The Ovilus – 21st Century Snake Oil

IMG_3195With intrepid conviction, the host of the show sternly asked his question of the air between them, in this dark and cramped loft bedroom.

“What are you?” we heard him ask, as though his questions bore more authority than the next man.

But in a surprisingly clear robotic voice, the handheld machine stated it’s response with chilling candour.


The desired response was achieved, audiences around the world sat in stunned silence at this mystical…nay, supernatural exposition of demonic interaction, but was there any truth to this technological séance?

The device in question is the aptly named Ovilus (also known as the Puck); I say aptly only because I can’t think of a more ambiguous and clichéd name to give it.  The Ovilus is one of many devices designed and constructed over the last five decades or so, in a long line of technology offered to provide some contextual evidence of ghosts and hauntings.

A product of Digital Dousing LLC, the Puck surely is a technological wonder.  In short, it’s a machine to replace all other ghost hunting machines.   Many believe the Ovilus to be the evolution of paranormal investigation, a tool to take the place of EMF readers, digital recording devices, dowsing rods and thermometers all at once.  It provides all-in-one convenience with a user friendly interface that can’t be beaten.

Ok, enough of that.  The Ovilus is a fraud.

It is nothing more than a collection of simple environmental detectors wired to a processer that mathematically produces preset responses.  In fact, it works very much like a handheld slot machine; if you pull the proverbial handle enough times, eventually you’ll hit the jackpot.

Now I  realise that I’m going to suffer the scorn of a great many people for having said that, but in this field of academically ridiculed research and investigation, we as a community cannot afford to bring further incredibility to our pursuit by trusting the comical voices of a magic box.

It seems though, in spite of my warning, and others like it, many would-be ghost hunters are ignoring the facts in favour of fantastic and completely unproven results.  In the above recount of the pinnacle scene in Paranormal State’s Episode “Hells Gate”, Ryan Buell used the Ovilus to generate a fantastic result, supposedly identifying the entity in question as a demon.  They went even further in their “investigation” (placed in quotes because I’m not entirely certain what they do can be called investigating), and came up with a name for this “demon”, supposedly solidifying their evidence as a positive finding.

All this is intended to lead us down a very particular garden path I’m afraid.  Even without a degree in electronic engineering, one can see how ridiculous this is.

Here’s the problem in the most simple terms I can lay out.  In order to design a working electronic measuring device, we must first know what it is we’re measuring.  In the case of EMF meters and thermometers, we know, based on many years of advanced science that these environmental elements exist and are measurable.  When an EMF meter is engaged it is seeking and measuring the magnetic fields that are generated by various items in our environment.  The fields are detected at various strengths according to their proximity to the device and a corresponding level indicator shows the user a reading.

Seems simple enough right?  The same is true for thermometers and even for dowsing rods, wherein the “signal”, a form of magnetic field caused by the interaction between water and the rock it flows over/within, causes the rods to be pulled in the direction of the flow.  This is easily translated into an electronic device.

However…as easily as the above instruments are explained, the Ovilus, which combines the operation of all the above devices, is not greater than the sum of its parts, and I’ll gladly tell you why.

In order for the Ovilus to provide a plausible result, in the form of a metered number or a phonetic word, the maker of the device would have to posses an advanced understanding of the meaning behind the interactions of the various environmental inputs (i.e. EMF signals), as those meanings relate to ghosts or spirits (or demons as the case is above).

The problem is…no one on earth has such an understanding.  The individual measurement devices contained in the Ovilus are based on real science, their principals are understood, but the same is not true for this frankenstien-esque incarnation of their science.

This is a clear example of circular logic getting the better of an entire community of learned people.  We cannot have a machine that defines an unknown phenomenon, when a definition of the phenomenon is required to build the machine in the first place.

imW2VZ+A7KkP7S4+2ODOEH2Q==I am saddened to see and hear that many reputable researchers have fallen for this trick of marketing, the Ovilus is intended to be nothing more than a toy, and since its adoption by the likes of PRS and Paranormal State, those people who wish to emulate Buell and the like, for whatever reason, will accept the result without critical examination of the principals behind the technology.

For any of those who disagree with my assessment, as I’m sure there will be many, I not only invite you to comment here, but I also invite you to have a look at the Digital Dowsing, Ovilus online user manual located at the link found below, and while reading, take special note of the abundance of indemnity disclaimers posted throughout the document.

If a device such as the Ovilus were a genuine and reliable tool for ghost hunters, would the manufacturer feel compelled to protect themselves from lawsuit to such a degree?

In closing, I will point out that Bill Chappel of Digital Dowsing has flatly denied that the Ovilus is capable of speaking for the dead in any way whatsoever.  If the designer of the device is reluctant to go on record as endorsing it’s capabilities, what confidence should we have in any results we get from the device?

The Ovilus I by Digital Dowsing LLC

The Ovilus I Operators Manual

Edit Note: Since publication of this piece, Digital Dousing has terminated production of the Ovilus I, please see the related article: Caveat Emptor…Ghost Radar Is Fake (Link below)

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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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  • Martin J. Clemens

    In a short exchange on Twitter, Ryan Buell has claimed that he agrees with my assessment of the Ovilus, in-so-far as agreeing that it is not “legit”. He also claims to have made comments of that nature elsewhere on more than one occassion, though I’m not aware of any source to cite.

