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Paranormal | Ghosts

What Is A Spirit Box?

What is a spirit box, and why would you want to use one? Communicating with ghosts and other supernatural entities is becoming easier every day. Technology is rapidly evolving in this field, and soon we may finally be able to definitively prove the existence of ghosts. But will spirit boxes help us do that?

A spirit box is a modified radio or device that picks up stray frequencies to contact ghosts and spirits. Traditionally a spirit box sweeps through AM and/or FM channels at high speed to generate noise that ghosts can use to communicate.

Spirit boxes are a modern invention. Since their conception, they have been used by ghost hunters and paranormal investigators to prove ghosts’ existence.

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Type Of Spirit BoxCost
Sbox Ghost Box Scanner~$99.00
Spirit Box SB11~$135.00
Necrophonic$9.99

These boxes are one of many tools that work with Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP. These are tools for catching audio recordings of spirits or other paranormal entities contacting us.

Whether you believe in EVP or not, they are certainly a popular tool. Hearing a disembodied voice can spook you, whether you’re believers or skeptics.

Those that believe in EVP claim that EVPs are really supernatural forces trying to communicate with us.

However, skeptics say that these recordings can be written off as pareidolia, radio interference, and a simple misunderstanding of a sound’s origin.

Girl touching a shower curtain. What Is A Spirit Box?
If you want to contact the spirit world, choose a physical spirit box over a spirit box app.

The Origin Of The Spirit Box

Recordings of spirits first became popular in the 1940s. Reverend Drayton Thomas and the medium Gladys Osborne Leonard held a seance that featured many ghostly voices. 

Raymond Bayless and Attila von Szalay used 78 RPM Pack-Bell record cutters and players to capture disembodied voices.

The original spirit box, however, was created in 2002 by Frank Sumption. Known as “Frank’s Box” or the “Ghost Box,” a total of 180 devices were created. 

Frank chose who would receive his boxes from the advice of the spirits he contacted.

What Is A Spirit Box?

The original spirit boxes were handheld radio scanners. Every year since their creation, they have evolved and improved. 

Modern scanners, like the P-SB7 spirit box, can even record the audio for you, so you don’t need a second device.

Recording the audio is essential because it’s hard to hear and understand what the spirits are saying in the moment. It also makes it easier to get a second opinion.

Spirit boxes are usually created by disabling the part of the radio that stops at a particular frequency. This allows the spirit box to continually scan through the stations, creating active energy for a spirit to use to communicate.

It can pick up distinct sounds between the white noise and static by sweeping through the AM and FM channels. These sounds may be grunts, groans, or full phrases.

Spirit boxes work best when you ask the spirits questions. This gives them a reason to expend energy and talk to you.

One theory of how these boxes work is that the spirits utilize existing background noises to mimick words through electronic interference. 

Of course, this could all be a matter of auditory pareidolia. We could simply be conditioned to expect communication from random sounds, so our brain interprets them as meaningful.

I don’t believe that, but maybe you do. All I can say is that you should use one of these devices before you make that call.

Person in smoke cloud
Spirit boxes have quickly become must-have ghost hunting equipment.

The Statistics Of Spirit Boxes

As I said earlier, spirit boxes work by scanning the radio frequencies. If you believe ghosts are real, then these ghosts use that active energy as vocal cords to communicate with the living.

Clear sounds and multiple word phrases are more convincing and useful than grunts, screams, or single word messages.

According to this article on Medium, the average message from a spirit box is relatively short. The average phoneme length was 3. There is a 0.38% possibility of catching two words in a row and a 0.01% chance of hearing three words.

So you might be able to discard a 2-word phrase, but 3 words or more would certainly convince me and many others.

From the article:

Apparently if you have a spirit box, you would need to listen to it continuously for 200ish days to randomly hear three common words in a row! Also, many of the assumptions we’ve made makes hearing this phrase more likely in our simulation than in real life, so you may need to listen much longer in reality.

Will A Spirit Box App On Your Phone Work?

While answering the question, “What is a spirit box”, you may have come across apps that claim to do the same thing.

What about the apps like Necrophonic? Do they work the same way a physical spirit box does? Can they even be trusted at all?

While many of these apps go above and beyond what a traditional spirit box can do with features like night vision cameras, they are also harder to trust.

Apps are much harder to take apart and figure out than a physical device. You can open up a radio and learn how it works, but most apps don’t allow public access to their code.

I’ve personally been trying Necrophonic for a while now. I admit, sometimes I find it very convincing. 

But I still can’t get over how much of a black box these apps are. It would be so simple to fake their results, and no one would ever be able to definitively prove it.

Unfortunately, if you want to work with spirit boxes, you’re better off making or buying a physical one. At least that way, if you suspect it’s spitting out something pre-recorded, you can open up the hardware and look for proof.

One way to test these apps is by taking two phones and opening the app on both at the same time.

If it really is electronic interference by spirits, both phones should spit out the same answers.

I haven’t tested this yet, but I hope you do. Report your findings somewhere, maybe on YouTube.

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