Toys... er, I mean, Equipment!
Recently (April 21st, 2001) I caved in and actually bought an EMF Detector and one thing I did want to get, a "lab" thermometer.
To tell the truth, I don't believe we really needed or want these toys as Torontoghosts' is not out to prove or disprove the existence of any phenomena but simply tell the history, legends, mythos and first hand accounts of ghosts and hauntings throughout the province BUT every time we deal with the media and even some users, they want to see TOYS! They want lights flashing, things beeping and the brighter and louder, the better.
Now, my views on EMF detectors haven't changed. They are NOT accurate measuring devices and I've seen documentaries with "scientists" running around with them moving them all about rapidly spouting numbers to some poor schlep who's madly trying to take down these figures.
"Hello, reality to television parapsychologists: Movement causes electric fields! Telephone and electrical cables in walls WILL set off EMF detectors! And, as proven at the recent Haunted Hamilton Meet and Greet, fluorescent lights send these things into OVERDRIVE!"
BUT, I do now see ONE possibility... My EMF detector makes a lovely, NASTY noise when it picks up any "fields" so here's a plan...
- First, enter your "hot" room (room or space with a lot of reported activity that you wish to check on,) with EMF detector.
- Note all air vents and possible electric devices that might affect it. (ie: Televisions, fans, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights, etc.)
- Take your initial readings from a STILL surface (coffee table or something like that. DO NOT wave or move the detector.
- LEAVE THE ROOM AND BAR YOUR GROUP FROM ENTERING. Tell them that if they are within a twelve-foot area of the room's doors or in an adjoining room to note ALL electrical devices in use or that they might use and times that these devices are turned on and off.
- Wait to see if the noise audibly increases from the room PROVIDED that there is no outside interference.
Now, I don't know about you (the reader,) BUT if my EMF detector suddenly, in an "empty" room with no external source suddenly started "squealing" uncontrollably, I don't think it proves anything but it would be definitely something to note especially if other phenomena was reported at the same time.
Now, the thermometer was another "good toy" even though I still adhere to us not trying to prove or disprove. I have experienced "cold spots" and would, next time I experience one, love to get an actual reading and see if there is a physical temperature drop.
Again, I would caution ALL researchers to FIRST look for "natural" reasons... Air vents, open windows, fans, etc.
We will be using these tools when out at haunted sites BUT after much chatting to not only some experts in physics, electricians and even the folks at a local science shop, I will not be using them on exterior investigations. Nature, naturally, can and will throw a spanner into your works and you will almost definitely get false readings.
Now, this is NOT a paid advertisement and we are receiving NO money or consideration for this BUT the new toys can be purchased by anyone at Efston Science near the Yorkdale Mall in Toronto. (401 and Dufferin.)
The total cost for both our new gizmos was UNDER $140 CANADIAN and included all necessary batteries... (thermometer came with one and EMF detector required a nine-volt.)
The equipment we have bought is a "Gauss Master" EMF Detector and a Checktemp 1 Lab Thermometer. Jennifer and I tested them both and they do truly meet all our requirements and I would see them as inexpensive and useful equipment to any researcher.
So, we broke down and now when asked "What equipment do you have?", we can now answer yes to an EMF detector and a sensitive thermometer.
By the way, the thermometer comes with a "probe" which has been the cause of many GREAT jokes!
What would we like to get next? Easy, night-vision video equipment and possibly thermal imaging equipment... and a proton energy pack. (That's the "Ray Gun Backpack" used by the Ghostbusters(tm))
Matthew Didier - Director
New Sound Equipment
Although the O/TGHRS does not claim to be out for "scientific or other" proof of ghosts, as you know, we do try our best to look into all avenues of investigation. With this in mind, we have added a few "toys" to our toolkit and although we have one more to go, we're pleased to say we have our latest addition and it's a neat one!
Adding to our growing arsenal of equipment we're using in investigations is our newest "toy" to date (December 2001). The Orbitor (tm) OR-310X is a parabolic listening/recording device with a 10x view finder.
This item has been tested in the field now and we've found several excellent uses for this really "neat" piece of equipment.
First and most obviously is the ability for very careful recording of EVPs and related phenomena but while using it out in a brief field mission, we also found it excellent for looking for "signs of life" in buildings we're told are empty. The unit is capable of a listening "range" of 300 yards but we found it had an excellent range of about 150 to 200 yards and while touring a building that was supposed to be empty, we were able to detect other people in the building as well as one raccoon.
The "New Toy"
The mic is also capable (when working in concert with a DAT or other high-end recording device) of detecting low and high frequency sounds that we otherwise might miss. From the sound of scurrying feet of mice to the low whir of a mechanical engine we missed. It also, of course, pick up that one entity that might have something to say that we might not be as close to as needed to capture the sound.
I'm sure you, the humble reader, can see the multiple benefits and uses for this new toy and we hope to be telling you some of the more interesting things this piece of equipment helps us discover.
So, as of now, we ARE listening and it should prove to be a valuable item!
May 6th, 2002
Well, I'll never know the answers to those LAST two questions but at least I can see what get's picked up during our investigations. Expect a joint venture/article with ParaResearchers on infrared and ghostly images soon.
We'd like to welcome our latest toy... er, I mean.. tool to be used on investigations. Our new Sony Analog Hi8(tm) Handycam® Camcorder model CCD-TR818
This unit is one of the Sony cams with NightShot® O Lux System the allows the cam to capture video even when shooting in total darkness (0 lux) up to 10 feet away using the built-in infrared system.
What this means is a relatively inexpensive, infrared picture device that requires no light source.
We all seem to remember the "That's Incredible!" show from the early 80's that featured a possible ghost using infrared image at a Toys R Us in California. It intrigued me that the infrared DID pick up a man leaning on a shelf when standard 35mm cameras were unable to pick up this spectre. I've seen our photography gentlemen use infrared 35mm at Fort George (Peter) and Mackenzie House (Will) with almost no real noticeable affect. Will this camcorder yield? Was it all a pipe dream? Was the ghost photo at the Toys R Us a hoax or some other type of miscalculation and not a picture of the poltergeist that haunts there?
Now, why this particular model is so important is this is one of the last models of the Handycam® that is analog thus eliminating some of the possibility of digital "tricks" being used (not that we or anyone else would or should use trickery BUT the sceptics/debunkers will point out the possibility of trickery). It also has the ability to "switch off" the autofocus allowing for a better chance to capture something faint without the camera jumping to focus on the next nearest object.
The other major benefit is this is one of the least expensive Sony units you can find on the market... of course, if you can find it as most electronic stores have switched to strictly digital and digital 8 camcorders.
About the only thing it doesn't have, due to the analog bits, is the "preview" LCD screen that most folks are now used to on these cams.
I don't know yet if this new item (which isn't really that new to the world of investigations at all... many groups have been using similar and the same models and types for years but it's new for the T/OGHRS) will yield anything but in the next three weeks, it has an excellent opportunity of being used in a very "hot spot" which will certainly test it's metal.
Of course, IF anything positive or negative comes out of the use of this unit, I will certainly post a "video capture" online for all to see.
Thanks for the cool toy, Sony!
Let's hope it's "all good" as they say... I'll let you know in late May of 2002 how our first experiences with this unit went like.