The false positives of paranormal equipment

14th September 2021. Reading Time: 10 minutes General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know, Paranormal Investigation. 2624 page views. 2 comments.

More than ever, people are using a range of devices to measure their surroundings in the hope of detecting something paranormal. Here are some of the common things that can cause a false positive reading.

More than ever, people are using a range of devices to measure their surroundings in the hope of detecting something paranormal.  There is a fierce debate within the paranormal field as to if any of this equipment is detecting something paranormal.  While devices can tell you if there is a change in temperature or if there is electrical interference, does this mean that something paranormal is occurring?  You have some people that love certain pieces of equipment, and others who despise it.  Some are makeshift items taken from tradie's toolkits while others are purpose-built specifically for paranormal investigating.  The results are ultimately only as good as your interpretation of them.  It is important no matter what kind of equipment you are using to understand that just because a piece of equipment is lighting up, doesn't mean it is paranormal.  It just means it is detecting some sort of change in its surroundings.  

A lot of the time, we don't know the different natural causes that set off the equipment until we have experienced and worked it out for ourselves.  Some of the weirdest things can set it off.  If it is something you aren't aware of, it is pretty easy to jump to a paranormal conclusion.  I spend a lot of time working with equipment trying to understand it and also working out the different natural things that set them off.  Others have also shared their tips or experiences with me as well.  I thought why not put together a list that will regularly be updated as new false positives are discovered.  I have chosen some of the more popular pieces of equipment that investigators use.  This is not me saying if they are good or bad, it is just sharing the different things I or others have discovered along the way can give a false positive reading on these devices.

Rem Pods

A Rem Pod is a red circle type device that has 4 (some models have 5) lights on the top and an antenna. There are however newer devices people are developing which are square with an antenna and a set of lights at the top. In each model, the unit produces its own magnetic field around the antenna. If something is to break that field (like a hand), it will make a noise and one of the lights will light up. The stronger the break in the field, the more lights will come on. If no one is touching this field, people interpret this to be a spirit interacting.There are also models which can sense changes in the temperature which will light up red with a high pitched tone if it detects the temperature is increasing and blue with a lower-pitched tone if the temperature is decreasing.

To find out more about REM Pods, how they work and how they were developed, check out my article REM Pods

It is not just a hand touching the antenna that can cause the REM Pod to beep and light up.  Here are some other causes investigators have come across:

  • Walkie Talkies
  • Mobile Phone signals
  • Radio Transmission such as CB Radios/Baby monitors
  • IR Lights (used with 'full spectrum' cameras)
  • IR Sensor from Kinect devices (SLS cameras)

When in temperature mode, if it is picking up a change in temperature, it will beep and show a blue light for cold or red light for heat.  I have found that often it gets stuck in this cycle and while it is continually beeping, the green light on the rem pod will also start flickering and beeping.  I have two REM pods and this happens consistently every time with one of them whenever temperature mode is used.  This causes me to think it is a faulty REM Pod so it doesn't get used anymore.

I also found that sitting a REM Pod on a bed that has a metal or copper frame can be set off by a person simply touching the metal/copper frame.  It acts as a type of conduit.  This is one of those circumstances that I was only able to figure out when I was on a paranormal investigation trying to figure out why the REM pod kept going off when someone was near the bed.  In fact, it was that experience that inspired me to compile this list as I figured collectively we must all have similar experiences that we could share with each other.

EMF Meters (Such as a KII Device)

One of the most common tools in a paranormal investigators kit is that of an EMF meter.  Most commonly it comes in the form of an EMF Meter.  KII and Mel Meters are the most popular, however there are cheaper models/readers popping up all the time.  These devices were originally an essential part of a tradies tool kit used to help find live wires or electricity in the walls.  

While there is a debate about how useful an EMF meter is, I would argue that it is in fact an important tool to have, not necessarily to find something paranormal, but more so finding an explanation as to why a person may feel something paranormal is happening.  This can be caused by high levels of EMF. 

