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.


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:

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?

References Used to Inspire this Blog Post

Lumens Learning. (n.d.). The Three Laws of Thermodynamics. Retrieved April 28, 2020, from Lumens Learning:

McLeod, J. (2012, October 29). Ghost Spots: A Weather Folklore. Retrieved from Farmer’s Almanac:

Paranormal Authority. (2020). Cold Spots-Could it be a ghost or a spirit? Retrieved from Paranormal Authority:

Schwarz, R. (2014, June 17). Why Would Ghosts Cause Cold Spots? Retrieved from Stranger Dimensions:

Townsend, M. (2011). Paranormal Cold Spots. Retrieved from Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP):

Spirit Boxes

To Listen to the accompanying podcast episode, visit “Stories in the Cemetery” or search in your favorite podcatcher.

Spirit boxes have long been used in the ghost hunting expedition. I use them on my Stories in the Cemetery Ghost Hunting Experiences with my guests as well as on my personal ghost hunting endeavors. Let’s get into what they do, where you can get them and how to listen for clues to the unknown question of the afterlife.

How They Work

Spirit boxes are, in a nutshell, radio scanners. The unique feature is that you can set how fast or slow to “sweep” the stations. Through the sweeping of the stations, an investigator can hear DJ’s, song lyrics, or disembodied voices over static.

If the sweep rate is fast enough to not allow anything to be heard other than a clicking static, then words from anyone are going to be difficult to hear or comprehend. I tell my guest using the spirit box on my tours to shout out anything they hear from either a DJ, song lyric or any disembodied voices over the static. I believe that due to the fast sweep rate of the radio frequencies, that if something comes through, even from a DJ, that we as the investigators were meant to hear that word or phrase. It takes a solid second or two to say a 1-2 syllable word and if the sweeping stops for that amount of time, I take that as a clue or a spirit wishing to communicate.


Currently, I’m using an SB-7 device. I like the sweeping range of both AM and FM frequencies and it has proven a useful tool for my tours. The only unfortunate component on this device is that the external speaker is weak and requires an external speaker to listen while hunting outdoors.

I will say that for the sake of my tours, without the attached speaker, the hunter who gets this device on my tours plays an important role. They have to literally hold to their own ear and tell the rest of us what they hear. It gives a unique perspective of what they hear.

I’m looking into purchasing the S-Box for a few reasons. It comes with a loudspeaker already built into the device. Also, it has a recording feature for recording EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) with an SD card. This would give another perspective from a different device other than the voice recorder I’m already using. Two different recordings of the same tour might give more evidence into the paranormal realm.

Spirit Box Apps

Along with two manual spirit boxes running, you’ve all heard me talk about the spirit box apps that I use. They’re corny, but I love them to death, no pun intended.

“Ghost Detector” is the main app that I’ll leave running through the duration of the tour. I also use “Ghost Detector” when I’m the guest on a historical tour or on a personal investigation.

The app works like a game or hoax for college kids or a drinking game. Once you turn it on, the app will give green bars and a hissing effect for spookiness. Corny as hell. But the great feature is that the app will give words in the middle of the screen, an interpretation of what the app thinks a spirit might have said. Granted, this game-like app can randomly spit out words at will. I will say about 40-75% of the words that come across the screen are completely random. But the 25-60% that aren’t random are actual clues and communication to the situation at hand.

stories in the cemetery ghost detector app

I’m a believer that spirits from another realm can adjust and manipulate electronic devices at will to communicate. This is why I believe that the communication I receive through apps like “Ghost Detector” is working at least 25% of the time when there is paranormal activity occurring. I use EMF detectors and other gadgets to ensure that there is indeed communication from the spirit realm. This is my belief and until you see it or experience this phenomenon for yourself, you will be a skeptic of such devices or applications.

Another app that I use with activity from other devices is “Paranormal Hauntings” by Brian Holloway. This app acts as a reverse spirit box. In other words, it takes radio frequencies, scans them, but plays back the words from DJs, songs and other programs in reverse. First off, it sounds amazingly creepy and cool. But mostly, it allows the listener to make sense of the gibberish that comes through. Here’s an example of the reverse spirit box activity I captured one night with two guests. I asked the spirit to tell us her name.

As we left the site, I told her goodbye. She responded in the same voice as when she told us her name.


There are plenty of studies that oppose that spirit boxes and EVP’s actually work. So what’s the difference between an EVP and a voice from a spirit box?

An EVP is a voice or sound recorded on a voice recorder. Some voice recorders have even been created with multiple channels to distinguish sounds heard. (New blog post on this topic later). But the science behind EVP is that it is a voice or spiritual entity that cannot be heard through naked hearing or rather, without a special device like a voice recorder.

Voices heard through a spirit box are sometimes heard over white noise. This is where the skeptics begin analyzing our data and why we hear these voices. I’m not going to quote or even give the details of these studies, but I will point you in the direction of one in particular that I found very interesting. I’m sure you will too. Check out the skeptics and non-believers here.


I love spirit boxes. They are indeed a useful tool when I’m investigating a new location or taking guests ghost hunting on my tours. I love when two spirit boxes (app and manual) sync up and give me two relevant or similar clues without the other hunter knowing what happened. I often find this in the audio later or after we’ve moved on from a location. You’ll have to hear these for yourself since I record every tour. Check out my tour audio here.

As for now, I’m looking to add the S-Box to my Ghost Hunting toolkit. I’ll probably do an unboxing video or show it off during a private investigation soon. Be sure to follow me on social media to see how this device works.

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

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?

References Used to Inspire this Post

Nees, Michael. “Hearing ghost voices relies on pseudoscience and fallibility of human perception.” 30 October 2015. The Conversation. 16 April 2020.

Nicholson Ph.D, Carol. “Difference Between Spirit Boxes and EVPs.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. 16 April 2020.

—. “Spirit Box Ghost Responses.” 2020. Imagine Spirit. 16 April 2020.

Villar, Ashley and Alex McCarthy. “The Statistics of Spirit Boxes.” 4 November 2017. Medium. 16 April 2020.