Netflix’s “28 Days Haunted” is a horror reality series that puts theoretical aspects of the paranormal to the test in a way never seen before. The show welcomes three teams of paranormal investigators to stay in some of the most haunted places in the United States for 28 days. However, they are unaware that their participation is intended to test a theory proposed by Ed and Lorraine Warren.
While in their temporary residences, investigators attempt to uncover the secrets of the place and somehow communicate with the lingering spirits. One of the most common devices used by the groups was a spirit box that apparently allowed paranormal experts to talk to supernatural entities. Naturally, people are curious to know more about this technological device, and we are here to respond in the same way!
What is a Spirit Box?
Belief in the paranormal has always been strong in the public. Throughout history, people have come up with different methods of trying to somehow communicate with supernatural entities. Ouija boards and seances have captivated believers as they seem to give humans the ability to speak with ghosts. As the world advanced in electricity-based technology, those investing in the paranormal sought new methods of establishing a conversation with the spirits.
During the 1970s, the electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) was popularized by Konstantīns Raudive. According to the Latvian parapsychologist, paranormal entities could communicate with humans through machines that generate white noise, which includes static noise. The concept clarifies that supernatural entities can use such devices to create short words or phrases that humans would be able to understand.
The machines are based on the idea that spirits can influence EMF waves (electric and magnetic fields) and can therefore manipulate electrical signals to convey their message through voice. While many see this as a step forward in paranormal investigation, some can’t help but be skeptical of the process. Frank Sumption, a paranormal expert, developed a concept based on the EVP’s pre-existing devices. He created another machine called Frank’s Box, Ghost Box or Spirit Box, which uses a white noise generator and an AM radio receiver.
Essentially, the device generates noise as it passes through different AM radio channels. Spirits can use audio clips from radio broadcasts to convey their message to the person listening to the spirit box. Frank made about 180 pieces of the device, and only about 90 of his original Spirit boxes still exist. Although other versions of the device are readily available in the market.
Is the Spirit Box real?
Like almost anything paranormal, the authenticity of a Spirit Box comes down to a person’s belief system. For those who are sold on the concept of the afterlife and ghosts, a Spirit Box can be seen as a way to establish a connection with the supernatural. One of the main reasons for the popularity of the Ouija board is that anyone could use it to communicate with people in the afterlife and get answers. A Spirit Box is essentially a technological version of the same that harnesses the energy manipulation abilities of paranormal spirits.
On the other hand, many consider the idea of communicating with ghosts via white noise generators and Spirit Boxes a hoax. Several scientists believe that coherent words and phrases heard through white and static noise are due to auditory pareidolia, where people tend to interpret random sounds as words from their own language. The fact that such random words seem to form a cohesive story is conceived as a phenomenon called apophenia, where a person connects unrelated information to create a cohesive narrative.
The use of AM radio channels adds another layer of disbelief for many doubters. They believe that browsing through random AM radio channels is bound to generate audio snippets, and any word or phrase that skips in the process is just a coincidence. In short, for those who don’t believe in the paranormal, the responses generated by a Spirit Box and the story that seems to unfold through it is a combination of a desire to believe, a marvel of human imagination and the result of the power of suggestion.
Since their inception, Spirit Boxes have become popular among paranormal investigators and those with even a bit of curiosity about the field. Video games such as “Phasmophiabia” use a Spirit Box as a player usable device with its own rules and regulations. Even shows, movies, and internet content use these devices for entertainment. However, the real answer to whether or not a Spirit Box communicates with the paranormal depends more on a person’s perception of the whole process.
Read more: Ed and Lorraine Warren’s 28-day cycle theory, explained