Tri-field Natural EM Meter

The Tri-field Natural EM Meter was designed to detect extremely weak DC fields and ignore AC fields. This is why it is believed to be a good measurement tool in paranormal research based on the theory that a spirit retains its energy after death.

The "magnetic" setting detects movement of magnetic field sources at a location. The meter will sound when a magnetic field increases or decreases. When the field becomes stable for at least 5 seconds, the meter will return to a base reading.

The "electric" setting causes the meter to become sensitive to electric fields as weak as 3 volts per meter. This is EXTREMELY sensitive and has been designed to ignore "background noise." The setting is so sensitive that it can pick up the electric fields of humans and animals - even through walls.

The "sum" setting combines the readings of the previous two settings. This setting is so sensitive it can detect a field change up to 5-10 feet away. However, the meter will not differentiate between the two fields (magnetic and electric).

It is recommended in Ghost Hunter’s Guidebook by Troy Taylor, to use the magnetic setting during indoor investigations. The setting will allow the detection of magnetic field fluctuation without the possibility of AC fields contaminating the readings. Because of the meter’s sensitivity, if the electric or sum settings are used indoors, all investigators should remain very still and at least 5-10 feet away from the meter. In these settings, the meter is quite capable of reading an entire room.


After more thought and a little more reading I would like to add a thought. If using the "sum" or "electric" reading, I feel it’s important to not have any other electric device in close proximity to the meter. Although the meter is designed to ignore AC currents, it is designed to read DC currents. As researchers, we use a wide array of equipment with DC currents: flashlights, audio recorders, thermometers, etc. If the meter is capable of picking up the electric currents in the body of a human, it should easily be able to read the DC currents in any of the equipment we use batteries in. This is just something to think about when using the "electric" setting in any form and trying to collect accurate data.

Weather and the Paranormal

One of the current theories in paranormal investigation is that certain types of weather conditions may enhance paranormal activity. So, is it possible that cold or rain could affect the activity on a paranormal investigation?

The American Heritage dictionary defines weather as “the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with respect to variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure.”

The Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Energy can, however, be transferred from one place to another and from one form to another.  Weather (and the changes in it) is caused by a transfer of energy. The earth is constantly keeping a balance between the solar radiation energy coming through the atmosphere from the sun, and what is bouncing off the earth and back out into space. If paranormal entities use energy to manifest, then it seems reasonable to think that fluctuations in weather conditions (i.e., fluctuations in energy) could potentially affect the level of paranormal activity at a location. 

For example, temperature and barometric pressure are both methods of quantifying the energy of molecules in the air at any one time. Temperature is the measurement of the average speed of air molecules: as the average kinetic energy of the air molecules increases, temperature increases. Similarly, barometric pressure, or air pressure, is the result of molecules in the air colliding. When these molecules run into each other (kinetic energy), electrons are transferred and electro-magnetic energy is created. The more rapidly the molecules collide with each other and other objects, the higher the air pressure1. 

In theory, the energy involved in these two processes could influence the energy potentially available to a paranormal entity. Recording the current temperature and barometric pressure reading at the site of your investigation may help you see patterns in activity in relation to these types of weather conditions. However, be aware that changes in air pressure affect some people physically: many people get mild headaches, migraines, or worsening arthritis pain from these changes. These physical symptoms could be mistaken for signs of paranormal activity affecting an investigator or client.

The humidity at a given location (both inside and outside of a building) may also be of importance during a paranormal investigation. Humidity is the measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air. The percentage is a measurement of “relative humidity,” which is the ratio of the amount of water vapor currently in the air to its maximum water vapor capacity at a given temperature. Humidity helps regulate air temperature by absorbing thermal radiation from both the Earth and the sun. When water changes physical state (liquid to water vapor or vice versa), energy (called latent heat) is involved. Water vapor has a high energetic state. Humidity is directly proportional to the latent energy available to generate storms. Energy is absorbed during evaporation and released during condensation as rain. The process of water vapor condensing into rain releases energy that could then be available for use in another way. This exchange of energy may explain some investigators’ observations of increased paranormal activity during storms. Humidity can also help offer a natural explanation for potential activity. Rooms that people feel uneasy in (especially in basements) should be checked for high humidity. This could indicate the presence of mold which could be causing headaches, dizziness, and nausea. If the mold is toxic, symptoms can be much worse and include depression, memory problems, rashes, and respiratory issues. There are accurate and fairly inexpensive wireless thermometer/hygrometers available that can be used to measure temperature and humidity.

