Dead Time; is it a Dead Myth or a Cold Fact?


Ghosts at Dead TimeWith 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 are in the business of practicing the science of paranormal investigation and the equipment leasing companies that provide the tools they use.  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.

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Martin J. Clemens

Writer, Canadian, Fortean Addict...and lover of science and history. "As for me...I know only, that I know nothing..." I also blog at and
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  • Chris Walker

    Humm… the post is packed full of scientific “mumbo-jumbo” and dances around a bit. But Martin, you have to understand that what we’re dealing with IS NOT scientific, not yet. Bringing scientific theories into the paranormal is what can move it towards that realm of designation, which is is great. BUT, on the same token, to “toss aside” all other theories except for your own is just ignorant.

    Now, as for your comment: Actually, Martin, if you read the article on our blog clearly, you’d see that what he wrote about Jesus’ death and Dead Time was just a “Theory” that some believe. Cool the temper and avoid the attacks.

    He outlined various “theories”, Martin… none of which are scientifically proven… or disproven, for that matter; hence the word “theory”. To toss aside theories that don’t fit your own agenda is just ignorant. No, we don’t know what time Jesus died. Do we even know that Jesus existed? I mean, we weren’t there, right? These are all things that have to be “considered”, these theories aid in the discovery of the truth (which actually varies).

    You can’t discount any theory until you can scientifically and technically prove otherwise. One such disproven theory is orbs, which have nothing what-so-ever to do with the paranormal. And to discount the time as “Having no bearing”, as you stated, is again just ignorant. You have no proof and nothing scientifically, as far as evidence, to back up that statement. In fact, nobody does. You can’t scientifically prove or disprove heightened activity for any given time frame; to try and claim so is ridiculous in itself.
    What we’re left with is real encounters by witnesses, which are then grouped into time frames. Hundreds of accounts lend creedence to a particular time.

    We’ve been doing this for quite some time now, with experience in the paranormal for 17 years… so we’re not “amateurs”, as your article may have implied.

    Journalistic Integrity? Martin, we’re not journalists; we’re Paranormal Researchers. Integrity is refraining from attacking fellow researchers. I think some “house cleaning” could be in order.

    • Faknam

      Actually, orbs are a paranormal thing, atleast if you’re using it in the correct context. “Orb” refers to a ball of light of which is thought to be a manifestation of a spirit.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Your post was read fully, and from a position of ignorance, you (or the author) gave the bibilcal “explanation” as the most credible, which, of the many “explanations” available, is the most ridiculous out there.

    I would accuse you of the same laxed reading, but it would be fruitless. I will just say that I have not discounted any theories, other than the connection to Jesus, however, when you use the written word to pass along ideas, theories or in your case, misinformation, you are by definition a journalist, in addition to a paranormal researcher.

    Now stop playing the martyr and take responsibility for the words you published.

  • Chris Walker

    Well, pal, apparently you DID NOT read clearly. Exactly where is it written that the Biblical explanation is one we deem the most credible? Seems I remember reading something like: “These select investigators feel that, in essence, it’s the most active time because one theory is that Jesus died at 3pm, so the opposite is 3am.” Hence the phrase “select investigators”, meaning only a handful.

    Seems I also remember this line from the post: “Now personally, I don’t really feel the same way.” I guess one grasping for a tinge of “something” could interpret that in any way one sees fit, ie; the point at hand.

    Before I go, let me provide you with one more snippet from the post: “So, is this all true? Well, it’s an opinion. There’s nothing to really support these theories other than some personal experiences. But there are just as many personal experiences contradicting this “Dead Time”, experiences that occur at all hours. For me, I don’t believe in “Dead Time”.”

    Maybe I’m blind, but I don’t see any reference in the entire post lending more credibility to one “opinion” over another. In fact, the words “opinion”, “speculation”, and “theory” are used many times. This is an objective article that is coming from a very experienced researcher’s “opinion”. It not displayed as a factual piece of literature, and there’s absolutely NO reference to anything in it being factual. It’s meant to show various theories and the author’s opinion.

