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Ghost Hunting EMF Meters 101

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Opinion Editorial

by Noah Voss

I'm sorry to have miss lead you.  Yes the purpose of this op ed is to share knowledge on EMF (electromagnetic field 'for now') meters.  However we need to start even before the EMF meter is in hand.  Wait...that's not far enough back, we need to start evenEMF meter used on ghost hunts before the word leaves our mouth. 

Let us together faze out EMF from this day forward and replace it with "Electromagnetic field."  Now I know some of you might be thinking, "well they are the same thing!".  Electromagnetic field is used interchangeably with EMF in the paranormal or ghost hunting realities.  This is a generality and something we can do better than.  If we aim to have a scientific approach then we could take a page from most physics books and from this moment forward consider EMF as an acronym for "electro motive force."  Clearly then we won't be using the shortened if not lazy or at least inaccurate "EMF" when referencing our electromagnetic field meters. 

Three Axis Analog EMF Meter, Photography by Noah Voss

EMF standing for electro motive force is often used by electrical engineers, among many others.  Electro motive force or EMF represents a complex potential that electricity can have in many things such as batteries and circuits.  Whatever exactly electro motive force all encompasses is thankfully irrelevant at this juncture.  You will still see EMF used occasionally on due to the fact "EMF" is what a great number of people are still using to search on the Internet when looking for equipment to use during investigations into reports of paranormal phenomena.  That means we need to keep EMF around in part otherwise people wouldn't find this website and without them finding this website...well you get the picture.  Moving on to the main topic at hand, again I will aim to start as very near the beginning as possible. 

This will build a sturdy foundation of understanding.  On which we will later include the meter and through several follow up editorials learn as much about them as possible.  But don't jump ahead yet.  Due diligence is required to fully understand everything from my word choices too the general concept in the proceeding op eds. If you can make it through the next two paragraphs without any questions, then I give you permission to not only jump ahead, but please call me (seriously 1-877-Par Norm [727-6676]).    

So, electromagnetic field meters.  They detect electromagnetic fields in the space surrounding the meter.  Then, they measure electromagnetic fields.  Finally they display the electromagnetic field reading to the user.  Basically correct, but immensely oversimplified. 

First, how do they detect electromagnetic fields, and what technology do they use to measure the field?  Are they measuring the change in or the amount of electromagnetic field?  What is the amount of electromagnetic field?  Is that even the correct way to ask, or should it be at what strength, or maybe at what frequency is the wave oscillating?  Is it a wave?  Not only that but what is the electromagnetic field made of, electrons, electricity, magnets, photons?  Whatever causes the electromagnetic field, do scientists know everything there is to know about it?  Does that matter?  What all can cause an electromagnetic field?  Can there be a human or natural cause for absolutely any electromagnetic field?  That is to say can we recreate any electromagnetic field we want in a lab? Why are we concerned with electromagnetic fields and the paranormal?  If you have an answer for the last one, can you point to a empirically validated theory with experimentally re-creatable results as to why?  What's the difference between an AC and DC electromagnetic field meter?  Wow, allot of questions and there are plenty more.  These are just some of the softballs as they say.  It gets more complex quickly from any one of the 'answers' that might accompany each of these questions.  So if you can't completely and honestly answer each of these questions, perhaps it is time we all sat down and together tried to teach ourselves a little more about electromagnetic fields. 

We'll get to the point of this op ed next, but if you haven't already I would recommend at least skimming another editorial Paranormal Investigating Equipment 101.  That editorial will help you better understand even this simplified run up to EMF meters 102.  

