currently retraining for a field that actually has jobs,my education level at this point in life comes from my own research and as much reading as possible,I am straight forward and will present myself as such.

    Idoubtit,I dont want to sound like Im picking on you here but your kind of building a wall around yourself on the paranormal issues. What we have here is an open ended disagreement of opinions,your opinion is that you need scientific proof to validate paranormal activity. My opinion is that paranormal activity exists every day in all corners of the globe,and can be detected by certain humans that are in tune to it. I cannot prove to you that paranormal activity exists and you cannot prove to me that it doesn’t,and stating that it has not been scintifically proven and using that as a crutch will not fly.

    I have run into the paranormal in the past and I usually do not talk about it to many people,but now all bets are off. In 2004 I was enjoying a quiet night with my girlfriend in my room we were talking at a whisper,when we both heard a loud knock on the door both of us made eye contact recognizing that we heard it,so I said “come in” and no one did. I had the house to myself that night no one else was there,when I opened the door nothing was there. The house is a cape ann in a rural area,a very old area,it is not some white trash apartment where people just come and go as they please,there was NO ONE here.

    Maybe a year after that incident I was on the laptop in the computer room in the same house again NO ONE else was here about 8 feet away from me I heard a man clear his throat very loudly enough where I jumped off the chair thinking someone broke in there was NO ONE here at the house except me.The last event I witnessed here was with two other friends we were having a conversation at night outside on a wooded trail that leads away from the house all three of us witnessed this. A baseball sized ball of blueish whitish energy, possible electricity manifested out of nowhere. It was about 12 to 15 feet in front of us and about 20 feet off the ground it had no point of origin, in other words there was no streak of light followin it or tracing it,it just appeared there out of nowhere danced around sporadically for about 5 seconds (it stayed within a 6 foot radius) then completely disappeared. We all witnessed this and were in disbelief also the closest powerlines to where it appeared were a min of 100 yards away.

    Back in 1995 I was killing time with a friend of mine in of all places a baptist church parking lot,having a couple of smokes with the radio low I had an 86 Trans Am with glass T-tops and there was a full moon that night. Suddenly it gradually started to get darker in the car,the way it would if someone was slowly letting venetian blinds come down. We both pivoted in our seats looked up thru the t-tops to see a massive oval shaped craft hovering above my car. It was black with what appeared to be white marker lights around the sides of it. I figured it to be about 200 feet off the ground and easily a football field in lenght and about 75 yards in width at its widest point. I immediately started to shake with fear after viewing it for a few seconds,somehow started the TA to get the hell away from it. I bang a left from the p-lot to the road and the thing jumped ahead a few hundred feet as if to cut me off,now I decide to chase it for some reason I lost my fear,this thing elevated itself like a harrier jet maybe 300 yards straight up and took off in south east direction with insane ferocity. Now im talking to my friend while driving slowly trying to absorb the fact that we just saw a ufo mothership,I decide to swing thru a neighborhood right near the church and we end up passing 3 guys in a jeep wrangler with its roof off,the guy in the back is holding a camcorder to the sky,at least I didnt feel like I was losing my mind that night.

    I want to state that while I witnessed these events I was never under the influence of alcohol or drugs,I have NEVER used mushrooms or LSD. I know there are lots of jokers on the net but I am not one of them. I watched these events unfold in front of me with my own two eyes,my life is not a TV show and I did not see a weather ballon that night in 95. There is such a thing as human senses and perception to explain these occurences,maybe you need scientific proof to validate everything for you in life but I do not. And Im not going to use “environmental variables” to try to debunk a GHOST knocking on my door or clearing its throat in the hallway.

    Earlier you stated that you do not believe in a soul,I do not believe in a soul the way its defined by major world religions. I washed my hands with those bafoons many years ago,religions are just like governments they exist to dumb down the masses and rake in the money. But I do believe in a soul as an energy source after we die,human beings are bags of chemicals and elements both of which are found on earth and in space,we need oxygen we contain water and electricy our stomachs have acids we release methane gas and carbon dioxide not to mention numerous chemicals in our brains. So when ghost adventures crew goes into a closed down insane aslyum where something like 8000 people horrifically died over the course of 85 years there must be absolutely NO CHANCE of any residual energy being there,that place must be as serene and peaceful as pebble beach! Get out of town will you? Anyone with an ounce of perception regarding the environment around them would almost immediately feel the suffering,dread and despair of the lost souls in a place like that. How about when Zak and crew put a teddy bear in a room where a little girl died 65 years ago and roll film on it for 12 straight hours and the bear finally starts to rotate on the floor and falls over,let me guess they hooked up dental floss to the bear and moved it like the original dracula movie and no one dares to blow the whistle on those guys! I feel pretty certain that if those guys did a lock down off the air with Mr.Galka’s equipment that he builds for them that they would find paranormal activity,but then no one would believe them because it would not be on the air.

