With society’s recent infatuation with the paranormal, several terms have become synonymous with ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. EVP, otherwise known as electronic voice phenomenon; EMF, an anagram taken from the physical sciences representing electro-magnetic field measurement; and even Orb, originally being a term used to describe a very rare and specific form of lighting.
Over time these terms, phrases, words and definitions have been adopted, changed, evolved and adapted to fit the requirements of those people who practise the science of paranormal investigation. But the field isn’t really ready to be called a science, not just yet. It’s really still an amateurs game, and as a result academia has yet to outline any widely recognised parameters for defining the phenomena and procedure used in the field today.
One term that is used, more and more freely by paranormal enthusiasts, investigators and so-called professionals alike, is Dead Time. Dead Time, as thought of by many, is a period of time during the early morning hours, 3am specifically. It is thought that this time (and it is generally not defined enough to provide an actual period of time, i.e. one hour, but rather just the rough time of 3am) is related in some spiritual way to the death of Jesus Christ. The theory suggests that spiritual activity is more prevalent at 3am because that is in direct opposition to the exact time of Christ’s Death (3pm).
Now, how anyone could ever claim to know precisely what time Jesus died is beyond me, since most religious scholars can’t even agree on what date it took place. There are many web resources citing various bits of theological evidence for just as many varying times of day, each claiming to have irrefutable proof of their theory; but my purpose here is not to refute or even acknowledge their work or ideas, my purpose is to expose the truth of the term Dead Time.
In any factual basis, the term dead time refers to the period of recharging (so to speak) in particle and nuclear detector systems. Yes, it’s a term used by physicists to describe periods of quantum inactivity.
The truth is not yet exposed though, for there are other explanations for the use of the term within a paranormal investigation.
Many learned and rational people have undertaken to pursue, explain and capture evidence of paranormal phenomenon in many forms. Along side of them are many lesser accredited amateurs who look on with earnest, trying to glean a purpose, if not a hobby, from the pursuits of their academic brethren. What seems to be the result of this is that certain ideas and terms are adopted by the second group, but the true meaning of the experience is not passed on.
In my research I’ve found several other possible definitions for the term, though even through this exploration, I still cannot find any plausible reason for reserving the wee hours of the morning for ghost hunting, but we’ll talk about that in a moment.
One idea that seems more reasonable to me, involved solar radiation; to some the term Dead Time refers to a period over the course of the night, during which the solar radiation and magnetic interference caused by the sun, is blocked by the earth, thus making EMF detection more accurate, and in theory, making spiritual energy more easily detected or visible. Having mentioned that this theory seemed more reasonable, does not necessarily mean that I agree with it, but it does make more sense than the earlier assertions.
In addition to the many various definitions and/or theories available to explain the use of Dead Time in paranormal investigations, is the propensity for Western culture to reproduce what is seen on TV. When Ryan (Paranormal State) or the boys from TAPS (Ghost Hunters) frequently use the term, it isn’t necessarily a sign that they believe there is more activity at night (or 3am specifically) than any other time, it may just be that their producers feel shooting at night is more exciting and dramatic for their audience.
The idea that there is a specific time of day (or night) at which ghosts, or specifically demons as some have suggested, are more active is entirely theistically snobbish to say the least. Every culture on the planet has an entity or two in their folk lore that is described as, or specifically defined as a demon. They tend to have the same characteristics and even, in many cases, have literal connections. But what these cultures don’t share is the same theology regarding the death of Christ.
Dead Time is nothing more than a representation of our collective fear of the dark. During that period of the night (providing we’re awake) our senses are naturally heightened, we are far more aware of our surroundings and we’re on guard, watching for potential dangers, this is an evolutionary translation of our inborn fight or flight instincts. Historically speaking, our species was most vulnerable during the dark hours of the day, hence we are prone to a heightened sense of fear during that time.
What this means for ghost hunting, is that in our current evolutionary state we’ve retained our fear of the dark, but we’re largely unable to define what that fear means, since the actual dangers have been removed. We end up assigning meaning to that fear through the iconic vehicles historically meant to provide meaning (religion) and thus, we come to believe that Dead Time is related to the death of Jesus Christ and in his supposed control over the supernatural.
Ultimately, the term is defined by each of us; we all take part in shaping its meaning for each other and in the current progression of paranormal exploration…misinformation, fear, enthusiasm and ignorance all threaten to cultivate the wrong theories at the wrong time.