Welcome to Ghost Rider Investigations Tuesday, May 28 2024 @ 06:55 pm UTC

GRI Broadcast Studio Evolution: Early 2010 report

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Articles The GRI broadcast studios continue to evolve. I write these articles to help benefit others who do podcasting or, as I do, use BlogTalkRadio with Skype to host their shows.

In the last article, I described how I was using a cell phone to dial into the show and then dialed into the show via Skype on the broadcast computer as a call-in. That Skype computer is specially tuned to handle broadcast of Skype from the lessons learned from a great tutorial on the subject:


This single article made it possible for us to change the entire way we did broadcast on BlogTalkRadio. Between that and the acquisition of a Belkin Desktop Skype phone, we experienced a complete revolution in the way we do our shows.

We recently made some changes in our dial in process as our lessons learned have gone forward. The current process for dialing in and setting up the show is as follows:
  1. Dial in on the Belkin Desktop phone. Mute the phone and turn down the volume. Place the handset on a towel to muffle any noise.
  2. On Blogtalkradio, mute the host mic for good measure (via the switchboard).
  3. Dial in from the broadcast computer.
  4. Answer the call in via the switchboard.
  5. Showtime T-1 minute, turn down the mixer input for mic and go into audio isolation and let the show start.
  6. Away we go!

The Blue Dot controversy

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Articles On May 31st, 2009 GRI visited the Gold Hill Hotel to investigate that reputedly haunted location along with downtown Virginia City and the surrounding area. We were not disappointed at the EVPs we picked up and odd personal experiences.

One of the reports we got from our investigators surrounded a sighting of a blue orb that came out of the Yellow Jacket Mine and which traveled around the Miner's Cabin and towards the Gold Hill Hotel we were guests of.

Only ten minutes before that point in the investigation, I had seen a half-torso apparition follow the same exact course as the two investigators who had seen the blue orb. It was a very fast sighting and it moved with unearthly speed. It was disturbing to see half a body running with no top half, but this does seem to be a fairly constant thing in paranormal investigations and sightings of ghosts. Sometimes these spirits may not have enough energy to fully manifest and thus appear only in pieces to us.

Switch to 2010. I was busy today, finalizing some uploads and was looking at some of the photos from the May 2009 trip and noticed something odd in one of the pictures. In a zoomed image, I spotted what appeared to be a blue light in one of the images, where one should not be. The image above is the root picture from which that photo came from.

The Truckee Hotel Investigations of October and November 2009

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Articles In late 2009, GRI took on one of our largest challenges to date with double investigation of what has become our standard training location for investigators; The Truckee Hotel.

Tim Tonachella, the Manager of the Truckee Hotel, invited GRI to come out and do a full-scale investigation of the Truckee Hotel over the course of two investigations in October and November of 2009.

So, we loaded up the GRI Mustang and our investigators, Jon Almada and Renee Martine for the first set of investigative work and then with Jon once again along with Spencer Hughes and Kevin Gilligan for the second investigation.

Our first arrival brought us to a very beautiful structure with quaint rooms that have atmosphere that is undeniable. And we found the hotel staff to be friendly and willing to talk now and again about their haunt.

Over the course of the two investigations, we found that the hotel had an amazing amount of residual EVP activity as well as what we believe to be intelligent haunts (responses to questions in a fashion only attributable to an intelligent entity).

The Paranormal Night Before Christmas

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Articles I humbly submit my version of this classic poem and also bid all of you the Merriest of Christmas holidays! -- Jon at GRI...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the haunted house

Not a friggen ghost was stirring, not even a dead mouse;

The evp recorders were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that the Ghost Hunters would catch spirits hanging out there;

The TAPS Hunters were nestled all snug in investigative dread,

While visions of pegged EMFs danced in their heads;

So Grant in his breaker and Jason with his hat,

Had just settled down for a long investigation nap (in the van of course),

A better way to deploy cameras and videos

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Articles Having a 4 channel DVR and the ability to cover fairly large establishments with video and audio resources means lugging lots of gear to and from a site. So anything that will cut down on the size of equipment needed to support the mission is a good thing.

