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Ghost Hunting Equipment


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#1 spiritpal

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 04:10 PM

Has anyone seen this new ghost hunting device? It looks very interesting but before I dive into one I wondered if anyone has had the opportunity to use one????

http://www.ghostwatchdog.com

Edited by spiritpal, 06 February 2009 - 04:11 PM.


#2 CaveRat2

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 05:54 PM

I read the information provided and find that some is based on fact and proven electrionic concepts. I agree completely when they say too much emphasis is placed on the numbers, etc. when taking EMF readings. Such fields are subject to the inverse square laws of physics, which means, as the website states, the strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. Which simply stated means that the strength in milliguass doesn't mean a thing unless you know exactly how far you are from whatever is generating the field. So far so good.

But then it digressed into claiming the fields are manipulted by those around them. Exactly how this happens is never explained. Of course some fields can be influenced by people, equipment can be turned on or off, radio trnsmissions made, even proxmity detection of static fields may be proven fact. But emotions don't influence fields. (Maybe if the person is wired to an EEG machine they may alter readings.) Starting to sound like snake oil to me.....

The 8 modes of operation are another thing. Certainly most of these may be helpful to know. but a big downside to this device is there appears to be no way to know what exactly sets it off. It would be useful to have multiple displays, was it activated by an EM Field? Or visible light? Or infrared? If it goes off, was it something worth investigating? Or a neighbor's CB radio? It doesn't seem to have any easy way of telling you which mode was responsible. In this regard I find the device too simplistic.

Some of the modes are questionable as to whether they are neccessary. Gravity waves? No proof that in any way is paranormal, but on the other hand it might be something for research. Static fields the same. Paranormal, unlikely. But they could cause false positives so knowing they are there is likely beneficial.

After considering all the features, the pros and cons I see it as something that for a reasonable price might be worth putting in your tool kit. Around a $100 or so seems about what would seem fair for a little portable device you could tuck away .....

Then I looked at what they were really asking for it. $800 !!! nd they even recommend using several for wider coverage!!!! NO THANK YOU!

For that kind of money I can get separate instruments that accomplish the same thing. By going with separtes you gain the versitility of being able to use what you want, in the configuration you want. plus separates will display or alarm when activated individually so you know what caused the activation. Another problem as I see t is that as a combined unit if one part fails you replace everything. With separates if your EMF device fails, you only need replace the failed device. You don't have to buy a new IR detector, ESF detector, light meter, and everything else.

Individually the detectors may be useful, together as one unit, I will avoid this device.

#3 Old Guy

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 05:38 PM

Anything with "Ghost" right on it is immediately suspect.

The best advice I can offer is that you find yourself an unbiased EE or EET and ask him/her to read the "Theory Behind the GWD" and give you their objective opinion - BEFORE you drop $800 on this thing.

I'm with CaveRat. Snakeoil, pure and simple.
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#4 CaveRat2

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:40 AM

BTW, I have been in the electronics field for 40 years as a design specialist. The theory behind the device seems sound in most areas. Some is a little vague so I reserve judgement there.

It's the application of the theory I have a problem with. The device gives very little in the way of defining what it detects for the money it costs. For $800 you could buy separate pieces of equipment that accomplish the same thing and would be much more useful because they would provide more data. They just wouldn't be in a small compact box. But then again, how much of an advantage is that? You'll have to make that call for yourself.

#5 OMPRDave

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 04:45 PM

Probably the first piece of equipment to perk my interest in a long time! Looking forward to see how this progresses.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#6 Retro

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:46 PM

Perhaps we should start a small band of open-minded EEs and EETs and find a way to fund it to buy and evaluate these devices. I, for one, am perfectly willing to accept that electronics sometimes act like magic, even when I know what is going on 'under-the-hood.' I attribute it tothe fact that there simply ARE things we might not understand yet (meaning even the 'magic' may not be paranormal at all.)

