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In S2 episode 4, we get spooky 👻 with Rob Walczak – Founder, Ghost Gear Tech who explores the realms of how IoT can be used to detect paranormal activity🎃.

Sit back, relax and be the first to discover…

  • Rob’s paranormal experiences and why he set up Ghost Gear 👻
  • How IoT is being used within paranormal investigation 👻
  • How do the devices work to detect paranormal activity? 👻
  • The opportunities IoT opens up for paranormal investigative devices 👻
  • Where technology will take the future of paranormal investigations! 👻
  • And much more!

ABOUT THE GUEST

Rob Walczak, who is the Founder of Ghost Gear, a leading designer and supplier of paranormal investigative equipment. Ghost Gear has utilised IoT to create the highest quality devices to detect the paranormal and we are really excited to have Rob on the show for our Halloween Special!
To find out more about Ghost Gear Tech Click Here

Episode Transcript

Beth Law
Welcome to the IoT podcast show. I’m your host, Beth Law. And you might have seen me before in our women in IoT special, but when I heard that we were doing a paranormal show for Halloween, I just had to get involved. Today I am joined by Rob, the founder of Ghost Gear Tech, a leading designer and supplier of paranormal investigative equipment. Rob, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show today.

Rob Walczak
Thank you. So good to be here.

Rob Walczak
Good. How you doing today?

Beth Law
I’m doing very well. Thank you. You’re so good.

Beth Law
Yeah, yeah, I’m good. We had to be stepping into TOMS shoes again. But I think I’m I think I’m ready for it.

Rob Walczak
Oh, I’m sure you’re at all.

Beth Law
So let’s just dive right in, shall we? So can you give us a bit of an introduction into why you founded goes to the attack?

Rob Walczak
Yeah, so that’s kind of been a long journey. So I grew up in a haunted house in Michigan. That was a interesting home. You know, a lot of people witnessed a lot of things, including friends and family that came over and would spend the night you know, you’d have cousins come over and spend the night and, you know, they would the next morning, you know, ask some weird questions about things they witnessed. It didn’t start until we started to renovate the house. After the renovations is when things started getting really weird in the house. My that’s quite common, isn’t it? Yeah, that you hear that? A lot that when people you know, renovate that they kind of stir up some trouble, if you will, my sister would see a little boy with no legs kind of float into her room, she saw that quite a few times. My dad would see shadow figures in the bedroom at night. And a lot of times he thought it was my mom, you know, and because it was so solid to him. And you know, the funny thing is, is he doesn’t believe in the paranormal. And he’ll still tell you there’s no such thing as ghosts, but they’ll turn around and tell you about all the shadow figures that he used to see in the bedroom.

Rob Walczak
And then I would hear it. I’ve seen it. My mom mostly heard it whisper to her a lot. I heard it whisper my name a lot. And then I had seen quite a quite a few apparitions throughout the years in my bedroom. One time I saw one that just kind of came right out of the wall. Just like in a movie. It just came right out the shadow. And I’m laying in my bed and I’m trying to figure out if what I saw was real. And this was in the middle of the day. This wasn’t that night. And I had a pet ferret and it moved over by the ferrets and kind of leaned over a little bit as if it was investigating what the ferret was. And then it just kind of vanished.

Rob Walczak
Another incident was I was laying in bed taking a nap. This is in my teenage years. And I’m notorious for having piles of change in different areas like on my shelf or on my dresser even now if you go in my bedroom, I’ve got piles of change on my dresser. bad habit, I guess. But I heard the change falling but I didn’t know what it was at first. You know, I’d heard it heard of clink, clink, clink, and it was like water dripping from the faucet. You know, it’s just driving me nuts. So I got up to see what that was. Well, it turned out to be changed falling off my shelf, hitting the floor landing on top of one another.