When Spencer, one of our members here at GRI showed me his new portable HD camera, I knew I had to come up with a portable solution that could fit in a shoulder pack to make deployment of cameras and video units for unattended shooting a reality.

November Electronics Project for GRI - Franks Box with one bent pin at $30

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Articles It doesn't get any easier than this. A new piece of gear for the ghost-hunting toy box. I went out on the Radio Shack site and ordered model# 12-587, an AM-FM radio for $30 that can, with one bent pin on a connector, be converted to sweep stations on AM or FM to operate as a Franks Box.

So this is our project for November. For the winter months, I'll run about one or two of these how-to articles a month and share my own experiences with the build for all of you.

For this receiver, which I received on Friday, November 6'th, I had one screwdriver and a single pair of needle nose pliers. It turned out to be all I needed to make the modication. The bending of the single pin to the left (from my view of it) that inhibits the "stop on station detect" was so easy that I had the entire modification done in ten, count 'em, ten minutes.

The next trick is to integrate the audio output of the radio to record to a digital recorder. There are a couple of options. For one, just letting the radio sound record through the air to a digital recorder is one option. The disadvantage is that any subtle message might be lost with other noises completing for attention.

Another way would be for the recorder to be patched into the input of a digital recorder at the same time as a microphone with a Y-connector stereo mini cable.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2404397 to see one of these. This would provide the means to use a microphone input from a computer microphone. Directional mics are better for this kind of thing if you can find one. Amazon has one from Cyber Acoustics for about 4 bucks or you can find them at garage sales or in your junk drawer.

The two items can be patched into the input of the recorder and then you just need either headphones or an amplified speaker to complete the arrangement to listen to the output. Make sure to keep the amplified speaker far away from the mic so there is no feedback.

Testing and using the hacked radio for EVP work

I will test and post some EVP sessions using this hacked radio during November and post the results here. If you make the same modification and wish to discuss it and your results, feel free to comment on this article. I expect to have a test set of EVP runs done by mid-November.

How to do the modification for yourself

Visit this YouTube video for the full skinny on how to do the modification:


For an actual session with this very radio hack, see:


Reference Article on using the TriField Meter

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Articles I own an "original" model TriField (TM) meter made by AlphaLabs in Utah. These are amazingly sensitive devices and employ some sophisticated circuitry to do the job they do. As is the case with most of the tools in a ghost hunter's bag of tricks, we often press technologies meant for one purpose to use in another out of sheer necessity and by virtue of the fact that the tool WORKS when detecting paranormal phenomena.

As I'm still learning to use my meter, I thought it wise to collect, in one place, as much information as possible about the use of these meters in paranormal research along with a "How-To" for the average investigator. I'm also putting specifications from the manufacturer into the article so there is one complete source to look to. Always check the sources for new and more recent information just to be sure but do know we will try to keep this article updated over time.

So we'll cover a short history of the device, it's uses and then get right into the "How-To" for our intended purposes. At the end of the article, we'll provide specifications and reference data direct from the manufacturer web sites ( with links ).

First off, let's look at a video with a nice "How-To" and background on the TriField meter:


The Natural meter is covered here:


I am uncertain as to this date if the magnetic or electric field on the original trifield is the correct setting to use for detecting a haunt. The "Natural" model uses a "sum" setting to bring both inputs into one simple measurement but I think the original model would be best used in the magnetic at the zero-3 milligauss setting for paranormal research. I'm hoping to stand corrected by some knowing source out there so I can correct this part of the article if I am off in this assertion.

I will, for the time being try an investigation with using various settings to see how it goes and then comment more as my experiences progress.

A nice article on the capabilities of the TriField meter is provided below (Note, this refers to the "Natural" meter which is similar to the original model. There are some differences in capabilities, but they are made by the same manufacturer. This content comes from http://www.trifieldmeter.com and we recommend visiting their site to see their very complete and well-written information on the Tri-Field Natural meter:

The TriField Natural EM Meter detects changes in extremely weak static (or natural") electric and magnetic fields. It signals with both a tone and the movement of a needle-type gauge if either the electric or magnetic field changes from previous levels. A radio and microwave detector is also included, which reads radio power directly if any transmitters are nearby. Since man-made AC electric and magnetic fields are very common and could interfere with readings of static fields, the meter has been designed to ignore the AC fields of power lines, appliances, etc.

