Is Infrared Light a Problem?

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For nearly 3 years now I’ve believed that the standard lighting used by most paranormal researchers is actually preventing individuals from capturing spirits on video. Being able to see into the infrared is beneficial, however the current implementation seems to be somewhat of a problem. I also do not believe this is the primary range of the light spectrum where spirits most often reside. While many researchers may resist implementing the following methods based on the investment they have already made in infrared lighting and equipment, if you are just getting started or looking to upgrade your equipment, you may find the information below beneficial.

Before getting into specifics as to why I believe the most often used equipment may actually be detrimental to capturing spirits, let’s take a look at the range on the light spectrum that I personally feel may be the most beneficial when attempting to record something.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, that is, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, corresponding to photon energies from 3 eV to 124 eV. It is so-named because the spectrum consists of electromagnetic waves with frequencies higher than those that humans identify as the color violet. These frequencies are invisible to humans, but visible to a number of insects and birds. (click to see larger image)

Visible spectrum

As you can see, the visible light spectrum that we can detect is actually extremely small. The infrared is above this range and the ultraviolet is just below visible light. Also note that the energy level increases as you move towards the ultraviolet and away from visible light. I believe this to be of vital importance since energy may be crucial in regards to spirits. On paper at least, it seems that spirits would reside in a light spectrum that contains more energy to draw from.

Ultraviolet light is actually broken down into 10 components.

 Abbreviation  Wavelength (in nanometers)  Notes
Ultraviolet  UV  400 – 100 nm
Ultraviolet A  UVA  400 – 315 nm  Long wave, black light
Ultraviolet B  UVB  315 – 280 nm  Medium wave
Ultraviolet C  UVC  280 – 100 nm  Short wave, germicidal
 Near Ultraviolet  NUV  400 – 300 nm  Visible to birds, insects & fish
 Middle Ultraviolet  MUV  300 – 200 nm
 Far Ultraviolet  FUV  200 – 122 nm
 Hydrogen Lyman-alpha  H LYMAN  122 – 121 nm
 Extreme Ultraviolet  EUV  121 – 10 nm
 Vacuum Ultraviolet  VUV  200 – 10 nm














basementThe problem with modern methods of using infrared (IR) light is that most sources of this light appear as a bright beam of light being projected from the IR light source. While it does allow you to see into a light spectrum that the human eyes can not perceive, I believe it washes out video due to the way it is implemented.

Infrared light is a very reflective and intrusive light. It will reflect and bounce off dust particles, metal, glass and other surfaces. Anything within the infrared beam given off by the light source will glow and reflect this light. Moths in particular will glow and many times give off the appearance of rods or orbs. When the video is slowed down, they are clearly shown to be moths.

Although the light source is invisible to us and can only be seen on the viewfinder of the camcorder, it is no different than shining a flashlight in the visible light spectrum. If you are in a darkened room casting a shadow on the wall and point a flashlight at your shadow, the beam of light will essentially erase your shadow. I feel that these IR lights are doing the same thing only at a level that your eyes can’t detect but that the camcorder does.

blacklight02I have on many occasions pointed an IR camcorder and light at a dark shadow I could see with my own eyes only to have the beam of IR light wash out what I could see the same as a flashlight beam would do. I’m not saying spirits don’t reside in the infrared or that the only chance to see them is in the ultraviolet. I’m simply stating that these light sources need to be (at the very least) modified to create more of a wash of light than a beam and that if spirits do reside in the infrared light spectrum, it is less common and more difficult to detect than in the ultraviolet.

You may notice that although IR light is supposed to cast a greenish hue on video, many times parts of the video will appear almost white. This is the reflective nature of the light similar to a flashlight beam showing up white on visible light video.

UV light on the other hand is much warmer with less reflection and glare. A less intrusive light, it generally bathes an area in a purple/pink/blue glow as opposed to the harsh spotlight type of beam given off by most IR light sources.

I started doing some tests by using black lights (which emit both IR and UV light) and flooding an area with light rather than shining a beam. Don’t get hung up on the “you have to be in complete darkness” myth as the clearest anomalies I have ever seen with my own eyes was while using this method. Unfortunately the camcorder I was using at the time simply couldn’t see into the ultraviolet.

fluorescent-scorpionThe images in this article are an example of a setup where I could actually see entities standing and moving in the light with my own eyes. They were getting close enough to the lamps that they were visible to the naked eye. You could see them walking around on the dirt floor as if they had nowhere to hide or simply didn’t care. (click on images to see more detail)

I also tested this at Imperial Arms as well and three of us were able to see shadows moving past the lamps with our own eyes.

The real key to this will be fine-tuning the light source and wavelength. We are currently working on various types of UV lighting using different wavelength frequencies. We are also looking into creating flood lights of black light (UVA) that can be positioned to create the same effect without the need for multiple light sources (lamps).

One important thing to note that is very obvious when you look at the light spectrum graph above. Full-spectrum camcorders are actually a misleading title. These devices are technically wide-spectrum camcorders as they do not even come close to covering the full spectrum of electromagnetic energy.

And finally a suggestion for those still using infrared DVR security cameras and lights. I’ve found it’s best to place these as high as possible and record at a downward angle. Not shooting directly at objects will help reduce the glare of the IR light reflecting off many surfaces. Since most objects are vertical or horizontal, filming from an angle above looking down can lessen this glare to some extent.