Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More From the Paranormal Research Files

As many of you probably remember I picked up an EMF detector back in October with the intent of testing it out in a ritual context. Folks have been asking about it recently, so I think another update on my progress is in order even though I haven't gotten as far on the project at this point as I would have liked.

As it turns out I've been unexpectedly busy this fall so I haven't had a chance to test the detector in the context of a full ritual yet. It's been a good kind of busy - among other things, I wasn't expecting that Arcana would be coming out so soon, seeing as I only submitted it to Pendraig in August and up until that point my experience with publishers was that they took their own sweet time to get just about anything done. One of the things I have done, though, is familiarize myself with how the detector works and do a full sweep of my temple, tools, and implements to see if there's any immediate correllation between EMF and objects that are consecrated and have been used in ritual work.

My house is over 120 years old and has wiring from a number of different periods. The state of electrical wiring is important to keep in mind when doing any sort of sweep for paranormal activity because that's the main normal source of EMF that you're likely to find. Older wiring tends to give off a higher EMF than modern shielded conduit, and in fact some researchers have suggested that this alone could explain many hauntings in older homes. High EMF can produce feelings of paranoia and disorientation, which are common symptoms of hauntings as well.

There are a couple of things that I found out right away. AC adapters give off really high EMF, so if you're doing a sweep of a room and have one of those big boxy plugs in one of the outlets you will need to unnplug it. With the detector in high sensitivity mode an adapter can produce an EMF spike up to three feet or so from the actual plug. Another thing to watch out for is stereos, particularly analog volume controls. Those put off high EMF as well, and like a lot of magicians I have a stereo in my temple for playing music during rituals.

Once you've turned off or unplugged any devices that might be producing EMF the next thing you need to work out is the house wiring. If you have a ceiling fan, turn that off if it is in your temple or in the room below it. Motors in ceiling fans put off a lot of EMF and it can come up through the floor if the fan is in the room below where you're sweeping. The other thing you will want to do is turn on and off lights that are in the room or are connected to wires that run through the floor, ceiling, or walls. Also be aware of electrical devices, even those without adapter plugs. An electrical device can cause the wires leading to the outlet to throw high EMF if the device is on, especially if the wiring is old.

As far as possible magical sources of EMF go I so far have yet to find any, but as I mentioned I have not tried doing a ritual with the detector yet. Whatever I'm sensing when I pick up an object and find that it feels magical or consecrated is not EMF - I found no EMF spikes at all that appear to be related to that particular sensation. One of the things that will produce some EMF is an item with a magnet incorporated into it, but only if the probe and magnet are close and moving in relation to each other. A magnet that's sitting still doesn't produce much of an EMF spike when you just hold the probe up to it.

One of the things I did find that initially looked promising was a high EMF spike right on top of one of my altars. That particular altar gets used a lot so I wondered if it might have built up some sort of measurable charge from years of ritual work. Unfortunately, though, I was able to debunk the spike. It turned out to be related to one of the lights on the floor below and it was only coincidental that the spike showed up where the altar was. I was able to show that the spike was always present with the light on and never present with the light off, so this is clearly a case of old wiring at work. It wasn't immediately obvious, though - the light hangs from a spot that is off to the side of the temple, but the EMF it produces shows up over the altar which is more centrally located.

So I'll keep you all posted when I finally get a chance to do a series of tests with real rituals as opposed to just sweeping rooms and items to get baseline readings. I'm looking forward to getting that done and seeing if there's any notable relationship between magical work and EMF spikes.

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Rufus Opus said...

In addition to checking readings with all the electrical sources of EMF spikes turned off during ritual, I think it would be interesting to see if the rites affect existing fields too. Like keep the stereo on, and see if during the rite there are any fluctuations as the spirits are called.

Scott Stenwick said...

I'll have to see if I can come up with a good set of experimental protocols that will incorporate factors such as those. Another thing that I'm curious about is whether or not the presence of environmental EMF from normal sources can influence the probability shift produced by the ritual. Paranormal investigators seem to split on that one - some say that spirits can draw on existing EMF to produce more impressive effects and others don't seem to think it makes much difference.