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What works? Doesn't work?


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#1 SSGJenkins

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 03:18 AM

So, I'm stuck in Afghanistan and used up a lot of my free time reading this forum, and the Taps forum.........I see everyone has their theories on what equipment to use. My question is: Exactly what equipment have you guys actually captured evidence with? I don't see any validity to orbs or ectoplasm. I want to make sure I get the right equipment for proof before I spend a fortune on equipment to debunk.
Currently I own a Sony HDR-CX7 with super nightshot, and getting an Olympus DS30 with an omni compression mic with low freq response.
Thanks for any help.

#2 CaveRat2

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 03:36 PM

The thing is not every piece of equipment is intended to capture evidence of the paranormal. Consider EMF monitors. There is no proof any spirit activity in any way causes EMF disturbances. Yet we use these devices regularly. Their purpose is toisolate manmade interference which might cause a problem with false positives. Thus the EMF monitor's function is not to obtain paranormal evidence rather to debunk manmade interference.

#3 greg_dragonlvr

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 05:44 PM

The only piece of gear I have used consistanly over the last 30 years is a flashlight, although I have switched to the LED type. But that has been used to locate head bashing and shin chomping objects. A Human Bean Mark 0 is usually fully equipped to debunk most situation, except when the on board imagination goes hay wire.

Input is required, however. Things like building construction techinques, some basic electrical and plumbing installation methods and some experience in plain-old house noises. A good grasp of what makes other Mark 0's work is a good thing to cultivate. Motivation and how a person's head works can narrow your possibilites right off the bat.

Last but not least is the tried and true notebook and writing impliment. This records your research at the court house, your interviews with the client and your thoughts and impressions you get during the long hours of your investigations.

The rest is up to you. A camera is nice when you want a photo of the pretty girl next door that you might be watching as the hours roll by with nothing going on....

Greg

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#4 afterlife

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Posted 10 December 2009 - 06:07 PM

So, I'm stuck in Afghanistan and used up a lot of my free time reading this forum, and the Taps forum.........I see everyone has their theories on what equipment to use. My question is: Exactly what equipment have you guys actually captured evidence with? I don't see any validity to orbs or ectoplasm. I want to make sure I get the right equipment for proof before I spend a fortune on equipment to debunk.
Currently I own a Sony HDR-CX7 with super nightshot, and getting an Olympus DS30 with an omni compression mic with low freq response.
Thanks for any help.

First off good luck in Afghanistan,come home safe! Second I love to use my full spectrum camera its a bit pricey but that's because all the original optics have to be replaced. I have caught some real cool things with my camera, that I be leave are the real deal. That's just my opinion...!!!

#5 SSGJenkins

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 10:36 AM

First off good luck in Afghanistan,come home safe! Second I love to use my full spectrum camera its a bit pricey but that's because all the original optics have to be replaced. I have caught some real cool things with my camera, that I be leave are the real deal. That's just my opinion...!!!
[/quote]


Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted to know. I've read a lot about the full spec cameras. I'm aware that most equipment is used to debunk, I just wanted a list of things people have actually had success with.

CAVERAT: I've read a lot of your posts and agree with you on just about all topics, but I wanted a list of things that have worked to prove rather than debunk. I'm not sold on the EMF thing either but still plan to use it to see if it relates to other readings and such. Thanks for the input.

#6 CaveRat2

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 11:55 AM

While I'm sure some will disagree, the problem with determining what equipment will PROVE paranormal activity is that to date such proof has not been found. We have strong circumstantial evidence and some physical events that have been reported, but irrefutable proof has not been forthcoming.

The best we can do is use the best gear we can to push the credibility to as high of a standard as possible. But there will always be that gap between absolute and what is claimed.

For instance any good quality camera will provide the proof needed. But the human element is also a factor, are you interpreting the results properly? Has the environment in some way contributed to the effect? Has the evidence been been hoaxed? All these factyorss will affect the relaibility of the evidence regardless of what equipment is used. Thus there is no piece of equipment one can say categorically will always work. It becomes a matter of degree.

