This semester, the exploration forensics team is conducting research on hardware and software that tests for paranormal activity. We will test the devices and corresponding applications to discover if they gather readings and interact with a user’s data. The team will gather evidence on how the devices and applications operate. We will test how outputs are affected by environmental factors.
Background and Devices
The Paranormal Puck 2 and Ovilus V are products of Digital Dowsing, LLC. The company advertises the devices as an effective way to communicate with ghosts. The devices convert environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, barometric readings, electromagnetic fields, and movement into words.
When connected to an iPad, the Paranormal Puck 2 lists singular words from readings of environmental factors. Digital Dowsing’s website outlines the instrumental trans-communication (ITC) capabilities of the device. Environmental readings are converted into words, but not full sentences. The user can either ask questions aloud or type them into the app. The questions will then be “answered” based on environmental readings.
The Ovilus V is a standalone device that has capabilities like the Puck, except there isn’t a corresponding mobile application. The Ovilus monitors environmental factors and has several different modes to convert these readings into different forms: visual platforms, words, true or false answers, or sounds. The exploration forensics team plans to test the effectiveness of each of the modes.
First Few Weeks of Research
So far, the team has explored various forums to find research notes by people who have used the devices. While it was difficult to find credible sources, the team did find information about:
- The Ovilus V uses electronic voice phenomena (EVP) to make approximations for words based on available phonetic sounds.
- The permissions of the mobile apps.
- The mechanics of the devices, like electromagnetic frequency (EMF) and the movement sensors.
The LCDI received the devices the week of February 5th. The team tested the devices on an exploratory basis to get an idea of how the devices actually work. During initial testing, the device rattled when moved by the team. A screw fell out through the grates and the device wouldn’t power on. The LCDI has sent the device back and Digital Dowsing should be sending a replacement soon. Research will continue with the Ovilus as the team waits for the replacement Paranormal Puck.
The team observed a correlation between the movement of the device and the readings the device produced. The device prompted names of people that no one on the team knew, and said words like “hide” and “disaster”. Digital Dowsings website advises users to disregard words that don’t make sense to the situation. The device may not be able to translate the environmental readings into meaningful words (Figure 2).
The team also tried to find more information about the hardware of the devices, but not much information is available. Analysis of the devices will continue to confirm the capabilities of the energy, temperature, barometric, and motion sensors by cross-referencing the results with readings from other devices.
Security of Mobile Apps
The team hopes to investigate the security permissions of the applications. If the devices have access to GPS location, the camera, and files on the mobile device, it could illustrate potential insights into how the devices are gathering evidence. One team member commented that using the devices in a graveyard would likely produce words like “marker” and “grave” if the app uses GPS. The team will investigate if the device receives information through GPS location or through the monitored environmental factors.
Proposed Method of Gathering Research
When testing the devices, the team will experiment with the devices in a constant environment. Monitoring the different modes on the devices will help pose a set of control questions that will be either spoken or written. Then, we will record the responses of the devices.
In the weeks to come, the team will test the capabilities of the Paranormal Puck 2 and Ovilus V devices. The team will also use the methods outlined above to gather evidence about the devices to be analyzed.
Hallowed_Grave. (2014, July 6). My weird experiences with the IOvilus [Online forum comment]. Message posted to https://www.reddit.com/r/Paranormal/comments/29xnzs/my_weird_experiences_with_the_iovilus/.
Digital Dowsing. (2015). Digital Dowsing, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.digitaldowsing.com/.