This meter was designed to satisfy the need for natural field measurements in specialized research areas. It can detect "geomagnetic storms" caused by unusual solar activity interacting with the ionosphere (which results in rapid changes of up to 10% in the Earth's magnetic field), as well as the electrical activity of ordinary thunder storms. Ball lightning should in theory be associated with a strong magnetic field, and magnetization of metal has been reported with some UFO sightings. When set on MAGNETIC, the Natural EM Meter will signal the movement of any strong magnetic source in the sky, even if the sky is cloudy or the source dips behind a hill. Since construction materials generally do not block magnetic fields, the meter can be placed indoors and work equally well. The built-in tone allows its use in the dark.

The meter is sensitive to changes of as little as 0.5% of the strength of the Earth's magnetic field, and the tone will sound whether the field increases or decreases. If the magnetic field then becomes stable for more than about five seconds, the tone will stop and the needle will return to zero. The meter will remain at rest until the field changes again. The threshold level, or "squelch", of the tone is adjustable. The user determines the amount of change in the magnetic field (within a 0.5 second interval) required to sound the tone. If the field changes by a threshold amount, the tone will come on at at lower pitch. If the amount of change is large, the tone will be higher.

When the dial is set to ELECTRIC, the meter is sensitive to electric fields as weak as 3 V/m (volts per meter). To illustrate just how feeble a field this is, a l0'xl0'xl0' room filled with a field of this strength has a total amount of energy equivalent to that required to lift a single grain of table salt 1/50th of an inch. Indoors, electric fields typically fluctuate 1 or 2 V/m. By setting the minimum sensitivity to change at 3 V/m, we have designed the meter to disregard this "background noise".

Human beings and animals usually emit an electric field which is easily detectable using the Natural EM Meter. In fact, the meter can be used as a motion-activated intruder alarm. It is so sensitive that it can detect the presence of a person through a wall. Though it is not foolproof in this capacity, (sometimes a person will carry NO electric charge and thus be "invisible" to the meter), its sensitivity is of interest to researchers in the field of parapsychology, especially "ghost hunters". Every type of detectable physical manifestation requires a certain amount of energy. For example, "moving air" requires the expenditure of a small amount of energy to get the air to move initially.

Below is a table showing several types of effects or fields emitted by people and objects. It also shows the minimum amount of energy required (per cubic foot of air) to set up that effect or field so that it is stronger than typical indoor "background noise" for that effect or field. Clearly the static electric field is the type that requires the least energy to be detectable.

Type of Energy Effect or Field

Type of Effect or Field

Energy Needed (watts-seconds)

Emitted by people?

Are instruments needed to detect this?

Heat 30 Yes Thermal Viewer
Moving Air 1/10,000 Yes No (can feel this)
Static Magnetic 1/20 million No Magnetic Meter
Sound 1/100 million Yes No
Light 1/1billion No No
Static Electric 1/10 billion Yes Electric Meter

End of year wind-downs... Reflections and Winter projects

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Articles I suppose that all of us would love to investigate all the time. It's not something that we can do all the time and we probably shouldn't try.

I hunted once with Barry Fitzgerald from GHI and he has this quiet way of delivering rather sweeping pronouncements in that way that only Irish or Scottish folks can do. It's a  soft spoken trait and if one listens to these folks and looks at their examples, one can learn much.

So, I'm hunting with Barry over at Clovis Sanitarium and he looks at a woman who asked if he hunted all of the time and he smiles and says "All things in balance. One cannot do too much of this".

I've come to appreciate that statement. A wise saying from a wise man. There is a cost in terms of health, wealth and other aspects of life that come with this topic.

We are mentioned in the San Francisco Examiner!

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Articles We were mentioned in the San Francisco Examiner in an article by Victoria Dennison! She did a nice article on regional investigation teams and we were the second team reviewed.

The link for the story is at:


It was nice to receive such compliments from the author and we certainly hope to hunt with her one day. I was truly surprised to see the article and will definitely thank the author for her kind words.