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Using Alternate Light Spectrums for Paranormal Investigations

The light we see is known as "white light". It's really a combination of all visible colors of the spectrum. "Visible" being the key word. The total light spectrum is much larger than what we see. In fact visible light is only a tiny fraction of the entire spectrum.

Visible light is part of what is knows as the Electromagnetic Spectrum. The spectrum starts with longer wave/lower frequency light on the left side which includes the infra red lights, radar, FM/AM and television signals followed by the narrow section of humanly with the naked eye visible light, through to the shorter wave/higher frequency ultra violet lights, X-Rays and Gamma Rays on the right end of the spectrum Yes, radio, television and radiation are all part of the same electromagnetic spectrum as visible light (they all forms of light, just that we can't see it with the naked eye).

Below are two diagrams that represent the full range of the EM spectrum:

Electro Magnetic Spectrum of Light


Another representation of the EM Spectrum


It has long been theorized that entities, spirits, ghosts etc may be more visible in other light spectrums than the normal narrow range of visible light.

Infrared Light

Infrared (IR) light has long been used for night vision video cameras. IR light is invisible to the human eye so it does not disrupt a location the way shining a bright flash or search light would. It also doesn't effect investigator's night vision (that's why we also use red filters on our flash lights as much as possible). Camcorders and DVR cameras usually come with built-in IR illuminators and additional higher power illuminators can be purchased. Night vision viewers, monoculars and binoculars also usually have IR illuminators built-in. There are also IR film cameras but they require special film and processing, and is generally more expensive and complex to operate.

IR light is often confused with heat/thermal imaging. They two separate things. While heat is a form of IR light, an IR camera is designed to see the light not the thermal and visa versa. Also, colors seen in IR can be very different from visible light. For example, what appears black in visible light is usually bright white in IR. And IR has an element of "x-ray vision". Some materials that do well to be opaque to visible light are transparent in the IR spectrum.

LIPI investigator viewed in normal visible light.
LIPI investigator Paul Guarino as seen in normal visible light
during a recent investigation at Katie's of Smithtown.


LIPI investigator viewed in infrared IR light.
LIPI investigator Paul Guarino as seen in infrared IR light through our DVR system
at the same location during the same investigation.
Notice the differences in the view between visible (picture above) and IR light! (this picture)

Probably because of the easily obtained IR cameras and illuminators paranormal investigators have been using IR for years in their research. Many good images and video of potentially haunted or paranormal activities has been documented with IR light. The main draw back to using IR light is that it takes a really large IR illuminator to fully illuminate a big area. And IR cameras are very sensitive to small objects. Dust, pollen etc are frequently seen on IR cameras and can easily be mistake for orbs.


Ultra Violet Light

UV (aka "black light") light hasn't received much review in paranormal research, probably because it isn't as easy to generate and use as built-in IR illuminators. Some paranormal investigators have reported that certain brands of night vision camcorders are very sensitive to UV light. It has been reported that using a UV light source with the camera in night vision/night/shot mode illuminates much better then in regular IR night vision/shot mode. To date, however, we have not seen any significant improvement in collecting paranormal evidence by using UV light instead of IR light. Further research is being conducted.

TAPS headquarters in Warwick, RI
Brian Harnois and Paul Donovan give LIPI members a tour of TAPS headquarters
and exchange approaches for paranormal investigations and equipment use.

During Long Island Paranormal Investigator's first meeting with TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) the topic of IR verses UV light was discussed with TAPS investigator Brian Harnois. Brian told LIPI that TAPS had experimented with UV light for paranormal photography and videography during their ghost investigations. He said they too found little evidence that UV worked better than IR. Interestingly though, he did say that when investigating cases of alleged demonic hauntings TAPS found that UV light acted as a barrier to the demonic entity; The entity seemed to avoid crossing doorways and threshholds that were illuminated with UV light. Brian said research on this is continuing. (Click Here for further information about LIPI meeting with TAPS)

TAPS headquarters in Warwick, RI
LIPI members Jaiem, Cheryl, Mike and Mo with Paula Donovan and Brian Harnois
in the lower level area of TAPS headquarters in Warwick, RI.



Based on research and discussions it appears that entities, ghosts, spirits etc. are more sensitive to being seen in IR light than UV light. This is in line with another theory that ghosts move very quickly through our space. A high speed object would be better illuminated with a low frequency/long wave light source than a high frequency/short wave source. It is also possible that whatever the composition of ghosts is (including ectoplasm) is more sensitive to reflecting IR light.

Additional research and investigation on this subject is being conducted by LIPI and other paranormal investigators.

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