Similar to the method I use, investigators are using continuous magnetic field (MF) recordings in their studies of hauntings and haunted places (e.g., Braithwaite, 2006; Laythe and Owen, 2014). For example, Laythe and Owen (2013) found that spikes in electromagnetic/ geomagnetic field activity in a haunted house with no electricity were associated with video- and audio-recorded anomalous events (e.g., human-shaped shadows or audio voices of children who were not present). With two magnetometers in different parts of one room, Braithwaite (2004) demonstrated that the geomagnetic field significantly varied between the haunted part of a room as compared to the non-haunted part.
Braithwaite hypothesizes that certain magnetic field ‘signatures’ in haunted locations may act as “experience-inducing fields” or EIFs. EIFs may “influence the neural/experiential processes in certain individuals”, leading to a paranormal experience. In other words, ghosts and apparitions are “hallucinations” which are created by the magnetic field microenvironment interacting with the brains of susceptible individuals. Experimentally, we know that medium-intensity, pulsed electromagnetic fields can change EEG (brain waves) and brain function (Cook et al., 2005; Robertson et al, 2010). Persinger and colleagues (2000) have shown that low-intensity, complex magnetic fields can induce haunt-like hallucinations.
Based on laboratory experiments which have induced ghost-like hallucinations (Persinger et al.), Townsend describes the magnetic field properties of a putative EIF: low frequency (0.1-30 Hz), moderate intensity (100 – 5000nT, as compared to the geomagnetic field of 50,000nT), slow-acting (requiring >20 minutes exposure before causing a paranormal experience), and time-varying complexity (composed of bursts and spikes of varying duration, 1millisecond to > 100seconds duration).
I am interested in haunted house EIFs because the MF oscillations which I observe in bioenergetic activities, such as energy healing and groupwork, have very similar properties: low-frequency (0.1 to 40Hz), low intensity (50 – 300nT), slow-acting (typically >30 minutes), and time-varying complexity (30-150 seconds duration for a single symmetrical chirp wave).
Unfortunately, Braithwaite and colleagues have only provided detailed information on the MF activity in one haunted house (out of 45 they have examined), and just one evening (6 hours of recording) in that particular house. They do not show progressive changes in MF activity, like I do in my figures, and they use a different type of magnetometer (fluxgate – mine is a Hall-type), so it is difficult to make a comparison between their MF recordings and mine. Overall, Braithwaite is skeptical as to the importance of MF activity in hauntings, noting that other factors, such as the “spooky” environment and psychology of the individual, are equally important, if not more so, in eliciting a paranormal experience.
Both Braithwaite and Persinger assume a passive role for individuals in haunt-inducing magnetic fields. That is, they attribute EIFs to non-biological sources (e.g., metal in the room, geophysical faults, applied magnetic field). My research suggests that humans can create the low-intensity, complex, time-varying magnetic fields themselves. Humans may create the EIF entirely – or in part, by interacting with non-biological sources. Research by Tiller has shown that humans can condition space – can physically alter their environment. I speculate that previous occupants of a house may condition the space with strong emotions, which combined with local physical factors, may create a long-lasting EIF.
According to dowser Joey Korn, who has done “thousands of house clearings”, many ghosts are actually the messy emotions of the inhabitants of the house. The thoughts and emotions of the inhabitants have altered the energy environment inside the house. By healing the energy of the home, he can eliminate the “ghost”.
If I was studying haunted houses, I would do a different type of experiment. I would record MF activity in a putative haunted house over multiple evenings, with two sets of experiments: one with the haunted area empty, devoid of humans, and the second set, with a human participant sitting or sleeping in the haunted area of the house for hours. I hypothesize that the MF activity in the haunted area when it is empty will be different from that recorded when a human occupies the haunted area. The interaction between human and haunted area may lead to a true EIF – confirmed by both the MF activity and the qualitative responses of the participants.