23 January 2010
The "Ghost Box": Tool or Toy?
One of the latest pieces of "scientific" ghost hunting equipment is the so-called "Ghost Box" (aka "Frank's Box, among other names). This device supposedly allows investigators to communicate with spirits in real time, or records ghostly communications for later playback and review.
Being a hopeless gadget freak I had to see what I could find out about this particular device. From what I've read, I'm decidedly unimpressed.
In typical "Ghost Hunters" fashion, here's the theory:
The GB allows ghosts or spirits to manipulate radio signals and frequencies in order to form words and communicate with investigators. Instead of flashing lights on the ol' K2 meter, you can actually get words, even complete sentences! Sounds awesome, no?
In reality, the GB is nothing more than a continuosly scanning radio reviever. There are variations on the basic design, such as adding speakers or headphones, or feeding the signal into an amplifier or digital recorder (great for editing nd manipulating "responses"!) Imagine the radio in your car. You hit the Search/Seek button, and it starts scanning the band for signals. But, unlike your car radio, the GB doesn't stop and lock on to a station. It scans constantly, picking up random words or music as it moves through the radio spectrum. Thus, (supposedly) the spirits can control the device, allowing words to come through to convey their intended message. Frankly, this is giving the ghosts way too much credit, IMHO. How do we know that they even understand radio waves, let alone manipulate them at will? Do they possess the precognitive ability to know what word is going to be said when, and on what frequency?
If you search youtube, you'll find a few demonstrations (none of which impress me) and there are plans and instructions online on how to build your own or modify a radio to function as a GB.
But, based on all I've read, seen, and heard, it's just a useless, unscientific toy that randomly picks out broadcast signals, and it's up to the operator to interpret them. (audio "matrixing", anyone?)
But unless the spirit of say, Nicola Tesla, Marconi, Einstein, or maybe Thomas Edison decides to make contact, I wouldn't expect much.