Chapter 03: EMF (Electromagnetic Field) Detectors

EMF (Electromagnetic Field) Detectors

EMF stands for Electromagnetic Field. An EMF meter (or EMF detector) is a scientific instrument for measuring electromagnetic fields. The electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. Before using an EMF detector, the first question that must be asked is, Do you understand how EMF detectors work and how to use one on a ghost hunt?

EMF Detector Mechanics

There are many different types of EMF meters but the two largest categories are single axis and tri-axis. Single axis meters are cheaper than tri-axis meters but take longer to complete a reading because the meter only measures one dimension of the field. Single-axis instruments have to be tilted on all three axes to obtain a full measurement. A tri-axis meter measures three axes simultaneously.

AC or DC currents generate electromagnetic fields. An EMF meter can measure AC electromagnetic fields emitted from manmade sources. Gauss meters or magnetometers measure DC fields, which occur naturally in Earth’s geomagnetic field. Household or industrial appliances generate most electromagnetic fields. The majority of EMF meters are calibrated to measure fifty and sixty Hz alternating fields (the frequency of US and European main electricity).

EMF Detectors and Ghost Hunting

Before using an EMF detector on a ghost hunt, check the batteries and test the EMF detector to make sure it is working property. Turn on the EMF meter and select the most sensitive setting. Hold the EMF meter vertically, ensuring that your hand does not block the top third of the meter and then move the meter into the area where you expect to find an electromagnetic field and record the readings from the dial.

Hold the EMF detector close to your torso and record the reading. Then continue to move the meter slowly away from your body and make note of how the reading changes. EMF detectors will pick up naturally occurring EMF fields surrounding the human body. EMF detectors will also pick up EMF fields created by other electrical equipment so do not stand next to other electrical devices.

High-tech EMF detectors automatically weed out manmade signals but most common brand EMF detectors do not have this feature. It is important to make notes of spots where manmade EMF signals are the strongest to avoid misinterpretations.

Perform background or control readings before beginning a ghost hunt. The background readings will provide neutral data to compare to the readings taken during the ghost hunt. Move outside of the projected paranormal area and monitor EMF readings in several locations. After conducting the control readings, move into the paranormal area and begin to look for abnormal EMF fluctuations. Changes in the normal EMF fields are important. Unexplainable variations between the paranormal area and the background area could indicate an anomaly that should be investigated.

Have a photographic camera, a video camera and audio recorders ready to operate during EMF sessions. Stand away from the EMF detector and document the session by taking photographs, filming video and recording audio. After the session is complete, review the evidence to see if anything abnormal has been recorded. Typically, weird lights, mists and voices are recorded simultaneously to fluctuations in EMF fields. Be aware that audio recordings might be difficult to review if nearby EMF detectors have a loud alarm signal. If possible, turn down the volume on the EMF detector so that the alarm does not disrupt EVP audio recordings.

Secure EMF detectors in protective cases when not in use or when traveling. EMF detectors can be wrapped in bubble wrap or surrounded by sponge cushions. It is important to keep EMF detectors from being damaged while traveling. If an EMF detector is bumped too hard, the accuracy calibrator can be thrown off and the meter will no longer read correctly.

The Limitations of EMF Detectors


  • EMF Meters are not designed for chasing ghosts or reading changes in EMF fields caused by ghosts. Because these meters are designed specifically for other tasks, the meters only read EMF results in a narrowly fixed ranged and frequency. If ghosts are causing fluctuations in EMF fields and those changes happen outside of the EMF detectorÕs fixed perimeters, then the meter is worthless.
  • Most EMF detectors are designed to pick up manmade EMF interference. It is difficult to accurately use EMF detectors in locations full of electrical appliances producing manmade EMF signals.
  • Obtaining and Storing Data is not reliable. There are some EMF probes that can connect to computers with software programs written to capture, store and compare data pulled by the EMF detector. However, most handheld EMF meters have no way of capturing or transferring results.
  • Personal bias can interfere with the interpretation of results. If the EMF detector is making a lot of noise, it does not mean that a ghost is close to the meter. Do not draw conclusions from the results of an EMF detector. Statistical analysis is necessary for discovering obscure results.

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