What Are Spirit Boxes & Can The Dead Really Use Them To Communicate?
May 08, 2019 6:00 AM ‐ Paranormal
This article is more than three years old and was last updated in November 2021.
A spirit box is a popular paranormal gadget which scans through the radio spectrum in the hopes that spirits can make their voices heard amongst the white noise and fleeting snippets of radio broadcasts.
The idea of using what is essentially a modified FM radio to pick up the voices of the dead divides the paranormal community, with many thinking it is a valid way to communicate with spirits, whilst others think it is nothing more than random radio noise.
One man who has had plenty of experience collecting and analysing evidence obtained via a spirit box is Ste, one half of the paranormal YouTube channel the Ouija Brothers. When it comes to spirit boxes, Ste and Griff have seen them all, they've heard them all, making them a bit of an expert on the topic.
Ste has been sharing his thoughts on spirit boxes in a new YouTube video. The duo regularly use a Radio Shack 12-587 during their investigations and have captured what they think is some interesting evidence, but Ste remains level-headed about this method of ghost hunting. In the video Ste says "we know there's a possibility that it could just be radio interference."
This doesn't change the fact that the Ouija Brothers have caught some thought provoking voices during their investigations. In Ste's video he shows subscribers some of the evidence they've obtained through these sessions with a spirit box.
What Is A Spirit Box?
Ste and Griff currently use a Radio Shack 12-587 spirit box during their investigations, but have used many other similar gadgets, including the popular PSB-7. Most of these devices work in the same way.
They rapidly scan through the AM, MW and FM radio spectrum, as it does, fleeting bursts of white noise and static can be heard. Some spirit boxes have various settings which allow you to tweak which bands the device scans through and how much of each frequency step you hear, this usually ranges from a hundredth of a second up to a second or more.
It's believed that spirits are able to change or influence these bursts of audio in order to form sounds, words or even sentences. It's for this reason that many investigators use them as a method of communicating with the spirits that haunt a location, deceased family members or even the ghosts of celebrities.
In order to use the device, you should call out to any spirits that might be present and ask them questions, then listen for their answers within the noise of the spirit box. Ideally this should be a response which spans across several steps of the frequency scan.
Unless you are in a cave or well shielded building, you will almost certainly hear fragments of speech and music from radio stations. Although this might include words, what you are listening out for is meaningful words, intelligent responses to your questions.
Some paranormal researchers prefer to put their spirit box inside a small bag which acts as a Faraday cage, this filters out all of the electromagnetic spectrum, which means that radio broadcasts don't make it to the device. In this case it is much more likely that any voice which is heard is a result of paranormal contact.
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"If it's too good to be true, it usually is."
Ste, The Ouija Brothers
Do Spirit Boxes Really Work?
Ste and Griff are undecided. While they've caught some very impressive evidence using this sort of device they remain skeptical and rational. Ste said in his video, "we know there's a possibility that it could just be radio interference."
He explains, "a lot of the time when we do these spirit box sessions, you'll ask the questions most of the time you do get radio talk and none of it makes sense, but sometimes you can get lucky and you can get a response through the radio that can be linked to your question."
Ste likens spirit boxes to the way a psychic medium works. "They throw so much stuff at you," he says, but they have a low hit rate as most of what they say is irrelevant, a 'miss'. "But sometimes," Ste continues, "they will get something that is relevant and most of the times it's that one thing that sticks with the person's mind" while the person receiving the reading disregards all the other things the medium got wrong.
This is the same as a spirit box. After most questions the paranormal investigator asks there will be some kind of radio noise or interference, this is a 'miss' and it's forgotten about. All the investigator remembers is the one 'hit', the one time in 100 when the response is actually relevant and seemingly intelligent.
Ste calls these 'hits' "very interesting", but is not willing to label it as "100% spirit communication," he is still aware that it could be nothing more than a good coincidence, but admits that this sort of evidence is very hard to debunk.
As with other forms of audio spirit communication, you should bear in mind that audio pareidolia may be playing a part in what you're hearing. This is where the mind simply hears what it expects to hear. It's always a good idea to record the audio you capture, either with a digital audio recorder, a video camera or phone camera.
When reviewing the session you'll need to use headphones, rather than the small and inadequate speakers in the recording device itself. However, the best way to review the audio is to transfer it on to a computer, this allows you to review the audio in greater detail. You can use free audio editing software like Audacity to boost the audio level and hear responses more clearly.
If you do hear a voice in your recording, it's best to isolate the answer from the question and play it to someone out of context for a second opinion. Ste does this by playing the clips to his girlfriend who is not present on the investigations. If the second person reviewing the audio hears the same thing as you without the context of the question then this reduces the likelihood of audio pareidolia and strengthens your evidence.
The Ouija Brothers' Best Evidence
Ste admits that the best tools you can have to capture evidence of the paranormal is a camera and your own senses, but he sill has no plans to drop spirit boxes from their investigations any time soon, due to the quality of evidence that Ste and Griff have previously caught using this method.
Although the reliability of spirit boxes is unknown, Ste says that "the paranormal, it's all theories, it's all experiments and [the spirit box] is just an experimental tool".
The video includes some of the Ouija Brothers' best spirit box evidence to date, including a clip of an investigation at an old church where Griff called out to the spirits and asked if God is real. A voice can clearly be heard through the spirit box that says "yeah".
At the time, a gobsmacked Griff described this as "the clearest 'yes' I've ever heard on a spirit box," but on reflection Ste isn't so convinced. He said, "at the time, when you're doing these spirit box sessions and you're in the dark and you're in the moment, your excitement can get the better of you."
After all this was just the word "yeah", a word which would be said frequently on the radio, a fact Ste is fully aware of. He explains, "when you settle back down and when you try and look at it from more of a logical point of view, you can kind of start to think 'was that one of them times where it was just total fluke?'"
In a more impressive clip which features in the video, the voice through the spirit box not only seems to respond to the question asked, but the information given was also corroborated. The clip was shot during an investigation at Village Church Farm in Skegness.
During a séance the team asked if any spirits present could tell them their names and two clear responses are heard through the spirit box which say "James" and "Edith".
Ste remembers the night, "when we went into that property, the ladies that run it said that there's four names attached to that property". He said that at the end of the night the women asked them if they got any information through from the spirits and that "they were so shocked" by what they told them. The staff were able to confirm that the names James and Edith were two of the four that are connected with the property.
Although this evidence is more compelling, it still leaves Ste wondering "were we just lucky and those two names just got picked up on the radio at the exact same time when we asked?" It is a possibility - or was it their spirits coming through and giving them their names?
The truth is, we will never know.
More From The Ouija Brothers
Make sure you watch the whole video to hear all of Ste's thoughts on spirit boxes and be sure to follow Ste and Griff on Twitter at @theouijabros for updates on their latest videos and paranormal investigations.
The duo upload videos regularly, you can find their whole archive as well as subscribe to see new videos first at youtube.com/theouijabrothers.
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