Using AI To Analyse Suspected Paranormal Activity

By Steve Higgins
March 26, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ Ghost HuntingParanormal

This article is more than one year old.

ChatGPT Looking For Ghosts
Artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming an important part of our daily lives, which made me wonder whether it had any practical application on a ghost hunt. To test this idea, I decided to get ChatGPT, the leading AI chat bot, to analyse a recent paranormal investigation I attended and asses the activity we observed.

The first step was to give ChatGPT the raw data of our ghost hunt. This involved taking the audio recording of a 30-minute vigil and using some AI transcription software to turn the audio recording into words.

The next step was a little more time consuming. I worked through the transcript and took out irrelevant chatter and formatted it consistently to show each question or instruction asked by one of the investigators and whether that question generated a response.

In total the investigators present called out 57 times. If you're interested you can see all of the raw data in the table at the bottom of this page, as well as the responses we observed on the night.

The next step was to give the whole transcript to ChatGPT and ask it to assess the likelihood that the perceived activity we observed was paranormal in nature.

My hope was that using AI would make this process more impartial, as an AI model should be less susceptible to the biases or preconceived notions that sometime skew human investigators' interpretations. Human investigators might unconsciously seek out evidence that supports their beliefs, whereas AI models can provide a more balanced analysis without being influenced by such biases.

Below is the conversation I had with ChatGPT version 4 and it's thoughts on the ghost hunting transcript I provided it.
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Based on this transcript of a ghost hunt, please can you assess the likelihood that the perceived activity we observed was paranormal in nature?
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Based on the transcript provided, it appears that there were some instances of knocking sounds and ghost hunting gadgets lighting up in response to questions. However, there were also numerous instances where no response was received. It is also important to consider alternative explanations for these occurrences, such as environmental factors or even coincidences.

 

The relevance of the responses is also crucial to consider. Some responses seemed to align with the questions asked, such as the knocks corresponding to yes or no answers or the ghost hunting gadget lighting up when asked. However, these responses were not consistent throughout the session, and in many instances, the same or similar questions yielded no response.

 

The inconsistent nature of the responses and the high number of instances with no response suggest that the perceived activity may not be a reliable indicator of paranormal activity. It is essential to consider alternative explanations for these occurrences, such as environmental factors, coincidences, or even the power of suggestion, which can influence participants' perception of events during a ghost hunt.

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Based just on the responses in the transcript, could you determine any information about the spirit the ghost hunters believed they had contacted?
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Based on the responses in the transcript, it is difficult to determine any concrete information about the spirit the ghost hunters believed they had contacted. However, some patterns or hints can be observed:

 

1. The spirit seemed to communicate more through knocks than other means. There were instances when the ghost hunting gadgets lit up or the cat ball was activated, but the majority of perceived responses were in the form of knocks.

 

2. In terms of gender, the spirit appeared to indicate that it was female. When asked to tap once for female and twice for male, there was one knock. However, this was later contradicted when three knocks were heard in response to the same question.

 

3. The spirit seemed to suggest that there were six spirits in the room when asked to tap the number of spirits present.

 

It is important to note that these observations are based on the assumption that the responses were indeed from a spirit, which has not been conclusively proven. The inconsistent nature of the responses and the presence of alternative explanations for the perceived activity make it difficult to determine any definitive information about the spirit the ghost hunters believed they had contacted.

I was pleased that the AI bot picked up on the unavoidable fact that when you breakdown the investigation, there were far more misses than hits. Out of the 57 times we called out, we got 18 responses. So roughly a third of the time we observed what could be paranormal activity, but as ChatGPT pointed out, there could be "alternative explanations" for these occurrences.

If you break down those 18 responses further, you find that only 15 of them made sense as responses to the question being asked. For example, a device lighting up after asking "could you tap twice?" couldn't be considered an intelligent or meaningful response. It would have been impressive if the AI chat made reference to this.

However, it was positive to see that ChatGPT picked up on the contradictions in the responses, something that the investigators on the night actually seemed to be blind to. ChatGPT concluded, "the spirit appeared to indicate that it was female, [...] this was later contradicted when three knocks were heard in response to the same question."