We can rule out certain devices because the rate of failure is too high. For instance digital voice recorders can be proven to create false positives quite easily therefore we can omit them as credible for use with EVPs. Same might be said for cameras, certain inexpensive point and shoot likely could have lens faults that might limit their acceptance.

The use of IR and night vision is another area that leaves questions. Before stating what camera is best we neeed to ask ourselves what proof is there that spirits even can be seen using IR. A lot of claims are made but as stated the conclusive proof is lacking. Therefore it becomes impossible to state what equipment would be best at detecting spirits in the iR region when there is no solid evidence they even respond in that spectrum.

So there are numerous factrs that need addressed before a simple what works / what doesn't approach can be taken.

#7 SSGJenkins

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:38 AM

CAVERAT: As always, thank you for your valued opinion. You've been investigating for what....30 years? To date what is the best piece of evidence you have collected and what was used. If you have the time, you could list by genre of equipment used....EVP, photo, video, etc....
V/R
SSG Jenkins

#8 CaveRat2

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 12:34 PM

I would have to say the most convincing evidence I have captured is an EVP that I currently have up on my website along with the case file. The evidence itself is not that unique as EVPs go. However when combined with the colloborating evidence, that is witnesses present, equipment used, and conditions under which it was captured, it becomes quite hard to refute.

As for equipment used, this one was captured using a stereo analog cassette recorder, remote mics, and an EVamP2 mixer / preselector with voice band emphasis in use. That is the same set-up I usually use for EVP work. This equipment has been tested and is well protected against outside interference. Thus any audio captured can be assumed not to originate in that manner. (I can provide the technical data backing that assumption but it becomes too long and boring for a post in a forum! It involves the concept of single point grounding and common mode rejection as its basis.)

Regardng equipment types I use, since my primary area in the ghost hunting field is EVPs I concentrate in that area. I use the EVamP2 mixer which was developed in my lab specifically for voice capture. Also I use electret mics which are mounted in a double shielded enclosure to prevent EMF or other RF interference. These were developed along with the EVamP2 system. At times I may use a pair of Shure mics (dynamic) depending on applications. As for recorders, I currently use a Marantz cassete or a Tascam 4 track ministudio for analog. RecentlyI also acquired a digital recorder, Fostex FR2 stereo unit. This can also be used with the EVamP2 mixer as required.

As far as video I use ideo primarily as a secondary support system. thus I use only the basics. I have Pelco suveilence cameras and feed those into conventional VCRs and stand-alone monitors. I avoid the DVR systems because of frame refresh issues and I prefer the redundency of isolated systems as oposed to the single point failure possibilities when a single system is used.

Plus with any video or digital photographic system, the issue of hoaxing has reached a level where even the best evidence using the best equipment can be called into question simply because of the possibility of hoaxing. Ithas reached a level of sophistication where anyone with a computer and a little basic knowlegdge could create a fake that even the best experts couldn't detect. Thus digital evidence can never be 100% trusted, regardless of who obtains it. There remains that possibility, what if....

Film cameras are a little better simply because it becomes more involved to create a hoax using a negative. Harder, more expensive, but still noti mpossible. So I use a Canon SLR camera,although not frequently. Usually I simply have it just in case I need to record some photographic evidence. But as I said my primary area is audio, not visual.

The other equipment, EMF and static monitors, etc. will never provide evidence on their own. They may provide colloborating evidence along with something else but are never enough to convince anyone of anything by themselves. Thus I use various types in that role only.

#9 SSGJenkins

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 06:35 AM

Pretty good setup you got there, although it's nice when you have a background in electronics, lol. Thanks for the response.

#10 Bob Naskery

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:11 PM

Hi Guys,

I have been doing a lot of research on the web about various curbing companies.

What do you think sets curbmate apart from the other curbing companies and why should I buy your product?

Thanks for your promt response.

Best Regards,

Wil DuCrest

#11 Blair Jett

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 09:24 PM

While I'm sure some will disagree, the problem with determining what equipment will PROVE paranormal activity is that to date such proof has not been found. We have strong circumstantial evidence and some physical events that have been reported, but irrefutable proof has not been forthcoming.