Before we can get to the inside of the electromagnetic field meter, we must understand what's happening outside.  We can go back to 1873 when James Maxwell published his Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.  Thanks in part to this we learned four chief rules backed by experimental findings regarding the interactions between positive and negative charges.  The portion of the one finding that we need to focus on now is that "a current is induced in a loop of wire when it is moved towards or away from a magnetic field..."  Ah ha!  This brings us to answering "how does an electromagnetic field meter detect an electromagnetic field?".  Well at least a magnetic field meter.  The engineers of most electromagnetic field meters place a piece of steel, wrapped in a copper wire inside the meter.  This wire is then attached to an electronic device that is either programmed or known to respond in an exacting and measurable way to this induced current (induced current=electricity created in the copper wire by the electromagnetic field as originally discovered by James Maxwell in 1873).  This device (device is now commonly a computer chip/board) then interprets the current (remember current=moving electricity) and gives some form of feedback to the user as to the electromagnetic fields.

Examples of the electromagnetic field meter feedback could be the illumination of an LED showing that a certain range of electromagnetic field is present, or more accurately it could display an actual number in an LCD display, or move a needle over a number representing the electromagnetic fields strength.  This strength is typically registered in a unit of measurement called a Gauss or Tesla.  There are however many different styles of electromagnetic field meters designed with different uses, functions and features in mind.  This above mechanical compilation specifically creates an AC (alternating current) single axis electromagnetic field meter.  Single axis digital emf meter for ghost hunting

Single Axis Digital EMF Meter for sale, Photography by Noah Voss

Engineers can create a three axis electromagnetic field meter by placing three of these copper wire wrapped steel pieces inside the meter.  By placing them at three different axis (X, Y, & Z) the electromagnetic field meter is accurately able to monitor an electromagnetic field emanating from any direction.  

So we now know how the average single and triple axis electromagnetic field meter is constructed to monitor and measure electromagnetic fields.  It is by monitoring voltage induced in a wire during the presence of an electromagnetic field that the meter can detect the strength of the electromagnetic field, but cannot however distinguish between field frequencies.  For that we need to use a magnetometer (more on that later). 

A single axis meter has some limitations that every user should be aware of.  You can more clearly see an issue with field frequency by using the example of 10mG.  You could in theory walk through an entire house, getting five readings of 10mG on your electromagnetic field meter.  Each of the five separate 10mG readings could be comprised of entirely different fields.  So in reality you are creating a partial image of the electromagnetic field.  This partial image leads to partial theories, partial understandings, and normally more questions than answers. 

Let's tackle another question about what it is we are measuring with a typical electromagnetic field meter.  Most of the meters in the ghost hunters kit that are sophisticated enough to have a sum feature making them capable of monitoring the electric and magnetic field both are giving a reading to the user of electromagnetic field strength, though this is technically a flux density (more too on this later). 

We could take a look at what an electromagnetic field actually is.  Not here and now though.  That road leads us into multiple disciplines of understanding theoretical physics including but not limited to quantum mechanics, velocity factors, refractive indexes, continuous structure or discrete structure, Planck's Constant and Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  Perhaps we'll come back to that question by EMF Meters 105.  For now, let's look only as far ahead as an ever growing chart of 'Electromagnetic field' meter Comparisons.  There's a large amount of general information, but there's pictures too.  Take at least a brief moment and see where some of the equipment you might be using rates to those professionals who have decades of experience.  

I have purposefully kept these opinion editorials as brief as possible.  I hope to disseminate this information for the intellectual advancement of the field.  Giving only the smallest of bites with each editorial, I aim for the easiest digestion of the contents to the widest of demographics possible.  With that thought in mind, we have all just begun our learning adventure with many more opinion editorials in this series to graze through.  Looking ahead to the next opinion editorial allows us one final direction to still utilize our electromagnetic field meters while investigating reports of paranormal phenomena.


Next Recommended Op Ed - 'Electromagnetic field' meter Comparison Table

*ElectroMagnetic Field Meters - *EMF meters.  No accidental typos here, it should be stated that the SI (International Standards) that oversees official unites of measurements will hold "EMF" as an acronym for "electro motive force."

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Anyone out there reading this?  We eagerly await any feedback!  Share your thoughts, long or short, agreeing or disagreeing:  Simply put the page title in the Emails subject line!


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