Static Electricity and the paranormal

14th August 2022. Reading Time: 7 minutes General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know. 2490 page views. 2 comments.

One of the latest trends over the last few years seems to be devices that detect static electricity. Let's look at static electricity and if it has a connection to the paranormal.

With lots of new devices hitting the tv shows and the paranormal marketplace, it can be difficult to decide what is useful, and what isn’t. Sometimes you just don’t know if something is going to be useful in an investigation unless you actually use the piece of equipment first. I myself have learnt this the hard way as I am sure many of you have as well. Some pieces of equipment just don’t live up to the ‘hype’ and end up sitting in the back of the case never to be used again. One of the latest trends over the last few years seems to be devices that detect static electricity. What is static electricity and is it proof of the paranormal?

What is static electricity?

When you look at the word static, we know that this means something that lacks movement. It stays still. We talk in terms of paranormal investigations about using static cameras.  It means a camera usually sitting on a tripod that doesn’t move. So static electricity is basically electricity that is stationary and doesn’t move. As it is sitting still, the build-up eventually causes a charge because it has nowhere to go. This is the kind of stuff that can make your hair stand on it’s end. It is why and I know this well as a computer technician, when I am working on a motherboard, I should be wearing a grounding bracelet so I don’t accidently fry the motherboard with a static charge by touching it. (Yes I should…..). Static electricity occurs when there is an imbalance between the negative and positive charges in an object. It is the stuff that causes you to get a zap if you are wearing runners and touch a door handle for example.  It can also happen when you are constantly rubbing your shoes on carpet and then you touch each other.  It is an electrical charge that can appear to be random and you don't even know it is about to happen but in essence, it is a result of two objects reacting to each other.

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Humans and static electricity

Humans are some of the biggest conductors when it comes to static electricity. When we comb our hair, put on a jumper, wear runners, touch metal or even when we touch each other, we are capable of transferring a build-up of static electricity. When you get a zap from the shopping trolley, that is static electricity. When you rub your hand or feet against an insulating material such as wool or plastic, you can create a static charge. I even remember as kids we used to run our feet on the carpet and then touch our friends to give them a zap.  In order to avoid a zap, you need to earth yourself by touching a wooden or non metallic surface. Even simply rubbing your hands together, can create this static electricity. The fact that we absorb this all around us is important, especially if we are going to use static electricity to measure something possibly paranormal.

Static Electricity and the paranormal

A lot of paranormal investigators believe that spirits can manipulate or can somehow be detected using fluctuations within the electromagnetic field. It is no surprise then, that they also explore the concept of static electricity. A lot of new equipment used for paranormal investigating these days are static electricity detectors.  Like a lot of equipment, they will usually light up with some pretty colours if they detect a static charge. Some of the devices are 360 degrees which means they detect this in every direction surrounding the device and will light up essentially pointing in the direction where it is detecting the charge. Some people use that as an indication of where a spirit may be in the room. The problem with using this kind of technology to detect something paranormal is that it is a natural occurrence which is around us all the time. The fact that we are conductors and can produce a static charge just by moving or rubbing our hand on our jacket only makes things much more complicated. By simply walking past one of these pieces of equipment, we could unknowingly be setting it off. When we use equipment and we do vigils, we are quite often either holding the equipment or standing right by it. Just us entering the room or touching an object on a table can effect the static electricity within the room. It is just too difficult to ascertain what is causing the sudden static charge. I know on a personal level, the equipment I have used in the past that detects static electricity has been useless. They seem to randomly light up whether someone is in the room or not. Because it is too difficult to tell if something is an ‘intelligent’ response or just a change in the environment, it makes it really hard to decipher what is happening. 

A lot of people quite interestingly and I know I have been a culprit of this as well seem to use these pieces of equipment as an invitation to spirit to ‘touch’ the device as a sign of presence or to answer a question. In using this method of investigating, it would actually be more beneficial to use some sort of touch sensor like say a REM Pod rather than a static electricity detector. In the end, you are still asking the spirit to do the same thing and a REM pod is somewhat easier to debunk than static electricity.

Does static electricity give spirits energy?

I suppose this is a question to think about. We know that a general belief in the paranormal community is that certain electrical storms etc are said to fuel paranormal activity based on witness accounts. A lot of people use EM Pumps as a way to give a spirit the energy it needs to communicate. Does static electricity work in the same way? Perhaps us detecting or experiencing the static electricity is not a spirit communicating with us, but in turn it could be what gives the spirit the energy to communicate with us. A device lighting up is detecting the static charge, but it doesn’t mean the spirit is causing it. When it lights up and something happens straight afterwards, maybe it was that static charge that gave the spirit the energy to communicate. Maybe we are looking at static electricity in the wrong way. 

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There is no denying that sometimes when you walk into a room on an investigation that you can feel the static charge in the air. Sometimes it causes the hairs on your arms and legs to stand up. While this can be a result of static electricity, how many time have you seen someone use this as a sign they are feeling something paranormal? From a spiritual sense, people refer to these as spiritual chills and believe it is one of the first ways a person starts opening up to the paranormal and that someone can tell they are in the presence of a spirit.

Goosebumps themselves are a part of the flight or fight response. While this also happens when the body feels cold, it also happens when a person suddenly feels fear. Are the goosebumps appearing randomly or have you felt a 'cold spot'? It could also just be your body's reaction to the cold. Maybe you feel on edge or a little scared. It could be your body reacting. It could also be static electricity.

I think like anything, you have to take a step back and look at the picture as a whole. Don’t just rely on one small event such as a piece of equipment lighting up or feeling like you feel a charge or get goosebumps. Are there several anomalies all happening at the same time or are you relying on just one small thing? Often there is a lot more going on and there are usually events leading up to or after an experience that causes a person to question if maybe they have experienced something paranormal.

Paranormal investigating is all about experience and what you take away from it. Static electricity could very well have some sort of place in paranormal investigating, the issue is that we just don’t know how to effectively measure it.

If you have any experiences or experiments you have tried with static electricity I would love to hear them!


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  • Oracle Fusion HCM Training 8 months ago

    Really very happy to say, your post is very interesting article

  • Gary 1 year ago

    Reading your article on static, the goose bump theory, fear of the unknown,I get goosebump if someone tells me a good ghost story.