    My response to him was quite simply that, regardless of what comments he may, or may not have made regarding the Ovilus’ lack of legitimacy, his comments are overshadowed by the use of the device on his show, and because of this, the majority of the paranormal subculture believe that he and PRS are endorsing the unit.

    He then went on to explain that he and his PRS crew are at the mercy of the executive production team at A&E, and that there is a continual battle going on behind the scenes. He indicated quite plainly that he and his team are at odds with the producers and are nearing the point of ending the show due to these differences.

    Whether this is the case or not, I presented him with a follow up question which he did not answer. My concern is that, if PRS can be pressured to use unproven and illegitimate technology on the show, are they not prone to accepting executive pressure when it comes to falsified evidence or a suspect presentation of evidence?

    While I take exception to certain aspects of Paranormal State and the way PRS goes about their work, I do thank Ryan for reading and responding to this article.

  • Johnny Watts

    Hasn’t anyone read the text on the front of the ovilus 1 where it reads,
    ‘for entertainmnet purposes only’? that alone tells me it is not a genuine device capable of spirit communication. The maker of the Ovilus 1 most likely saw frank’s ghost box available on the internet and decided he could make money as well with a similar device. I don’t know if the theory behind frank’s ghost box is legitimate or not as far as spirit communication but at least frank’s ghost box does not work from a list of preset codes which enable various sounds that could be mistaken for actual spirit voices when, in fact, those sounds are already built into the Ovilus 1 by way of an integrated processer. Perhaps the makers of the Ovilus 1 had heard about the purported story of Thomas Edison’s attempts to create a spirit communication device. I am a person who, in fact, literally saw ghosts one time many years ago on one particular day (not night) and I did not see one ghost but a half dozen. And they were not full body apparitions but only transparent faces. They scared the hell out of me and in my own bedroom. This haunting went on for 10 minutes until I finally left the room. I could not believe what I saw. I was not drinking liquor, nor was I on any drugs. I had no history of ever having hallucinations. Yet I saw them. Why and how, I don’t know. They were screaming at me with curses and threats but I could not hear them verbally. There was no sound although it appeared they were trying their damnest to make me hear them. I saw their mouths moving, opening and closing as they raged at me. I saw their eyes, their noses, their cheekbones, their chins, foreheads. They were transparent and seemed to be manifesting out of thin air. They seemed to come out of the shadows and dim light and hovered just below my bedroom ceiling. They were so animated that they semed to be in a frenzied state of anxiety, as though in a cloud of chaotic sub-atomic particles. I was able to see my bedroom wall behind them as I peered at their faces and realized I could see the wall and the ceiling right through their faces, like looking at an invisible man who becomes partially visible as though draped in a vapour of mist. I was also able to understand the thoughts of one of the apparitions as he realzied I was looking right at him and the others. I felt as though I could hear his thoughts mentally as though he told the other ghosts (or demons) that I was able to see them and this they did not expect. For some unexplained reason, this group of devils decided they were going to try to haunt the hell out of me by sending me waves of negative energy and negative thoughts in a hellish stream of mind to mind telepathy. I often wonder if suicides, murders, rapes, drug abuse, drunk driving and other crimes are not the result of subliminal psychological sabotage on the part of these entities, some of whom may very well consider the human race as their enemies in the flesh. Maybe they can make us depressed, agitated, despondant, angry, self-destructive. And we never know the underlying reason why many of us have these negative emotions from time to time. Could it be these instigators from another dimension? I think so, at least, in part. to whatever degree. Like good people and bad people in the world of the living, I am certain that in the world of the spirit or the dead, there must be good and bad spirits.

  • Ronald Gillis

    Mr.Clemens you are certainly right on target with your assessment of Ovilus type devices.I am a Christian and we are frequently accused of superstitions regarding theses matters when in actuality many of us are pretty scientifically hard-nosed on the subject.The human brain is capable,under certain,not always understood circumstances,of great ability to hear sounds and see things that are beyond human sense organs.I prefer the more scientific approach of groups like Ghost Hunters. We are in a realm of great subtlety regarding ghosts,demons,possession etc.Easy to get very confused.A strong mind and scientific method as well as strong objective methods are the only way to avoid getting lost.

  • Tyler c

    Science is about hard data, the problem with Paranormal research in general is equipment used. K2 meter: flash light, Radios, cell phones, random microwaves which are cities are flooded with set off EMF gauges and K2 meters. the only way to be able to use these devices with a clear reading of a spiritual entity is to take a clear reading of a spiritual entity. Paranormal researchers for years have assumed because there is an abundance of electromagnetic energy that a sum of this energy can be attributed to spiritual energy and now that is accepted by the community. Don’t get me wrong energy dose not just disappear it take on new form, that’s a fact and a reason why i am intrigued with paranormal research. Another device is the FLIR thermal cam, now this is a cool device, but again unreliable in the sense that you would have to now what you are looking  for. I think the use of these tools are great, but i think every team needs to do extensive controlled testing to get an idea of how these devices will work in certain enforcements, and document each and every bug that these systems have before using them, keep heavy notes. As for the Ovilus…Well like the author said its a toy and has no scientific value. Paranormal TV shows are their for entertainment first, research second. If they had a real Paranormal research team to real studies, it would probably be very boring        

  • Phil

    Actually the Ovilus PX is back in production and as a scientist the device does pique my interest.  We have used devices ESD and ESAmp that convert EMF and RF waves into the audible tone that the fields truly sound like.  These devices are tech equipment that are generally used to Id any contaminating signals when setting up routers, wireless networks and so forth.  These are extremely effective at ‘EVP’ since you can literally hear the fields.