    To sum it up, Martin, you posted an unwarranted, unjustified and insulting comment on our blog. There’s a difference between being forward and disgustingly rude. Your actions firmly placed you in the category of the latter. These are the type of actions that disgust readers and ultimately reflect negatively upon that which you stand for… your website.

    We are a very experienced organization who is well established in the paranormal community. We’re by no means newbies. In addition, we’ve provided tons and tons of help throughout the years to both individuals and new paranormal groups.There’s no “playing the martyr” in that. And as a result, we’re sitting at a nice Alexa web ranking spot. We’ve achieved this all by being respectful, helpful and knowledgeable. I suggest you take a lesson and do the same. Comments like the one you posted simply makes you look bad… and in no way will entice anyone to visit your site. You’re obviously new to this field, so, from a point of propelling it and your name and credibility, it would be advantageous for you to make friends rather than the opposite. The paranormal field is, for the most part, a close-knit group who help each other, not step on one another to further their own personal agenda. You’ve got a lot to learn if you expect to get anywhere.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Thou dost protest too much…

    Mr. Walker, you need to take a step back and realise a few key issues.

    1) There is no connection whatsoever between our websites, my article makes no mention of you, your website or your authors, nor does it intimate any wrong doing on your part. Had you not posted your first rant here, no one would ever have drawn any connection. So implying that I’ve called you an amateur is just ridiculous.

    2) The conclusions I drew from your article (which isn’t even your article, so I’m confused about your level of emotion on the subject) are an opinion…you know, the kind of personal ideas you claim are exclusive to you and your authors, well I can form them too. I stand by my comment, which was an observation about the opinions being put forward by your author.

    3) Having “done this for a long time” does not make you an expert, nor a part of the “community”; a community that is global and not confined to the lower parts of the US.

    4) I have no wish to draw any of your readers to my website, as, for starters, I don’t need to. Though I would say you’ve done an effective job of trying to entice my readers to visit your site with your inflamatory and largely irrelevant comments.

    5) My comment on your site is as follows (Directly quoted): “I’m sorry, but I simply must stand up and be the voice of reason here.

    “Dead Time” is not related to the death of Jesus in anyway. That is a ridiculous assertion.

    “Dead Time” is a term used by modern ghost hunters to define the period of time during the night at which there is the least amount of solar magentic interference. (Due to the sun being on the other side of the planet) The theory being, that EMF detectors will be more effective.

    This has no bearing on the level of activity, the type of activity or our ability to detect (see) them.

    A little journalistic integrity is called for.”

    No rational person would call that rude, nor would they call it an attack, they likely wold call it a difference of opinion. Though your comments here are a different story, they are clearly a malicious retaliation at an imagined wrong and a blatent overcompensation for the poor content you know you’re putting forth on your website.

    You turned this into a pissing match and made all kinds of assumptions about what I was saying, what I’m about and who I am. You continue to be in the wrong and I have no further interest in entertaining your incredulous drole.

    Feel free to continue trolling my website in an attempt to find fault with me personally, and if you wish to have a serious discussion on the merits of various theories, you know where to find me.

  • LTL

    PEACE !

  • Gregg Chamberlain

    I understood three o’clock in the morning was sometimes called “the soul’s midnight”.

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  • Angela

    I had no intention of commenting until I read something that didn’t set right with me. So here it is.

    The comment was made by Martin J. Clemens in paragraph
    3) Having “done this for a long time” does not make you an expert, nor a part of the “community”; a community that is global and not confined to the lower parts of the US.

    As a writer Mr Clemens you just gave us your opinion of the “community that is
    confined to the lower parts of the US.” If I lived in the area of the lower parts of the US, I would be insulted at the implication of such a statment. No, I’m very sure that I am insulted by this implication.

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