Evaluation of the E-Pod. December, 2009
First I would like to thank Paul Bradford and Creepy Hollow Gear for providing an E-Pod for purposes of evaluation. Thanks All!
The device arrived ready to go, no assembly required. My testing consisted of two types of evaluation. First, did the device do as promised in the literature, and second was it a useful addition to the investigator's toolbox. Operating Instructions are available on the Creepy Hollow Website and were used as a basis for my testing. Directions were easy to understand and utilize in the operation.
The E-Pod is a small sealed detector about two inches in diameter and two inches high. It has a single power switch located beneath it. All electronics are potted inside making it a very rugged device. It is sealed and is well protected from the environment. An additional feature is the potting itself glows a soft green in the dark making it easy to locate or position the device in a night investigation.
Regarding its actual operation, I first tried on a rainy day. As expected the device was not very sensitive. In fact I could not get an activation at all unless I was within inches of it. This was to be expected and is mentioned in the literature. But I did want to give it a test under adverse conditions since these may be encountered in the field. It is likely the low sensitivity was due to my inability to generate a sufficient field since the high humidity simply bled it off.
A more meaningful test was conducted in the lab under controlled environmental conditions. An ambient temperature of 70 degrees F and a humidity of 30% was set up. This would be normal for a room environment in winter when the air is dry. Under those conditions I could walk past the unit and was detected about three feet away with the unit setting on the bench. Next I moved the E-Pod to the floor and tried it again. This time sensitivity was much worse. After evaluating the floor itself I found that some dampness there resulted in a bleed off of any charge. Thus the position of the E-Pod is a critical factor in its performance; if placed on a conductive surface it will be desensitized. I next placed it on the floor, but with a non-conductive 1/8 inch thick plastic sheet under it. Operation was much better. I would recommend a plastic or insulating surface be placed under the device whenever you use one to prevent this problem.
Next I wanted to test it under ideal conditions. I was able to lower the humidity in the lab to 18%, a very dry condition. In many parts of the country such a low level would be difficult to obtain, however some desert areas can go even lower. Under these conditions it was possible for me to walk across the floor and build up sufficient static to draw a small spark when I touched anything metal. The E-pod was also very good at detecting my presence under those conditions. It would activate if I was within about 8 feet of it. That would be sufficient to warn of any similarly charged condition. To that extent I would say the device does perform as claimed. But it is also important to know that the environment where you plan on using one of these is a major factor in how well it performs.
For a final comparison I set it near a professional grade Electrostatic Proximity detector. This detector as expected was much more sensitive to fields, but considering the difference in price the E-Pod did perform very well against it.
But the more important issue for those investigating haunts is how it does in the field. I took it along on an investigation I was involved in to find out. I also had the proximity monitor there to detect any static fields as I often do. My normal mode of investigation is often done in daytime, and this one covered from late afternoon to about 10 PM.
One problem soon became evident; the red indicator in the E-Pod is very hard to see unless it is dark. I was limited where I could place the device; one prime area I wanted to use was a hall. But at the end of the hall a large window allowed light to come in. Unless I was sitting right beside the E-Pod the red light could not be seen. But this would have created a problem with my presence being the cause of a false activation. Thus I would not recommend an E-Pod for any daytime investigation simply because even if it did activate one could not see it. Perhaps an audible feature would alleviate this problem, but that could also create problems if audio recording was being done.
Once the sun went down and the area became dark the E-Pod did as expected. It gave only two very weak hits, but on the other hand the Proximity Detector was also very quiet. Apparently little static activity was taking place so neither device was very active. But I would say that under the investigating conditions, and considering the earlier lab tests, if static charges became an issue, the E-Pod would have detected them.
So in my final evaluation I would say the E-pod does as expected. Whether this is something an investigator should purchase would be up to him. More depends on the type of investigations he does and where he does them. Environment is a factor, as is the time of day and whether he investigates in the dark.
One question that certainly many will ask is whether or not they detect spirits or ghosts. That shall remain unanswered because quite frankly we donít even know whether these entities are accompanied by such fields. I know I failed to detect any such activity, but then again on the investigation I was on I also failed to detect any such activity with any equipment. So I leave it to the user to determine the source of an activation should he get one.
Bottom line, it is probably not something I would recommend a new investigator rush out and buy as a primary investigating tool. But for those who are well equipped with the necessities, having a couple of these in the toolbox would not be a bad idea either. You may not need them often but there are times where they could serve a useful purpose without breaking the piggy bank.