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                                                     Who Ya Gonna Call? or My Experience as a Ghost Hunter

Chapter 13: The EMF Meter


     One tool of the well-equipped ghost hunter is an EMF Meter. Now we are getting into some hi-tech gear. Before ghost hunters started using them, EMF or ElectroMagnetic Frequency meters were used by electricians to detect electric current. When an electric current flows, it creates a halo of magnetic field. Using an EMF meter, an electrician can detect where there is current without actually grabbing a wire to find out the hard way. In the days before EMF meters, electricians had apprentices. It was the job of the apprentice to grab the wire to see if there was current. Busy electricians could go through quite a few apprentices, which is why the EMF meter was developed.  An apprentice candidate test used to be, “Quick, pull my finger” and if the candidate was dumb enough to do it, he became the new apprentice. Now, the apprentice just pulls out his trusty EMF meter.

     The next question would be; how do we know ghosts produce an electric current or even a magnetic fluctuation? Some people have noticed lights flickering in association with spirits. Watch just about any horror movie; lights start flickering - any minute some horrible apparition is going to jump at you from a dark corner. That used to happen when I went to my mother-in-law’s house, but I digress. I put forth the theory that one ghost may say to another, “Joe, go over and just flips the light switch on and off. It drives these people bat shit crazy.” My theory was not received well in the ghost hunter group.

     There is another similar device called a Mel Meter. It is a ‘ghost calibrated’ EMF meter. There is a tragic story behind the Mel meter. Which reminds me, when I was a kid, I had an Uncle Mel. Uncle Mel was a bachelor, and my mom referred to him as a “rounder.” Uncle Mel never looked any rounder to me than anybody else, but I never got the idea my mother was very fond of my uncle. He lived in an old hotel and was rumored to have a ‘hearty appetite’ (my mother’s words). My older brother would talk about how he could “peg out the Mel Meter.” Then all his friends would snicker and say things about “getting laid” then he would notice me standing there and chase me away. At the time, I thought they were talking about chickens. I now realize what the term my brother used was actually implying, which has nothing to do with ghosts unless Uncle Mel is floating around in the ether somewhere.

     Besides light flickering, people have associated ghosts with their hair standing on end when they believed they were in the presence of a ghost. They postulated that the electric current from the ghosts caused the observers hair to stand up. I thought after I die, it would be fun to shuffle across shag carpet and lightly touch someone on the back of the neck. I sure hope shag carpeting comes back before I pass on.

     A more scientific theory about ghosts and electricity is that people have a minute amount of electricity flowing inside them. This current carries messages throughout the body and is particularly concentrated in the brain. The theory is if you have a meter that detects small current changes, and a ghost still maintains that capability and passes close to the meter, it will register the ghost. Now this theory led me to think, if I have an EMF meter and put it against my ear or nose (where the skull is thin) it should register. Since it does not (I tested it), there are only two possibilities; (1) the current is not sufficient to set off the meter or (2) there is nothing going on in my... well, never mind that one.

     A professional ghost hunter will survey a possible haunted site prior to the actual ghost hunt or vigil, using the EMF meter to eliminate non-supernatural causes. For example, the old-style florescent lights would often give off power surges from the ballast and the tubes, and combined with the flickering inherent in fluorescents, it has been known to cause nausea, disorientation and even, in some people, hallucinations. That could explain the frequent appearance of Shrieking Sidney in the office of a well-known New York City newspaper. The story goes that on a Friday, Sidney was making photocopies when his tie was pulled into the photocopier. Since it was a Friday, everyone had left the office already. When they returned on Monday, they found the strangled body of poor Sidney, along with 500 copies of Sidney’s distorted face. The story has been circulating around the office for years, although there is really no real evidence since all the copies of Sidney’s face were accidently included in the five o’clock edition.

     EMF meters will also react to shorts in wiring, and improperly grounded water pipes. Tip: if you suspect a short in your home, call in a ghost hunter because they are a lot cheaper than an electrician.

     So to summarize, nobody knows exactly how an EMF meter works to detect ghosts, or even IF it is detecting a ghost or an errant burst of energy linked to a crossing of universes in the time warp of space. Or, maybe it is the cell phone in somebody’s pocket. One thing is for sure, the well-equipped ghost hunter would never leave home without one.

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