    Now the Ovilus (a glorified Ouija board) has my attention because it just might work in a similar fashion.  It would never be a replacement for any real tool but ‘communication-wise’ it would be invaluable if it works.  I’m extremely hesitant to invest in such a device just because of its nature but it has me wondering ….what if?

  • S.

    I won’t argue the authenticity of this gadget and I won’t pretend to be an expert– because I’m definitely not. However, I would be interested to know your thoughts on how this device managed to communicate a three-part name– which, incidentally, was the name of a fellow investigator’s great grandfather– during an investigation that my group participated in. This is the only impressive experience I’ve had with an ovilus, though I’ve worked with them several times.

  • Stoney

    Hey I’m a scientific guy & i’m all about utilizing PROPER scientific method.  But here is my take.. there are a hell of a lot people whom claim to use ‘scientific’ methods when they’re really full of $hit. Just cuz u toss out some evp cuz its not clear doesn’t constitute ‘scientific’ method.  Instead, why not compare the frequency of evp occurances over a given amount of time in a supposed ‘haunted’ place to a non ‘haunted’ place?  Now regarding the ovilus… given its roughly 2000 word database, and presuming the words aren’t weighted, what is the statistic probability of a contextually relevant response occurring numerous times in a row? Before you are so quick to discredit this or any device, mayabe u should think first.  Just as one needs supporting evidence to prove some phenomenon occurrence, you also need to have credible supporting evidence to discredit it.  To the author of this article, you logic is flawed.  The ovilus creator doesn’t need to understand how to ‘decode’ these changes in environmental variables, I think the whole point is that its possible something else can control the environment in a way to intentionally trigger relevant responses?

  • Gundam

    Well I think is it a fake tool, anyone could create a random word(s) and it would say odd things to think “oh my god”, but if it was mabe a pure white noise machine and you heard words then yes it could be real.

    but to take a machine with only 2,000 words and think its real when your already allowing a machine to produce words is crazy to see as truth.  Its like taking a Magic 8 Ball this 100 words, ask a question and you’ll get words for a long answer.

    Ghost hunters need to stick to Digital Recorders, cameras, and video.

    ALSO the “GHOST METER PRO” is a junk tool.  Its circut board goes on a random lock on mode and random clicks or flashes to act like its answering your questions.  this is another garbage tool ghost hunter should forget.  I seen many videos on youtube.  Its fake random MAGIC 8 BALL crap too!      

  • Tyler Moody

    I agree. Bill Chappell of Digital Dowsing also makes no claims that whatever comes from the Ovilus is anything paranormal. I would compare it to a one man Ouija board. By reading certain environmental elements it generates words. In Dictionary mode it has 2000+ words. So you have a 1 in 2000+ chance of actually getting anything relevant. In phonetic mode, it has to form it’s own speach. With this I would say the chances are like 1 in 10k of getting a complete word. Now, having said all that. It has been shown (on very rare occasions, and they usually happen only in areas with an extreme “paranormal” type of activity) it has produced full sentences in both dictionary and phonetic mode. These sentences were astonishingly relative to the questions asked. There is a theory that has been tested with Psychotelekenesis at Duke University, that the user could in fact be unconsiously somehow generating these responses. I would see that to be very difficult but it is possible. Now, for a “Spirit” or “Ghost”  to communicate through this device, I would think it to be nearly impossible as the “Ghost” would have to be extremely intelligent and know exactly how to manipulate the environment properly to use the device successfully. Another theory is that when you do get highly relevant responses from the Ovilus, is that whatever entity may actually be communicating is uber-intelligent and more than likely NOT human. Demonic, diabolical etc. All knowing. That is possible as well but is only a theory as there have been direct responses known to come from it and as stated above, it is VERY rare. The new Ovilus X that I have has actually produced full sentences in phonetic mode frighteningly relevant to the questions asked and the first thing it said in phonetic mode was actually my name. Pretty scary. It scared me to death. So, what exactly is it? I don’t know? It’s possible that I could have somehow subconciously manipulated it to produce a response. I’d like to think not. I’ve never had any kind of episodes, that I know of, involving my mind manipulating anything. Is it an entity? If so, it has to be a very highly intelligent one. Possibly diabolical? I just don’t know. I suppose it could be an active intelligent formerly human “Spirit”. We just really don’t know exactly what happens exactly after one passes on. It’s all just theory. But I will say that I did get some truly confounding relative communications while using phonetic mode. I would liken it to a Ouija board. Strange things may happen. Nothing may happen at all. In extreme and rare cases, the Ouija board has been known to produce Poltergiest-like activity. What it is exactly, is another matter. With mine. I will be documenting everything. I don’t take anything it says seriously at all. But at the same time, I’m not going to challenge any intellect that may (or may not) be manipulating it. I do find it to be random 95% of the time and any coincidential words I dismiss. But the times when it actually produces a hauntingly accurate full sentence in direct response to a question just really befuddles me. I remain skeptical of all of this. We can only hypothesize about it.

