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EMFs and the Paranormal:
Indicator, Cause, or Gateway?

by Bill Cogswell, CPI

Electro Magnetic Fields (EMF’s) have been a hot topic in the field of the paranormal for many years. “Ghost Hunters” and “Paranormal Investigators” have been using EMF detection devices for quite some time in order to help corroborate or rule out supposed, alleged, or real paranormal experiences. There are several different views in regards to EMF’s and their relation to the paranormal and this article will briefly outline those different theories. Before I begin, for those of you who may not understand what an electromagnetic field is, here is a brief tutorial on the subject.

An electromagnetic field is an invisible, physical field created by electrically charged objects. All electrical devices such as appliances, power lines, or even batteries, etc., will have an EMF. The higher the voltage of the appliance or electrically driven device, the higher the EMF will be. Also, the EMF of any electrical device is often present, even when the device is shut off. EMF’s also occur naturally and are one of the four fundamental forces of nature. As well, the sun constantly bombards us with electromagnetic fields. EMF’s often occur in the atmosphere when electrically charged particles are built up resulting in thunder storms. Human beings have an electromagnetic field and there is even a theory called “The electromagnetic theory of consciousness” which states that the electromagnetic field generated by the brain is the actual carrier of conscious experience. However, that is a much deeper discussion for another day.

So, as you can see electromagnetic fields are constantly surrounding us; they are part of life and something that we cannot ignore. Ok, now that we have a basic understanding of what an electromagnetic field is, let’s move on to the various theories in relation to the paranormal.


The first theory behind EMF’s and paranormal activity is that a high and unexplained EMF reading could be an indicator that something is going on that cannot be explained, such as paranormal activity. It is believed that when a spirit is manifesting it draws energy from the available electrical fields around it. By drawing on external electrical fields, that spirit would then register its own detectable EMF. These fields would of course be measured using an EMF detector.

For an EMF reading to be considered a potential indicator of paranormal activity it needs to be unexplained -meaning it didn’t come from wiring, nearby appliances, people (yes people have EMF’s as well), or another explainable reason. The investigator must also be very thorough in ruling out all other potential natural causes before considering labeling the EMF as paranormal.

Along this line of thinking, EMF readings are useful in verifying potential paranormal activity. For example, if a witness sees an apparition and a high unexplained EMF reading is taken at the same time in the same location, then that could be seen as possible verification that what the witness saw was potentially authentic. If someone is hearing unexplainable sounds and a high EMF reading is taken at the same time, then that could be an indicator of paranormal activity. Most people do not believe that a high EMF reading alone is verification of paranormal activity of course, but in conjunction with other indicators such as noises, smells, apparitions, objects moving, unexplained cold spots, etc., it can be verification of potential paranormal activity. When it comes to verification, ideally, the more indicators of a single incident, the more believable that the activity is of a paranormal nature. So, with this theory an EMF detector can help confirm whether or not a witness has observed something potentially paranormal by way of measuring unexplained EMF’s.

Many different paranormal investigation groups utilize the high EMF readings theory in conjunction with paranormal activity, which does give some credence to this line of thinking. Some of these more respected, well known individuals and groups include Loyd Auerbach, TAPS, Joshua Warren, and a host of others that are regarded by most in the field to be reputable.


Another theory on EMF’s is that perhaps the high EMF’s are the cause of the paranormal activity. In other words, there is nothing paranormal going on; it is the actual EMF that is causing the witness to experience what is perceived as paranormal.

This theory is also backed up by scientific studies involving the number of reports of paranormal activity in conjunction with EMF’s. One such study was done by Dr. Michael Persinger, Professor of Psychology at Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Persinger was inspired to conduct his study based on a previous study he was involved with. In this previous study, Dr. Persinger compared thirty seven years of haunting incidents reported in Fate magazine to geometric activity occurring on the same dates as the reported incidents. He found enough correlation between the two that he began his own study in order to further develop this theory.

In his own study he was able to duplicate similar incidents of paranormal activity by bombarding the subject’s temporal lobes with elevated electro-magnetic energy. Through his experiments he was able to prove that increased EMF exposure—even short term—can cause frontal-lobe hallucinations. Some of the reported effects of being exposed to higher-than-normal electro-magnetic energy were very similar to those of paranormal activity. The study participants reported feelings of a presence in the room, being watched, fear and general paranoia, seeing blurry dark figures out of the corners of their eyes, and hearing unexplained noises. This of course does not prove that all paranormal phenomena are caused by EMF’s, but it does prove that higher-than-normal EMF’s can produce similar effects on subjects in a laboratory, which is a big deal when it comes to science.

Dr. Persinger’s findings have also been backed up by another study called “Project Hessdalen,” which was done by a more ‘pro-paranormal’ group. This project came to similar results in regards to seeing a correlation between electromagnetic energy on the brain's temporal lobe and hallucinations of a paranormal nature. The fact that paranormal phenomena can be reproduced in a laboratory gives a lot of weight to the theory that high EMF exposure can cause seeming paranormal activity. (further research into Project Hessdalen can be found on


A third theory regarding EMF’s and the paranormal is that strong EMF’s actually act as a gateway, enabling the brain to tap into abilities that allow us to see into other dimensions. Supposedly, we only use a small percentage of our brain power and the theory is that perhaps higher EMF’s can help us in accessing that brain power in order to view information or “things” that are always around us yet unperceivable in our normal state of being. Basically stated, the effect of the EMF on the brain in relation to other dimensions/worlds is similar to using a descrambler to pick up channels on a television set that you can’t normally receive. When the brain is exposed to higher-than-normal EMF’s, we are potentially able to view these other worldly “channels.”

The backdrop to this theory is that we are possibly surrounded by other dimensions and other life forms at all times. For example, it is believed that when we pass on, our soul enters into one of these other dimensions (Heaven?). Hence, we may be able to see people or things from other dimensions which we then perceive as “ghosts.” If this is the case, then the things and people we see as “ghosts” may actually be real, just residing in another dimension or time.

In regards to seeing into other times, this could be why some people report witnessing an out of time apparition or vehicle (apparitions in period specific outfits, old cars, UFO’s, etc.). Could we be receiving signals from the past or future? If this theory were to one day prove correct, it would sure make for an interesting existence. Imagine the possible breakthroughs in communication systems!

Of course, this theory is difficult to prove either way and there is no scientific evidence to back it up at this time. Perhaps in the future, as science evolves, it will provide us the means with which to test this theory.


So, here are three theories in relation to electromagnetic fields and the paranormal. The line of thinking to which you subscribe would correspond to your own belief system. Could one of these theories be correct? Could they all be correct? Perhaps we will never know, at least not in our lifetime. However, science is evolving at an incredible rate so no doubt in the future, answers will be more attainable on this subject.


© 2007 by Bill Cogswell. All Rights Reserved. Bill Cogswell is a Certified Paranormal Investigator. He is also a paralegal in the estate planning field, a self-defense instructor, and is currently working on his degree in criminal justice. He continues to expand his knowledge of all things paranormal to help find answers, both scientific and spiritual, to paranormal phenomena.

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