Today we’re looking at something very different, an app — one of three — called Ghost Tube. Released by Jarrad and Amy from the YouTube channel Amy’s Crypt, the app is built to help paranormal investigators in their quest to find and document the paranormal. The Ghost Tube apps are available on iOS and Android with a lot of features that can really enhance your ghost hunt.
What does it do?
The theory is that the app has a number of features that utilise the inbuilt sensors and features of your phone to detect and document, what we’re not necessarily able to see or hear.
What many users who’ve watched videos like — The very commercial — Ghost Adventures will recognise some of the outputs like:
- Seemingly random words and phrases – more on this later…
- Sensors that detect changes in atmosphere and proximity to the device
- The camera can be used the same way an Xbox Connect camera can to map people in the room, it’s interesting when there isn’t anyon there and a body is mapped though
- Using sensors and environmental factors to generate sound responses for users which can — in theory — provide a conduit for spirits to communicate
The app developer Jarrad was very approachable and quick to respond to queries about the app too. When we posed a few questions about the app, how it works and — of course — how they respond to sceptics’ comments on the app.
Phil: Firstly, thanks so much for your time Jarrad we really appreciate it. We wanted to have a chat with you about the Ghost Tube, SLS and VoX apps you’ve put out, how they work and some of the stories you’ve heard about the successful use of the app. Let’s start from the top though, can you give us a brief, technical overview of the app and how it uses the various sensors to produce the output we see as users, please?
Jarrad: GhostTube is a suite of tools that leverage the power and technology of modern mobile phones to replicate or provide alternatives for many of the tools used by paranormal investigators in the field. Some of the sensors used include the magnetometer, proximity sensor, and LiDAR (depending on the device you’re using). With these sensors we can do many things that are at the core of the most popular paranormal theories – We can measure magnetic disturbances, physical disturbances, and even capture visual anomalies in our environment. Most importantly, GhostTube lets you capture it all on video so that you don’t miss a thing on your investigations.
Phil: Is there a reason you decided to release three apps instead of winding all of the features into a single app?
Jarrad: Each of our apps perform highly complex tasks. GhostTube Original and GhostTube VOX not only capture camera frames and audio packets and encode them in real-time, but each of them also analyzes the sound packets and provides a real-time visual representation of the sound spectrum to help investigators detect sound anomalies. Similarly, GhostTube SLS analyzes the camera frame and depth information many times per second to accurately identify people-shaped objects and ensure they are drawn to the screen as quickly as possible. By keeping the apps separate, we ensure that each can take full advantage of the CPU and GPU for optimal performance, which is very important when developing for handheld devices that may be limited on hardware resources.
Phil: Across the two platforms (Android and iOS) do you know how much time you’ve invested in the development?
Jarrad: We have invested years into perfecting GhostTube and continue to invest a lot of time even to this day. We are continually coming up with new ideas and improvements to make our apps more practical for investigators. We first commenced work on GhostTube Original in 2018 while travelling through the UK. It was actually Amy’s idea (we were on our way to one of the UK’s most haunted locations, the Skirrid Inn). Once the idea was conceived, we commenced work on it straight away that very same night! Although we had a version available to the public later in 2018, it wasn’t until 2020 that it was stable and reliable enough to start getting traction with other investigators – The ideas for VOX and SLS were conceived back around 2020 as well, but it took another 2 years to get these developed.
Phil: Out of interest, were there any specific difficulties in development and integration you faced on one platform more than the other?
Jarrad: Both Apple and Android have deviated completely from one another when it comes to augmented reality, which continues to challenge us in developing and maintaining GhostTube SLS across both platforms. Apple has invested heavily in LiDAR technology, whereas Android has made good use of dual camera lenses and Time of Flight (ToF) sensors to achieve similar depth-sensing capabilities. In addition, both are advancing their capabilities at an incredible rate, making GhostTube SLS our most difficult app to maintain.
Phil: For the new players, can you outline the key differences between the three apps?
Jarrad:GhostTube Original is our flagship app that primarily uses the magnetometer to measure magnetic disturbances. It is testing the theory that spirits can manipulate magnetic fields with their presence, or can manipulate them in a way to communicate. For example, GhostTube also has a pre-populated dictionary that will trigger words when specific magnetic signatures are detected.
