Stone Tape and a Guy Named Schumann

When trying to explain residual hauntings, many paranormal investigators will fall back on the “Stone Tape” hypothesis to explain how a moment in time can play back like a recording, over and over again. There’s just one huge problem with this idea. How does the moment record itself? What is the mechanism? The other problem is that there are minimal to no magnetic properties when considering wood, gypsum and paper (the main “ingredients” in drywall), clay (a.k.a. brick), and all the other materials of which modern homes are made. So, how can we reconcile the paranormal as a recording?

A traditional recorder utilizes magnetic tape, but speaking at the magnetic tape will not record your voice. You need the addition of a read/write head to store the wave patterns of your voice onto the magnetic tape.* The Stone Tape hypothesis posits that moments in time, emotions, actions, what have you, imprint or “record” on a location. But how does that happen? What is the mechanism, or the “read/write head” that imprints these moments onto the wood, stone, and clay of our homes and buildings?

Now, even though I’m not a sensitive/intuitive, there is something to be said for a room feeling uncomfortable when you walk in right after an argument or a home feeling warm and inviting after baking cookies. But I don’t think these emotions have imprinted on the materials, rather I think our other five senses are engaged. We smell the vanilla of the cookies, we see the uncomfortable body language of the couple who exchanged unkind words. These moments are fleeting and forgotten after a few hours. But, how is it that an emotional/traumatic moment, or a repetitive action, can be recorded, or imprinted, on a structure so that emotions and actions are accessible years, even decades, in the future?

As paranormal investigators, we are constantly questioning and asking “Why?” As a scientist, I do this quite a bit, and I think I’ve come up with a hypothesis of my own regarding the Stone Tape idea:

What if the mechanisms by which moments in time are recorded on locations are the Schumann Resonance excitations?

OK. Just bear with me. I’ll give you a little background. Winifried Otto Schumann was a physicist who actually predicted these resonances, mathematically, back in 1952. He predicted that the Earth’s ionosphere (the lowest part of our atmosphere) would act as a waveguide (a structure that directs sound-, electromagnetic-, etc. waves, and enables a signal to multiply with minimal loss of energy by restricting expansion to one or two dimensions) that would, in turn, act as a resonant cavity (similar to a closed box) for electromagnetic waves. What is it that causes these electromagnetic waves to resonate?


Take a look at the following:

Credit: NASA/Conceptual Image Lab

What you’re seeing is an animation of the Schumann Resonances. When lightning strikes the Earth, the electromagnetic waves propagate around our planet at an extremely low frequency (ELF), between 3 and 60 Hertz. What if it is these ELF waves that are the mechanism behind our residual paranormal activity?

Considering that the Earth is subject to approximately eight million lightning strikes per day (that comes out to about 100 strikes per second), our planet’s atmospheric wave guide is just pulsing with Schumann Resonances. Add to that the effect solar activity can have on our planet’s geomagnetic field, not to mention seismic activity, and you could have a planetary read/write head that helps record, and playback, residual paranormal activity.

Do we, as paranormal investigators, know for sure that Schumann Resonances are the catalyst by which residual paranormal activity exists? No, we don’t. This is just wild speculation at this point. But, that’s where science begins, right? At wild speculation. And then, we experiment, collect data, and form our hypothesis. Which is why we collect information before each investigation regarding solar and geomagnetic activity, as well as weather, which includes lightning strikes. Currently, the only archive of Schumann Resonance data can be found at the HeartMath Institute (and the data only goes back to January 1, 2013), so verifying that Schumann Resonances were at an all-time high when, say, Anne Boleyn was beheaded and, therefore, caused her headless spirit to roam London Tower, is impossible. But, hopefully, in generations to come, paranormal investigators could, possibly, document when a moment in time became a residual recording.

*How exactly does that read/write head work, you ask? Well, I’m glad you brought that up. A read/write head consists of a core of magnetic material, shaped like a doughnut with a very narrow gap, which is filled with a diamagnetic material (like gold). This diamagnetic material forces the magnetic flux out of the gap into the magnetic tape medium more than air would. The flux then magnetises the tape. A coil of wire wrapped around the core opposite the gap interfaces to the electrical side of the apparatus, either supplying a signal in the case of recording, or being fed to an amplifier in the case of playback. And now? You are an audio expert. Sort of.

About Heather S. Dobson

I wish I was Wonder Woman, but I'm actually a wife, mother of three young ones, a writer, a paranormal investigator, and a lunatic. I'm also hoping to win a Nobel Prize in physics, but I guess that means I should get something above a BS in said subject and do more in-depth, life-changing studies besides "the sticking power of mac 'n cheese on smooth wallpaper." Alas...
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