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Thermodynamics and Cold Spots

Cold spots are just one of the clues I look for when I’m out hunting with my Stories in the Cemetery ghost hunting experience guests. In this blog post, we’ll discuss cold spots, the science behind them (thermodynamics), and how to measure them.  This is a great topic for those looking to go on their first investigation or for hunters who don’t know why we use thermometers for ghost hunting. Let’s get into it.

Basic Ghost Hunting Skills

Among using spirit boxes for communication, grid pens for catching an apparition, or motion sensor alarms, measuring cold spots with the correct types of thermometers and cameras is common for ghost hunters. But why?

Cold spots are said to manifest when the energy from heat in the air is used, thus creating a cold spot. So what does that mean exactly? A cold “spot” measured in paranormal terms is a small area that is less warm than the surrounding area of a room or airspace that cannot be explained by any manmade means (i.e. an open window or door causing a draft).

How do Ghosts create a cold spot?

Ghost hunters will tell you that spirits need energy to manifest or electromagnetic sources to manipulate communication. Like the spirit boxes I talked about earlier this month, spirits need an electronic item or device to manipulate to have a medium for communication. Cold spots aren’t all that different from this phenomenon, only they use natural energy, heat, to manifest a way to communicate.

Heat is an energy form and when that energy form is absent or lesser than the normal temperature of a space, a cold spot is formed. This is just a clue that a spirit or ghost might be nearby, especially if a thorough debunking process has been followed.

Types of thermometers to find a cold spot

An infrared thermometer measures the surface of an object or person through one laser. The laser shot from this type of thermometer is only influenced by where the laser lands, not through the airspace it shoots through. Using one of these thermometers in a joint effort with others can help you identify cold spots during your ghost hunt.

I personally use an infrared to get a base reading of the temperature around me before referring to other thermometers. During my tours, I measure the temperature of the closest building, the ground I’m standing on, and a piece of nature such as a tree. Measuring these three types of items gives me a perception of the average temperature of the space that I am in before moving on to the next thermometer.

I also use a psychrometer during the ghost hunt. This device measures air space that an infrared thermometer cannot. A psychrometer is designed to measure humidity but also gives air temperature through a solid probe on the top of the device. Measuring both humidity and temperature can also tell us more about cold spots.

I’ve tested my psychrometer with a small space heater moving the probe within two inches of the heat curtain provided by the heater. Although a slow process of determining the actual temperature, the user can still watch the temperature rise and fall when heat or the absence of heat is occurring in real-time.

A thermal imaging camera or device can also be used. This device gives a heat map of the surrounding space with temperatures. I have one of these devices on order and I will do a separate post on just this device. The unique feature of this gadget is that it will give you a full spectrum of temperatures on-screen of a surrounding area.

Thermodynamics

Using the laws of science as armor, skeptics will always pull science as part of the arsenal to battle the existence of the paranormal. Cold spots are no different. It is the Law of the Conservation of Energy that is used to disprove paranormal cold spot theories.

A great arguing article by Rob Schwarz, Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots? argues both points, the existence, and the non-existence of the spiritual realm. The arguing point of Thermodynamics in many articles can only argue the laws of the theory, not the opposing argument if the laws (that were made by man) are false. Schwarz makes a great argument for believers by saying, “There’s no hypothesis being tested, no experimentation, no scientific method. Only observation.”

So what is Thermodynamics? And why is it being used to battle the cold spot theory?

Thermodynamics has three laws:

1st Law: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. 

2nd Law: The entropy of any isolated system always increases. Isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermal equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy of the system.

3rd Law: The entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the temperature approaches absolute zero.

Laws of Thermodynamics from Lumen Learning: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/introchem/chapter/the-three-laws-of-thermodynamics/

It is said that the manifestation of cold spots from a paranormal entity breaks the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. In other words, for every “cold spot” found, there would be an equal “warm” spot found nearby for equilibrium.  I’ll argue that this is false.

Instead of a warm spot nearby, what if the absence of heat energy from a part of airspace was equally distributed around the cold spot instead of being evenly distributed to a similar in size airspace nearby?

As an example, think of a blue ball representing a cold spot. And another ball that is red representing a warm spot. The surrounding air is yellow.

What skeptics argue is that if the blue ball appears, then a red ball also appears and the air remains yellow.

Law of Thermodynamics picture 1

What I’m suggesting is that if a blue ball appears, then the red ball does not exist, but the yellow air turns green, thus creating a richer blue ball.

law of thermodynamics picture 2

Cold Spots and the  power of suggestion

Do cold spots in a house mean that my house is haunted? Not necessarily. You could just be living in a drafty house where the air conditioning or ducts in your heating system cause the air to move creating cold spots. It is a very logical answer when you begin debunking the cold spot.

One thing to remember when debunking a cold spot is to always work with someone else. Ask them to tell you what might be going on in a room without telling them that you found a cold spot. Having them find it on their own will validate your findings, not to mention, another person’s perspective in debunking always helps.

The power of suggestion states that if you tell someone that there is a cold spot, they will essentially feel it as well. Magicians will use this tactic in opposition telling their audience to feel the “heat” being drawn to them to get them to “buy in” to the illusion they are creating.

Skeptics will often use humidity as a piece of argument as well, hence why I like to use the psychrometer on my tours. The higher density of humidity will make the skin feel cool, thus creating a theoretical cold spot. But if the humidity is equal in and around the cold spot area, then the “humidity creates a cool area” theory can then be eliminated.

Conclusion of Cold Spots

I’ve discovered random cold spots on my tour without the power of suggestion to my guests that also feel the same cold spot. I tell my guests to watch the psychrometer and alert of any drops in temperature from our original ground reading with the infrared at the beginning of the tour. If a temperature begins to drop in a new location, we measure with the infrared thermometer again to get a base reading for the new area.

I would love to hear your stories on cold spots you have encountered or have been able to measure. Show the evidence to the skeptics that paranormal cold spots are possible without any other explanation. We, dear believers, need to stick to our theories and debunk the logical explanations for the illogical happenings we find.

Leave your comments and evidence below.

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Stories in the Cemetery Tours

Whether you’re a local or someone on vacation, you can take an Interactive Ghost Hunting Experience tour with me through downtown Charleston. We’ll visit many haunted locations using real ghost hunting equipment and possibly discover new activity! What will you discover on your tour?

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References Used to Inspire this Blog Post

Lumens Learning. (n.d.). The Three Laws of Thermodynamics. Retrieved April 28, 2020, from Lumens Learning:https://courses.lumenlearning.com/introchem/chapter/the-three-laws-of-thermodynamics/

McLeod, J. (2012, October 29). Ghost Spots: A Weather Folklore. Retrieved from Farmer’s Almanac: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather-ology-special-ghost-spots-16390

Paranormal Authority. (2020). Cold Spots-Could it be a ghost or a spirit? Retrieved from Paranormal Authority: https://paranormalauthority.com/cold-spots/

Schwarz, R. (2014, June 17). Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots? Retrieved from Stranger Dimensions: https://www.strangerdimensions.com/2014/06/17/ghosts-cause-cold-spots/

Townsend, M. (2011). Paranormal Cold Spots. Retrieved from Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP): http://www.assap.ac.uk/newsite/htmlfiles/Cold%20spots.html

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