On cyberspirituality and the era of the paranormal AI
How social media, apps, and gadgets such as spirit boxes are using artificial intelligence to put us (back) in contact with the dead
In a previous article, I discussed the intricacies of advanced technology, religion and magical thoughts. Today, I would like to talk specifically about how spiritualism has taken over social media platforms such as YouTube and Tiktok, or rather how ghost boxes (or spirit boxes) have become a trendy gadget among enthusiasts.
Spirit or ghost boxes are basically a portable radio device, but tweaked to be able to detect EVP (electronic voice phenomena). As mentioned in the linked article, this is a kind of paranormal investigation approach that was proposed by Konstantin Raudive and Hans Bender in the mid-1960s. It extended the phenomenon of “radio bugs” or DX fishing that Jeffrey Sconce details in the book Haunted Media, also previously mentioned here.
Spirit boxes shuffle and scan multiple radio stations at once, which is basically the same thing you would do if you kept changing the frequency on the radio, but quickly. It tries to detect noises, audio, and voices, thus highlighting words, sentences or even melodies. That is because, among paranormal investigators, it is believed that spirits can communicate with us, the living (I would guess), via white noise and manipulating radio frequencies to build whatever message they want to relay.
While information wants to be free in the hacker world, that is not much true in the spiritual realm as spirit boxes can cost around US$200. But as much as international calls were absurdely expensive, they have become cheaper these days, so who knows what the future holds?
On a more serious tone though, paranormal research is just as expensive as any other field research, since it relies on instruments that can detect and record activity. Many of them are tools that are used in other scientific researches, since they…