  • Jim D.

    The device is never presented as a measuring instrument, and I think you are missing the whole point that the concept is that the spirits can figure-out how to manipulate it to produce the word they want.
    If you want to be scientific… what are the odds that “demon” will come out as a response at a particular time??   :-p   Even if it only has say 300 words in the vocabulary then that is 1/3 of one percent. Then, to take it further – what are the odds that it would give such an answer as response to an applicable question? Even less, methinks.
    Have more of an open mind, homey.
    Disclaimer – never used an Ovilus, nor do I work for them.  lol

  • http://na Ryan C

    while I do agree with the fact that the Ovulis could be actually a fraud, I have used one, the new ovulis x.  and the results were very surprising,  it gave me 2 names, when I asked who was in my home. George, and mary.  it kept repeating there names. I didnt think much of it, and figured it was randomly throwing out words. I talked to a friend about it, telling her the names i recieved threw the Ovulis. and left it at that, the next day she called me back, and told me she looked into it, and typed in just george and mary from Utah. it actually pulled up a George and mary Darley, that were married, and had lived in my home town. over 100 years ago, now some are going to say, big deal, you could find a George or Mary in any town,  but, what are the odds it would pull up the names, of a married couple who lived in my town almost a hundred years ago, of a town that only has barely 200 people.  so yeah, maybe it is not so much that the Ovulis is a fraud. but the fact, it is up to the spirits to find a way to make the divice say what they want you to hear! do I believe everything that comes out of the Ovulis, NO, but I believe sometimes some spirits will find a way to make it work for them, so they may communicate.  i many times cannot understand the words on the Ovulis, so I asked the spirits what they wanted me to do. cause i was having a hard time understanding the words, it said consult, I said consult what? it then replied Clairvoyant.  which seemed to show a very intellegent response to a question. and I find it hard to believe it just randomly finds such a perfect answer to some of my questions. so all I can say is, yeah dont take everything to heart it says, but dont just blow it off either, you may have actually found a spirit that can find a way to use the device to communicate with you.

  • Travelerpm

    We have used the Ovilus.  Yes, it does spit out words occasionally, but who knows the relevance?  We were trying to communicate with a little boy that committed suicide in his home at the age of 12.  Only his mother and father knew that his older brother would use a wrestling hold on him to hurt him.  When I asked the spirit through the Ovilus – “WHAT DID CONNOR DO” his response was “arms on neck”.  There is NO possible way for the Ovilus to calculate this response or use those 3 words in procession to form that response.  This in FACT is what his older brother used to do to him to hurt him.  He would use a wrestling hold where he would wrap his arm around the childs neck.  Many other responses were in direct response to questions.  When I asked him if he wanted to play a guessing game he said “START IT” – so I said name starts with a P and ends with an M what is the middle initial?  I was looking for an “A” for Pam.  He responded with an “S”.  As it happens, my middle name and middle initial is an “S”.  That plus many other responses.  No one wants to take responsibility for this device and it must be used only in conjunction with someone who knows what the hell they are doing.  Spirits are very intelligent and whether you believe it or not, are around us, and are able to see and hear us.  There is no scientific proof that another dimension does not exist and no one knows when we move on to it, if we will have a higher grasp of everything intelligent, be it verbiage or knowledge of devices such as how to manipulate the Ovilus.  We have captured actual voices on digital recorders from the other side.  Unless you have been to the other side and back, speculate all you want.  We don’t spend our every waking minute trying to prove a spirit world exists.  We know it does.  From what we have gathered, spirits are smart enough to figure out a way to communicate with us, from many devices using KII to have a yes and no session, to the digital recorders, to Mel Meters, any number of devices can be used.  To think once you pass you have turned into an idiot and cannot figure out how to manipulate a simple device, doesn’t have a full grasp on a lot of things.  Speculate all you will.  We have used it and we know we get responses that under no certain terms could the Ovilus have known.  It also is not designed to spit out a full sentence such as the one we got with who we assume was the little boy when I said “I KNOW ITS HARD FOR YOU TO TALK…………..THE RESPONSE WE GOT WAS “I WILL TRY TO SPEAK”.  Actually, it sounded like “iwill……try………to……sp sp sp speak” AS IF THE SPIRIT WAS LEARNING HOW TO MANIPULATE THE DEVICE and that was during our first session.  Our team set out to find out if a spirit world exists.  We know it does.  Spirits can manipulate and use electromagnetic fields and are a lot smarter than you give them credit for in terms of learning how to manipulate devices.  Defensive?  Not really, but we feel that the general public, while NOT advocating use of these devices if you don’t know who or what you are dealing with, should be aware that there are ways to communicate but be careful in who you choose to do an investigation and never do one yourselves with one of these devices.  Some responses may be taken out of context such as the one where his cousing Josh asked “could he take the toy (that started working during our session after being dead for four years and was NOT working prior to the session) and the answer was “LEAVE”.  The young man mistakenly thought he was asked to leave when in fact the boy wanted his toy left at the home – leave the toy is our consensus because later when his cousin asked him if he wanted him to leave – the response was “remain”.  But you see how a response can be misconstrued – the cousin was upset because he thought he was told to leave.  His feelings were hurt.  We feel a non biased person (not family related) in these matters should be the one to interpret and we didn’t always know what was said but those times we got a direct response from his spirit that only his mother and father could possibly know………..then we knew this device could in fact be used to communicate.  Whether it spits out random words or not – it can still be used for a spirit to come through.  They are not stupid.  Scientists do not know everything, therefore, to come to a conclusion that this device is a “toy” and can not be used to communicate, well, they don’t know anything about what they “don’t know”.  Nothing more can be said. 

