At the heart of the MADS system is a digital fluxgate magnetic sensor. In order to measure EIFs you need a sensor to detect very low frequency magnetic fields (0-30 Hz) with a high sensitivity (a few nanotesla) and a flat frequency response. Unfortunately, the vast majority (maybe all) EMF meters don't have these characteristics. Also unfortunately, sensors like the one used for MADS are not cheap. However, they could be within the budget of a paranormal research group determined to do serious scientific research. What is needed now is more results from many different haunted locations.
MADS has resulted in papers being published in peer-reviewed journals. For more information:
© Maurice Townsend 2008
Are some reports of hauntings caused by magnetic hallucinations? Ghostly hallucinations have been induced in certain people in the laboratory (by Michael Persinger) by very low frequency, weak, complex magnetic fields. If such fields occured in haunted locations, could they account for some reports of ghosts?
ASSAP has been involved with the MADS project (Magnetic Anomaly Detection System) to test these ideas in the field. The idea of MADS is to see if suitable fields exist at haunted locations.
Jason Braithwaite, who devised the MADS project, has given the name EIF (experience inducing fields) to the weak, complex magnetic fields required to produce hallucination.
In early research at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria, suitable conditions were discovered for the production of EIFs at a haunted location. If anyone moved slightly in the 'haunted bed' (where several independent witnesses have reported hearing a child crying) they could induce EIFs in their brain. This is because the bed was found to cause a strong distortion to the local magnetic field. This distortion leads to a high magnetic gradient across the bed so that anyone moving, even slightly, will be subjected to significantly varying fields.
An interesting question is - why should different people experience the same hallucination at the same place on separate occasions? Hallucinations typically have varying content between different people. Two possible answers are (1) that they react in the same way to identical magnetic fields or that (2) there is some additional stimulus providing the subject matter for similar hallucinations. For instance, a sound or sight characteristic of the location may be incorporated into a hallucination. This is similar to the way that you may incorporate the sound of an alarm clock into your dream.
See what happens when a human subject tests the haunted bed!
EMF meters have become a popular instrument for use when investigating ghosts. They are even claimed to be 'ghost detectors'.
It is claimed in many places that ghosts are associated with electromagnetic fields. The claim varies, according to which source you consult. The most frequent claim is that electromagnetic fields are elevated (usually intermittently) at haunted locations OR when there is actually ghostly activity taking place. Unfortunately, no evidence is ever put forward (if you know of any, please do get in touch) so it is difficult to test these claims.
So, could EMF meters actually be picking up the fields (EIFs) that can produce magnetic hallucinations (see left)? It is possible that certain sources of EIFs can also produce readings on EMF meters. However, EMF meters do not have the ability to specifically distinguish EIFs. So, interesting readings could be EIFs but they might not be. To detect EIFs you really need something like a MADS sensor (left).
How common are EIFs?
At first sight, it might seem unlikely that there would be many low frequency, weak, complex magnetic fields around in the average house. However, a study by ASSAP showed that they could be quite common. Any moving iron or steel (such as in an electric motor) could do the trick. Some electrical appliances could also produce suitable fields.