This issue comes up frequently, especially since it is commonly seen on many of the Ghost Buster TV shows. Since it is so popular it only seems reasonable to ask,
Many groups make this claim for the KII meter so there must be something to it, correct? This report will look at both the meter and the claim to explain the reasons behind the popular myth. After reading it you may well have different ideas!
Before we start there is one truth that must be put forth. It also flies in the face of many beliefs but is also key to any communication effort.
There is NO credible evidence that a spirit in any way directly|
creates or interacts with a background EM Field within the
parameters an EMF Meter is designed to detect.
If you disagree and can provide verifiable evidence to the contrary you are invited to submit your methodology here where it can be further evaluated by scientific protocol. With that in mind we can begin to explore the communication by EMF meter concept.
The KII Meter
The first thing is to understand what the KII Meter is and how it works. The meter is a low cost EMF detector. It uses a single axis sensor and is not a true meter at all; it displays its output by lighting a series of Light Emitting Diodes in the presence of an EM Field. It was originally developed not for paranormal investigation but for technicians as a quick means of detecting EMF radiation around electronic devices. With the concern raised in the 1980s about EMF and health, and its low cost and simplicity of operation, it was also sold as means of allowing anyone with those concerns to test their own electrical equipment. It is built by KII Enterprises and sold as the Safe Range EMF Meter.
It was first shown as a ghost meter in the third season of the TV show Ghost Hunters. Chris Fleming of the TV program Dead Famous claimed the device would allow communication with the spirit world by allowing them to manipulate the indicators in response to questions posed by the investigator. Grant Wilson stated, “The K2 meter measures magnetic fields, and it’s been specially calibrated for paranormal investigators”. (An interesting statement since, as is apparent by looking at the photo of the insides above, it is clear there are no calibration points seen!)
But the story stuck. More TV shows began promoting this and of course sales of KII Meters rose right along with the price. KII Enterprises certainly was benefiting from the sales and would do all they could to keep the story alive. The more TV exposure the better! And it worked, as is evident by the number units out there today!
Ghosts and EMF
After the initial success of the KII meter several other manufacturers also decided to jump on the bandwagon. The E.L.F. Zone Meter, The MEL Meter, Cellsensor, and numerous others quickly began competing for the market. Besides communication, EM Fields were soon being sensed to detect ghosts and a connection was made between ghosts and EM Fields. KII meters also became ghost detectors!
A self fulfilling "truth" was established that the spirit world and EM Fields were interconnected. TV proved that, right? Every ghost hunter or paranormal investigator used an EMF meter to search for ghosts and that meant that if you wanted to be an investigator, you too needed to obtain at least one meter. A market was born.
But what is the truth? Is there any real connection? While the TV ghost hunters were finding ghosts behind every tree and EM Fields often present, other investigators were having no such luck. They placed various EMF Meters and detectors and even when unusual events were found no EMF disturbances were recorded. Also many times when an EMF disturbance was monitored, and even when something unusual was observed, the cause could be traced to a known source. These investigators were finding the true use of an EMF meter was to isolate potential sources for false positives rather than finding ghosts. Of course the TV shows didn't go along with that, it was much too benign for the drama they wanted to portray. (Gotta keep those viewers on the edge of their seats!)
One way to do that was to find exciting new uses for the EMF meter. A communication tool was just the thing they needed, and the KII with its flashing indicators was the device to fill that need. Plus there was one more feature the KII had that early on led to building this fallacy. The KII uses a simple momentary contact button to active it. Upon activation it also does a reset which results in all indicators flashing momentarily. Some early hoaxers soon learned that by lightly manipulating the pressure on this button they could force the KII to do a reset. This covertly caused the lights to blink. What better way to convince the audience they were in contact with a spirit. All this only served to convince the unwary of the use of the KII as a communication device. And it became increasingly difficult to convince many novice ghost hunters it wasn't so.
The KII and RF Fields
Communication using the KII involves asking the spirit to blink the indicator lights in various ways. But is there anything else which might account for this response? For that answer we must look at the KII as an EMF detector. It has been shown repeatedly that activating a cell phone or other electronic device near a KII can cause the indicators to blink. Most investigators are aware of this and as such take care not to create such disturbances. Also, as was stated earlier, the KII uses a single axis sensor. In their own separate ways both of these contribute to false positives.
In addressing the radio interference aspect one must consider the extreme breadth of the RF spectrum. Of particular interest here is the international short wave frequencies from around 7 to 20 mHz. These frequencies are especially prone to atmospheric bounce or skip. As any HAM radio operator can attest this propagation is what allows for direct transmission around the world. It is also extremely variable as waves of energy travel through the ionosphere. Signals often shift, going from extremely strong to unreadable in a matter of seconds at times. Field strength may go from 0 to hundreds of microvolts per meter as this shift occurs. Thus when these conditions are present, unless RF filtering is applied, an EMF meter can activate anytime one of these signals reaches a high level just as it would when one activates a nearby cell phone or other electronic device. The KII includes no such RF filtering in its circuitry. (Most low cost EMF meters don't.)
The second flaw is the fact many investigators carry the unit around as they attempt communication. Since it is a single axis detector it is directional. Thus orientation is crucial to the response it provides. Even if a steady state EM Field is present simply turning the unit 90 degrees can cause it to go from full scale to no signal. Obviously if a KII is carried around even the Earth's background fields will give various levels depending on orientation of the unit. Plus local radio stations also are contributing to this background and will give varied readings as the meter is moved. So simply moving the KII can give a false activation when it's not expected.