  • Travelerpm

    Forgot to mention that during the session the spirit said “HI MOM” when his mother was talking to him and when asked how old he was, the response was “twelve”.  The age he was when he killed himself.  That was not a “pat” answer because when we asked the spirit how old his mother was going to be – the response was not “twelve” but “38” which is what her husband had been telling everyone how old she would be (she would in fact be 50).  We presume the spirit was listening in on their conversations in the home.  It we had said “how old are you” and he had said 38 in response to that?  Then that would be a pat answer.  How would the Ovilus know the spirit was 12?  It wouldn’t.  Ok I willl quit expounding on the virtues of what is actually communication if you will quit saying it is not possible.  Again, you don’t know what you don’t know i.e. you do not know everything and your response that it isn’t possible would make some people think “geez, they must know something” as I am sure you do………but not about this.

  • Jim D.

    Yes, I agree with your comments and another warning would be that you may think you are “speaking with” a spirit of the departed when it could in fact be an evil entity. So just keep that in the back of your mind. They are all around us and can answer questions accurately tricking you into thinking it is the human spirit. Cetain lines of questions can help figure it out. For instance, onetime I asked how long have you been here and it said since “before the time of your Christ” as an EVP.

  • http://FriendsofDusana Travelerpm

    Hi Jim,

    I agree.  We have removed some pics that we now consider “dust” but have left some we consider orbs on our website.  And your comment about the evil entities we also agree with.  The one plus side to this is even if it was not the little boy we can take pleasure in knowing that “if” and I say “if” we were deceived it seems to have “backfired” on the entity as the only thing it did was help our cause in helping this family to heal a bit and not be so afraid and in so doing……..defeat the purpose of any evil entity.  See what I mean?  If its purpose was to fool us and make us afraid.  That didn’t work and it, in fact, only united all seven of us.  I know what you are about to say next ………its doing that to gain our trust.  We know it has the propensity to be something else imitating a child, but we also want to have some semblance of faith that it is the spirit of the child.   We have been there five times now and in the last three have felt nothing atmospherically heavy or ominous and the air did seem brighter and lighter.  We feel we removed anything bad in the home in the first two visits.  Question………….do you think an evil entity can give off a scent such as vanilla or cookies?  We have been told that was representative of something more heavenly spiritually speaking.  What is your take on that?  We were under the impression that evil has a particularly nasty odor.  Also your take on that. 

    Thanks for commenting!


  • Jim D.

    I had classes on this stuff from a very experienced team that has seen it all and I asked them your question. I will get back to you if they answer. I believe they said it’s possible, contrary to the movies. Even the Bible says Satan can appear as an Angel of Light. I have the Bible on CD being read aloud and that is one method you can use. Play that for half an hour and then ask what they think. Or songs like hymns. I got some pretty serious reactions at the house I was at! lol  There are also these Greek Monks that drive them crazy. I forget their name offhand. Just being aware of the deception possibility puts you way ahead of the game!

  • http://FriendsofDusana Travelerpm

    Thanks for the response!  We will certainly keep that in mind in the future on all investigations.  It did cross our minds.  We didn’t totally chuck that reasoning out.  Thats a good idea about the Bible.  We can play an excerpt then ask what it (or who) thinks.  Good idea!  Thanks for that one!

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  • Angie

    I recently attended a ghosthunt in a house where no tragic or traumatic events had occurred – just prominent and affluent residents from a century ago. I didn’t know any of the people and I was a ‘drop-in’ attendee (I do research for a paranormal group in my city), but this device called me by name multiple times in a room full of people. I never let on that it was me. It described my hair as well, which was unlike any others in the room and, yeah, then people started looking at me. Another woman brought an item that was known to be one of the dead residents’ collectible of choice. She didn’t tell anyone she was bringing it (as far as I know) but the Ovilus called it by name. As the researcher for my group, I’m a HUGE skeptic. It seemed logical that, in the beginning, the entities were indeed trying to figure out how to manipulate the device. Out of all our referrals, 99.5% are easily debunked. I am a sensitive, but I haven’t had an experience like that in awhile. I left the estate exhausted and drained and it’s my opinion that the entities were using the energy from the attendees – which we said was okay to do – and I just look at the whole experience as something definitely unusual and out of the ordinary for what usually happens at our ‘investigations.’ I can’t say the Ovilus is a voicebox for the dead, but it certainly brings what I believe to be a compelling argument. I’d be interested to see someone reverse engineer it. I believe the reason for all the disclaimers is simply because science still hasn’t proved that ghosts exist. How can you claim something speaks for an entity that’s never even been proven as a reality? That’s the same reason I believe it’s unethical for any paranormal investigator to charge for investigations, visits, or evaluations.  Anyway, I am indeed skeptical about this device, but I heard and saw some very intriguing things that night and I’d like to see more results from other users, especially from the upcoming models.

