Green Laser grids – the new ghost fad?

After they were used on the US television show Ghost Hunters, green laser pointers that fill the room with small green laser dots are fast becoming the next must have accessory on the ghost hunting scene. Various ghost hunting equipment sites stock them and say:

“This high-powered laser emits a grid of green dots useful for detecting shadows or general visual disturbances during an investigation. Set it in front of a running camera to catch potential evidence. 6x STRONGER than the imitators.

You can adjust the size and shape of the stars by turning the adjustable lens. Detach the lens and it will function as a high-powered laser pointer viewable for 8 miles!”

So the reported benefits of this green laser grid pointer are:

– Good for detecting shadows

– Good for seeing general visual disturbances

– Good for catching potential evidence when in front of a camera

Below is what the green laser grid looks like.

It’s very difficult to see why this device has any place on a paranormal investigation as there are some major flaws with it and the theory behind it.

1 – If anything, this laser device would make observing your surroundings harder.

2 – Shining a laser around in front of a camera lens is likely to cause light flares and illusions on the camera lens.

3 – Investigators would be more likely to observe illusions because of this device because not only are they standing in the dark, they’ll have laser lights all over the room messing with their eyes.

3 – It has only become popular due to being used on a paranormal television show. Ghost Hunters is a show that claims to be scientific in its approach when we know they are not, and have a very mixed up view of what science it.

4 – It would be easier to view shadows and “general visual disturbances” by turning on the lights.

Looking for ghosts in the dark

The idea that you have to look for ghosts by turning the lights in a location off is a complete myth and is only done to make the environment the investigators are in seem more scary and thrilling.

Ghost experiences and sightings are reported by people who are in all different conditions. Some have the lights off, granted, but some also see or experience weird things with the lights on, or in broad daylight. Any decent researcher knows that the best way to research such phenomena is to replicate the conditions it was experienced in. Investigating in the dark regardless of when the phenomena was witnessed, or what conditions it was witnessed in is silly and pointless.

Not only that, but turning the lights off while investigating paranormal claims causes a lot of problems. Problems such as:

– Poor vision,

– A heightened expectation for something scary to happen,

– causing people to feel on edge which makes them more likely to interpret something as spooky or scary,

– not being able to witness anything that happens correctly

– huge health and safety issues.

If you want to see shadows or any possible “general visual disturbances” little green dots are not going to help you. This is simply another pointless gadget being marketed at thrill seeking television ghost hunter fans.

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About Hayley Stevens

Hayley Stevens is a podcaster, blogger, writer, public speaker and ghost geek. She likes tea, cake, sci-fi books and being a humanist.

Posted on September 2, 2010, in ghost, irrational, media, paranormal, pop culture paranormal, thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. These lasers are very dangerous to use in the field where few people will be trained to use them correctly. They’re claimed to be 30mW and ‘6x stronger’ on the link provided. The 6x stronger probably refers to USA FDA regulations that anything above 5mW cannot be sold or imported in the USA for use by the general public. 5mW won’t damage your eyes if someone points it at you, but 30mW can cause permanent damage. It’s recommended that protective eyewear is used with lasers of this power.

  2. These lasers are very dangerous to use in the field where few people will be trained to use them correctly. They’re claimed to be 30mW and ‘6x stronger’ on the link provided. The 6x stronger probably refers to USA FDA regulations that anything above 5mW cannot be sold or imported in the USA for use by the general public. 5mW won’t damage your eyes if someone points it at you, but 30mW can cause permanent damage. It’s recommended that protective eyewear is used with lasers of this power.

  3. I agree with Tania that lasers this powerful should be used with great care, or even better, not at all. This isn’t really a laser grid, though, but actually a diffraction grating that scatters the beam, so it probably (PROBABLY– my degree’s in English, not optical engineering) cuts down on the actual wattage. An actual grid would use a deflector to actually make a regular pattern, rather than the swirly things we see on GHI and GH.

    They’ve been using a similar “laser grid” on GHI this season. Its main function seems to be to enhance pareidolia. In a recent investigation, they claimed to have captured a ghost on camera, but instead apparently snapped a photo while moving the grid. This created some blurred grid points. They drew the figure of a person around this patch and proclaimed it an apparition.

    GH has done even worse, in some ways. In “Haunted Hotel”, they actually had people on the other end of the hallway looking into the laser, watching for the shadow of a ghost. As Tania points out, this could be very dangerous at worst. As Hayley points out, it’s useless at best.

    • Although diffraction can lower down the power of the individual laser light points, I, and I suspect everyone else, have no idea how long it would take to damage eyesight by being exposed to it (lots of factors involved, including distance, blink reflex, colour of laser…). Ask a laser expert and they’ll probably say stop messing about with lasers outside a lab.

      At least one of the links Hayley provided says the lens can be removed, and I’m sure that many people using them will do this to light up darker, further away places at night.

      You can get eye protection goggles, but these are around 4 times the cost of the laser and you need a pair per person so I doubt many will be purchased.

      Lets hope no one gets harmed through irresponsible use.

  4. I agree with Tania that lasers this powerful should be used with great care, or even better, not at all. This isn’t really a laser grid, though, but actually a diffraction grating that scatters the beam, so it probably (PROBABLY– my degree’s in English, not optical engineering) cuts down on the actual wattage. An actual grid would use a deflector to actually make a regular pattern, rather than the swirly things we see on GHI and GH.

    They’ve been using a similar “laser grid” on GHI this season. Its main function seems to be to enhance pareidolia. In a recent investigation, they claimed to have captured a ghost on camera, but instead apparently snapped a photo while moving the grid. This created some blurred grid points. They drew the figure of a person around this patch and proclaimed it an apparition.

    GH has done even worse, in some ways. In “Haunted Hotel”, they actually had people on the other end of the hallway looking into the laser, watching for the shadow of a ghost. As Tania points out, this could be very dangerous at worst. As Hayley points out, it’s useless at best.

    • Although diffraction can lower down the power of the individual laser light points, I, and I suspect everyone else, have no idea how long it would take to damage eyesight by being exposed to it (lots of factors involved, including distance, blink reflex, colour of laser…). Ask a laser expert and they’ll probably say stop messing about with lasers outside a lab.

      At least one of the links Hayley provided says the lens can be removed, and I’m sure that many people using them will do this to light up darker, further away places at night.

      You can get eye protection goggles, but these are around 4 times the cost of the laser and you need a pair per person so I doubt many will be purchased.

      Lets hope no one gets harmed through irresponsible use.

  5. Excellent point! So, basically, these people are risking their eyesight for a cheap visual.

  6. Excellent point! So, basically, these people are risking their eyesight for a cheap visual.

  1. Pingback: Oi! Ghost hunters… seriously? «

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