The Paranormal Multimeter

I’m considering going into a DIY project to build my own multimeter designed to detect phenomenon commonly associated with the paranormal. This is in-line with my OPAR project and, hopefully, will be the first of a series of articles on the subject.

I don’t really believe in this stuff, but I do have friends that do. Occasionally they would ask me to build something similar so they can take one on their “ghost hunts”.  I used to live next door to a cemetery for many years and never once saw a ghost. But in the interest of science, I’m willing to suspend disbelief and wade in with an open mind.

I’ve seen similar devices being sold for ungodly amounts of money. If you’re going to blow that amount of cash on something like this, you might as well put one together yourself. Rather than let everyone get ripped off, I thought I’d look into how these things actually work so everyone can build one of their own (far superior) device using publicily available schematics and easily obtainable parts. I’m not going to get all super fancy with this, but it will be a decent effort to build a functional yet semi-sophisticated device.

Think bar graphs, not digital readouts.

So what is it that we should be detecting?
Since this will be a “multimeter” for paranormal investigations, it should incorporate more than one type of sensor. For this device, there should be an EMF detector, Ion meter(+/-), air pressure/sound meter, and temprature gauge.

Electromagnetic Fields

Ah yes! What ghost hunt wouldn’t be complete without the proverbial EMF detector? Well the (in)famous K-II meter you see being sold everywhere is just that. An EMF detector inside a cheesey plastic case.

Behold! The bane of poltergeists everywhere...

Behold! The bane of poltergeists everywhere!

Why is it so popular?
It’s supposed to be idiot-proof. Also a ghost from the 1800 or so may find it easy to use as well. Just by walking (or floating) up to it, the LED’s will light up giving a clear reaction to its actions. With the LED’s lighting up clearly, there’s little doubt there is a presence in the vicinity.

And that’s about it… There’s no other benefit in using the K-II vs any other garden variety EMF detector. In fact, you may be better off using a garden variety one as those tend to be much cheaper, more precise in indications and generally feature better construction. But that’s your call.

Sound/Air Pressure

One of the often mentioned symptoms of a paranormal event is the feeling of stuffy or heavy air. I figured if the air pressure actually rises or fluctuates, it can be measured to some degree. It can also double as a sound meter as Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) events tend to be present in recording devices, but not heard by the investigators. If this is the case, then a sound level meter can pinpoint the exact moment such an event takes place.

For the sake of simplicity, I won’t be incorporating a recording mechanism to the sound. Merely a sound level meter.


I’m sure you’ve seen the “Ionic Breeze” commecials all over the place. Well, it does generate ions, but this is a side-effect of the high voltage grid used to trap debris and pollution. The difference in voltage causes the air to ionise in the process as well.

Negative ions are supposed to be good for you and positive ions detrimental. I don’t know how much of this is hype and how much real science, but for paranormal purposes, both should be monitored… apparently. Seriously, I’m just repeating what I’ve been told by my ghost hunting friends.

Of course, if you do have one of these ionic filters at home or have a purpose built negative ion generator for health reasons, you should turn it off and wait a while before embarking on your investigation.


COLD SPOTS are what every ghost hunter should be conscious of whenever embarking on an investigation.

Apparently, a ghost or spirit will “darw energy from the surrounding environment trying to manifest itself, thereby reducing the temprature”. Or there may be a breeze which would have the same effect, but that’s why you shouldn’t rely on gadgets alone.


I’ll need to place all the components in something. The obvious choice is a project box.

I chose the Hammond 1593Y(PDF) series because it has a nice flat top to work with as well as standoffs for dual circuit boards. I’m thinking of placing all the displays on the upper circuit board and instrument components in the lower one. The battery compartment is also a nice plus so you don’t have to take it apart to change the cell.

Now I’m off to hunt down some schematics and components… Wish me luck!


16 thoughts on “The Paranormal Multimeter

  1. See, I’ve always deduced that if something is “paranormal”, that would imply it doesn’t obey the laws of science/physics/chemistry/etc that everything else in the physical universe is bound to, hence I never understood how EM detectors and ion gradients and air pressure measurements would be able to procure concrete proof of the existence of the paranormal.

    Though as an interesting caveat, if we can “see” ghosts, that obviously shows they emit electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum, and implies they probably emit EM in other frequencies, too.

    But again, if this is the paranormal we’re talking about, couldn’t those visible apparitions just as easily be figments implanted in our minds by the apparitions themselves? Obviously that would also require a biochemical stimulation to create the correct image, but it would be done through means utterly unscientific and, from my understanding, undetectable by our instruments that are so intrinsically shackled to the laws we purport our universe obeys.

    …does any of that make sense? Those are just my rambling intuitions on the topic. I thought Ghostbusters was an amazing movie :P

    • Aaaarrgh! Now I need an Asprin! :P

      The only reason I went with these areas to be monitored is because those are the most commonly associated hallmarks of the paranormal.

      Sudden electrical anomalies (fully charged batteries dying, lights flickering), ion disturbance (feeling a tingling sensation or static electrical charge), ambient air pressure changes (feeling heavy or uncomfortable, ears popping), temprature changes etc… If these can be felt, maybe they can be measured. It’s not so much the paranormal these sensors are designed to detect, but actual changes in the environment that are allegedly caused by “ghosts”.

      So it’s not the “ghosts” themselves it detects, but the “footprints” of a ghost.

      Maybe a ghost has no EM field at all. Maybe it’s the presence alone that causes the air to be charged. Only one way to find out.

  2. Pingback: Gadgets for Detecting Ghosts « The Universe Exists for My Amusement

  3. Eksith,
    save yourself the time and money: just leave some heavy chains lying about in your attic.

    You’ll know they’re there when you hear them rattling away like mad!

  4. Hey, I was out for almost a week and here you are talking about paranormal gadgets. It is possible though. Why not? Right? What causes the phenomenon – – the souls of our ancestors? the Dead? Casper is cool too. Thanks for giving life to my blog.

  5. “Ah, but then what of strong gusts of wind?
    Or mice?
    Or mischievous humans?”

    Well all those things are obviously under the control of the ghosts in the first place.
    You don’t expect a ghost to be able to lift heavy chains all by itself without taking some solid form fist, do you?

    Such crazy thoughts…!

    ” @ultimoAdios -What causes the phenomenon – – the souls of our ancestors? the Dead? Casper is cool too.”

    – Casper? Cool?
    He’s probably the most uncool ghost ever!

  6. Pingback: What kept me? « This page intentionally left ugly

    • In the works! ;)

      Right now I have two jobs and evening classes, so it’s on the back burner, but I’ve slowly been getting the parts necessary to assemble it.

      Meanwhile, I pulled my hobby table out of storage so as soon as that’s set up, I can begin assembly.

      I plan to release all the circuit board diagrams, assembly instructions etc… right here.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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