For a majority of paranormal researchers, the EMF detector will be their first piece of supernatural-specific equipment. Choosing the particular device most suited to your style of research can be a daunting task, and with a multitude of functions, manufacturers, and retailers to consider, the process can become downright frustrating.
There are 3 common ways that EMF meters are used in paranormal research and knowing how you will primarily use the device can go a long way in helping you make the right choice:
Environmental Factors: It is well-documented that the human brain interprets high EMF readings in some very specific ways; paranoia, dread, feelings of being watched, unease, etc. Of course, these are also feelings often associated with ghostly phenomena, making it absolutely imperative that non-paranormal EMF sources are identified and measured prior to conducting your investigation. Most of the non-ghostly high EMF readings that you’ll find out in the field will come from poorly made electronics and poorly shielded load-bearing wire running throughout the location.
Should you find a high EMF reading throughout the location, (or within certain rooms), your next step should be to inform your host of your findings a suggest that they have a home or building inspector take a look at it. The haunting feelings could quite easily dissipate once these EMF sources are properly addressed.
Communication: Many investigators will ask a spirit to manipulate the EMF meter in such a way as to indicate “yes or no” answers. While this technique is very popular, it certainly isn’t the most effective way to gather high-quality evidence. Remember, we’re trying to help you pick out a scientific device, not a Ouija board.
Corroboration: Among the plethora of theories surrounding ghosts and hauntings, it seems most plausible that ghosts exert (and possibly use) energy while manifesting themselves. Is a fluctuation in measurable EMF enough to definitively say that you’ve had a paranormal experience? Absolutely not. It’s when the device measures a reading in conjunction with another possibly paranormal event that you’ll be gathering some very worthwhile evidence. As we’ll see in the next section of this article, some devices are engineered to detect changes in multiple fields simultaneously.
Which EMF Meter is right for you?
The Cell Sensor/Ghost Meter
Price: $28 – $35
The Good: This meter is inexpensive, and a great choice for your first EMF meter. The light up module and volume control allow the readings to be interpreted in the dark and from a distance.
The Bad: The Cell Sensor is not as accurate as most other meters, which will lead to some false readings. The external probe on the Cell Sensor, (which was removed from the Ghost Meter version), can be a bit of pain for any investigator hoping to wield two devices at once.
The Verdict: Will work best for the Communication method, and it’s definitely the best choice in the sub-$70 category.
The K-2 Meter (and K-2 Meter Deluxe)
The Good: The “deluxe” K-2 Meter has a switch instead of a pressure-sensitive button, meaning that the meter can be left running without a human hand involved. (This is an important distinction to make). It’s a bit more accurate than the Cell Sensor and has colored lights.
The Bad: The non-deluxe version needs to be modified for static use as the pressure-sensitive button creates more false-positives than it does actual reading. The measurements on the device are in ranges rather than exact numbers, and you’ll see only the lights when you’re investigating in the dark.
The Verdict: While this is arguably the most popular EMF meter for paranormal research anywhere in the world, it’s certainly not the most user-friendly. On Shows such as Ghost Hunters, it’s used primarily for the Communication method and rarely ever for anything else.
The Trifield and Trifield Natural Meters:
Price: $140, $180 (Natural)
The Good: Both meters are extremely accurate, and are considered to be the standard scientific instrument for EMF, due to the their ability to read in multiple axes as opposed to in a straight-line. They can both be upgraded to include sound and a light-up display.
The Bad: They’re pretty damn expensive. The don’t come with a light-up display, which can be a huge pain during night-time investigations. The Natural, which has recently gained favor with researchers, is almost too sensitive for handheld use due to the human body’s magnetic field.
The Verdict: An awesome piece of equipment that will work for all methods of EMF investigation – if you can afford it.
Reed EMF 822-A
The Good: The digital display makes the meter less jumpy and more accurate than most others. It reads both Gauss and Tesla, and is a small and lightweight device. This is a favorite with TAPS from television’s Ghost Hunters.
The Bad: Again, this is another meter without a light-up display.
The Verdict: The 822-A is another highly accurate and wonderful piece of equipment hindered a little by price and a lot by its lack of paranormal-specific features.
The MEL 8704
Price: $95 – $170 (depending on the options)
The Good: The MEL meter is one of the first pieces of equipment to come out specifically for paranormal research. The basic model includes a thermometer for simultaneous EMF/temperature readings, and a light-up display. Other models incorporate K-2 style lights, a built-in flashlight, and an antenna that actually disperses magnetic energy and then measures disturbances in that field. The meter is highly accurate, and the addition of the thermometer makes corroborating your experience a very real possibility. This is the preferred tool for the Ghost Adventure Crew.
The Bad: With the base model teetering around $100, the MEL isn’t in the budget for many researchers. The housing of the device feels a bit flimsy, along with the buttons. Additionally, it’s high sensitivity makes it possible to create a false reading while in motion.
The Verdict: This is one of the most effective tools for researching energy fields as they pertain to hauntings, and is useful in almost any EMF situation. Unfortunately, the price tag will keep the MEL out of the hands of the average researcher.