Above we have looked at several factor related to the KII and its basic operation. Clearly the meter should be turned on and left alone if it is being used. This is impossible since it has a momentary contact push button to turn it on. However many have replaced the switch with a toggle type which will allow unattended operation. For sake of this discussion we will assume this is the case here. It will also be assumed the investigator has placed the meter well away from him and has shut down all other nearby devices that might cause false positives. He has placed the area under video surveillance using a TV camera well shielded to prevent its creating interference with the KII. He is ready to begin a communication session, and anything he gets is likely a spirit, right?
Wrong! If he follows the pattern most do he is still open to false positives from RF interference. If this is present it will show up as a series of random hits often spaced 1 to 2 minutes apart. But of course they could appear anytime since many stations around the world could easily fall in the position one of the waves in the ionosphere reflect the signal down to this location.
Preconditioning also plays a role here. The investigator is expecting responses so he has a tendency to look for them. He asks the questions and receives responses as follows. Note the question and time stamp:
00:01 "Is anyone here? Blink once for yes, twice for no."|
00:12 "Blink the lights. I am watching for you"
00:15 (Light blinks twice)
00:17 "Do I take that as a no? (Light blinks once more while the question was being asked)
00:25 " Are you trying to communicate?"
00:30 (Light blinks once)
00:32 "Is that yes?"
00:46 (Light blinks twice) Investigator remains silent observing the lights
01:00 (Light blinks once)
01:05 "I take that as a yes."
Since your previous research revealed Dave lived here and passed recently you also ask, " Are you Dave?"
01:15 (Lights blink once)
The dialog could go on but there is enough here to make a point. Is this a valid communication effort? Probably not. Look again at the times. There is EMF activity approximately every 15 seconds. RF propagation usually sets a pattern for activity from each source. That means that if one source is present the lights would activate at an expected time. This is a simple pattern, in the real world multiple sources may be present each with their own overlaying time frame. The meter can't differentiate one from another; they would simply appear as random activations.
Another consideration is the pattern for asking the questions. At 00:15 the lights blink twice which just happened to be 2 seconds after the question. This might be a response. So the investigator comments 2 seconds later. The light blinks while the question was being asked. This is irregular so most investigator would simply ignore it. But can we ignore anything? How do we know what is valid and what is not? Instead one should consider the possibility at this point of outside interference since the response occurred before the question was posed.
Then nothing happens for 8 seconds. Why the long delay now when the previous response only took 2 seconds for a yes-no question? Then at 00:30 seconds the light blinks again. The investigator comments 2 seconds later but again a long response time.
At 00:46 the light blinks again, this time in response to nothing. Why should a spirit simply blink the light for no reason? But it is a definite clue to outside interference since we now have a time frame of approximately 15 seconds between flashes. Note it is only approximate; propagation is not extremely precise so a variation of a couple seconds is to be expected.
Finally at 01:00 the investigator mentions "Dave". Since previous research indicated Dave lived here the name is chosen for the question. But this is a poor method to utilize. Instead proper methodology would have been to use several false names and expect a negative response. If any of those hit then the investigator would know the answer was wrong. But by choosing the correct name for the first question that option was negated.
And just to add another clue I also logged the next expected activation at 01:15 which should have sealed it regarding outside interference.
Some have wondered by now, what about those times when the investigator says "Light the yellow light" and the red one comes on? Many consider that a hit. I don't. It is just another case where a random spike came in and was a bit stronger in intensity. Give your spirit a bit of credit, if you believe it's able to manipulate the KII at least assume it's not color blind! Or maybe the orientation of your KII was not optimum, how can you be sure?. Just another reason to forget using these meters for communication.
1. The KII's sensitivity to outside interference makes it undesirable as an investigative tool. It would be difficult to gather meaningful data related to EMF in general using a single axis meter. Occasional spikes are common with such sensors. But to utilize it in a situation where any spike would be considered data such as communication is just asking for trouble.
2. The technique some use of carrying the meter is responsible for many false positives. Simply repositioning any single axis detector can cause activation. This has led to the fallacy of associating EM Fields and spirit activity. In fact, to date, no such association has been verified under controlled conditions. It is poor practice to base any procedure on an unverified theory, in this case the belief spirits can influence EM Fields at all.
3. The method of using "yes-no" questions is open to error regardless of the medium of communication. Investigators have to consider preconditioning to a certain response and how they deal with it. Simply relying on a blinking light does not provide sufficient room to eliminate errors. One can work around this to a point by inserting "test" questions, but from my observations few investigators do so. Also most ignore blinks that occur randomly, not in response to any question. This is also a failure in the process. False blinks are also blinks! They must be considered a part of the communication effort. And as such they indicate the probability of outside interference which may be skewing the results.
Communication experiments are fine. But when conducting them it is better to use techniques which allow for more variations in the data. EVP is an example. One can ask questions that require multiple data to respond. You can also pose questions requiring several words in response. This in itself serves to minimize errors and false positives. (More on that under the EVP Questions). Better to use your EMF meter as it was intended, to detect EM Fields that may be interacting with you or your other equipment. And when doing so, use a good tri-axial meter instead of a single axis KII.