The best we can do is use the best gear we can to push the credibility to as high of a standard as possible. But there will always be that gap between absolute and what is claimed.

For instance any good quality camera will provide the proof needed. But the human element is also a factor, are you interpreting the results properly? Has the environment in some way contributed to the effect? Has the evidence been been hoaxed? All these factyorss will affect the relaibility of the evidence regardless of what equipment is used. Thus there is no piece of equipment one can say categorically will always work. It becomes a matter of degree.

We can rule out certain devices because the rate of failure is too high. For instance digital voice recorders can be proven to create false positives quite easily therefore we can omit them as credible for use with EVPs. Same might be said for cameras, certain inexpensive point and shoot likely could have lens faults that might limit their acceptance.

The use of IR and night vision is another area that leaves questions. Before stating what camera is best we neeed to ask ourselves what proof is there that spirits even can be seen using IR. A lot of claims are made but as stated the conclusive proof is lacking. Therefore it becomes impossible to state what equipment would be best at detecting spirits in the iR region when there is no solid evidence they even respond in that spectrum.

So there are numerous factrs that need addressed before a simple what works / what doesn't approach can be taken.


Would you explain more about digital recorders creating false positives please?

#12 OMPRDave

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 02:34 PM

Caverat was nice enough to do an interview with me and schooled me on the poor sample rates used by common digital voice recorders. Sample rates ate the number of samples of audio taken by the recorder and then reassembled into one finished sample (the one you will hear when you play it back). In the translation, recorders with lower sample rates have to try and figure out how to combine the samples to produce the final recording, and it has to try and make sense of what it has captured while doing so. The rustle of fabric from a jacket is sampled many times per second, but the recorder has to piece all the samples together before we can hear it. What happens in lower-sample rate recorders is these samples may not always come across as the noise that is picked up, so instead of hearing the rustle of fabric in the final recording you may hear a whispering voice, or something completely foreign.

Caverat....did I get it right? I took TONS of notes, so I hope I was on the money.
"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

#13 CaveRat2

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 05:33 PM

That about covers the sample rate issue. Blair Jett asks about digital recorders but doesn't say exactly what kind of recorder. I should point out that youcan miimize these problems by going with higher sample rates and higher bit count on the recorders. Of course doing so goes against the reason most people use them, low cost. In other words you can do good work with digital, but it comes with a price. Dollar for dollar you get more value with analog tape, which is why I am generally against using digital.

The controlling factors are the specs. I have summed these up before, but for a refresher,

1. A digital recorder should record in stereo for both redundency and spatial analysis.

2. Adigital recorder must use a non-lossy format in creating a file. MP3 or CELP based algorithms are not acceptable. Non compressed WAV files are recommended.

3. The sample rate should be 96 KBPS or higher

4. A to D conversion should be a 24 bit system. The 16 bits usedd in regular voice recorders do not provide sufficient resolution.

To sum it up, the cheapest digital recorder that meets specs. will set you back about $200 US. A comparable analog recorder capable of meeting this criterea with regards to response curves (Sample rates, files, and conversion do not apply to analog.) will run around $150. (Cheaper if you go with second hand recorderrs on e-Bay, etc.).

It becomes too involved to go in to all the technical reasons why digital fails at low sample rates, but if you Google Nyquist point, aliasing, and intermodulation distortion you can read the technical facts responsible. ( And be ready to do some higher math when you get into the Nyquist subject!)

#14 Blair Jett

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 06:50 PM

Great info. Thank you Dave & Caverat. (Takes notes)

#15 AlyssaM

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 12:34 AM

It sounds like my recorder is like the bottom level of digital recorders that would make your grade if used at their highest settings. which was sort of what I expected - that it was likely the cheapest recorder that would actually do an acceptable job. Cool!

Only thing was this bit:

4. A to D conversion should be a 24 bit system. The 16 bits usedd in regular voice recorders do not provide sufficient resolution.


Where would I find out that info for my recorder?
~Alyssa




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