Rob Walczak
And as I investigated as to why they were falling, I noticed this figurine that I had was rotating. And as it was rotating, it was pushing that change off. And yeah, I got out of the house pretty quick after that and made sure to get rid of that figurine. So that figurine does not exist anymore. And, you know, another issue within that house that I remember, I was sitting in the living room and watching TV and from my point of view, I could see the hallway and from the right side goes into the kitchen the left side goes up the stairs to the second floor. And I saw the two dogs we had two small dog toy poodle And a Maltese, and we saw them, or I saw them run by, and I heard him run up the stairs. Well, they’re not allowed upstairs. So I went to go get them. When I got to the top of the stairs, I realised they were not up there. And then it dawned on me that the dogs were with my mom and dad, they were visiting in Tennessee. So the dogs were even at home.

Rob Walczak
So, to this day, I don’t know what I saw run across the floor, and then heard it run up the stairs. You know, to me, I thought it was the dogs, that’s what I thought I saw. So, you know that that was, you know, just some of the things that went on in that in that house. And after we moved out of that house, you know, nothing for years, no paranormal activity that I witnessed, you know, went on for years, until I started going to paranormal, active homes. And then that’s, that’s where I would witness some of the paranormal activity. So how I got into it is my mom came to visit. And she watches the ghost hunting shows. And she watches dance shows. So I watched, I know, she would alternate between the two as well as you go from one to the other so quickly.

Rob Walczak
But she would watch the ghost hunting shows, and I’d watch them with her. And I got really curious about the devices that they were using, and how, how they thought that meant that there was a ghost nearby. So I went down the rabbit hole of researching these devices, and, you know, trying to understand the basis of them and how they supposedly detect ghosts. And once I got a good foundation and understanding of that I’m a mechanical engineer, and I tinker with electronics. So I started building my own stuff, based off of my research. And then I reached out to some paranormal groups, and ask them if they wanted to try out my stuff, you know, try out the gear, see if it works in the field. If it does cool, you know, if not, then I do something different. And they liked it quite a bit. And some of them were chapters. So they had more than so it was like one group in Iowa. And then they had a chapter in Tennessee, or a chapter in Texas. So they wanted more gear for their other chapters. And then that’s what led me into starting ghost gear. I wanted to create new devices that were not on the market, I did not want to be a me too company. And just so you know, the same run of the mill items that everyone else is selling I wanted to come up with with new devices and utilise IoT as well in my devices.

Beth Law
Yeah, cuz there’s, there’s like a few kind of devices that are out there that get remade and redesigned constantly. But they’re pretty much all the same premise, right? So you’re kind of trying to stay away from copying those kinds of things and create your own stuff, then.

Rob Walczak
That’s right. A lot of them are quite honestly, they’re just a junior Thurman stuff in a box. So you know, Jr. Thurman is single antenna Theramin. And it is a proximity sensor for the most part. And what they do is they buy these kits called Jr, Thurman. And they’re made for little kids, and you solder on the components. And you build this neat little device and you wave your hand over it, and it makes some different noises. And that’s basically the premise of a run pod. And so folks have figured that out and they buy the junior Thurman’s and they basically put them in boxes, or stuffed them into a teddy bear, and sell those. And I wanted to get away from that. And I wanted to create new devices using new technology to try and you know, see if we can’t bring, you know, the paranormal field into more scientific type research and data acquisition.

Beth Law
Yeah, definitely. So is that kind of what made you decide to try out IoT maybe in the, in your work as well?

Rob Walczak
Yeah, yeah. So for the IoT side, you know, the big, big thing there is connectivity, right? So, you know, I envision being able to blanket an entire house with devices that are all connected to one another, and they’re all sharing information and, you know, that could be sent to your iPhone. And if one of them triggers then you could go investigate that part of the house. Or you could say there’s a client that has a problem. They believe their home is haunted, and they’re three four hours away, and you don’t want to drive, you know, round trip eight hours just to find out that there’s nothing there. So what you could do is just ship them these devices and have them, put them in strategic locations, right, and then you could monitor them remotely, and see if there’s any kind of activity. And then if there’s activity, then you can make that drive out there and do a more thorough investigation. You know, that’s another useful way to use the IoT as well. So it would be like having another member of the team versus just another device. Right?

