Monday, October 3, 2011

How electromagnetism can explain much of the paranormal

This article is found on ECWPI

By Matt Schenk

Chief Coordinator

East Central Wisconsin Paranormal Investigations

The direct currents in our body produce an electromagnetic field that surrounds our body. All electromagnetic fields (EMFs) naturally react to each other, and the electromagnetic field of our body is no different. It reacts to all the surrounding fields, which also couple directly to the currents themselves. "All living things having such a system would share the common experience of being plugged in to the electromagnetic fields of earth, which in turn respond to the moon and sun." (Becker, p.243)

We can sense EMFs via a little magnetic organ in our brain called the pineal gland. The pineal gland is interesting because it is located in the "seat" (middle) of the brain, plays several significant roles in human functioning, and contains a complete map of the visual field of the eyes.

Animals are better at sensing EMFs because either we rationalize it, or because we rely more on language to communicate and so don't really need it. The reason that dogs and cats can find their way home from hundreds of miles away is because they can sense the magnetic fields of the earth and they can navigate by that. The reason why birds know when it's time to migrate is also because they sense the magnetic fields of the earth. Animals can sense when there's a thunderstorm coming and when there's going to be an earthquake. Variations in the magnetic field occur near the epicenter of earthquakes.

We humans do sense EMFs also, animals are just better at it. R. Robin Baker, a researcher into bio-navigation, found that "as long as people can't feel the sun or sense some other obvious cue, they can judge direction better with blindfolds on. Otherwise they start rationalizing the process, trying to deduce the right way from too little evidence and becoming confused. He surmises that the magnetic sense serves its purpose best by unconsciously giving a continuous sense of direction without its owner's having to be aware of it all the time, and thus freeing attention for the search for food, a mate, shelter, and so on." (Becker, p.255) In another experiment, a scientist named Rutger Wever "built two underground rooms to completely isolate people from all clues to the passage of time. One was kept free of outside changes in light, temperature, sound, and such ordinary cues, but wasn't shielded from electromagnetic fields. The other room was identical but also field free. Observing several hundred subjects, who lived in the bunkers as long as two months, and charting such markers as body temperature, sleep-waking cycles, and urinary excretion of sodium, potassium, and calcium, Wever found that persons in both rooms soon developed irregular rhythms, but those in the completely shielded room had significantly longer ones. Those still exposed to the earth's field kept to a rhythm close to twenty-four hours." (Becker, p.248)

We believe that dogs and cats can also sense the electromagnetic fields of other living organisms, like their owners'. There are studies where dogs can predict when their owners are returning home, even when on a random basis. "British biologist Rupert Sheldrake has documented on videotape how some dogs appear to anticipate the arrival of their owner. Regardless of the time of day that the owner begins their journey home, some of these dogs appear to sense their human companion coming without receiving any known physical signals, and wait for them next to the door or window." (Internet article, "Unusual Animal Behavior") "Perhaps they have somehow assimilated us into their 'migratory grid' and can sense our geographical whereabouts." (Barry Dalberg) I think they might know how we're feeling too, because sometimes when we're sad they'll come up by you and try to comfort you. And, have you ever had a litter of kittens and the mother refuses to feed one of them because it senses something wrong with it, even though it's yet to show any physical sign of sickness? How does she know? Also, "the number of pets who have returned to their owners over long distances suggests that many dogs and cats can find specific people by an unknown sense. The Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory has authenticated more than fifty such cases, many involving travel of hundreds or thousands of miles." (Becker, p.268)

If this is true and we could do this too, it would go a long way towards explaining ESP. The problem though is that the EM fields of living organisms are much weaker than the earth's, so it would be buried in "noise". But there could be ways around that. Sender and receiver could be frequency-locked, meaning tuned to one frequency and insensitive to others. That might explain why ESP most often happens between close friends and relatives, and maybe pets and their owners. (Becker, p.266) I'd think you would HAVE to be frequency-locked anyway, otherwise you would simultaneously hear what everyone in the world was thinking. Imagine the noise!

And, if we could really sense each other's electromagnetic fields, then that could be further evidence that ghosts are an extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (see my other article "What Is Consciousness?"), because ghosts come from us and it would give us a scientific means for how some people and animals can sense them.

