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December 27, 2010 3 Comments
Recently I have received a couple emails in regards to an article I wrote a while back about something called the ghost box. The article expressed my skepticism on this device however I reserved my personal thoughts in hopes that one day I might be wrong and be shown that this device can really contact the dead. So quickly, those who may not know what the ghost box is, it is a radio that is purposely broken by causing it to continuously sweep up and down the channels without ever stopping. When it does this you are listening to a bunch of fragments of voices from DJ’s, commercials and songs. You ask questions to the box while it is doing this and supposedly you will get responses from the beyond. Some people in the paranormal field that advocate the use and testing of this box (because they have found it to produce “promising” results) are people like John Zaiffis and Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
I on the other hand have spent years researching and testing this device and have yet to have any test produce positive results or have any personal validation that it works. There are tons of these modified (broken) radios out there with many different names. The most coveted of these boxes is called the Frank’s box designed by Frank Sumption, there is a Joe’s box created by Joe Cioppi, Radioshack Hacks and The Mini Box (which can be purchased at www.paranormalsystems.com between the prices of $499.00 – $1,595.00, that’s right folks you can buy a broken radio for only $1,595.00 because it is crystal enhanced).
Like I said before I have always been pretty skeptical about this device, but I will explain now, why I’m convinced this “tool” doesn’t work.
The Steve Hill challenge
I have worked with lots of people in the paranormal whose sole purpose in this “field of research” is nothing but instrumental transcommunication better known as ITC. The first individual I would like to talk about is a good fellow whose name is Steve Hill.
Steve Hill calls himself an electronic medium, meaning spirits talk to him through devices such as the ghost box. He claims to have more success than the average Joe who was to just pick up this device and start asking questions. When Steve heard I was skeptical he sent me a few “mind blowing” files in which he claimed his name could be heard crystal clear. When I heard these files I must say at first I thought they were amazing, because I could clearly hear the name Steve Hill. Well there are a couple things I didn’t take into consideration at first, for instance the file name was “ghost box says name steve hill” and also after the radio says what sounds to be like Steve Hill, Steve says “Yes I am Steve Hill”. This is what is called “priming” or “front loading” which is essentially telling someone what to hear.
So after this I was asked to be a guest on Steve’s radio show so I, a skeptic, could talk about how I felt about this file and device (because remember Steve thought I thought it was legit, because I at first thought it was an amazing file). What Steve didn’t know was I had performed a test to prove this file wasn’t saying Steve Hill.
With an audio editing program I was able to delete Steve confirming he was Steve Hill at the end of the file, I also saved it as a different name, something like “ghost box file.” I asked 50 random people what they thought the file was saying and not one of them said Steve Hill. So after everyone had come up with their own idea on what the file was saying, I told them what the file was thought to be saying. Again no one could hear Steve Hill, why? The reason is because they had already decided on what they wanted to hear. They had already primed themselves.
When I told these results to Steve live on his show, it didn’t even sway him to think it wasn’t saying his name. So I asked “are all these people lying? If you say no then we must accept that the box was also saying their answers as well.” Steve’s answer baffled me “well Bobby perhaps I just hear things on a different frequency then others do.” I decided that was when I would forfeit the fight with Steve; he had already made up his mind that his broken radio actually possesses spirits that communicate with him and no matter how much evidence I had against it, his mind couldn’t and can’t be swayed.
The Jeff Rezman challenge
I was a guest speaker at an event called Fortfest last year. One of the speakers was a man named Jeff Rezman. Jeff and I have been friends for a couple years and he and I are sort of like Spiderman and The Green Goblin. What I mean by that is we are good friends outside of the paranormal (Peter and Harry) but when it comes to the paranormal we are archenemies (Spiderman and The Green Goblin, I of course being Spiderman).
Now Jeff gave a lecture on the authenticity of the ghost box and it was hard to keep quiet and for the most part I did, until he started doing a live session with the crowd. His technique was clever, he never said what he thought it was saying however he would prime the crowd by saying “did you hear that?” and someone from the crowd would respond with what they thought the box was saying.
Now another thing I discovered about the box and people who believe this device is intelligently speaking to them is that it can never tell you information that you don’t already know. For example at Fortfest Jeff was asking the box questions like “what color is this gentleman’s jacket right here?” Everyone present knew the color of the jacket that the person was wearing so the name of that color is the answer everyone is expected to hear. Another example is where Jeff asked “what color are the walls here in this room?” Again everyone present knew the color of the room so the name of that color is the answer everyone is expected to hear. After I realized what was going on I explained it to the crowd. I explained I could prove it by giving the box a Zener card test (which I just happened to have handy).
The test was really simple I would sit behind Jeff so we were both facing the crowd. I would allow one independent party to sit with me to write down the shape on the card (circle, star, square, cross or wavy lines) so people knew I wasn’t lying. We were placed in a position where no one in the room could see the card except me and this independent party. For the sake of the spirits present I announced out loud all the 5 shapes the spirit could name and began the test. Again the box didn’t name one card correctly, why? Because no one present except for myself and the independent party knew the shape that was on the card.
The box called out wrong shapes but also called out things like angel, Jeff tried to say that since there were fairy looking creatures on the backs of the cards this must be what the spirit was trying to identify. Well if that were the case then the spirit world is very dumb because I strictly announced that there were only 5 shapes it could pick from. Again this test swayed some from the crowd that the box is nothing but a broken radio and wishful thinking but it couldn’t and can’t change the opinion of someone like Jeff Rezman.
I have tried hundreds of tests with different ghost box type devices some include me using a box while someone else in a different state used a box and we asked questions about each other, hiding something in a certain area while someone else had the spirit tell them through the box where I hid the item and countless sessions in alleged haunted locations asking the box to name the name associated with the house. All these tests failed, never getting one thing right.
I mean if continuously sweeping up and down through radio channels works as a device on talking to the dead then we should be able to keep our finger on seek on a car radio and produce the same results. Truth is, our brains are designed to seek patterns out of nothing; it’s how it makes sense of things. It is why we can see Abraham Lincoln in the clouds or hear voices telling us things on broken radios. It is called pareidolia.
However I would like to say that this is a lousy invention and it proves some people will cling to anything and I mean anything for some sort of self validation of the spirit world, they will even speak to broken radios.