  • Chuck

    Everything in the field has to be taken with a grain of salt,  but I applaud TravelerPM’s posts of Sept 17, 2011 and said what I would have wanted to say.   Any piece of equipment can produce fantastic results for some people and others, nothing.  For the people that it does nothing for,  they should not be so quick to write it off.   Diving rods do nothing for me, but I won’t label them as a sham because of such. When I use the Ovilus X, sometimes I get amazing results.  At Monmouth Battlefield State Park,  first time I use the Ovilus on the farm field and the dictionary setting said the word ‘Ox’.   Except there is no “Ox” in the dicitonary setting.  Then on another visit,  I am passing a colonial reenactor, showing kids how to fire a musket.   As soon as the musket is fired,  the Ovilus spits out the word “Hide”.  An amazing 1 in 2048 chance that the word “hide” would come out seconds after a musket is fired on the site of one of the biggest battles of the Revolution.  Then 45 minutes later while I am filming in an orchard,  a police car pulls up about 50 yards away to check out what I am doing.  Right after I mention the police are watching me,  the Ovilus says “hide” again.  In another part of the battlefield, at the main Colonial army line,  as soon as I turned on the Ovilus X and explained how spirits could use it, the first 2 words it spits out are ‘England Line”.   Then 20 minutes later when asking who is with me,  I get names.  Then the words  “30 left because fall figure skip violence”.   Possibly telling me that 30 of the men ran away after somebody went down (officer?) and they skipped the fight.    Which was a common thing during the revolution,  after a volley of musket balls,  some soldiers got scared when somebody went down next to them and took off. Yes there have been times where I got what seemed like a jumbled mess of words that made no sense, but that doesn’t mean “snake oil”.  What if this is caused by a spirit trying to learn how to manipulate the device as was suggested above?  What if there are a couple of spirits present and they are all trying to use the device at the same time?  Like a bunch of reporters sticking their mikes into your face and all yelling out questions?  It’s easy for a skeptic to say “coincidence” to what seems like a positive response to a question.  So when the Ovlius says the name “sandra”  in an outdoor location and then 45 minutes later in a different area I catch a Class A EVP that says “Sandra”, we just chalk that up to coincidence?  Okay, then that makes that coincidence # 834,821 for the year for paranormal investigators.  A little too many coincidences to simply write it (or most other equipment) off as pure chance. Bottom line is if you don’t like a piece of equipment or you don’t get good results, then don’t use it.     

  • Rob R

    I have read all of the above comments to the article. I have recently bought the Ovilus X with the read out screen. This unit has a 2006 word vocabulary. The unit amazes each time we use it. We have found it to be location specific as well. For instance we recently went to a historic prison here in NJ that is now a museum, from the start the Ovilus X spoke of murder, violence, knives, killing, lonely, trapped. Now the amazing part of this is that a guard was murdered by an inmate back in the early 1900’s , This guards name was William Harry King. On numerous Occasions throughout the night. This unit had said Harry and king more then 5 times!!! It also kept telling is in two words, “bottom shop”. Well there is a work shop in the basement of the prison, this is where the prisoners would build various items needed in the prison or for the towns needs. Just outside of said shop, is where this Harry King was murdered, as we stood in the shop, it said kill and object over and over again, Harry King met his demise outside of this shop with an iron bar. Hence Harry king was killed with an object outside of the bottom shop! The odds of this unit happening by this information randomly are way to high to doubt it’s validity !!! Soon enough you will be able to review all that I have said as we have it documented on film!!! My take is, the spirits can and do manipulate the frequencies of the words programmed in the machine just like handing the spirit a dictionary!


    we fear the living  not the dead!


    ghost hunters

  • Scott W Michigan

    Physics state that energy is never destroyed; it only changes its state.  Who is to say that spirits haven’t moved to an energy state that just touches ours. And yes, without prior knowledge this Ovilus seems to be able to state words ( sometimes in sentence form )  pertinent to the location/situation/etc it is used in is reported far too often to be coincidence. It may be that one has to work with it in one location for a period of time for the spirits to learn to use it, while others may be able to immediately. There are too many questions and never enough answers. We learn one answer, it brings up 10 questions we can’t.