I believe all people have the ability to SENSE ghosts, but most people rationalize it away the same way they rationalize the magnetic sense in our heads. Then for the fewer people who actually claim to SEE some ghosts, some of them could just be hallucinating (or lying), but for the ones who aren't, maybe the ghost is broadcasting on a specific frequency that only they are tuned into and then the pineal gland's map of the visual field of the eyes interprets the energy as an apparition.

The reason the hairs stand up on the back of our necks when we feel there's a ghost present could be a reaction to our body's EM field and the ghost's, assuming there really is a ghost with you in the room.

Psychokinesis (PK) is willed action of our EM fields on the electromagnetic structure of inanimate objects ? making objects move with our mind, in less scientific words. "The material world, at least as far as physics has penetrated, is an atomic structure held together by electromagnetic forces. If some people can detect fields...why shouldn't some people be able to affect [other beings and objects] by means of their linked fields?" (Becker, p.269) Our brain's EM field already does have some will over our body. "It can push some neurons towards firing and others away from firing. This influence, Professor McFadden proposes, is the physical manifestation of our conscious will." (Internet article, "Our Conscious Mind")

So far tests using electronic equipment to monitor people claiming paranormal powers have been inconclusive, but that may or may not just be because our equipment is too primitive. "Pigeons have a magnetic detector thousands of times more sensitive than the latest instruments. We also know that the interaction of semiconducting currents with external magnetic fields is thousands of times greater than that of currents in a wire..." (Becker, p.266) If some living people are able to move objects by will, then a ghost should be able to too, if ghosts are electromagnetic fields.

Then there's a subconscious form of psychokinesis called Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK) where a person in physical or emotional pain, or just under a lot of stress, can unconsciously lash out on their surroundings. You can make your own bed shake and you can make knockings on the walls and make objects move. And because you're the one who's unconsciously doing it, it will follow you from house to house until you solve the emotional problem that's creating it. Usually the human agent in a RSPK case is a young female dealing with the emotion of puberty, but not always. When we researched the history of JFK Prep in St. Nazianz, we read that as the founder Father Oschwald lay dying there were knockings heard on the doors and walls all over town...everywhere except in the room where he lay dying. His brain was probably emitting psychokinetic energy. He wasn't purposely doing it. He was just in a lot of pain.

Some researchers think this actually explains poltergeists, and that poltergeists don't have anything to do with ghosts at all. There was one especially interesting PK experiment in Toronto in 1972 started by Dr. A.R.G. Owen. A small group of researchers tried to imagine the idea of a ghost named "Phillip":

"They gave the ghost a personality and a complete background, even drawing his portrait to make him seem more real. He was given a biography that was filled with historical errors and he had to be someone that the entire group knew had never existed in real life. The eight members of the circle memorized the fictitious biography, studied the period in which Phillip was supposed to have lived and even acquired photographs of an English manor called Diddington Hall. In his story, Phillip was supposed to have lived here but he bore no resemblance to the real-life inhabitants of Diddington.

After reinforcing their belief in him, the group attempted to make him manifest. For months on end, the group of five women and three men did their best to conjure up the fake spirit, even placing a drawing of what they imagined he would look like in the center of the table and concentrating on it. The initial séances produced no results but then in 1973, Phillip began to communicate. This began to occur only after the group 'stopped trying so hard' and began to adopt a 'relaxed and jolly' attitude. He first came through as a rap to the table. It was initially as a vibration to the wood. Next came a number of knocks, which the participants at first believed they had inadvertently caused. But then as the table began to move around the floor in an irregular manner, they began questioning one another. Finally, someone asked aloud 'I wonder if Phillip is doing this?" and in response, there was a very loud knock. The imaginary ghost, it appeared, had finally arrived.

In the months to come, the sitters discovered that by asking questions and accepting one knock for 'yes' and two for 'no', they could enjoy a relatively rapid dialogue with the entity they had somehow conjured up. The experiment quickly escalated as one room in the house was set aside for Phillip and the ghostly personality was accepted as a distinct spirit that exhibited likes and dislikes and had strong views on many subjects. Occasionally, the table would shoot across the room at amazing speed during séances. Phillip even communicated in front of television cameras in 1974.

