Paranormal researchers will often take ‘base line readings’ of a building rumoured to be haunted. They will often measure things like the temperature with a thermometer and the electro-magnetic field in each room or area using an Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) meter. Then during the rest of the investigation they will continue to take readings to see if they rise or fall in the different areas compared to these base readings and will make note of such fluctuations.

These fluctuations are often said to be caused by ‘spiritual energy’ manifesting itself, yet unless you take these base line tests and monitor the EMF levels in the building over a long period of time (weeks or even months and years!) it’s impossible to be able to know if a reading is anomalous or not because something you measured at 11am (such as the EMF or the temperature) might be different when it is measured again at 6pm, but that doesn’t mean it is anomalous as it may be perfectly normal for it to change during the day. Without other days to compare it to you wouldn’t be able to tell.

Magnetic fields are physical fields produced by electrically charged objects. The electric field is produced by stationary charges and the magnetic field by moving charges – or currents. EMF is often described as being a static field that does not charge or fluctuate over time whereas, in fact, it does change over time – just very slowly. When fluctuations in the EMF are detected at locations that are reputed to be haunted it is more likely and probable that the fluctuation is caused by items in the building that are electronic or things that are electrically or magnetically charged – rather than the spirits of the deceased. There is no evidence that demonstrates how spirits could manipulate the EMF.

Another idea popular among ghost researchers is the idea that being exposed to high levels of Electro-Magnetic Fields may cause some people to feel strange which leads to them thinking they’ve experienced something paranormal. These high fields are often referred to as ‘Experience Inducting Fields (EIF)’. Current research suggests that EIFs are varying magnetic fields with low frequency and a moderate intensity/amplitude, but this research is still in progress and needs to be replicated before conclusions can be reached.

The method of magnetically manipulating the brain to try and create weird experiences is called Trans-Cerebral Stimulation (TCS) which is often confused with another method of magnetic brain stimulation called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which is used in psychology.

There are lots of differences between the two methods such as the time it takes for them to have an effect on the brain, and the way in which TMS can target quite specific areas of the brain but TCS is applied to non-specific areas of the brain.

Unlike TCS which uses varying magnetic fields with low frequency and a moderate intensity TMS employs high-intensity magnetic pulses with very high altitudes that are applied very quickly for brief amounts of time to alter brain function. The idea that Experience Inducting Fields can be detected using a standard EMF meter is incorrect because such meters cannot detect these fields which are thought to sit on top of naturally occurring static fields.

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