Montana Ghost Hunter

Archive for October, 2009

Interesting hits on the KII during the last investigation

by on Oct.31, 2009, under Equipment, Investigations

The last 107.5 ghost hunt was Thursday (I’ll be writing something about that later), and we did have some interesting things happen throughout the night. One of the oddest things was related to KII hits during a live EVP session in one of the basement rooms. I’ve used the KII EMF meter on a lot of recent investigations with not a lot happening with it. I did have a unexplained spike at Rankin Hall, but other than that, they’ve all been associated with areas with high EMF (circuit boxes, etc). During that EVP session we did experience flickering and spikes, and we tried to debunk the situation. We took a base of EMF in the area, and all was low, but we were reminded how cell phones could trigger the KII. We did a few tests, and one of the things that we noticed during the live EVP session (which was done via cellphone) was that that the lights would flicker as the investigator would talk in the phone. We were able to see how ringing could affect the KII with a phone being closer than 2′ away.

Today, I wanted to do some research on another EMF gauge (Mel 8704R) and found a great video demonstrating the sensitivity the KII has with phones and 2-way walkies.

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Rankin Hall Media Coverage

by on Oct.29, 2009, under Investigations

The KPAX news crew was at the Rankin Hall investigation with us, but I never knew what came of that as far as coverage.  Googling around today, I found that there was a news story on line “University of Montana campus ghost hunt“, which goes in to the hunt, as well as a video segment.

It’s pretty cool to get some exposure, I hope it helps our group find some more locations!

Looking forward to the finale of Missoula ZooFM 107.5 ghost hunts tonight. I’m still in the dark on the location, but it’s sounding like it’ll be a new location.

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Ghost Beacon Project

by on Oct.19, 2009, under Equipment

So I’ve been kicking around the idea of building a ‘ghost beacon‘. The concept is something that flashes in the IR and UV light spectrum, that might be able to attract some spirit activity. Does this work? Who knows, but it sounded fun and nerdy, so I’m all over it.

I was looking around for various schematics on how to do this, but I stumbled across a great kit at BG Micro, that I thought would be perfect. The kit was the Tiny Cylon kit. Normally, this uses 5 small red LEDs and a 555 IC chip pre-programmed to display various light patterns. I thought it would be cool to replace some of the LEDs with IR and UV LEDs.

The kit comes non-assembled (basically a circuit board, resister, switch, IC and 5 red LEDs). I also purchased a few 940nm/50 degree LEDs and a few T1-3/4 UV LEDs. The UVs are a bit pricey at $1.49 ea, but these IRs are on .20 ea. I would probably try ones with greater degree though. The 940nm make it completely invisible to the human eye though.

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The kit is very easy to assemble, just add the components and start soldering! The kit comes with a battery pack (3 AAA batteries) with postive/negative leads so you need to solder those as well.

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I initially had some trouble powering the unit. Doing a quick check with my volt meter, I noticed that something was ‘off’ with my incoming power supply. Re-seating the batteries in this case fixed the problem. You can use the switch to change light modes. I believe there are 5 or 6 different modes.

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I posted a small video at YouTube showing you how the lights work, etc. You can see it below:

Please let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions, tips, etc. You can also get a hold of me on Twitter now as well!

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IR Flashlight Illuminator – Refraction Lens Modification

by on Oct.12, 2009, under Equipment

So a while ago, I posted a how-to on building a simple IR (infrared) illuminator using a flashlight and colored gels. This is a great, easy way to add additional infrared light to your night shot cameras.

Recently, I was at a investigation at Rankin Hall, and this was my first test of these IR illuminators. Overall, they worked great, but I felt that the light beam was too focused and it created a large spot on the wall when pointed to it. I wanted to ‘wash’ that out and cause more of a ‘flood’ effect. Doing some brainstorming and asking other nerdy friends, a friend came up with the idea of using a fluorescent light cover. I thought this was absolutely brilliant idea, since the flood lights had ‘nubbed’ surfaces causing the light to refract on multiple points on the surface.

