by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor with Jim Frazier, Mutant Technophile
I had to drag Jim into the paranormal kicking and screaming. I’m not sure that he was a full-on disbeliever, but he certainly sort of thought it was a silly hobby.
Then, one weekend, I dragged him along on a paranormal investigation with some friends to investigate the Tokeland Hotel.
Something magical and mystical happened to Jim that weekend (other than freezing his nads off with the hotel’s rather ancient heating system). He got to meet and talk with some kindred spirits – fellow technical geeks who love nothing more than a good gadget.
Now the man is unstoppable. He’s not only got paranormal game – he’s got gadget. There’s a lot to be tested in the paranormal and for a guy who’s got an extremely curious mind and an IQ north of 160 (according to Facebook – the experts in IQ testing), the paranormal presents an enticing puzzle just waiting to be unraveled.
So now with an upcoming paranormal investigation scheduled in a reportedly very active location, Jim is gearing up with gadgets and can’t be stopped. We’ve been talking a lot about what to look for and how to find it.
Just the other night, we were discussing the use of hi-def audio and video equipment in investigation. Jim would like to test it alongside “normal” audio and video equipment so that we can compare any results side-by-side. We realize we’ll have to do this in more than one place, but we’re hoping that if we discover anomalies on the normal-def that we can take a look at or listen to the hi-def and see what the anomaly is.
For instance, what if we got an EVP on an Olympus digital audio recorder that records at a lower sampling rate and lower resolution. A whisper perhaps. Now, if we have the exact same whisper on our hi-def Zoom H4 (a seriously cool gadget), perhaps we can make the whisper out better. Was it me exhaling? Was it my nose whistling in a pattern that sounded like a voice? (I have allergies. It whistles. Don’t ask.) That could tell us something.
But, what if we picked it up on the Olympus, but not on the Zoom? We know that the Zoom has higher resolution and more sensitive microphones (which is why it is considerably larger than the Olympus), so would it it be a significant finding that it was only picked up on a lower-def instrument that was sitting right next to the high-def instrument?
If you follow the theory that some parapsychologists have which states that entities act psychokinetically on instruments, then it would seem that this would be at least a step in confirming that this is the case. Or – at the very least it would warrant further investigation.
We have no clue whether EVPs are merely sounds that we pick up from the atmosphere or if they come from an unseen entity, and we certainly don’t know whether an apparition – if one exists – acts on the air to make sound waves, or acts on a specific instrument, as has been suggested by some.
Video equipment can help us to take a look at things in hi-def, as well. If we run three cameras side-by-side – Hi8, normal digital video and hi-def video, what will we find? Will we see something on one of the two lower-def videos that appears to be an anomaly only to discover on hi-def that it is something perfectly explainable?
What if I take pictures on a film camera, an instant camera (like a Polaroid), a regular digital camera like a Sony Cybershot (5 megapixel) and a DSLR (14 megapixel) camera? Will I see something on film or on the Cybershot that might look mysterious only to see on the DSLR that it is normal? Or maybe, the hi-def still and video cameras (and hi-def audio for that matter) will confirm that there is, indeed, something anomalous.
We don’t know. But we’re going to start trying to find out. The point for us is in testing normal-def and hi-def side-by-side and comparing the results. We may find nothing. Or we may find something. Either way, it should be an interesting experiment, and Techie McScienceGeek will have a good time playing with his toys. If we find nothing, hey – we can record band concerts. It’s all good.
We’d love to hear what you think about hi-def investigation. What do we need to consider before running amok? Leave your comments or email me at email@example.com.
Here’s a recording of a whisper taken on the Zoom H4 just so you can get an idea of the sound fidelity. My friend, Larry, and I were sitting in a 60′ x 200′ room with about 500 bodies packed together at a band camp (This one time, at band camp…. there I said it so you don’t have to) concert yesterday. There was a ton of noise, and Larry (who was holding the Zoom H4) whispered to me, “Where’s Matthew.” (Matthew is his son). This is the uncompressed audio as a WAV. IT IS NOT AN EVP. It is just an example of how clearly the Zoom H4 can pick up something as slight as a whisper.