An Introduction to Spirit Boxes
Does the name Frank Sumption ring any bells? We’ll give you a hint: he invented one of the simplest, most straightforward, and widely used paranormal research devices available.
No, not the ouija board – the spirit box. With a spirit box, you can receive messages, from spirits and other entities, with remarkable ease.
In this spirit box guide, you will learn what a spirit box is, how it works, and why it’s one of the best paranormal research devices you can own.
What is a Spirit Box?
A spirit box, also known as a “Ghost Box” or originally as a “Frank’s Box,” is a paranormal investigation tool that serves one primary function: picking up messages from spirits and other supernatural entities.
For spirit boxes to facilitate this unusual form of communication, they must sweep through AM radio frequencies rapidly, creating a dense layer of white noise that allows communication to take place.
Purportedly, spirits and other entities can manipulate the white noise generated by the spirit box. Doing so allows intentional words and phrases to come forth. These words and phrases serve as messages from those spirits.
Even though spirit boxes rely on AM radio waves, an analog technology, most of the spirit boxes you can find are electronic.
The History of Spirit Boxes
In 1995, Frank Sumption was intrigued by an article he read in a Popular Electronics Magazine regarding electronic voice phenomena, or “EVP” for short, which refers to sounds from electronic devices. These sounds are interpreted as messages from spirits and other paranormal entities.
Just seven years later, Sumption had invented a device he called a “Frank’s Box”, which would slowly shift in the paranormal community and turn into what’s known today as a “Ghost Box” and “Spirit Box.”
Every aspect of the device’s design was inspired and directed by the spirits that Sumption had purportedly communicated with regularly. Soon after building the first spirit box, Sumption was told to give it away by the very spirits he communicated.
To give it away and, then, to build many more.
Sumption would go on to give the spirit boxes only to those worthy enough to “hear the voice.” Sumption’s intuition and guiding communications from the spirits determined the worthiness of a particular individual.
In August of 2014, Frank Sumption passed away from a heart attack. Sumption had built and given away 180 spirit boxes by his passing. Many of these devices have been lost or destroyed. The total number of the original spirit boxes in existence is unknown, though, today 97 of them are accounted for and owned by collectors and dedicated paranormal investigators.
Spirit boxes are relatively simple, easy-to-replicate devices. As this is the case, you can find a wide variety of spirit boxes for sale online, as well as alternative smartphone apps that perform a similar function.
Required Skills for Using Spirit Boxes
Out of the many paranormal research devices available, spirit boxes are one of the most straightforward tools to operate, with a shallow learning curve to get started. They often require very little knowledge and resources to work, such as ensuring a simple power source (batteries).
There are, of course, several additional settings and functions that investigators can manipulate based on specific devices, but there are many simple forms of spirit boxes. Many of these devices work with “out of the box” settings, allowing you to receive messages from the spirits just by simply turning on the device.
Of course, the more advanced devices you choose will dictate the difficulty of operation. In these cases, there is almost always a user manual paired with each device, so with a little education, you’ll be on your way to obtaining the necessary skills.
Paranormal Usage of Spirit and Ghost Boxes
Spirit boxes are pretty popular with paranormal investigators. They assist in the quest to collect evidence of paranormal entities and are one of many tools in a paranormal investigators toolbox.
Investigators will listen closely to the words and phrases breaking through the dense layer of white noise that the spirit box outputs. In many cases, they will use additional recording devices to capture the sounds as evidence for post-analysis.
It’s not difficult to find example videos on popular television shows, movies, and even websites like YouTube, where people showcase experimenting with spirit boxes and receiving communications. In this vein, the spirit boxes you’ll find have evolved further from Sumption’s initial designs, adding more experimental features.
Why do Paranormal Investigators Spirit Boxes?
One could say that the sheer accessibility and simplicity of operating spirit boxes are to blame. No matter who you are, you can use a spirit box and, in doing so, receive messages thought to be paranormal.
The messages you can receive, with a spirit box, are, for the most part, spoken words and phrases that can have direct meaning and correlation to prompts. You can also receive pure sounds, but these are less reliable and clear than words and phrases.
You can find variations of the spirit box concept on smartphone app stores. However, many of these apps rely on the same basic design and, as such, allow you to receive sounds.
Some of these apps also allow you to receive written words and phrases, though, which are often easier to decipher than sounds masked by a cacophony of white noise.
The accessibility of spirit boxes, combined with the relative clarity of the communication they facilitate, has made them very popular with paranormal investigators.
Perceived Accuracy of Spirit Boxes
Even though spirit boxes are popular devices, their accuracy is heavily questioned as a sudo-scientific device in the paranormal community.
Spirit boxes have received a great deal of criticism. It comes as a response to our perceptual tendency, as human beings, to impose meaning and significance on the stimulus we encounter. This perceptual tendency is known as “pareidolia.”
Many critics assert that the sounds emanating from a spirit box are inherently meaningless and that it is the context of our usage that causes us to imagine messages. Simply put, they think that when using a spirit box, you subjectively hear what you want to hear.
Regardless of this assessment, though, spirit boxes remain widely used by paranormal investigators and are, for many, an essential research tool. Using the proper capture devices in pair with a spirit box can enable you to flip the subjective nature to a more objective point of view.
Alternative Uses of Spirit and Ghost Boxes
As the name suggests, the primary use of spirit boxes is for paranormal investigation purposes. Even so, though, spirit boxes can be, and are, used for alternative purposes.
Spirit boxes’ two most common alternative purposes are “creativity” and “divination.”
- Creative Purposes – Some artists use spirit boxes to observe and record the sounds and rhythms that a rapid sweep of AM radio channels can generate. Sounds and rhythms, rendered in a seemingly random way, can serve as samples for musical projects and serve as a source of inspiration.
- Divination Purposes – For divinatory purposes, those in need of guidance often ask a question and use a spirit box to receive a message or sign that serves as an answer to their question. Many people who believe in divination, and use spirit boxes, tend to believe in spirits and other entities and beings.
Spirit Boxes are an Essential Tool of Paranormal Investigators
A spirit box is one of the most accessible, easy-to-use paranormal research devices you can own and is a must-have addition to any paranormal investigators arsenal.
Being able to receive clear messages from spirits and other entities is a challenging opportunity to reject for anyone interested in communicating with known or unknown entities perceived to be on the “other side.”
Even though original spirit boxes are difficult to find, many brands offer their own, basically identical, version, making finding a good spirit box relatively easy. Once you own one of these devices, you can turn it on and begin to receive messages.