Article By: Josh Light
Last week I talked about the creation and testing of a Fear Machine (or non-localized transient inducer.) What I failed to suggest is the existence of ‘fear machines’ or ‘fear cages’ that occur through a feat of bad wiring, inopportune location, or other odd quirk. So what’s a paranormal investigator to do when investigating such spots? Break out the tin foil hats, of course!
A few years back we were working on a case called “The Sickness,” in which the client and family members became ill whenever they were home. The client had initially talked to another group, GPPS, who suggested to us that the problem might be either carbon monoxide poisoning or EMF. Having worked with the group once before (“Underground Railroad” case), we saw this investigation as an excellent testing ground for a few experiments. Some of the carbon monoxide testing was shown in the episode (thanks to my friend Stef, former employee at Industrial Scientific, and Bruce Thomas the very thorough home inspector at A-Z Tech), but the EMF testing was left by the wayside.
In short, the EMF levels were horrible in the house. There was also a slower frequency component—the EMF meter ‘pulsed’ about twice a second—in an area that was known to have high levels of paranormal activity. This could have been a coincidence rather than a correlation. We needed to see what would happen if the levels of EMF were reduced in that particular area. We needed a guinea pig, a willing sacrifice on the altar of science.
We needed Heather Taddy.
Everyone in PRS seemed to be afflicted with something during this case. Dizziness, incoherent thought, headaches, and nausea all plagued the group. So any of us could have volunteered, but it seemed as though Taddy felt the brunt of it. So we set to build a Faraday cage to test whether or not EMF was a contributing factor.
A Faraday cage is, more or less, a box that blocks EMF. With the foresight gleaned from GPPS, we had started to build one the day before we left for the sickness. Materials list is fairly short: 16 4′ pieces of PVC pipe, 8 5.5′, 24 PVC elbows, 6 solar blankets, 5′ of bare wire, 4.5′ X 40′ aluminum mesh, a ground extension cord, a few dozen zip ties, and a bit of black spray paint—for panache.
Spray paint the pipes and elbows. Next assemble four 4′ X 5.5 sides out of the pipes and elbows. Now assemble the two 4′ by 4′ sides. Cover each frame in aluminum screen with at least a 3 inch overlap. Secure these to the frames with zip ties. Use sections of wire to hinge the four 4′ X 5.5′ tall walls together (with the 5.5 foot sections parallel), leaving the fourth side open for access (for a total of three connecting points.) Cover all four sides with solar blankets in a continuous fashion—no gaps or holes—with the exception of the unhinged portion of the frame. Secure all blankets with tape. Cover the two 4′ X 4′ sections.
Transport the cage to the location of your choice. Place one 4′ X 4′ section on the floor. Place four sections atop this base. Top with remaining 4′ X 4′ side. Using one wall of the Faraday cage as a door, a test subject can be admitted to the space. Tape all remaining gaps and attach the ground wire of the extension cord to the cage. Remove all pins on the cord plug other than ground. A note of caution: verify that the ground of the location is correct BEFORE PLUGGING IN the electrical cord. If you are unsure of how to do this, please consult with an electrician for safety or DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PROJECT.
Probably should have said that at the beginning, I suppose.
Plug in the cord and confirm that your victim is not being electrocuted. In our case, Taddy was doing just fine. As the gaps were filled, she slowly lost phone service—a telltale sign that the cage was working properly—and, after a few minutes, she began to feel better. Huzzah! Of course, we needed a control for the test as well. As such, we placed Katrina in a chair next to the Faraday cage. As a result, she soon developed a headache that we were able to attribute to EMF. Such is the price for science.
Unfortunately, there were some side effects. The cage is composed of solar blankets on all sides. As a result, it quickly became quite stuffy inside. In addition, there wasn’t much in the way of fresh air coming through, making long term experiments something of an issue. Then there’s the psychological aspect: it’s rather difficult to have a blind study in a Faraday cage between the sight and sound of it.
While this seems to have worked rather well, I encourage others to build a Faraday cage for themselves and field test it. This is just one data point—we need many more to determine just how effective it is and how it can be best utilized on an investigation.
Want to see the Faraday cage in action? Visit the membersprs YouTube channel: