A coworker of mine just returned from a vacation in L.A., where she took a ghost hunting tour of the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary is this really cool historic ocean liner docked in Long Beach. It has restaurants, bars, and apparently ghosts inside of it. While on the tour, my coworker said that some paranormal investigators had recently been on a tour and brought monitoring equipment, mostly EMF and KII detectors.
A few of the other people on the tour said that they’d downloaded Ghost Radar to their phones and were using it right then, and that according to their radars, the Queen Mary was practically lousy with ghosts.
“What is Ghost Radar?” I asked my coworker.
“It’s an app, see?” and she showed me her phone. I was indeed looking at a radar, a green-on-black circular Doppler-looking thing with nonsensical numeric readouts at all corners. “It measures energy in the room and tells you if there are any ghosts present.”
“What, like it detects electricity and sound?”
“No, it measures other energy,” she said.
“What other energy?”
“I don’t know, but it works.”
Then she showed me her phone again, and if it and Ghost Radar are to be believed, Conference Room 4 in my office is crazy haunted. Of course, I don’t believe her phone or Ghost Radar, which is not to say I don’t believe in ghosts at all, just that I don’t believe there are any in our conference room, and I certainly don’t believe that anything in her phone would be able to detect whatever it is Ghost Radar is supposed to find. But the app was free, so I got it. Of course. What, do you think I’m allergic to fun?
I did some research on Ghost Radar online, and by “research” I mean read comment threads by people who probably believe in guardian angels and unicorn boners, and then other comment threads by mobile technology engineers. Unsurprisingly, the first comment threads claimed that Ghost Radar was entirely accurate. The second comment threads broke the phones down into complicated parts and descriptions of math-y things I didn’t understand, but basically said the app was a random, blip-generating game and that was it. Which is what I expected. But like I said, free.
An app is useless if you’re not using it, so once I got home from work, I decided to start testing Ghost Radar in my house. You know, to see if my phone thought it was haunted, and if so, which rooms were more haunted than others. I should tell you up front that I grew up in a legitimately haunted house or, more accurately, in a legitimately haunted family. So I do believe in ghosts (or at least a version of them) but because it was always so normal to me, I’m still very skeptical of most people who claim to have experienced them. I’d say that I have more faith in hysteria and the effects in can produce in a person than I do in actual ghosts, meaning that while paranormal activity is not completely off the table, most of the people invested in it are entirely full of shit and partly in it for a) money and/or b) attention. Also, I have never had an experience in this current house that would lead me to consider a haunting. But like I said, free.
My first radar reading was taken in my dining room. Below are the two most common readouts viewed over a period of about two and a half minutes. The image on the left displays a red blip at the very bottom, which, if I’m looking at my phone, is about where I sit. The image on the right is kind of where the ceiling fan is. Verdict: probably no ghosts.
If you’re wondering about the numbers and words and shit, according to Ghost Radar, “The energy you are detecting can also try communication with you through the scrolling letters. The letters on the bottom right of the screen are an interpretation of certain readings from the flux. An intelligent energy should be able to influence the letters and communicate with you.”
Oh, great. So either I’m reading it wrong or the “energy” is a dumbass. Undaunted, I moved to the living room:
Again, I monitored for about two and a half minutes. The image on the left came after about a minute and a half, because before that, there was nothing. I guess the red blip at the bottom is me again, so maybe I’m haunted? Sounds about right. The image on the right features a word, and because I’d turned up the volume on my phone, it spoke the word to me, too.
Oh, terrific. Listen, living room ghost, I pay rent here and you don’t. You can’t tell me what to do. You either, Ghost Radar computer game asshole.
Next was the bathroom, or rather, the doorway between the bathroom and the “hallway,” which is basically a square of hardwood floor with a smoke detector on the ceiling.
The image on the left was almost immediate. The reddish green blip would probably be where the door to the living room is, so maybe the dickbag who told me to leave was still showing up. Also, the words at the top say “March,” which makes no sense other than it’s when my mom was born. I took the image on the right not because of the green dot, but because the words at the bottom right are like someone yelling “ROOOONNNNNN!” which I think is funny.
What’s kind of strange is that while I walked from the hallway into the dining room, Ghost Radar said “root.” As you pass through the doorway, we have two collages done by our friend Tim Root on the wall. Tim’s kind of…um…strange, so it would not surprise me if he was haunted, too.
Next: bedroom. Here be demons.
Just kidding. Here be not a lot of anything except words. I can’t screenshot everything, but within the first two minutes, I heard hall, instance, enter, cabin, Dan, and energy. Also, it looks like that red blip at the bottom is back, meaning I’m probably really possessed.
There wasn’t much to see in the kitchen or back room, possibly because Graham had returned home by then and was saying “diiiiiiicks” in a spooky voice once I told him what I was doing. I did get a few readings in the basement, though, although one was probably the furnace and the other was near one of the main water lines, who shall now be known as Betsy.
The FAQs on the app try to explain the sensors already built into the iPhone and iPad for this kind of detection, but to be fair, it also works on the Samsung Galaxy and, if the engineers on the Internet are correct, a Blackberry? None of which are manufactured the same, and if we’re being critical, the FAQs are pretty poorly written, and I wouldn’t trust any sort of detection to someone who doesn’t understand grammar.
All in all, Ghost Radar is a fun toy to play with for about 20 minutes, but it’s not to be taken seriously as a paranormal activity detector or advisor in real estate (“leave,” bitch please).