Last night on a paranormal investigation, we were walking in between areas, and as usual there were bats flying overhead. It is not really uncommon and I notice at a lot of the locations that I investigate here in Victoria, there is always a bat flying somewhere. On one investigation, there was even a decomposed bat that was inside a chapel that had been there for a while, so we are used to seeing bats. During the investigation, people were carrying devices such as K2's and Mel Meters. I had warned everyone at the beginning of the night that particularly with the K2 device, they generally pick up not only electricity, but things like mobile phone signals (which is usually followed by me asking people to turn their phones off.) . Someone then asked the question 'Could the bats set off the equipment?'. What a fantastic question I thought to myself. While in this case the answer would be no which I will get into further below, the fact that someone was asking the question excited me! They were actually thinking and looking for explanations and outside influences that could be causing the readings she had been receiving. Given it was her first paranormal investigation, I think she is off to a flying start. So this actually inspired me to look into bats a bit closer and the possible effect they could potentially have on a paranormal investigation (besides the flapping sound they make when they fly overhead or giving people a bit of a fright).
Why would a bat even potentially set off equipment in the first place? If you are confused as to why the question was asked, the reason behind it lies within the Bat's sonar. Bats are night flying mammals with forelimbs modified into wings. In order to navigate and communicate with one another, they use sound waves. Studies have indicated that bats produce ultrasonic sounds (that humans cannot hear) and are emitted through a bat's nostril or mouth and the echo that returns allows them to determine the size location and movement of object. This method is referred to as echolocation. They make a sound and wait for it to bounce back. If it bounces back quickly, it means an object is close. When bats are blindfolded, it makes no difference to their sonar, however if their ears are compromised, they cannot properly navigate. I always thought myself that bats were blind but it turns out this is actually a myth likely stemming from the fact that they are night creatures. They can see, but they rely on echolocation for communication and navigation.. The sounds they make emit at a frequency between roughly 20hz and 100khz although some sources indicate it can go as low as 10hz. Most of the time though it is at an ultrasonic level.
A K2 is a tool that was developed for electricians to find live wires in the wall. Investigators use it to look for what the consider to be disturbances in the electromagnetic field. While things like mobile phone signals and radio signals can interfere, ultrasonic noise as far as I know and have tested does not set off the equipment. It is possible though that an aero plane flying overhead of a truck driving past with a two way radio could set it off so it is never a completely reliable tool to use anyway.
I wrote an article recently about Ultrasonic sound and the paranormal I recommend you check out. Think of ultrasonic noise like a dog whistle. Just because you can't hear it, doesn't mean it isn't happening. Think of the bats. While you may hear a bat flying overhead, you can't hear the noises they are making as they are emitting these sounds at a rate higher than what the human ear is capable of hearing. What you can hear also changes with age. The older your become, the less likely you are to hear these higher pitched frequencies.
Digital recorders however, record in ranges outside of what a human ear can hear. It is thought that this is the reason that a person can catch we were perceive to EVPs on a recording. Testing has shown us that ultrasonic sound can show up on our recordings and appear as an anomaly. As it is not something we hear with our ears at the time, it is often perceived to be a spirit trying to communicate. What if though this anomaly is something as simple as a bat?
Now I am not implying that all EVPs are bats. If you have caught a class A voice that is clear and everyone agrees what it says, I would say I didn't think that was a bat at least (though I still wouldn't be sold it was paranormal). When you look at EVP, the majority of the time, people are not catching Class A evps. They are catching noises or grunts that they didn't hear with their ears at the time. Sometimes they start manipulating the files to understand what is being said. Audio pareidolia kicks in and suddenly what started out as a clicking sound on a recording now sounds like a voice. If you are investigating in outdoor locations such a cemetery, it is pretty likely that there will be a bat in the vicinity. Unless you have an ultrasonic detector, it is going to be impossible to know what sort of ultrasonic noises you are surrounded by so any EVP session particularly outside is never going to be completely controlled.
This is where common sense I guess kicks in. If you record something it just sounds like a weird noise that you can't make out, it is really something you should be throwing out anyway. Unless it is a clear voice saying something that is undeniable and you can play it for someone else and they agree, it should be thrown out.
I must say until now, I didn't even really consider the sonar that bats use having any sort of affect on investigation, but when you look at it from a logical perspective, especially in outdoor investigation, it is very possible given how sensitive some of the newer recorders are that it could pick up the bats communicating. The most important thing for us to remember is that just because we can't hear something, doesn't mean it isn't there! Nikola Tesla said it best "If you want to unlock the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration!"
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