Check out my article High levels of EMF can make a person feel they are experiencing something paranormal

Aside from that, people use EMF meters such as the KII under the theory that they believe a spirit can manipulate the EMF field around us and use it to communicate.  While this is one possibility. as to why the device may be lighting up, there are a lot of other natural interference that also cause KII and other EMF meters to light up!  Here are some investigators have come across:

  • Radio Transmission such as CB Radios/Baby monitors
  • Car key fobs
  • Car alarm/locking/garage remotes found on keys
  • Meter boxes that send out a pulse
  • Electricity
  • Running water 
  • Mobile phone signals
  • Walkie Talkie/2 way radios
  • Fluorescent light tubing/starters
  • Faulty wiring
  • WiFi
  • IR Lights (used with 'full spectrum' cameras)
  • IR Sensor from Kinect devices (SLS cameras)

Temperature Guns

Another common tool used on a paranormal investigation is a device to measure temperature.  While you can use data loggers, laser IR temperature guns and thermal imaging cameras are two of the most popular ways to measure temperature. The problem with both of these is that they read the temperature of an object or surface, they don’t measure the air itself.
When you are using a temp gun, for example, you are most likely hitting a wall or the floor because it needs a point to read. It will not read the cold pocket of air you are feeling in the middle of the room.  The same can apply to a thermal imaging camera. It reads the heat signature of the objects and surfaces around it. Not the air itself. It will most likely not show you if there is a pocket of air that is cold, just a cold object or surface.

To read more about cold spots, check out my article Cold Spots and the paranormal

When measuring temperature anomalies or basing an experience on feeling cold, it is more your own interpretation rather than a false positive that is important.  It will tell you that the temperature is dropping but this is likely not paranormal.  It could be because:

  • Heat rises and when it cools it settles back to the floor. This means if there is an airflow moving through the room, it can cause certain spots to feel colder than others. You don’t need to be standing next to the window to feel the draft.
  • Certain health conditions can make a person feel cold when everyone else feels normal. If someone says they are cold and the rest of the room is not, it is quite possible they just feel the cold a little more than the rest.
  • A cold spot could be radiating from a cold surface or object nearby. Say you are in a building that has a big steel table. Something like a morgue perhaps. People may feel cold air above or directly around this table without touching the actual table. They may think that something is trying to manifest on the table. In reality, the object is radiating a cold pocket of air. When you stand in front of or next to a cold object, your body actually loses heat toward this object.
  • In areas where there is low humidity, moisture evaporates from your skin which can cause you to feel cold. Alternatively, when you are warm, moving air will feel cold to you. The air removes the heat from your skin making you feel cold.
  • Natural stone absorbs, stores and radiates heat.  This is important to note in buildings with stone walls and surroundings.

Static Electricity Meters

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 these days are static electricity detectors and will usually light up with some pretty colours if they detect a static charge. Some of the devices are 360 which means they detect this in every direction and will light up 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 that 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 more complicated. By simply walking past one of these pieces of equipment, we could unknowingly be setting it off.

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. You know how sometimes you get a zap when you touch someone or a door handle? 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. In order to avoid a zap, you need to earth yourself by touching a wooden or non metallic surface. Even just 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.

So in terms of the false positives that can set of this kind of device, it is essentially everything.  Just being in the sheer presence of the device could cause it to light up.  I guess like something paranormal, static electricity cannot be seen and is hard to measure but it is always potentially there!

This will be kept as a running list of sorts and will be regularly updated.  I guess one of the things with a list like this is often you don't realise that someone that can trigger a piece of equipment until it happens and you figure it out.  I am not against using equipment at all.  What I do see and I have been guilty of it as well is that people tend to use equipment and not really understand how it works or what it does.  We just get excited if it lights up or we emulate what we see on 'Ghost Adventures'.  It isn't until we actually start using the equipment more and more that we understand how it works and that in a lot of cases, there is nothing paranormal about the results we are getting.  It is all a part of how we learn.  The more we can educate ourselves and understand how the equipment we are using works, the better we can interpret the results they are giving us.  Most importantly, we need to understand that a piece of equipment lighting up doesn't tell us that something paranormal is happening.  It is really just telling us that it is detecting some sort of change or interference.  It is up to you as the paranormal investigator to work out what is causing that change or interference!

A big thankyou to all of those who sent me their experiences or 'false positive' suggestions when it comes to equipment.  If you have more that you think should be on this list, comment below!  

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  • William Tews 2 years ago

    Another thorough and fair examination of a paranormal issue! To be fair, I have never worked with any of these devices, and so my experience of them is from seeing them used on various ghost hunting shows, and reading about them, but I have made a number of similar observations. I only wish that more people in the paranormal investigation field, or those interested in it, would read your articles! ☺️ ️ ❤️ ????

  • William Tews 2 years ago

    Another balanced and thorough examination of an issue, and as always I enjoyed reading it. I only wish that more people, who are either involved in the paranormal field or are interested in it, would be this open-minded yet skeptical, and fair. ????❤️