The experiment came to a strange end. One member of the group (who up to this point had strongly believed in the 'ghost') broke ranks and stated aloud one day in a reply to Phillip that 'we only made you up, you know." The rapping sounds stopped, as did all other communications. Once he denied that Phillip was real, the 'ghost' apparently ceased to exist. He was later ‘reborn' after a new group of researchers learned to believe in him." (Taylor, p.68)

There is another interesting PK experiment I'm going to try in the future called table tipping. In this experiment, you get a group of four or five people to sit around a light table with their hands on the table, and have everyone concentrate on creating energy to make the table move. All of the same members must be present for each session and they must also be willing to continue with the experiment for an extended period of time. You may not get any results for a very long time. (Taylor, p.111)

RSPK explains objects moving by themselves, a shaking bed, and hearing knockings on the wall, but it wouldn't explain other poltergeist cases where on top of those things disembodied voices are heard or recorded, people report seeing apparitions, and stones fall on a house. So some researchers think maybe poltergeists are the product of multiple "psychic" abilities, not just RSPK by itself. And others think there are two kinds of poltergeists ? the kind where there's a human agent acting alone through RSPK, and another kind where there's an actual entity feeding off of a particular individual's negative energy. In either case, the activity centers around a living person. I've researched this and researched this, and there's no agreed consensus. Where do I stand on poltergeists? As I've stated in my article "What is consciousness?", I believe that ghosts have their own energy and don't need to feed off anyone or anything. Some ghost hunters believe that there are demonic spirits that feed off of people's energy, but I'm not religious (I believe in ghosts, but I believe they're a natural part of this world). So where does that leave me? I'll leave this question open and come back to it in ten years.

"At this time the DC perineural system and its electromagnetic fields provide the only theory of parapsychology that's amendable to direct experiment. And it yields hypotheses for almost all such phenomena except precognition." (Becker, p.267) Crisis Apparition is one you may have heard of where you see someone you know appear before your eyes who is physically 1,000 miles away at the time. They have a strong desire to be with you at this time, and maybe because they are frequency-locked with you their transmission can find you wherever you are, and your brain then interprets the energy they send as a person. The reason that the transmission is able to travel thousands of miles in some cases without diminishing is because "extremely low frequency (ELF) transmissions have a peculiar property. Because of their interaction with the ionosphere, even weak signals in this frequency range (from 0.1 to 100 cycles per second) travel all the way around the world without dying out." (Becker, p.267)

"Dowsing may involve an unconscious sense of the electromagnetic fields of underground water or minerals, an idea given support by Russian experiments in the 1960s. Nikolai N. Sochevanov, now with the USSR's Ministry of Geology, found that the accuracy of forty professional dowsers diminished by at least three fourths when he wound a current-carrying wire around their wrists or brought a horseshoe magnet near their heads." (Becker, p.267) Some people may be able to sense the electromagnetic fields of ghosts and then unconsciously cross the rods themselves.

Electromagnetism is one of my favorite subjects, and in the future I would like to do some studies and experiments with it. As you can see, our brains can do a lot of weird things. We actually know very little about our brains. Could poltergeists somehow be manifested by our brains? For that matter could SOME EVPs be a kind of thought projection, produced by our own electromagnetic fields manipulating the voice recorder?

I will end this article by saying that I do not believe all ghosts and EVPs are debunked this way, but some could be. I don't think everything is that simple. I guess I fall in the middle somewhere, believing that many ghost stories can be explained with physics and psychology, but not all. The goal for us as ghost hunters is to try to debunk as much of it as we can to find the cases that can't be explained any other way.

If you have questions, feel free to EMAIL ME. If you want to read a really good book on the subject of electromagnetism, I highly recommend "The Body Electric" by Robert Becker.


"The Art of Ghost Hunting" by Jaeson Jrakman

"The Body Electric" by Robert Becker

Internet article "Electromagnetism" found by clicking HERE by Ron Milione

"The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook" by Troy Taylor

Internet article "Our Conscious Mind Could Be An Electromagnetic Field" found by clicking HERE by Johnjoe McFadden

Internet article "The Pineal Gland" found by clicking HERE

Internet article "Unusual Animal Behavior & Earthquake Prediction" found by clicking HERE by David Jay Brown

And a special thanks to Barry Dalberg for taking time out to answer my questions and helping me look up info. Barry is a paranormal researcher in southwestern Wisconsin.

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