I went to Ace hardware and picked up a 2×4 sheet of this material (approximately $7) and took it home. Here are the steps I took to complete this project (this is starting with a functional IR illuminator).

I laid the material on the floor and took apart my flashlight to use the reflector as a stencil.

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I used a utility knife to outline the reflector. There is a flat side and a nubby side. I scored the plastic on the flat side. Be careful with this material, it’s very brittle and can crack easily.

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Next, I used a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel to cut out a square around the circle. This will give you a more manageable piece to work with. Once that is out, you can cut on your score mark easier. Try not to damage the surface, and stay with in the outline. I used a sanding bit to smooth the edges, but a file would probably work as well.

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Next you lay the additional lens in the lens holder. It should be a sandwich. Refraction lens, gels and the actual lens. I kept the nubby side towards the light source.

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Here is what the light source looks like.. pretty cool!

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I wanted to show you the before and after conditions of the IR illuminator as well. These shots were taken with the IR converted digital camera, using the IR flashlight as the light source. Here is the shot without the refraction lense modification.

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As you can see, there is a intense center point. Sorry the photo is slightly blurry, the IR camera should have been on a tripod, since it’s still shooting in low light, but I just wanted to illustrate the ‘spot’. Next is with the modification.

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You lose a bit of distance, but the area is more covered with IR light. The beauty with this modification, if you need a beam, you just remove the refraction lense. Very quick.

Let me know what you think!

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Believer or Skeptic?

by on Oct.11, 2009, under Experiences

I’ve had quite a few people ask me why I’m into the paranormal and specifically ghost hunting. They ask me this, since I spend a large portion of my conversation debunking or logically theorizing possible physical reasons to how something occurred. Often I hear, “for someone that believes in ghost, you sure don’t sound like you believe in ghosts”.

I’ve been personally been struggling with this. I touched this topic slightly a few months ago in my “Losing Faith” post. Basically, I think that 99% of “paranormal” experiences are quite normal and physical. The 1% remaining, I believe is unexplainable and can truly fall in the paranormal range.

In the past, I’ve had paranormal experiences related to a death of a close friend of mine, which really convinced me that there is something out there.  I don’t want to get into detail, but the experiences led me to have little doubt that true paranormal activity happens.

Participating in ghost hunts and group activities I’ve noticed the trend (and in myself) of wanting something to happen SO bad, that you become hyper-sensitive to a point of being easily influenced. I’ve tried to stay honest with myself, when someone says “Do you hear that?” or “Did you see that?” that I don’t automatically say yes. If I didn’t hear it, I say ‘no’. If I didn’t see it, I say ‘no’. Stepping outside of the moment and observing one’s own behavior, you may notice the ‘lemming effect’ in all of us to not want to be left out of the group. It’s amazing how this can happen at the subconscious level and in the end you may convince yourself that you did experience something that you truly did not.

That always leads to evidence. I’m a strong believer of evidence over personal experience. The evidence is something captured and representable. Something tangible in a sense. Something I can show a complete stranger and let them dissect it and come to their own conclusions. Personal experiences is weighed to how well you can tell a story and convince others or yourself a experience happened the way you remembered it. That ‘convincing’ can lead to alterations in the story and perception of the circumstances as well. That is why it’s hard to rely on it.

Unfortunately, my belief in the paranormal is tied to personal experiences as well. No evidence captured. No “proof”, and I think that is why I’m in this field today. I want to capture proof to convince myself. I think I’m a believer, but also a hardcore skeptic at the same time. Maybe a skeptic that wants to believe? I don’t know, but I’m working it out.

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Rankin Hall Investigation

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Evidence, Investigations

So I was able to attend a interesting event here in Missoula. 107.5FM are having a ‘ghost hunt’ every Thursday for the month of October. Apparently, the first week was a ghost hunt ‘simulation’, I wasn’t aware of this.. or what was involved, but the public was invited and were participating in a contest to attend a ‘real’ ghost hunt the following Thursday(s).

