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EMF Detectors: 101

If ghost hunting or paranormal research is your newest venture, then a “must have” piece of equipment is an EMF detector.  There are many different EMF detectors on the market today from the old school (scale model) Dr. Gauss Meter to the elaborate TriField EMF Detector.  The ideal EMF detector shows the milligauss reading on a digital screen on the front of the meter.  These digital meters save most paranormal groups time and mistakes made by inaccurate readings.

EMF detectors were designed to detect “electromagnetic” emissions from things such as microwave ovens and high tension electrical wires.  The current theory among paranormal researchers is that an EMF detector can alert investigators to the presence of paranormal activity.  The meter is said to do this by measuring electromagnetic distortion.  A normal base reading for most areas would be considered anywhere from .1 to 1.0 milligauss on the EMF scale.  However, EMF readings that range from 1.0 to 8.0 (or higher readings depending on the model of EMF you are using) are believed to indicate the presence of something paranormal.  

How should you start using your EMF detector?
First, you should practice using your EMF detector in your own home so that you become familiar with items that may, or may not, cause fluctuations in the readings.  When holding an EMF meter, you should never shake the detector.  These meters are highly calibrated and are very sensitive.  They also need to be stored and carried to locations with care.  Next, you should locate the “read” points on your meter.  Most new meters read from side to side.  This is important because you don’t want to place your hand over the sides of the detector where the “readings” are being preformed.  Also, try to move the meter slowly and gently as you cover the area you are investigating.  Third, note the screen, or display area, where you will be reading the milligauss numbers that make up your reading.  After turning your EMF detector on, check the number that is showing. (If you don’t have a digital meter, you will need to read the scale.)  A normal reading should be anywhere from .01 to 1.0.  Some “reading” is normal due to electrical appliances within your home or the area being investigated.  However, a reading of 2.0 or higher, which cannot be explained by a local power source, is said to be paranormal.  These readings should be noted.  Readings that change or fluctuate, for no apparent reason, while you are standing in a room are good indicators of suspected paranormal activity.  An example would be standing in the middle of a room with no power source close at hand and your EMF detector starts with a reading of 1.0 and “spikes” up to 9.0 and then goes back down to 1.0.  If this happens, always try to correlate the reading with some other phenomena within that area.  This may be anything from a cold spot to something that may be captured by a camera.  Also, be sure to note any weird feelings at the time of the spike.  (ie:  The hair standing up on the back of your neck, being dizzy, a pressure or heaviness felt by the reader, etc.)  Any of these simultaneous actions can lend credence to a high or spiking EMF reading.  If your EMF detector has different settings, such as the TriField EMF detector, try using different settings as you practice with the meter.  The “sum” setting on these meters usually captures the best evidence.  Also, if using a TriField EMF detector, it is best to leave them stationary.  They are not good meters for “walking investigations.” 

How to use an EMF detector on a paranormal investigation
Once you have experimented with your new EMF detector in an area that you are familiar with, you are ready to branch out to other locations.  Remember not to cover the “read” locations with your hands.  Start by scanning the area you are investigating by sweeping your meter from side to side within the area.  Be sure that you have a light available in order to see the milligauss readings on the scale.  As you start, either write down, or tape record the “baseline” milligauss readings.  A baseline reading it what the “basic” milligauss reading was when you first entered each area of investigation.  It is important to take baseline readings of the areas you are investigating.  That way, you will be aware of any areas that may have higher than normal readings just because of power sources.  Then, once you have recorded the baseline readings, you will know if the readings spike as you investigate the area fully.   If you note a spike in the readings, see if you are near a power source.  If not, continue to investigate that area and see if any of the above mentioned phenomena (ie: hair standing on end, weird feelings, cold spots, etc.) occur.  If so, this will help lend credence to the reading.  Always be sure to record any readings that are above the normal range and what other things were happening during that part of the investigation.  Also remember that EMF detectors are very sensitive to power sources.  You will get a higher than normal reading if you are around such items as televisions, computer monitors, stereos, microwaves, and power lines.  Always be aware of your surroundings before jumping to the conclusion that every spike on your EMF detector is paranormal activity. 

When you are in a group and you are using an EMF detector, it is wise to have another person within that group that is carrying a camera.  If something is detected on the EMF meter, the person with the camera should be notified and pictures or video should be taken right away.  Also, if your meter detects a spike on the scale, note if cold spots, hot spots, or other phenomena are sensed.  If so, note these occurrences also.

There may be times when the hot spots seem to appear and disappear.  It’s possible that the hot spot is actually moving, as through the apparition were walking around.  Do your best to “track” the higher readings and determine the apparition’s movements.

Another important detail to remember when using an EMF detector:  Always make sure that your batteries are fresh before an investigation.  Since some paranormal energy sources can drain batteries, be sure to carry extras!  Drained batteries may cause false positives where the detector may indicate activity, but there is actually nothing there.   

An EMF detector is a crucial tool for paranormal investigators. Therefore, it needs to be used correctly for accurate results.  In theory, this one piece of equipment can help prove, or disprove, a haunting.  When readings are correlated with other evidence (such as items captured on film, strange feelings noted, video captures, or EVP captures), an EMF detector is an extremely valuable resource for paranormal researchers. 


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