Beth Law
Yeah, that sounds fantastic. I mean, it’s, it definitely sounds different to anything that I’ve heard of before, you know, watching one of these shows, you know, Ghost Adventures or paranormal Hunter, or I think it’s called or something like that. Most Haunted, they kind of use the same sort of tech. But this is something that I haven’t heard before, which is great. How do how do the devices detect the paranormal activity then?

Rob Walczak
So our Rinpoche, it uses three circuits. So it detects EMF electromagnetic fields, and it detects motion using microwave sensing, and then it also has a low battery circuit, which is, I think that one’s critical, because with the red pods and similar clone devices, when the battery gets low, it goes crazy. And it can go crazy for hours. And you as the investigator don’t know that, right? So you think you might be communicating with a ghost, when in reality, you just have a low battery, and it’s acting up. So what we did is we put in a low battery detection circuit. So when your battery gets low, it shuts off the EMF and the motion detection and flashes a red light to let you know, you need to change the battery. So that’s on the red puck. And then we’ve got the ultrasonic motion sensor that uses ultrasound to detect motion. You know, that one has gotten pretty good results out in the field. We’ve we’ve seen that pointed down a hallway where there’s no one down the hallway, and all of a sudden it starts going off. And the way I built it was it has ascending tones when something is moving closer and descending tones as it moves away. So you could hear what direction it’s going. So some of the investigators would ask, you know, the spear, they would say, could you take two steps forward and one step back, and then never get two steps forward, one step back. And they would ask him again, you know, take one step forward, one step back two steps forward, and it would mimic them just pointed down a hallway where there’s no one, no one down there, and, you know, mirrors or glass doesn’t affect it, like an IR sensor would. That’s why I wanted to use the ultrasonic is there’s really nothing that affects it. Other than sound. So unless you’ve got a bat flying around in the house, you know, there’s nothing else that could set it off. So that one we’ve had pretty good success with as well.

Beth Law
That sounds so cool. Honestly, I kind of want to try it myself. Yeah. So, um, your gear has been featured on Nick Ross show, right?

Rob Walczak
That’s right. Yep. Nick Groff has used the prototype Rinpoche on death Walker. And he’s gotten really good success with it, he seems to like it. So, you know, we’re getting the word out. And other motors called TV personalities are reaching out to me wanting, you know, some of the tech as well. And also, they also reach out to me wanting me to create, you know, new tech ideas that they have, that don’t exist on the market. And, you know, some of them I take and I, you know, get going around in my head and I think about it, and it’s pretty good idea that some of them aren’t aren’t maybe feasible, you know, or they would be very expensive to build. But it is interesting that through through the red puck and getting got to Nick Roth has helped kind of, you know, shine a light on ghosts here and get our name out there.

Beth Law
Yeah, but so what’s the most kind of noteworthy paranormal activity that you or your customers have encountered whilst you’ve been using your equipment?

Rob Walczak
Yeah, so one of my favourites is this music box that I made it’s capacitive touch. So whenever you touch it, it plays a little musical tune and it’s a little white music box. Well, I test all my devices that my house I don’t believe that it’s on it. So I normally put a battery in it, turn it on, and let it sit there because I want to see if it’s glitchy if it goes off randomly, you know, and how long This battery lasts, because I want it to be able to last at least six hours. So I’ll set them down on my desk and just sometimes forget about them. And this music box, I took it to the what is it the McAteer villa in Atchison, Kansas. And I was unpacking all the investigators were unpacking, we pretty much just gotten there. And everyone’s getting settled. And I pulled this out. And I turned it on. And soon after I turned it on, set it down, it started playing music. And it wouldn’t stop playing music. And I turned it off and back on, set it down, and it started playing music again. And all the other investigators were looking at me like Rob your stuffs, junk, it’s broke, it doesn’t work, you know, turn that off, put it away. And I’m like, No, this, it doesn’t do this at home, when I’m at home, when I turn this on, it doesn’t act like this. So one of the other investigators leaned over he was standing next to me, he leaned over and looked at the little music box. He said, Can you please stop touching that we’re trying to have a conversation, just like that. Music stopped. And he didn’t go off again for the rest of the night. So that was one that gave me chills.