    Also while on the topic of souls you’ll love this one,its about the Irish scientist I believe in the early 1900′s he conducted tests to see if there is a soul. Somehow he had in his possesion a man dying from tuberculosis and recorded 3/4 of a lb weight loss immediately at the moment of death. The man was on a massive scale used for weighing large amounts of beef,the scientist placed himself on the scale to try to debunk the weight loss,he would fully exhale with no change in weight he tried different positions with no results. Then shortly after that he obtained a dying dog and recorded it at the moment of death, there was no weight loss. His conclusion, humans have a soul animals do not,since that time he has not been proven right or wrong its still anybody’s guess.

    Im not sure where you stand on alien lifeforms but many mathematicians now agree that with the sheer number of galaxies solar systems and so on that it is almost mathematically impossible for aliens to not exist and I’ll take those odds to the bank they sound a trillion times better then powerball.

    On my final note idoubtit I would like to say that the world is not black and white its a shade of grey. There are so many dimensions and sub dimensions and inner/outer realms all around us,I could never take life on this planet at face value there is so much more than meets the eye,you just have to feel it in your soul,but you kind of have to believe in some sort of soul in order to feel that I guess. Think of it as your third eye. Even if all 7 billion people on earth had a paranormal encounter in the same day there would still be a billion skeptics just failing to mentally accept what they had seen. Idoubit if you really are a scientist then I respect you but your limited views on these issues kind of contradicts the direction science is going in,please don’t do a 360 and turn into a evangelical christian and move to Kansas,that would not benefit anyone. And I honestly hope you have a compelling paranormal encounter of your own someday so you’ll know its not a weather pattern. Lastly not everything that is unexplained needs tobe validated strictly by the books sometimes you just know when it feels right, stick to your beliefs hard enough and you can manifest them,surely there is something else when we shed this mortal coil. Do you really believe mother Teresa and Adolph Hitler met the same ending? I don’t think so. For those of you who read this and feel where Im coming from (I am a Pisces)your on the same wave lenght and you can feel the energy around us from other dimensions,we do not need someone in a white lab coat to verify our beliefs. We daydream in other realms, I’ve communicated to dead family members and friends through my dreams,EVERY DAY we live in a mental realm that crosses so many boundaries,free thinking cannot describe it some of the things we know and envision and see through our third eye would scare most of the world to death. Goodnight

    • May 17, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      While I appreciate your personal accounts, anecdotes don’t get us anywhere. I wasn’t there to see it from my point of view and too much information is missing to figure it out. Therefore, personal accounts are not good evidence to give us any generally acceptable knowledge.

      I ask that you keep your comments to matters of fact preferably with references or ideas but not your opinions. This is not a forum (please see comment policy). And you are speculating wildly and off on tangents but providing no basis for it. If I would sit and speculate all day about souls, Mother Teresa and Hitler, I’d make no progress in life. We have to rely on what we know to be true in order to build on that and understand. If not, we have no solid foundation for our worldview at all.

    • Chew
      May 17, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      “My opinion is that paranormal activity exists every day in all corners of the globe,and can be detected by certain humans that are in tune to it.”

      Except they fail every single time when tested under controlled conditions.

    • snoma
      May 17, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      “In 2004 I was enjoying a quiet night with my girlfriend in my room we were talking at a whisper,when we both heard a loud knock on the door both of us made eye contact recognizing that we heard it,so I said “come in” and no one did. I had the house to myself that night no one else was there,when I opened the door nothing was there.”

      Ah, I remember when I was a kid and I used to ring peoples doorbell and then run like the wind before they got to the door.

      Classic kids prank!

      Not saying that’s what happened in your case but sounds more likely than claiming it was ghosts, doesn’t it?

      And as far as I’m concerned, it’s OK if you want to believe in the paranormal. But if you do and claim you can prove it, we need better evidence than anecdotes and audio recordings that can be interpreted anyway you want to interpret it.

  8. MaxPom
    May 18, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    Allow me to posit a theory regarding one category of paranormal activity – the “residual” haunt. In locations which may contain deposits of magnetite, these sorts of phenomenon appear to occur more often. In your computer, is a hard drive. In that hard drive, there is magnetic material. Information is deposited on the hard drive electrically. The human body is full of electrical impulses. Would it be possible for some of these impulses to have been recorded on magnetite? Then when conditions are right, this information is manifested. This electrical energy has the potential of being measured. Discuss.

  9. May 24, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    If your comments no longer appear here, I have deemed you in violation of the comments policy http://doubtfulnews.com/rules-for-commenting/ that you probably did not read and follow. This is not a forum or free for all. Your free speech is protected by you being allowed to go and start your own blog where you can put as many anecdotes on there as you wish.

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