While sitting with Britt and Amy from TAPS on the top floor of the Wolfe Manor, I watched as these amazing devices reacted to the slightest touch. While the results were not clear for that investigation, I've been on enough hunts where we've heard footsteps and experienced wall knocks that I knew I'd eventually need some mean of detecting these things with a visual cueing system like this. I do think they can work but a team needs to use a lot of care in deployment and have rules in place to dictate the use of the geophone on a case. More on this later in the article.
A geophone is a device for measuring seismic vibrations. The large sensor has enough mass inside it to freely move a potentiometer or coil based device to then provide a signal to the electronics that amplify and record the signal in some form or another. They are not new to the world but they are new in paranormal research.
I had no idea of where to procure one, but decided it had to be some sort of relatively easy circuit build with a massive vibration sensor of some sort.
Then, today, I decided to do a show about paranormal research with Geophones and saw an article with a link to a kit that is probably the ultimate easy-build! BGMicro has the kits in stock and I immediately ordered one.
I've got a fully equipped electronics bench, so it will be pretty simple to build the kit. The photo shows that the circuit is a very simple board with a few components, an IC chip and one very massive sensor. I'm going to put mine in a very slick enclosure for field work and use with video investigations.
We're going to do a show on Geophones in October and will discuss their construction, the potential uses of them and to talk turkey with guests who have had use of them in the field.
A great article and video on building your own was done recently on the Denver Paranormal Examiner by Alejandro Rojas and we include the link and video here for your enjoyment..
TAPS looks to be using the same circuit as Alejandro used and it seems that BG Micro has a winner of a kit on it's hands. The cost is very reasonable, about $30 and one of the easier kit builds you can do for homemade paranormal gear. Britt's video on Youtube is shown below and you'll see the BG Micro kit in this video:
I liked TAPS approach with the big metal base for their device. I'm inclined to test a range of materials to see what is easy to work with and can be fit into my already crowded bag of tricks when I hunt. I think a metal block would do well to secure the instrument to the floor but a rubber or plastic brick of some sort might also do as well. We'll detail our construction in this article when the kit arrives and we start work on it.
I'll detail the construction of mine in this article as an addendum and Youtube video later on when we get the kit. Using a geophone on a paranormal investigation
I've decided on a protocol for using geophones during a case. Due to their extreme sensitivity, they can be prone to picking up vibrations from just about anything near a case investigation. So I've come up with a checklist for using one so evidence collected is good and dependable.
- There can be no more than two investigators nearby when the device is in use. Preferably, the device should be in a lock-off situation with no-one nearby.
- Audio and video camera (trained on the GeoPhone) MUST be used in conjunction with the Geophone. The audio is used to correlate the video and track what the investigator was doing at the time.
- Investigators should be wearing sneakers and soft shoes.
- No use of the Geophone in a busy neighborhood, near highways or during thunderstorms.
- It is probably best to use these devices far away from cities or civilization. So cases involving country locations or similar are the best spots.
For more information on Geophones, I'm including some additional content:
Other ideas for geophones and the paranormal
Some ideas come to mind with all of this. For example:
- A counter to track how many hits have taken place would be nice.
- Audio would be nice. Something in a gradually raised tone as the LEDs light up in strength.
- A recording system. Some means of grabbing the output as an indexed reference and tracking this against time marks to get a feel for noise versus time over some programmed interval (and a means such as USB) to dump it to a computer.
More to come with the actual build of ours when it comes in. And, we'll be looking for folks to interview and talk about their use of Geophones in paranormal research...