Beth Law
And I bet yeah, I mean, the the idea of a little tune playing I think sounds quite creepy. You know, like when music boxes start moving in, like horror movies and stuff that that’s kind of what I’ve got in my mind now. And

Rob Walczak
we’re trying to make them scary. What we’re trying to do is get away from the alarms that so many of the other devices have. Because, you know, they always say come you know, spirit can touch this, it won’t hurt you, you know, let us know that you’re here. And then this alarm goes off. And I if it were me, I would probably recoil and pull back. So my thought is let it play music because music slowed, more soothing, and it’s a little more inviting. And the Spirit may interact with it more than if you had some alarm blaring Adam, you know, waiting around, you know, that’s just gonna probably scare him away. And if they’re older spirit, they might not know what that is. Yeah, right. Definitely scare them away. So that’s, that’s the whole idea behind using music in my devices.

Beth Law
Yeah, I’ve I’ve kind of thought that myself before, if we’re watching a show, like Ghost Adventures, and they’ll say, Come and touch this rampart. And I’m like, well, they might not know what a run pod is. Maybe you just say come and touch this thing. And so that makes a lot of sense. And actually, it probably is less, less terrifying than hearing an alarm just blaring. I think that would probably frighten me if it was just coming out of nowhere, even, you know, investigating and kind of waiting for it to go off, it would still make you jump, you know. So yeah, the music is probably a much better alternative.

Rob Walczak
Yep, yep. And we tried to pick older songs. So we’d like Canon D, you know that that was written in the early 1800s. Twinkle, twinkle little star, that’s also an older song, you know, songs that they may be familiar with?

Beth Law
Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. So what opportunities is IoT open up for paranormal investigation devices.

Rob Walczak
So you’ve got a lot of groups that there’s a phrase out there pair unity. And a lot of groups subscribe to this pair unity, which means it’s sharing of the information. And I think with IoT, you can create a device that will log data, can send it up to the cloud, and then you can review it at a later date. So you could log all environmental data, you know, you could add on other sensors on there as well, like a random number generator, you know, infrasound, detector, and what have you. And all of that could then be kind of crowd sourced into the cloud. And data analysis could maybe get in there, you know, folks that like data could get in there and maybe start to find correlations between the data. And, you know, maybe maybe we get enough data to find out that it’s not paranormal, that it’s normal, and there’s some phenomenon that we didn’t know existed. Right.

Rob Walczak
And, but without all this data, you know, we couldn’t figure that out. And that’s where we’re at right now is we don’t have a good way to collect data for you know, the paranormal field, you know, it’s a lot of the devices out there are at that moment, you know, the triggers, it beats and you know, that’s it, it doesn’t collect data and log data, like a data logger would with timestamps and date stamp so that you can go back and look at it. So that’s one one thing that we would like to do at go scare is is create these little pods that log data, send it up to the cloud. And then that would allow other investigators to review that data. And like I said, you know, run into, or find maybe some correlation that, you know, individual investigators might not see. But maybe if you look at all of the data, you can start to see correlations.

Beth Law
And that kind of feels like the natural progression to me of paranormal investigation.