  • Colorado Iris

    My husband and I took the Ovilus X with us during a vacation to Italy, Greece, and Turkey in October 2011. We took it as “entertainment,” yet the responses we got at the historic sites were amazingly appropriate and relevant. It spoke almost non-stop in some locations. A few of the more notable places were in Rome. At the Vatican, standing in the square, it constantly repeated “blessed,” “children,” “everlasting” “life” and other words connected to the sacredness of the site. We are not Roman Catholic, or even particularly religious, so I don’t think I potentially biased what it was saying by thinking these terms. Besides, I was more interested in the architecture than the religiousness of the site. At the Catacombs, it constantly repeated family member terms like “mother,” “father,” “child,” “daughter,” and “son.” Driving through the parts of Rome that burned under Nero, it repeated “fire,” “flame,” “hot,” “burn,” over and over again. We carried it through ancient ruins in Ephesus and Pompeii, through the square in Istanbul, and through the Forums in Rome, and it often gave relevant terms. In Athens, at the site of the first Olympics, it spoke terms related to sport, e.g., “stretch,” “lose,” “run,” “jump.” It’s interesting that we were in foreign countries yet whatever/whomever was speaking through the Ovilus X was able to manipulate its English vocabulary.

  • Steve in PA

    Has anyone ever seen schematic diagrams for this device?  I have over 30 years experience as an electronics tech.  With today’s technologies, it would not be very hard to have a GPS chip and a listening circuit in the Ovilus.  This could explain why users get context specific replies. Beleive me, it would not be very hard to do, and the recognition software would be fairly easy as well.

  • http://FriendsofDusana travelerpm

    We just had an investigation in Natchitoches – private home – had just gotten through doing a full spectrum camera shot series in the living room – had the Ovilus going later and I said “do you want to play a game” and it said “Phantom”.  Odd word for a “toy” that is supposed to spit out random words.  Later, I said “I know you are here” and again it said “Phantom”.  Clear as day.  “Phantom”.  What is interesting about that – is that the IR Lighting I was using where we captured a shadow figure has the word PHANTOM written across the top of it.  Pretty nifty trick for a “toy” to relate that particular word in direct relation to something we were doing. 

  • Alex

    Steve in PA,  let’s be logical about this.  Yes it is possible I suppose for the maker of the device to put in a GPS chip and listening circuit and whatever other technology so the device can be manipulated by a remote user as you seem to be suggesting.  So you mean to say that Bill Chappel is either himself, or with an army of users around the world are all sitting by waiting for somebody to flip the switch on the device,  quickly determine the Ovilus location and look for relevant facts about the location to manipulate the Ovlius into saying words to fool the user by listening to what the user is saying? We see people just here on this page alone using it in Michigan, NJ, Europe, not to mention other places all over the world as found on various websites and Youtube videos.  I’m sorry but if you’re assuming remote manipulation, that’s as far a stretch that I have seen anybody make about the device.   If you are saying its the software in the unit determining on its own its location, the words being said by the user and searching an internal database of every location in the world and relevant information about that particular location to spit out words relevant to the users investigation,  that is just as equally far fetched as well.  If Chappel had the ability to program a palm sized unit to do that, he would be getting paid big $$$$$$$ by some major software company instead of piddling around in the paranormal field. Maybe you should just buy one and take it apart yourself and see what makes it tick.

  • Alex

    Also to be clear, I am not saying that the Ovilus is a vaild scientific piece of equipment.   Chappel says it’s for entertainment only and I agree with that assessment.   Some people use it and get nothing,  some people use it and seem to get responses that go beyond saying its a reasonable coincidence.  But I think its safe to say that the device has not been set up to fraudulently fool people by using GPS, voice recognition and remote manipulation technology.

  • Rob R

    I agree 100% with Alex, there is no way anyone is manipulating this nor does it have the technology to scan our words and such to bring about a similar outcome, this machine works well and his been very accurate in our field work. Sometimes it is non relevant, but in most cases it is spot on and that is not coincidence!

  • Travelerpm

    We investigated the home of a young boy who had killed himself and I said “i know its hard for you to say something”  across the Ovilus comes “I …..willl……..try………to………..speak” haltingly – not fluid.  Yes, it can be manipulated by energy from spirits.  Does it repeat words?  Yes.  But we have found it to say words that directly relate to where we are, what we are doing, or who is present without us “feeding” it that information.  Well said remarks Alex and Rob R!

  • Chuck

    I concur.  A couple of months ago I was at Monmouth Battlefield and during an Ovilus X session, the box used a grouping of 3 words to TWICE identify items that I had in my equipment bag (Historical Figure Cards) and my camcorder bag (mp3 Player).  Video is on youtube showing the event.   Coincidence the Ovilus did this?  Maybe,  but it’s hard to believe that somebody somewhere managed to manipulate the device and spit out words to accurately describe items I had in my equipment bags that I had not even mentioned during my investigation.   It may all be one super gigantic coincidence (like hitting “red” 100 times in a row on a roulette wheel), but manipulation?  No.  

  • yaya

    i have often wonderdered if an individual or an item, rather than a place, may be the source from which the energy is derived.  wherever i go, whatever home i’ve lived in, the energy has been there.  is it simply that it is everywhwere?  or, could it be that some of us are more attuned to the feeling of the energy?  could it be that the energy is more attuned to certain people?  i don’t assume to know the answers to any of these questions.  i have considered using an ovilus, but have reconsidered. i’m not sure i would be comfortable with what i might learn.  i’ve tried to turn away from the awareness of the ripples of electricity that race through my body just prior to certain incidences occurring.  i have wondered if my own energy has caused activitiy, or if the electricity i’ve felt is a prelude to the the increasing energy that is encroaching. 

