Laser Grids More than just cool-looking Technology
By Lillee Allee
The paranormal reality shows seem to bask in the green glow (or red) of a laser grid system. The idea certainly sounds appealing, but is it affordable to the average investigator and does it really make a distinct difference in the quality of evidence? Does the cost outweigh the interest in such a device?
Let’s look at what a laser grid is capable of producing for the team. First, the grid is turned on, and maps the area in question. Investigators will be able to see and record whether the grid is breached or not. After the breach, this equipment will allow the user to track the speed and size of an anomaly (or anyone or thing that passes through the grid). Grid equipment can range from using dots to visually see the grid or lines which resemble a three dimensional piece of graph paper placed on the area. Once the grid is focused on a solid area, the anomalies can be tracked and measured.
Tri-C Ghost Hunters use the grid system. Founders Greg and Kathy Feketik Jake Tolin and Todd S. Schelat founded this organization which has three teams in Ohio. Schelat is also lead investigator and tech specialist for the Canton, Ohio team. Schelat uses laser grids as part of the equipment for the team’s paranormal research and investigations. He states that a green grid tends to work better than the red. According to Schelat, “the theory behind the use of the laser grid is that it is projected in a hallway of in any area for investigating. If an entity passes by the lights it will break the beams and will show itself.”
Schelat cautions that when using laser grid penlights, the external IR lights must be turned off while recording on video. Otherwise the lights will “drown out” the laser grid. He also recommends that the grid should be used for a short time, such as ten minutes or so as they can overheat. Schelat would prefer a laser grid with its own cooling system, but they require an AC (electrical outlet) current and can be financially taxing to the team. Schelat also believes that false positives can occur with the use of the grid, as insects and other airborne contamination can affect the evidence adversely. The savvy investigator will use the grid and look for a full body shape, and discount any flicker or slight disruption on the grid.
Schelat states that his team so far has not captured anything significant with their laser grid, but will continue to use the grid during investigations.
A lot of people feel that these grids are out of their price range. Like so many other pieces of technology, they are surprisingly affordable for some. The GS1 (ghost-stop.com) sells for $89.95. It comes with a tri-pod mount, but the tri-pod itself is $14.95. A laser grid pen is usually under 30 dollars, and get the side on/off clap for the pen for $4.95. You can also add a laser mount head with the tripod for 26.95. Of course, the cost of batteries will be incurred for use, but that is true with most equipment today. The GS1 with all the gadgets, and with some deals, should cost less than 200 hundred dollars.
Techies may prefer at least one (they are stackable) of the Puck 360 degree GS1 (ghost-stop.com.) These actually look like a hockey puck, hence the name. Eeach one will set you back about 200 dollars and the more you stack the more, the more power you get. For those who have become frustrated over the years with all “the good stuff” happening just outside of camera view, this is a panacea.
It is important that while the new gear is lots of fun and opens up the field, one also needs the electronic equipment (such as cameras, computers and programs) to be able to read and evaluate the data. The best advice before investing is to talk to teams that are already using the grid system to assist you in deciding whether the laser grid is appropriate for your team and your budget.
LaserGrid GS1, Puck 360 degree GS1. Retrieved September 10, 2015 from http://www.ghoststop.com/Laser-Grid…/laser-lasergrid-gs1.htm
Schelat, Todd S. Interview via internet on September 14, 2015.