Besides making investigating more difficult because of noise contamination, wind could possibly influence paranormal activity. Wind is created by a difference in pressure systems causing air to accelerate from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, transferring energy from one place to another. Strong winds indicate a significant pressure difference between air masses of different densities, which is why strong winds will usually accompany strong storms. Again, if paranormal activity is related to energy, this movement of energy could create a swing in the paranormal activity at a location.

Thunderstorms are frequently cited for enhancing paranormal activity. They may make the whole investigation creepier, but could they actually enhance paranormal activity? Lightning is caused by a buildup of oppositely charged ions in the clouds and on the ground. When the build-up of charged ions is greater than the resistance of the air, lightning occurs. A lightning discharge generates electro-magnetic energy fields (EMF) which have been theorized to be associated with paranormal activity. The majority of lightning strikes are cloud to cloud - only 20% are cloud to ground. Thunder, then, is basically a supersonic shock wave created when the energy in the returning stroke (temperature and pressure) is higher than the energy in the surrounding air. It is plausible that this charge and subsequent discharge of the Earth’s natural electrical field could make it easier for paranormal phenomena to occur.

There are a few weather phenomena that could possibly be confused for paranormal phenomena, a couple examples are ball lightning and St. Elmo’s fire. Ball lightning is a rare and controversial (but probably natural) weather phenomenon usually occurring in association with thunderstorms. One theory of what ball lightning could be is cloud of plasma2 created by the highly charged atmosphere during a thunderstorm. Another theory postulates that particles in vapor which may form when lightning hits the ground mix with the oxygen in the air, releasing chemical energy as the compound burns. Reports have been recorded as early as the 1600’s of balls of lightning ranging in size from golf to beach balls, some even larger. Given its rarity and the reportedly bizarre behavior, ball lightning could easily be mistaken for a paranormal event. For example, many reported sightings assert that these balls of electrical energy can pass through walls and doors, some leaving damage and some seemingly pass through without leaving a trace. Pilots in World War II saw them frequently enough to name them “foo fighters.” They generally last longer than a typical lightning bolt, several seconds up to several minutes, and may seem to hover or move slowly. Some reports describe the objects making sizzling or popping sounds. The descriptions of dissipation range from just dissolving quietly to exploding and leaving damage in the area.
St. Elmo’s Fire, another naturally occurring weather phenomenon, is typically seen during thunderstorms as a bright purple or blue glow (sometimes described as looking like fire) at the top of pointed objects like church spires, ship masts, lightning rods, and airplane wings. This luminous plasma is caused by the ionization of the air molecules in close proximity to a grounded object in the electrically charged atmosphere during a thunderstorm. It has been reported to make a slight hissing sound. Again, its rarity means it could often be mistaken for paranormal activity, especially as it tends to occur near buildings and other landmarks to which people may attach a historical or emotional significance.

As the paranormal is a developing field, there are no right or wrong answers to whether or not a certain weather condition could enhance or suppress paranormal activity. However, the reports from many paranormal investigators seem to point to the possibility. Since weather is caused by changes in energy and paranormal activity may be linked to energy, it is a theory that should be studied further and documented scientifically.

1 On the earth’s surface, air pressure is measured in millibars or inches with the average barometric pressure being 1013.25mb or 29.92in.

2 A “cloud” of charged particles. Plasma is a separate state of matter as it’s characteristics do not fit the definitions of liquid, gas, or solid matter.

EMF and Paranormal Activity: An Overview

Paranormal investigators have devised a number of different theories and hypotheses about how Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) relate to paranormal activity.

Some believe that high EMF readings are evidence of paranormal activity, while others suggest the presence of high EMF fields cause paranormal activity. It is also widely believed in the medical and psychological fields that prolonged exposure to unusually high EMF fields may cause sense distortions and even hallucinations that people may mistake for paranormal activity. Regardless of the approach an investigator takes to EMF and its applications in the field, it remains a generally established rule that electro-magnetic fields are a cornerstone of paranormal investigation.

The electromagnetic field, as defined in scientific research, is a physical field produced by  electrically charged objects. Electromagnetic fields are one of the four fundamental forces of nature (the others are gravitation, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction). Because an electromagnetic field is based on the existence of energy currents, it can also be created by technological devices (namely, household appliances, electronics, etc.) The way in which these charges and currents interact on a molecular level with each other and the objects around them—behavior which is based on the consumption and dissipation of energy—is what creates and defines in space the electromagnetic field.

To understand why EMF may relate to the paranormal, you have understand the fundamental role that energy plays in many of the theories behind the existence of paranormal activity. We already know that living creatures require energy to survive, even at the cellular level. There appears to be a natural dissipation and/or transference of this energy when a living thing dies. But, taking into account the law of conservation of energy, which is that energy in the universe is constant and can neither be created nor destroyed, the question remains of what exactly can or will become of the energy in a living creature when it no longer survives.