I was contacted by my group (Tortured Souls Investigation – TSI) to see if I would be able to attend the upcoming ghost hunt. 107.5 was planning to have two paranormal investigation teams (TSI and GIG – Girls Investigation Ghosts) take the winners from last weeks simulation. The crowd consisted of about 20 people (which is large for a investigation in my opinion). Going into this I was VERY weary of participating. I was worried it was going to be too much of a media circus and I was also unsure if the people involved would take this seriously, or mock our efforts.

There was media and there was a lot of hype involved, but I was really impressed with the participants. Quickly it was obvious that the people who were there were into it.. with respect and seriousness.

Rankin Hall consists of three floors and is one of the oldest buildings on the University of Montana campus. The first team had the main floor and the upper floor. The second team (TSI) started in the basement. After a hour and half or so, the teams swapped locations. KPAX, one of the local news stations, also attended and stayed for the majority of the hunt as well.

I was particularly excited to use a few pieces of new equipment. It was a great opportunity to use the GeoPhone, but we had no interesting results from it. I also used the Moultry game camera in hand-held mode. Normally, I use the game camera with stationed on a tri-pod, but wanted to give this a shot. I feel like I need to work on my aim a bit, and be just touch more still. I was also able to use my digital camera converted to IR during low light. I had to use my flashlight IR illuminators to light the room prior to shooting any photos.

I noticed that my flashlights are too focused, and I need to figure out how to disperse the light a bit and create a more wash/flood. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this.. please let me know.

I was hoping to use the ShackHack ghost box, but the opportunity did not present itself during this investigation, but it could be possible for next week’s hunt.

Overall, the Rankin Hall investigation provided low activity. There seems to have been a few personal experiences, but no real ‘hard’ evidence, but it was great to make some new local friends interested in the paranormal.

You can see photos from the Moultry game camera and the digital still IR shots in my Flickr Gallery.

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GeoPhone Sensor

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Equipment

Geophone Color SketchMy friend Andy commented on my GeoPhone project and mentioned that the sensor and kit are unavailable currently.  I’ve been curious how that sensor actually works. I knew there was a magnet and it felt ‘suspended’ since moving it makes a noticeable ‘clicking’ sound.

I found this cool diagram describing how that sensor works. Looks pretty simple, I wonder how hard it would be to make.. I’m guessing the tough part is getting the right frequency.

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Surge of Paranormal Shows

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Shows

Over the last few years, I’ve been absolutely blown away by the recent surge of paranormal (specifically ghost related) shows that are popping up on TV. Is this solely because of the success of Ghost Hunters?

I do have to admit they’re awefully entertaining, but I feel they misrepresent how much action actually occurs at investigations. With the power of ‘editing’ it makes ghost hunting thrilling and exciting with every minute, but in reality it’s a lot of sitting and waiting. Funny, how a ghost show has to have something to provide the viewers, which always makes me think if they are some how doctored. I’ve discussed this in the past, and I believe lots of evidence or personal experiences are staged. Could be wrong… who knows.

With that said, I’m looking forward to Ghost Lab, I missed the premiere. Anyone see it? How is it? How is it different?

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GeoPhone Project

by on Oct.06, 2009, under Equipment

I’ve been seeing the use of GeoPhones on the various ghost hunting shows, primarily Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State. Basically, the GeoPhone is a device that picks up vibrations and displays the strength by lighting up a series of LEDs. This can be used for ghost hunting by providing a visual interpretation to sounds that are cause physically. For example, you can ‘call’ for taps on the table, and taps are heard, but the GeoPhone could visual display those taps for additional evidence. I’ve also seen the GeoPhone used to register foot falls or foot prints on hardwood surfaces, etc.

After seeing this, I thought it would be cool to create one. I was able to purchase a kit from BG Micro, and I housed it in a left over solar powered walk-way housing. I elevated the sensor at the top of this housing, and bolted the circuit board directly to the inner part of the housing. I also added a 9 volt power supply and micro-toggle to turn it off and on.

I created this small video to demonstrate it’s functionality. Let me know what you think!

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