High EMF readings in park spotted by ghost hunter

This is kind of not news. But it’s going around the webs. There are problems with the article. Let’s take a look.

Unusual discovery by ghost hunter sparks health concerns (From Wimbledon Guardian).

A dedicated ghost hunter has raised health concerns after recording ‘off the scale’ readings of electromagnetic energy at a public park situated opposite two cemeteries.

In his latest hunt, the father-of-three made a visit to Rowan Road Recreation Ground, Mitcham and was shocked with the readings from his electromagnetic field (EMF) reader.

Ghost hunters use EMF readers to monitor fluctuations in EMF fields which they believe can indicate a ghost’s presence.

Although Rowan Road Recreation Ground is opposite Streatham Cemetery and Rowan Road Jewish Cemetery the readings are so high Mr Morgans does not believe the cause is supernatural.

Morgans is concerned about the safety of EMFs. The range of the readings is not given. He posits something about buried bombs but they aren’t electrified so that would not cause an EMF anomaly. His other thought is buried cables. This can be checked. I’m confused about a few things in this story that leaves many questions. First, test with other pieces of equipment besides a ghost meter. There are professional instruments to test for EMFs. Check with the utilities to see if there are buried lines. Could it be lighting or buried electrical lines? That would be the most logical explanation (unless there are overhead lines that they didn’t mention). What is the level? These meters don’t read that high so how accurate are they. Even high readings likely pose no health risk [PDF] since no one LIVES there. It’s just a recreational area.

Oh, and the evidence that EMF anomalies are related to spirit activity is poor. There is no tested hypothesis that explains this idea though it is very popular with ghost hunters. Because the modern world is full of EMFs, odd readings are not unusual. They can be explained by things other than ghosts.

  8 comments for “High EMF readings in park spotted by ghost hunter

  1. Todd Stonewall
    August 22, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    THe EMF meter (cough) they used is manufactured by a company called K-II enterprises out of Syracuse NY. Besides the EMF meter they also manufacture a couple of pet training aids. The EMF meter appears to be aimed at people who think they have a EMF sensitivity. You can walk around your house and check to see if your refrigerator is trying to kill you. There is virtually no detailed information on resolution, sampling rates, or what axis it measures at.

    I wonder if these ghost hunters realize that their high-tech EMF meter is manufactured by the same company that makes ultra-sonic dog zappers sold on late night TV.

  2. Pete Attkins
    August 22, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    I think most meter users couldn’t even differentiate between gauss and gorse, let alone know what are the SI units for electric and magnetic fields, and know how the bandwidth of their meter relates to practical reality.

  3. YetAnoutherBrian
    August 23, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    It says the K-II covers 50 to 20Khz. I always wondered why Ghost hunters think spirits emit EMF. Then it hit me, that freq range is the same as human audible audio. Since they commonly use tape recorders to record EVP, it is not a stretch for someone to try and detect spirits in the same range using EMF.

    Hmmm…. now I have an idea for a new ghost hunting product. A fool and his money are soon parted.

    • August 23, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      I also wonder what the connection is other than convenient correlation. Ghosts emitting voltage or magnetic makes little sense. Another option is that they utilize the EMFs? I don’t get it or it does not compute. Any references are appreciated.

  4. August 23, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Matthew Didier of the The Toronto and Ontario Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society asked himself the same questions; why do ghost hunters use EMF meters and where did the idea that ghosts and EMF are related come from? The answer to both seems to be ‘don’t know.’

    http://www.torontoghosts.org/index.php?/20080823504/Information-For-Ghost-Researchers-Enthusiasts/The-Great-EMF-Myth.html

  5. YetAnoutherBrian
    August 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Very interesting article… He cites a 1950s book that says the human brain emits EMF at 1 to 30Hz, so could the idea behind EMF be that they are trying to detect the brain activity of spirits? (if true that idea gives me a headache)

    Didier also adds this gem, “I really want to know if we’re all desperately trying to justify someone else’s hypothesis with some folks taking the hypothesis as fact without proper study.” Answer: Yes

    Likely this will all come down to, someone tried it once, felt a cool breeze in a haunted house, saw the needle on the dial bounce, and decided he could detect ghosts. Everyone else saw him doing it and thought it looked sciencey. Year and years later rational people are wondering how the heck it happened in the first place.

  6. August 23, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    I also think the EMF thing is very handy for the ghost hunter because it measures something invisible, is affordably available and *does something* – it has a needle, and a scale. It looks like science. It’s equipment. Everyone looks better investigating with equipment.

    http://blogs-images.forbes.com/markpmills/files/2012/01/tricorder-spock1.jpg

  7. Blargh
    August 24, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Rich: don’t forget “it’s sensitive to noise” (especially if it’s something sold to ghost hunters/”electromagnetic hypersensitivity” sufferers and not an actual professional instrument). When your profession/hobby relies on pareidolia, getting spurious readings is a plus.

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