Taking this theory a step further, some researchers argue that there is no way to prove the “soul” or “personality” of a being isn’t intricately connected to the energy that, in life, was the basis on which that individual survived. Working under the assumption that it is possible for this energy to not dissipate, for there to be a glitch in the system so to speak, we begin to understand the underlying physics behind the notion that living creatures beyond their death may continue to exist as a collection of a being’s energy, minus the cellular structure it was housed in.

Working under this same assumption, when an investigator gets a high EMF measurement in an area where that field can't be attributed to a known source (e.g. A/C wires, outlets, switches, etc.), it may be argued that there is an alternate, paranormal source of energy being measured.

The parallel theory that EMF fields measuring in the high range of the spectrum are a cause of paranormal activity is based on the same principle of energy, but takes the idea of an entity’s control over its own energy one step further. Theoretically, if an entity is a collection of energy that had been previously housed in something, it stands to reason the lack of that housing could cause dissipation of much an entity’s energy – so much so that the entity cannot manipulate any of the molecules around it without help. This help could conceivably come in the form of excess energy from another source: in other words, an entity will use energy from an existing field much like a battery and add to its own energy mass, in an attempt to create enough of a molecular disturbance to be felt, heard, or seen by human senses. If there is a source of high EMF in an area; for example, an incorrectly wired circuit box, unshielded electrical wires, etc., this becomes the “battery” for an entity, the pool from which it can draw supplemental charge. (This does, however, then delve into the debate of whether spirits use A/C or D/C currents -- but that's the subject for another article.)

While the debates over spiritual energy rage on, it merits pointing out that one thing scientists are certain of is that high EMF fields have been known to cause hallucinations, which is typically why high EMF readings during a paranormal investigation need to be approached as an electrical/physiological issue before looking for the paranormal connection. While there are definite physiological links to being exposed to high EMF, even to the point of certain EMF levels being considered carcinogenic, one area of inconclusive research is what effect high EMF might have on the human brain and its ability to perceive the environment accurately.

In Mary Roach’s book Spook, we learn about the experiments that have been conducted in relation to this theory. Called by some the "Fear Cage” and by others a "Haunt Box," the reference is the same: an intentional collection of high EMF in a centralized area.  Dr. Michael Persinger of the Consciousness Research Lab at Laurentian University (Ontario, Canada) has done many experiments with human subjects to find a correlation between exposing the right temporal lobe of the brain to high EMF and the subject’s subsequent feeling of a "presence."  Dr. Persinger has found that, by using a soundproof chamber and a helmet covered in electro-magnets to expose that region of the brain to increased EMF, a decrease is seen in the melatonin levels in the brain. This in turn causes tiny, epileptic-like seizures, which then cause hallucinations. According to his research, over 80% of subjects reported feeling “a presence” in the locked room with them, proving that these targeted EMF fields indeed have an effect on brain chemistry and human behavioral reactions.

That being said, note that Dr. Persinger’s results do not claim the subjects “hallucinated,” but more simply that they reported a feeling of a presence. Whether or not that sensory perception is accurate is a question Dr. Persinger himself has yet to answer. In fact, he says in one of his papers, "Although these results suggest that these apparitions are an artifact of an extreme state-dependence, the possibility that they are associated with transient, altered thresholds in the ability to detect the normally indiscriminable stimuli cannot be excluded.”  In other words, Dr. Persinger himself cannot determine whether the true effect of EMF on brain chemistry causes hallucinations, or if increased EMF allows us to sense an actual presence that we couldn't before. And this chicken or egg question – what comes first, the entity or the energy needed to sense it? – is what keeps EMF meters of all sizes, types, and strengths in the standard arsenal of nearly all paranormal investigators.


Infrasound refers to sound vibrations that are at a frequency too low to be heard by the human ear which has a range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (called the audible range). Levels below 20 Hz are described as infrasonic (infrasound) and those above 20,000 Hz are ultrasonic.

While we may experience discomfort at sounds we can hear at volumes of around 80 decibels upwards, it is believed exposure to low frequency sound vibrations which we cannot detect may also have considerable impact on humans. In much the same way many find the audible bass of a high volume car stereo annoying, sounds at even lower frequencies may interfere with our emotions and perceptions. It is known that military forces have examined the effects of infrasound and even looked into its use as a weapon.

