Communication in Real time
One device the WISPS team uses on a regular basis is an P-SB7 Spirit Box. Unlike a standard audio recorder, which WISPS also uses on a regular basis, the Spirit Box facilitates real time communication with spirits. What this means is on an audio recorder an investigator is required to periodically stop and review their recordings on scene or take them home and review their evidence long after the investigation in concluded. Although great evidence is often captured on an audio recording getting answers to questions long after the fact makes it difficult to ask follow up questions or keep an investigation pointed in the right direction.
How the Spiritbox works from a technical standpoint is rather straight forward. How it works between the spiritual realm and our own is still a matter of open and heated debate. Let’s tackle the technical aspect first. For all practical purposes the Spiritbox is an AM/FM radio. From there it has some features you won’t find on a standard radio. The Spiritbox is designed to cycle through radio stations very quickly while producing a lot of white noise (static).
The Spiritbox cycle times can be adjusted, but 100 milliseconds per station seems to works best. This means the Spiritbox is running through 10 radio stations per second making picking up stray words from a local radio nearly impossible. Some investigators even encase their Spiritboxes in small Faraday pouches to eliminate even those stray signals. The Spiritbox can scan forward or reverse, but WISPS has found the direction of the cycling makes little difference.
Now we get into theory on how the device is able to communicate with spirits. In theory spirits can manipulate the white noise, and electromagnetic energy put off by the device to form words. Oftentimes these words or even phrases last much longer than the 100 millisecond scan time of the Spiritbox. In other words you can hear the radio stations still cycling under the words.
The question then arises; how do we know it’s not random noises or stray radio transmissions we are picking up. First off you can sometimes hear stray radio signals as the device passes over a live radio station. At 1/10 of a second on the station there isn’t enough time to form a word, much less a phrase. Even a powerful station which may cover 3-4 channels on a radio will not have much time to get out a full word. When using the device those times you do get a radio station it’s obvious.
The second response I would give to the question of “how do you know it’s not stray radio signals?” is the context. With the Spiritbox if a spirit is present you will get intelligent and relevant answers. If I say “how many are with us” and the answer is “cheeseburgers” I would say the Spiritbox didn’t work and it was spouting random words and phrases. In our experience if no spirit is present the Spiritbox just produces static and nothing else at all. Generally when a spirit is present relevant information will come back.
WISPS has gotten answers from spirits such as their names, the names of our investigators, and other information relevant to the questions we are asking while using the Spiritbox. The fascinating thing is the voice of whatever spirit you are speaking with will often remain the same during a session. Getting the same voice over the Spiritbox repeatedly and on command is a virtual statistical impossibility.
Another question often posed; is how is using a Spiritbox different from using an Ouija Board to talk to spirits? A very good question. Ouija to a skeptic is a silly game, and seen as such invites dabbling in its use. There is some ritualistic elements involved with use of the Ouija and in theory users invite spirits to control their hands to move the planchette.
There are literally hundreds of books detailing and outlining the misfortune that has befallen numerous people who have dabbled with Ouija for entertainment. These accounts all have one thing in common. People unwittingly inviting negative and destructive entities into their lives, and the need to get outside help to remove these spirits. There are no examples of the same phenomena with the Spiritbox.
With the Spiritbox there is none of this ritual and the users aren’t inviting an entity to use their bodies in any manner to seek answers to questions. As such, the Spiritbox can simply be turned on or off at will by users. Regardless, with either device one must accept that there is no way to know exactly who or what we are communicating with, and knowing demonic spirits often lie, anything gained by any method of communication is highly suspect.
One other aspect of the Spiritbox versus Ouija is the intended use. Most users of the Spiritbox are seeking knowledge to further their investigation and use it from a purely scientific standpoint. Users of the Ouija often times are looking for information from the future, detailed information on the afterlife, and otherwise are dabbling in divination. In the name of “fun” these users are often tricked into giving demonic spirits permission to enter their lives.
Regardless of ones views the Spiritbox has proven to be a valuable and effective tool in ghost investigations. Already a newer and improved version, the P-SB11 is about to hit the market. There are other propriety versions of Spiritboxes available as well, usually named after their inventors. It will be fascinating to see how this technology advances into the future as refinements are made.