  • http://friendsofdusana travelerpm

    to yaya – I do not believe your own energy causes activity – but I do believe your theory on the prelude of encroaching energy.  Certainly, we all know that our bodies run on energy and when we die that energy has to go out.  Multitudes of answers on the “where” of it all – and I do not think anyone is expert enough to offer a solid conjecture other than to state that those of us who do paranormal investigations and spirit seeking – do know – that there other levels of energy that proceed forth – some stay behind – and some go where I hope NEVER to go if I can be good enough.  LOL  We got another response from the Ovilus this last weekend that was directly related to what I was asking/doing on a ghost hunt in Avinger Texas.  I will continue to use it – in fact just ordered up the digital read out display as sometimes it is difficult to discern what was said.  Sometimes it is clear as a bell.  I do think that a place can hold on to energy in that the spirit does not want to leave there and houses that energy.  Items can be a holding place for spirit energy as we have also found and recently in fact.  I am not afraid to ghost hunt – but for some reason do NOT want to do an EVP session in my own home!  LOLLLLLLLLL

  • yaya land

    if one dreams of someone one does not know, has never met, nor ever seen, though the someone has a connection with the one’s family member, and the dreamer accurately sees the someone take the last breath of life in an accurate setting, what is going on?  why would such a thing happen…especially when it occurs with more than one person during separate dreams? 
    another question:  would it be considered poltergeist activity if a tissue is pulled from one’s hand leaving nothing but the corner of the tissue between the finger and thumb?  obviously, a poltergeist can’t have a cold.

  • Chuck

    @TravelerPM – You will be very happy with the DTD.  I got it right after it came out and its the best thing.  I know exactly what you mean by not having it and trying to figure out what it is saying at times.  You’ll find it interesting when the Ovilus sounds like it is saying something and the DTD shows to be something else.   Just one tip,  be sure to not sit the Ovilus and DTD right next to each other as I believe the power from the DTD might cause the Ovlius to go off.   Use the Data cord (2 feet long I believe) and use that full range to keep them apart.

    For the poltergeist question,  you could say that it is, since there is a physical event that you can witness for yourself.  Do not necessarily take that as something bad or evil.  That might be nothing more than the ghost trying to get your attention to let you know they are there.  Do not let it scare you though as fear is an emotion some spirits are said to “feed” ( from (the energy you produce from being afraid). 

  • http://friendsofdusana travelerpm

    To Chuck!  Thanks for the response and tip on the DTD.  Good to know!  We appreciate it!  I hope to get it in a couple of weeks as we have about 5 more investigations lined up between now and November 15th!  LOL  I need it now ! 

  • Rob R

    To traveler PM, I have the DTD read out screen as well. It is the best part to have as you can actually see the words and not have to guess. Amazing item and we just used it last weekend and had very good results actually related to the location once again! No snake oil as far as i am concerned!

  • Dae

    As a hobbyist that uses microcontrollers I have to ask this:
    I understand emf, that can be anything that produces emf, your house wiring, your cell phone etc. Now when you detect a signal, how do you process it? all electronics are nothing but hardware that detects something and then acts on it. Its all in the programming. nothing happens with out this. so, who programed this unit to say hello? at what frequency of emf, at what interval? at what emf level? You see my concern? The microchips will not do anything without instruction from the creator that sets up the parameters.
    I would love to see this, but it will not fit in a hand held unit, at least as I see it. Capture all emf activity in an area, in all spectrums (like seti) and then evaluate that with radio frequency analyzers to see if there is a real voice in that radio frequency soup. It could be done. I am sorry, but if I could have a little box that fits in my hand, that could filter out all the emf that man is creating these days, and discriminate that is is coming from something other than man created, I think the military would be very interested. naw, good fun, possible to have a little box talking to you from the spirit world? Nope. Am I wrong? show me your shematic to this wonder item.

  • Martin J. Clemens

    Thanks for reading and commenting Dae! You illustrated my point perfectly, someone has to understand how those EMF signals might interact with or be manipulated by an entity in order to program a device to interpret that behaviour, and unfortunately, no one has any freaking clue how to do that!

    Thanks again.

  • Dae

    Thanks Martin,
    The main reason I posted (which I rarely do) is because all these shows on paranormal, lately made me start thinking about it. when creating projects with microcontrollers, we want to protect against emf interference. that could create problems. Until I see what is in the guts of these little emf-to-voice devices, I am not convinced that it is picking up anything but background generated emf. Case in point, I do not remember the show, it was on BIO Channel, but the investigator lost all activity on thier gadgets when the high voltage power lines (those big towers with wires) shut down, that were very near the house, they state this in the show, but said the power lines were enhancing the paranormal situation. I just observe.
    I would love to believe that we could detect such energy, but???
    I do not want to say its not possible, but these shows are making it look like you can buy these little boxes, and you are hearing from the dead that have not moved on. using small point and shoot camera’s in the dark, with flash, and stating they captured orbs, and mist in these pictures? All can be created buy the poor optics in these cameras. Just My thoughts! Thanks for letting me offer my opinion here all!

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