Exposure to infrasound has been demonstrated to affect recipients with symptoms including fear, sorrow, depression, anxiety, nausea, chest pressure and hallucination. It can cause objects to move through vibration and some believe the body’s internal organs can be effected. It is suggested that levels above 80 decibels at frequencies between 0.5 to 10Hz may start to affect the vestibular of the inner ear thus causing disorientation. Any high volume sound can trigger the body to react by increasing respiration, heart rate and blood pressure, but when they cannot actually hear the sound recipients are left with no explanation for the sudden onset of these symptoms. This may then lead to further effects caused by the minds possible reaction to the unknown, as outlined below.

Once the mind receives information it considers unusual it may enter into “search mode” to try and explain what is being experienced, calling on all senses to assist - sight, sound, touch, smell etc... The longer the search goes on without an answer, the more intense the scrutiny. In the extreme, the body may react in “survival instinct” - fear sets in, pulse races etc... This is the body’s natural reaction to the unknown, preparing it for possible “fight or flight” from danger. At such times, because the senses are so heightened and “in tune” for experiencing something, the brain may begin to misinterpret what the senses are picking up. Much akin to sitting alone in the dark after watching a horror movie although to a much greater extent.

This is all a natural reaction of the brain and very real to the witness. Possible triggers (either alone or in combination) are anything that may suggest something strange is occurring including high EMF, infrasound, low atmospheric pressure, carbon monoxide exposure, darkness, isolation and any stimulus that may create suggestion such as watching a spooky movie, being in an spooky location, or Ouija board use. Ocean waves are known to sometimes generate infrasound and it has been suggested to have been a possible "trigger" causing ships crews to abandon their craft in fear, only to have the ship later found mysteriously drifting about unmanned.

The range of infrasound is generally accepted to be between 0-20 hertz with a specific area of interest between 17 and 19 hertz. Tests by NASA have revealed that the human eyeball resonates at around 18Hz, to which infrasound exposure may cause a reaction and lead to hallucinations.

Infrasound occurs quite naturally at some locations and possible causes include storms, earthquakes, waterfalls, volcanoes, ocean waves and wind reacting with structures such as chimneys. Some buildings or natural features can act as Helmholtz resonators and create infrasound at high levels. Ancient places of worship or ceremonial burial such as the Maeshowe mound in Orkney, have been shown to act in this way. Some animals are sensitive to these low frequency vibrations and may appear to "foresee" approaching storms and earthquakes. Elephants are known to use infrasound as a form of communication over long distances.

It is possible that any room with an open doorway or window can operate like a Helmhotz resonator, similar to blowing a column of air across an empty bottle. Subsonic sound can travel long distances, pass through walls and may be amplified in tunnel like structures. Standard hearing protection is of little use for subsonic sound as it often can pass straight through and may even be amplified. There have been links reported between supposedly haunted locations and the presence of infrasound, which is the reason paranormal investigators may monitor infrasound levels whenever possible.

The following text gives some insight into how sound levels including infrasound are represented (usually in pascals, micropascals or decibels) which may be of some assistance in interpreting the results of monitoring.

There is a huge variance in sound pressure ranging from the minimum that can be heard by the human ear, 20 micropascals, to the threshold of pain, 20 Pa (pascals). Because of this huge range a logarithmic scale is used to represent the sound pressure level (SPL). A reference of 20 micropascals is commonly used, being the lowest level that can be heard by the human ear at a frequency of 1000 Hz. This is equal to .02 mPa (millipascals) or 0.00002 Pa (pascals). The unknown level is compared to the 20 micropascal threshold which is given a value of 0 dB (decibels) and the resulting level is expressed in decibels (dB). Because the human ear perceives sound intensity differently depending on it’s frequency, weightings may also be applied in attempt to match what the human ear experiences. "A-weighted” levels are the most common used, although a “G-weighting” is perhaps more suitable for infrasound.

For comparison, here are dB levels for some audible sounds:

  • 0-10dB  Threshold of human hearing.
  • 10-20dB   Normal breathing, rustling leaves.
  • 20-30dB   Whispering at about 1.5 metres.
  • 40-50dB   Coffee maker, library, quiet office, quiet residential area.
  • 50-60dB   Dishwasher, electric shaver, office, rainfall, refrigerator, sewing machine.
  • 60-70dB   Air conditioner, alarm clock, background music, normal conversation, television.
  • 70-80dB   Coffee grinder, toilet flush, freeway traffic, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner.
  • 80-90dB   Blender, doorbell, heavy traffic, hand saw, lawn mower, ringing telephone, whistling kettle.
  • 85dB   Low end of recommended dB level for wearing of hearing protection.
  • 90-100dB   Electric drill, shouted conversation, tractor, truck.
  • 100-110dB   Baby crying, boom box, factory machinery, motorcycle, subway train.
  • 110-120dB   Ambulance siren, car horn, leaf blower, walkman on high, power saw, shouting in the ear.
  • 120-130dB   Auto stereo, rock concert, chain saw, pneumatic drills, stock car races, thunder, power drill.
  • 130-140dB  Threshold of pain, air raid siren, jet airplane taking off, jackhammer.
  • 150-160dB   Artillery fire at 500 feet, balloon pop, cap gun.
  • 160-170dB   Fireworks, handgun, rifle.
  • 170-180dB   Shotgun.
  • 180-190dB   Rocket launch, volcanic eruption.