Rob Walczak
Yeah, I hope that it would be the the issue is, you know, the paranormal field is kind of stuck at this, I’d say a kind of homemade device rut. And that stems from the early 1800s, when each paranormal investigator would create their own device. And some paranormal investigators became famous based off the device that they created, you know, even Tesla and Edison created paranormal devices for themselves. So there’s, there’s a bit of this, you know, homemade kind of love for their devices, you know, they like to make a lot of groups still make their own devices, you know, but the technology is getting more complicated, you know, you need to understand circuitry and electronics. Now, if you want to really progress, the in the field and create, you know, more, or create devices that are more modern. So that’s where research and development comes in. And that’s expensive. And paranormal groups really can’t afford that. So that’s where I think some of the companies need to step up and do more research and development, you know, it’s easy to copy another design and just clone it. But it’s really expensive to do your own research and development into a new device. And that’s, that’s kind of the barrier, I believe. But that’s what we’re trying to do with Ghost gears is break through that barrier, and create new devices and try to bring the paranormal field into the modern era as far as technology is concerned.

Beth Law
Yeah, definitely. And I mean, even if it were to prove the, what you experience is actually something scientific, it would be far more interesting to know what those phenomena are, and what causes it. Even if you are a sceptic,

Rob Walczak
right? Yeah. No, that’s, that’s exactly right. Yeah. If we could find out if Yeah, if there’s a natural cause for it, that’s, that’s just as impressive is, to me that says, As impressive as finding you know, that it’s a ghost. Alright. So being able to explain it, I think is the most important thing.

Beth Law
Yeah, definitely. So where do you see technology going in the future for paranormal investigations?

Rob Walczak
Well, I would like to see it improving, really. But you know, again, it takes a lot of money to, to get to that point where you got research and development going on on the devices. I so I see it moving more towards the IoT, the connectivity. You know, so many, so many groups out there. Like I said, they make their own own devices. But they’re all asking for apps. They’re like, why, you know, they would ask me, How can I get this thing I made? How can I get it to connect to my phone? Right? Like, well, that’s that’s not an easy answer. It can be done, but it’s not an easy answer. So there’s a desire for that out there. In the field. There’s just not many companies that make paranormal equipment doing it. So you know, that’s where I see it going, personally, and that’s why we’re invested in IoT is, because that’s where I think the next logical step is for paranormal field. Yeah.

Beth Law
Yeah, fantastic. Well, I kind of hope that it does go in that direction, it would be really interesting to see that progression and to to really get some, some data logged more than just Yeah. On camera.

Rob Walczak
Yeah, yeah. And that reminds me, you know, one of the other uses for the connected devices are, it’s somewhat popular for some of the haunted locations to have these live streaming cameras. So people will sign on and just stare at these videos hoping to see a shadow or, or something along those lines.

Beth Law
I’ve done that actually.

Rob Walczak
It would be neat to also be able to show the environmental data as well, you know, maybe an EMS spike happens the same time someone thinks they see a shadow right? That’s interesting. So, you know that that could be another use for, you know, these IoT type devices?

Beth Law
Yeah, definitely. I remember actually sitting and watching the live shows of most wanted quite a few years ago when I was maybe 12. That’s that’s kind of how long I’ve been into the bar, which probably says about a lot about me. But, um, I would watch these webcams. And I never saw anything happen. But who knows, maybe I blinked at the wrong time. But it would have been handy to know, you know, if there was a temperature change, or like you said, if the EMF had changed, or just anything other than looking at a practically blank screen? Right.

Rob Walczak
Yeah, that would add depth to for sure.

Beth Law
Yeah, definitely. Well, Rob, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Where can our viewers and listeners find you online?

Rob Walczak
Sure, you can go to our website, www dot ghost gear tech.com. And they can fill out a form that will go directly to my inbox, and I can respond to them from there. If they have any questions.

Beth Law
Perfect. And you can find us at the IoT podcast on Twitter and LinkedIn. Come and join the conversation and tell us what you think of what we’ve talked about today. Do you believe in the paranormal? Do you love the idea of IoT being used for paranormal investigation? Just make sure that you let us know down in the comments, and if you’d like to be the first to find out exclusive updates and behind the scenes info, then sign up to our newsletter to receive the member exclusive content. The link is in the comments below.

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