A New Bit of Kit
Updated: Nov 4, 2021
By Nigel Higgins and Ian Liston-Smith
Ok, so here goes...and I may be completely wrong here, but I'm sure Ian Liston-Smith will be able to put me right!! We are always looking to try out new approaches to Paranormal research, and investigation, and our latest venture, is looking into VLF (very low frequencies) to see if we can get any EVP style responses, by utilising natural VLF as a carrier...Unlike commercial radio stations, that broadcast on much higher frequencies, VLF tend to contain less human traffic, and more natural noise.
You have probably all seen the ubiquitous Spirit Box being used on various TV and YouTube paranormal programmes, we possess two of these boxes ourselves...these devices rapidly scan through the AM, or FM frequencies, the theory being that spirits can manipulate the waveforms, to communicate with the living!! The man problem with scanning these commercial frequencies, is the sheer amount of traffic going through them, this can lead to our brains utilising something called Auditory Apophenia Apophenia is the tendency to perceive a connection or meaningful pattern between unrelated or random things (such as objects or ideas) the auditory element is where our brains will try to make sense out of random noise patterns...its commonly held by many sceptics, that EVP (Electronic Voice Projection) is a result of this.
Still with me? ok great...so by looking at VLF, we hope to avoid the amount of radio chatter generated in the AM and FM frequencies, thus reducing the chance of Auditory Apophenia taking place...phew!!!
Over to our latest team member Ian, who knows an awful lot more about these things, than I ever will
On my first investigation with the Out There Paranormal Group to Burgh Castle I decided to take my home built VLF receiver. It is loosely based on Stephen McGreevy's BBB-4 design.
circuit diagram for the VLF receiver
and here is the device itself, all soldered together
It detects radio signals from about 40 Hz to about 4 kHz, which if they were sound waves would be audible, and well below the frequency of what most people think of as radio waves. The receiver is simply a very sensitive audio amplifier with a short antenna attached.
and , it is used to receive the weird, almost bird-like ‘ping’ and ‘whoop’ noises produced by lightening thousands of miles away, the radio signals of which are trapped in the Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere. (For more information describing this unusual natural phenomenon, a good place to start is Wikipedia and search for “electromagnetic dawn chorus”.)
But why take the device to a OTPG investigation?
If carrying out an investigation and listening for EVPs a Raudive diode receiver is sometimes used.
This is a crude, untuned radio receiver (and so is very likely to receive ‘voices’!), but my reasoning - based on no scientific data at all - was that whatever non-terestrial discarnate signals the Raudive receiver may pull from the æther, the VLF receiver would be much more sensitive without being susceptible to broadcast station interference.
On this occasion it received nothing more that what was expected. Maybe next time... So there you have it, something a bit different from us, and once we have fined tuned our approach to using the receiver, we will share our results with you.