The vibration of the sound alters the pressure of the medium it is traveling in - be it air, water or living cells. If the sound level is very high, the entire organism may vibrate. For instance the pressure of artillery with a few metres can exceed 200dB which is enough to cause blood vessels to tear and could even prove fatal. A level of 140dB is enough is to damage nerves of the inner ear which could lead to permanent deafness.

The sound we can hear (20-20,000Hz) gives us fair warning, but what of the sound frequencies we cannot hear? Such high levels of infrasound can easily pass through the skin and cause organs to vibrate which can lead to symptoms commonly associated with high infrasound exposure (see above). As we cannot hear the sound the cause of the symptoms often remains unidentified - but may be just as intense and harmful as any audible sound exceeding 120dB.

Such sound, although inaudible, is still subject to the laws and principles of pressure waves and may be amplified naturally through resonance etc... The Paranormal Calculator contains some formula which allow various calculations concerning sound waves.


By Michael D. Winkle

“How fading are the joys we dote upon!
Like apparitions seen and gone.”
-- The Reverend John Norris, Collections of Miscellanies (1678)

According to that monumental study of telepathy, Phantasms of the Living, Great Britain’s Society for Psychical Research learned of an interesting new phenomenon in 1882, not long after the organization was founded.  Edmund Gurney and Frederic Myers, "as Hon. Secs. of a Literary Committee," called on the general public to send in reports of apparitions and other unusual occurrences.  "We were struck," writes Myers, "with the great predominance of alleged apparitions at or near the moment of death." [p. xxviii]

The concept of the spirit still existing after physical death has been known to all peoples since time immemorial, of course, and the idea of the dead appearing to the living has been equally widespread.  However, "the idea of apparitions at the time either of death, or of serious crises in life, has no established vogue." [p. 101]  The SPR received numerous reports of what are now called "crisis apparitions," but rather than forming a well-known motif in legend and folklore, the events seemed to be regarded as isolated anomalies even by the percipients.  As Myers observes, "to many persons with whom we have conversed on the subject we find that the very idea of such phenomena is practically new; and that ‘apparitions’, whether delusions or realities, have always been considered by them as apparitions of the dead." [pp. 101-102]

Myers and others held these "new" stories in high regard for the very reason that they were unknown in the literature:  the witnesses were not "seeing" something they might expect to see due to religious, superstitious or other belief-systems.  The survey seemed to be a phenomenological recognition of a new class of paranormal activity, drawn from the raw material of reported cases.

Over a century later, in 1988, the Society once again called for reports from the public by distributing "A Questionnaire on Psychic Experiences."  Of 1,129 questionnaires given out, 840 were returned completed.  This is not a large sampling as statistical analyses go, but one feature stood out after only a cursory examination of the reports.  While apparitions of the dead were as common as ever, there was not a single crisis apparition in the survey.  Author and survey creator D. J. West notes that "the absence of [even] a single death coincidence from the accounts received is suggestive evidence that incidents of that kind have become rarer in Britain than they were a century ago." [p. 200]

Why would that be?  Less emphasis on the afterlife in the modern world?  Easier communications?  A simple phone call can inform loved ones that somebody is on the verge of death.  Perhaps psychic messages from the dying are no longer necessary, and the ability is atrophying in modern humanity.  Yet, as West notes, death, danger, and disaster still hold sway in premonitions and dreams, so "why they should have become rare among apparitional cases remains puzzling."

There is still the observation that crisis apparitions seemed to be unknown before the nineteenth century.  Could it be that some paranormal phenomena come in waves -- that is, manifest themselves more commonly in some eras than in others?  Future researchers might cast an eye on the general histories of precognitive dreams, poltergeists, and other events.  One never knows what patterns might emerge from the raw material lying forgotten on dusty library shelves.

Sidgwick, Eleanor Mildred, et. al.  Phantasms of the Living (New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1962 [1886]).

West, D. J.  "Pilot Census of Hallucinations," Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 57, Part 215 (April 1990), pp. 163-207.

Readers can contact Michael at or visit his website at