If we think about it, the whole reason that we are doing research at all is to gather information to find ways to electronically sense ghosts. The problem with developing anything like this, however, is testing. Since we have no proof that ghosts exist or even that some electrical phenomenon was created by a ghost, how then can we test it? How do we know that it wasn't influenced by spirits during the entire development phase, while we were trying to 'perfect' the signals? I do, actually, like the approach here of not filtering anything at all. But I am concerned that this device simply does its thing and sounds an alarm. I want access to the raw data myself. I want more control for more analysis and more information for newer and better detection methods. If it hides all of this from the user, whose to say it doesn't just have some randomly programmed 'trigger' to make sure it sounds the alarm just enough to make you feel you got your money's worth?

So, in the interest of advancing the technology and encouraging people to try things, I think the need is there for these devices to be analyzed by respected professionals with the technical background is there.

#7 Old Guy

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:48 PM

Hmm...

I just had this thought as it's something I have in progress: *IF* it did data logging (the website isn't clear), that would be a big - but not $800 - plus.

"Full computer control of all functions and features" - whatever that means. I didn't see any mention of a port...
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#8 CaveRat2

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:14 AM

Regarding the testting, I have done a little of that here. I do have the quipment capable of doing considerable electronic evaluation. It's the field I am in and what I do! It is how I arrived at what I consider minumum specs for digital recorders used for EVP evidence. I have tested some equipment for its susceptability to outside interference. It is how I've determined having exact readings for EMF levels is meaningless in our application. (neccessary for others though).

In fact when it comes to how EM Fields are handled the device here has more significance than an EMF meter. (I can't say it's more reliable though since I haven't actually tested and evaluated one in the lab.) But I feel its more important to know the nature of the field than its relative strength. Strength is a factor based on distance from the source, and in most cases we don't know the excat source in our research. Now if you are checking for leakage from a microwave oven for example that's different. You do know the source and it is useful to know the strength of the field at a given distance away.

The device here though, while it may be good, does not provide enough data regarding its trigger. Was it EMF or visible light? Or IR? I would want access to the trigger data to make that determination.

#9 Retro

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:27 AM

Caverat, your last point is just what I am talking about really. The problem with many of these devices is that they are so vague on anything technical and often the descriptions just reek of psuedo-science babble.

With a group of professionals (I guess it wouldn't need to be just EE and EETs) that can evaluate this equipment, it provides a source of technical information that will satisfy the more serious researchers. More and more people are becoming interested in paranormal research (one of the benefits of the various shows) and many of them have backgrounds in science, physics, electronics, etc...

I think any developer of paranormal technology should be happy to have these types of people evaluate their equipment and have that data to feed to those less technophobic.

For me, $850 is just way too much to spend on something that I really can't get the nitty gritty details of. That is in the price range of laboratory equipment and with laboratory equipment, I know it's specifications and capabilities, exactly. I don't get a bunch of least-common-denominator 'analogies' with cars, and such. I know it is marketing, but the researchers in this field (especially the people that would buy something like this) are getting smarter and smarter. For all I know from the description, it could just randomly trigger now and then to make me feel that I got my money's worth. I am not saying it does, just that I can't find that out unless I am willing to drop $850 and test it for myself. If a group of independent and respected people evaluated this and gave me the details that I needed, then I might be more willing to take a chance.

The price tag assumes a professional research tool, but the details just don't live up to that.

Edited by Retro, 10 February 2009 - 09:32 AM.


#10 CaveRat2

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 10:02 AM

We are on the same page here. A testing facility would be helpful in one regard, but whether it is neccessary is another matter.

To explain the contradiction consider. You and me both have the background to see through the mumbo-jumbo and ask the right questions. Most serious researchers also would do the same. Even if we had no electronics background chances are if we were making a purchase of an electronic device we would either do our research ahead of time or consult with someone knowlegable in the field. Thus the simplistic explanation offered in the information on this multi-mode device would be wasted on us. In fact if you review our posts here we independently reviewed the literaure provided and came to the same conclusions. An interesting device, but it lacks the raw data we need as researchers.

Thus it seems this device is aimed at the novice crowd. the ones who don't have a clue how things work or what they are looking for. The logic implied seems to be ,Why buy all these devices which may cost hundreds of dollars individually when you can buy this one neat little compact device for the same money? Of course we know the answer, but many do not. Thus it appears just a money grab taking advantage of the inexperience of the masses.