GhostTube SLS leverages the augmented reality technology, namely LiDAR and depth information from the camera when available, to measure depth, map the 3D environment and map any anomalies in that space (ie people shaped objects). It helps investigators test theories that spirits can manifest and cause physical disturbances in our environment, as well as theories that spirits can manifest in light spectrums that are not visible to the human eye (but could be visible to digital cameras).
GhostTube VOX also uses the magnetometer to measure magnetic disturbances and, similar to our flagship app, test theories that spirits can influence magnetic energy to communicate. However, rather than selecting words from a pre-populated dictionary, it sources the sound from online radio streams removing the limitation of a fixed vocabulary. It also has a white noise generator and echo/reverb controls, allowing investigators to test theories that white noise and other certain types of sound can aid in conducting a paranormal investigation.
Phil: Thanks so much for your time today Jarrad, it’s been really interesting to get further insight into the development of the Ghost Tube apps. Is there anything else about the apps you’d like to highlight before we finish up for the day?
Jarrad: Amongst serious investigators, paranormal apps tend to have a bit of a bad rap, and there is no wonder – they typically oversell their capabilities, are plagued with ads or come across as gimmicky with phone sound and visual FX or jump scares. GhostTube is trying to set a new standard for paranormal research tools. Our app’s core functionalities are free to use, we don’t subject our users to third party ads, and we are very transparent about the specific sensors used by each of our apps and the theories they are testing. Give it a try and share your feedback with us at ghosttube.com – we are always looking for ways to improve and love hearing from our users.
How useful is it?
Personally, I’ve been on some ghost tours around South Australia including the Z Ward, Adelaide Gaol, Talem Town and Railway Museum. All sites that are said to be haunted and yeah, I’ve seen/experienced some things at those sites I can’t rationally explain. But my knowledge and experience of anything paranormal barely rate a blip on the radar, so I thought I’d get some input from an expert: Alison Oborn.
As the owner of Adelaide Haunted Horizons and lead investigator of Paranormal Field Investigators, Alison has established herself as a well-respected individual within the Paranormal field. We approached her to offer a few comments regarding Ghost Tube which she was happy to provide to us:
Haunted Horizons are not ones for using or encouraging ghost hunting apps on our investigations. After all, if serious researchers thought for one moment they were a useful tool, then they wouldn’t spend $1000’s on equipment that does measure the environment accurately.
App’s are programmed, which means there is a programmer behind them (making them susceptible to manipulation). They are stated as ‘entertainment only’ and without understanding how it is programmed, I would find it hard personally, to put faith in most of them. Not unless I understand how they were programmed.
However, that being said, there is one app that I do use and this is GhostTube. My reasoning behind this one is that I know the programmer, Jarrad. He is always happy to spend hours talking about how he has programmed the responses to the natural abilities of the phone. He will be the first one to say that most of it will be random, and that is just proving the phone is doing its thing and reading the environment.
Without a doubt, we have had some very curious correlations with what is happening on the other equipment, and what is coming out of GhostTube at the same time. Some of the responses have been that little more than coincidental! I am happy to support Jarrad and GhostTube, as I have seen the hours of work and passion put into this. It is why you will often see it used on our live streams or on our investigations and the only app we recommend to our guests if they are wanting to use one.
As a test (and because it’s fun to get out with friends) I went to the Adelaide Gaol, phone at the ready with GhostTube, VOX and GhostTube SLS installed. Alas, I got nothing by the way of any evidence of paranormal communication via the app. We did have some interesting things happening with other equipment on the night including EMF meters going off in a room where there was no power which I managed to record on GhostTube.
I’m nothing like a paranormal investigator, but I had a lot of fun with the GhostTube app while I was on ghost tours. If you’re heading out on a tour, it’s well worth downloading the app to enhance the experience. For the few bucks per month (less than a cup of coffee) if you’re going to do this regularly, it’s well worth subscribing for the additional capabilities.
If you’d like to take a closer look at the app, some of the interesting things that come out of it and have a closer look at what’s involved with paranormal investigations: You can check out Amy’s Crypt or see some of their content on YouTube.