GhostArk: Same Old Pseudo-Science In A Different Box?

The GhostArk claims to be the world’s first ‘all in one’ piece of ghost hunting equipment. It’s a proud boast but it amounts to very little because all of the functions that it offers the user are mostly pseudo-scientific and don’t do very much at all. It’s the same old ghost hunting nonsense dressed up in a new box. As Engadget state ‘ghost detection is based on junk science’ and it’s not even clear if the product will make it to market at all. The website for the soon-to-be-released device lists the functions and gives a brief description of each.

The GhostArk offers:

Ghostbox Trial Frequency Sweet AM/FM/SW, Real-time Recording, Adjustable Speeds

What is it? A Ghostbox is a device that basically sweeps radio frequencies and skips through them in quick succession. This means that you hear a jumble of sound as the device picks up on transmissions on these frequencies and it is claimed by some that the spirits of the deceased can use this to communicate with people.

What’s really happening? You hear a mixture of sounds from radio transmissions and your brain- which is expecting to hear meaningful messages from spirits -finds meaning in the random noises. Is it so surprising that you’ll hear words while switching through radio transmissions? No, it is not. Us humans are susceptible to seeing meaning in randomness and these illusions are the result of a psychological phenomena known as Pareidolia. 

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

EVP Recorder2 high Sensitivity Microphones, Live listening and Visual Waveform monitoring

What is it? EVP is short for Electronic Voice Phenomena. EVP are audio recordings produced by ghost hunters who use audio recording devices to capture the voices of the spirits of the deceased. Typically a ghost hunter will press record on a device and then start asking questions. They’ll leave some time between questions in the hope that any spirits present will speak back to them. For some reason it is believed that although humans cannot hear these responses the recording device can.

What’s really happening? There is no evidence that EVP recordings are the voices of the dead. This is a conclusion that is speculative and ignores a whole host of alternative causes, many of which I list here on my site. These recordings rely largely on the pareidolia effect to provide meaning to them.

EVP + SoundEVP recorder with white-noise frequency or custom audio-loop added in real-time

What is it? It’s the same as EVP recording just with ambient sound playing at the time of recording. Many believe that- as with the Ghostbox -spirits need some sort of sound to manipulate to help them record messages or answers. This is speculatory in nature and there is no supportive evidence.

What’s really happening? To be honest? Nothing much.

EMF MeterElectroMagnetic field measurement with Multi-Colored Led Lights and value on display

What is it? Ghost hunters often believe that fluctuations in the Electro Magnetic field can be indicative of the presence or manifestation of a ghost. They use EMF meters to monitor the EMF in a location and to detect any fluctuations which they then might attribute to a ghost. It is also thought that high levels of EM fields can cause some people to feel strange sensations but it is far more complex than that.

What’s really happening? EMF meters do what it is claimed however EM fields fluctuate all of the time and it has nothing to do with the paranormal. To get a really good idea of the normal “behaviour” of EM fields in a location you would need to study it constantly for months and months before being able to decide what is and isn’t normal. Even then it would be illogical to claim that any peak in the EM field was caused by ghosts. To make these claims in one night as many ghost hunters do is ludicrous and ignorant.

Temperature – Ambient temperature reading, +/- 5 degree Hot & Cold spot detection with LED indicators

What is it? Many ghost hunters believe that ghosts manipulate the temperature in a location when they are trying to manifest or communicate. They will take a base reading of a room and then compare subsequent readings to this base temperature. Any drop in temperature might be linked with a ghost.

What’s really happening? The temperature might drop or rise because that’s what temperatures do.

Nightvision High-brightness display, Neon Blue Light retroillumination for safe vision in the dark

This basically means that the device has a back light. If you needed further proof that this device is trying to pass itself off as a highly scientific device then surely this is it? Describing the fact that the display is lit up as ‘Neon Blue Light retroillumination for safe vision in the dark’? Oh, please…

The only useful function that this device will bring to the table is that it produces reports of all of the above recording functions. That could be useful for monitoring the temperature and EM fields of a location but not for much else – and you can already purchase data loggers that do this with a smaller price tag without the added EVP and Ghostbox nonsense. The rest is just a pretentious repackaging of things that are already on offer elsewhere. This doesn’t revolutionise ghost hunters, it patronises them.

The saddest thing is that ghost hunters will buy this device and will use it to prove that locations are haunted and they will buy the next ghost hunting gimmick that comes along and use it to prove that locations are haunted, and the next one, and the next…

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Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

5 thoughts on “GhostArk: Same Old Pseudo-Science In A Different Box?”

  1. I have a hypothesis that these devices only appeared after people saw Egon Spengler’s PKE Meter in Ghostbusters. That these meters are designed to detect electric cables behind walls is irrelevant; as long as there are enough sounds and flashing lights, the ghosthunters are happy.

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