Now with regards to a test facility, actually a reputable company will employ an independent verification service. They will pay for this validation and earn the right to include the results of the testing in their promotion of the product. But they do have to pay for the service. And a reputable testing lab will give them their evaluation, good or bad. So the reputable manufatcurer will do their best to build a quality product BEFORE submitting it to test.

But since this is a paid for service can it be trusted? One would hope so, but realisticly how does one trust ANY such evaluation? With the possible exception of the big name testing labs who have built a reputation, what validation would ANY of us have in the testing field until we earn it as the long standing companies that do this work have?

Paranormal equipment? The term is meaningless. Siince we don't know what the paranormal is how can we test equipment for it? Rather we test equipment for its intended use. A recorder needs to me distortion free and not subject to outside interference. Those are factors we can evaluate. Whether the voices are EVPs is not quantifiable since we don't know what EVPs are.

#11 Retro

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 10:36 AM

Now with regards to a test facility, actually a reputable company will employ an independent verification service. They will pay for this validation and earn the right to include the results of the testing in their promotion of the product. But they do have to pay for the service. And a reputable testing lab will give them their evaluation, good or bad. So the reputable manufatcurer will do their best to build a quality product BEFORE submitting it to test.



I agree with you on all points, so I just wanted to address this. One of the problems is that the majority of these devices are not mass produced in quantities that would allow this kind of investment. There can be many reasons for that. And it even offers reasonability to the price that is charged. I actually encourage this type of thing. Most of the best ideas in history have been discovered that way. But on the flip side, anything new-age, paranormal, etc.. has become somewhat of fad and an easy market for snake-oil salesman, because as you noted, there is no proof required. You either believe or you don't. Odd folks like us that land on both sides at different times, are definitely not the norm.

I guess this is why I suggested it the way that I did. An independent group that received donations, or whatever (maybe even a blog that people can send a device to be 'reviewed' and then returned, or whatever) would end up much more objective, I think. And of course, all that could be tested was its suitability to its intended purpose. That's why the few review sites out there just don't cut it for me. They are targetted to simply hyping it or talking about how it went off and spooked them on an investigation. That isn't really helpful.

I agree, it isn't really a necessary thing, but more of a helpful thing. And I think these people would get more sales as a result of it and as you noted, the quality would improve when the expectations are a bit higher.

Edited by Retro, 10 February 2009 - 10:39 AM.


#12 CaveRat2

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 06:12 PM

In the end it comes down to the fact there are two types of people involved in this field. Ghost hunters and researchers. Both can do what they do, but the ghost hunter limits his ability by the equipment he chooses to use. Researchers, like other scientific people, don't buy their equipment at Wallymart. Ghost hunters and hobbyists do. And you essentially get what you pay for. You have to limit your expectations accordingly.

Take EVPs. You can get EVPs on any kind of recorder. You can use a cheap digital voice recorder with an 8K sample rate and get "voices". You may also get a true EVP. The problem is how do you tell the difference? And never mind submitting your low end recording for serious analysis. The data is not reliable enough to warrant the time of a full audio frequency scan and harmonic analysis, let alone in mono it is not possible to do a spatial analysis on it. So if all you care about is "What does it say?" go ahead and go cheap.

But a true researcher wants to push the limits. Besides the obvious problem of demanding the best shielding to prevent false positives, the true researcher won't tolerate alaising and recorder generated artifacts. He demands high standards. He buys equipment that will provide quality recordings that allow him to ask other questions besides "What does it say?" Things like, Are there any other hidden harmonic patterns in the recording? Is anything present in the infrasound and ultrasound regions? What direction did the EVP originate in with respect to the mics? The recording can also be analyzed for vocalizations and fricative patterns. Ambience can also be studied which may someday lead to clues about EVP's origins. For that you need professional grade analysis. And professional grade analysis requires professional grade recordings, which require professional equipment. And that costs money, no way around it.

So for those doing investigations there is a choice to be made. What type of invstigator are you? If you are a ghost hunter satisfied to simply go out and see if you get an EVP or two and ask "What did it say?" then use whatever you want. But if you are into serious high level research, you'll be forced to raise your investigation and equipment to that level.




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