One thing ChatGPT missed was the inconsistencies in the questioning, which should have been considered as it might have confused the spirit we were potentially communicating with.

If you look at the questions closely, the first time someone asked about the spirit's gender they asked for one knock for female and two for male. The second person asked for one knock for male, and the third person reverted to one knock for female. Is it any wonder that at this point the spirit got confused and knocked three times? Again, none of the investigators on the night noticed this confusing line of questioning.

This use of AI seems promising and seems to have potential. Of course there are huge limitations in how far an AI can go in assessing potential evidence without having a complete awareness and understanding of the investigation, including the environment and participants.

A text transcript obviously isn't the best way to analyse an investigation, as evidence can include visual and sensory phenomena, plus audio recordings, photographs, and video footage. We can tell ChatGPT about this visual evidence, or audible evidence as I did with the knocking in this experiment, but then you remove some of the impartiality that I had hoped for. I might call a sound a "knock," perhaps it was in fact a tap, a bang or a footstep.

AI isn't going to be able to observe a ghost hunt in real time in order to make proper informed judgements about the activity experienced any time soon. But it does seem like the technology has potential in the field. Imagine being able to get AI to "watch" hours of video from locked-off cameras looking for movement or anomalies, or listening out for unrecognised voices in recordings that could indicate the presence of an EVP.

Of course, it would still need an investigator to listen to determine if it really is an example of electronic voice phenomenon, but having assistance from an AI to perform these initial checks could save investigators hours of valuable time.



You can see the raw data taken from the transcription of the vigil in the table below, as well as the responses we observed.
QuestionResponse
Can you come and make a noise or walk around the room?-
We've got loads of lights in here, come and touch them.1 knock
If that was you, do it again.2 knocks
If that was you tapping, can you make it louder.2 knocks heard, no louder
Tap again please.1 knock
If there's any spirits here, we'd like to know your story. We'd like to talk to you.-
Can you go near the little boxes with green lights on them and make them light up?-
Can you go closer to it for me please?-
Can you make the banging noise again?1 knock
Can you do it louder please?-
Or twice?1 knock
Do it again so we can all hear.-
Can you do it louder please so we can all hear?-
Bang again.-
Come on, chuck a book at us or something.-
Could you tap twice please for "yes" if you are here?K-II lit up
Would you tap two times please?-
Can you tap again please louder?1 knock, no louder
Can you do it again please?-
If you're a female can you knock once, if you're a male can you tap twice?1 knock
If you're a male can you do one knock, if you're a female can you do two knocks?1 knock
I'll ask you one more time. One for female, two for male.3 knocks
Is there more than one of you here?-
Could you tap please how many spirits are in the room?6 knocks
Are you where I'm pointing my light? One tap for yes.1 knock
Can you light up the ball in the middle of the room?-
Can you make a more distinctive noise?2 knocks
Please come forward and talk to us.-
Will you bang the wall please instead of the floor?-
Do you like us being here? Tap once for yes, two for no.2 knocks
Do you like us being here?2 knocks
Do you want us to leave? Two for yes, one for no.-
Do you want us to leave? Two for yes, one for no.-
Are you still there? One tap for yes, two for no.-
Come closer and make the lights on this box go to red.-
Can you make this light up for me please?-
Bang on the wall please.-
What can you do?-
Spirit, was that you making the noise?Cat ball lit up
Can you walk towards me?-
Would you light that ball again please?-
Can you light the ball again?Cat ball lit up
If you're male make the light go on the ball?-
If you're female make the light go on the ball?-
Can you do that light again please?-
Come on, you've done it once, can you do it again?-
Are you walking around us?-
If you're still in here can you move the balloon?-
Give it a kick.-
Can you move the balloon please?-
Spirit, use your energy to move that balloon.-
Spirit, move the balloon towards the person you want to communicate with.-
Could you move the balloon please towards someone?-
Spirit, please use our energy, use our energy to move that balloon.-
Or set one of the cat balls off.-
Bang the wall please.-
Tap once if you want someone else to talk.1 knock heard
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