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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."

—Voltaire

The Infrared Thermometer Experiment

Do infrared thermometers measure ghostly cold spots?

Alison runs the infrared thermometer experiment and discusses the resultsA common piece of equipment used and promoted by ghost hunters is the infrared thermometer. These are used to measure "cold spots", ie: air in the room that is cold, supposedly because of a ghostly presence.

For this experiment, we filled a plastic five gallon bucket with ice water and velcroed an air temperature thermometer to it to measure the temperature of the air just above the ice water. We placed this in the center of a table. Closer to us on the table, we placed another air temperature thermometer to measure the temperature of the room. On the wall beyond the bucket, we velcroed another air temperature thermometer, this one with an external probe that could be used to measure the temperature of the wall.

The infrared thermometer, a handheld device with a laser pointer for accuracy, was then pointed over the ice bucket. If the infrared thermometer was able to measure air temperature, its temperature reading should've measured either the manufactured cold spot of the ice water bucket or the air temperature of the room. However, the reading always matched that of the wall thermometer proving that infrared thermometers measure surface temperature only, and cannot be used to measure cold spots in haunted locations.

Onward to Richard's Paranormal Photographs.

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