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A ghost box is a communication tool used by some investigators to speak to the other side. Typically, a ghost box is a modified portable AM/FM radio that continously scans the band. When on, it is believed to create white noise and audio remnants from broadcast stations that entities are able to manipulate to create words and even entire sentences.
Radio Shack 12-469
The model 12-469 was the first ghost box that PRRS used. This model will make a clicking sound while scanning through the band. It is very small in size, which makes it convenient for taking along on an investigation, but one downside is that it does not have a built-in speaker. This model is preferred by our team leader, Jenny Stewart, because she believes the clicking sound makes it easier for them to communicate and for us to hear in realtime. This mod requires a small screwdriver and a pair of small wire cutters.
Radio Shack 12-150
This model was the second ghost box that PRRS used. We found that after the modification it was useless on the AM band, but it worked really well on the FM band. One problem with FM, however, is that there are significantly more active stations than AM, which can sometimes cause too many audio remnants, making it difficult to pick out actual communication. This model is a little bit larger than the picture leads you to believe, but it does come with a shoulder strap. It can run off of A/C or batteries, and has a nice and really loud speaker built in. This mod requires a screwdriver and a pen knife or exacto blade.
Radio Shack 12-587
The 12-587 is small and compact like the 12-469 but with one added bonus - a built-in speaker. This speaker works pretty well and it does work on AM or FM after the mod. This mod is by far the easiest, only requiring a screwdriver to complete. This would be the perfect ghostbox, except for two fatal flaws. The first flaw is that it scans too slowly. This makes more audio remnants come through and we believe it makes it more difficult for entities to communicate. The second flaw is that the radio has a tendancy to stop scanning after a while for some unknown reason. Due to this and the slow scan rate, PRRS no longer uses this radio.
The Jensen SAB-55 is a small armband AM/FM radio. On it's own the ghostbox modification is very simple to do as it only requires cutting or pulling one purple wire off the circuit board and its really simple to find. It does have one problem though. It is just as bad as 12-587 for scan rate and thus makes it a really horrible choice for a ghostbox on it's own. Thanks to information from Steve Hultay who discovered the Turbo hack for this radio, it scans faster than 12-469 and we have gotten some really impressive results from this one. The turbo hack only appears to work on AM. The turbo hack was done by putting a toggle switch inline that will effectively hold down one of the scan buttons. This modification is slightly more complex involving a soldering iron, careful percision soldering as there are surface mount devices on the circuit board and a little creative cutting of the chasis. It unfortunately due to its size does not have a built in speaker but when used with an external amplified speaker works really well. You can also do a private session using your headphones that come with it. This is also the cheapest radio I have modified as a ghostbox. It comes in at a nice affordable price of $15 and the switch is under $2.50.
If you are interested in obtaining your own ghostbox or would like some guidance on how to do the modifications feel free to contact Dave Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRRS is currently in the process of designing and developing their own ghost box.
What has been the most memorable thing you have heard from the box?
What was the scariest thing you have heard come from the box?
What would you like others to know about the box and its use?
The Erickson Residence in Mount Airy, MD - 9/13/08
The Erickson Residence in Mount Airy, MD - 9/21/08
The Galt House in Louisville, KY
The Howard Steamboat Museum
Unknown location - 9/17/08
Residential Investigation (Southern Maryland) - 10/31/08