Finding Fear Cages

Rob Gallitto



One of the terms thrown around a lot in relation to the paranormal is “fear cage”. In places with alleged paranormal activity, the fear cage is used as a natural explanation for common claims of the paranormal. The fear cage being referred to is any small or enclosed space that has excessive levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF). To really understand a fear cage, you have to understand how EMF works.

EMF is a combination of electric and magnetic fields. The one thing that isn’t up for debate about them is that they do exist- this is a nice and rare thing to be able to say when you’re used to dealing with anything related to something paranormal. They naturally occur in the environment and elevated levels of EMF can come off of countless common items. A few examples of items that could give off high amounts of EMF are cell phones, microwaves, TVs, alarm clocks, refrigerators, etc. Basically any electronic device has the potential to give off higher-than-normal levels of EMF. The standard level of what EMF should be is debated. The general beliefs I was able to find though seemed to range from .5 Milligauss (mG) on the lower end to 3mG on the higher end; with 1mG appearing to be the average. During investigations of places with paranormal claims, we use the Mel Meter to read levels of EMF. It’s one of the more common pieces of equipment that I’ve seen many other groups use.
When dealing with high levels of EMF, there are some who believe that prolonged exposure can cause serious illness in humans. There have been studies that try to link it with cancer and childhood leukemia. These situations usually talk about prolonged exposure to levels of EMF that are very rare and I’ve never encountered or know anyone who has. There was even a recent Canadian case where a couple blames high EMF on physical health problems like sores and swelling (even though studies go against their claims). When talking about what a fear cage is though, I’m going to focus on the more subtle and mental effects EMF can cause and while these levels of EMF I talk about are high; they aren’t nearly as high as the amounts I found being referred to when it came to trying to link them with cancer. There are beliefs that elevated levels of EMF can cause symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and dizziness. This would provide a natural explanation for paranormal claims. It’s important to know that some people are more sensitive to EMF than others; which may be one of the reasons why scientists argue about it so much. EMF could affect one person and do nothing to another.


K2 Meter

Before throwing the term “fear cage” around, the amount of EMF, how far it extends, and size of the area should all be looked at. Going by what scientists generally say, high EMF is usually over 1mG. In situations where I have seen the effects of EMF, it has reached several hundred milligaus on a number of occasions. This is why it’s important to thoroughly sweep an area for a base reading. EMF can be extremely high in one corner of a room and quickly dissipate just a few feet away. In one location I can recall us getting an EMF reading of well over 100mG on an alarm attached to a window. The EMF reading less than a foot away from the alarm was back down to around the average 1mG. The room with the window was also very large, wide open, and free of any other EMF spikes. This building is a large museum with a lot of free space. Because of this, it wouldn’t make sense to me to claim it was a fear cage even though; in theory, you could feel the effects of EMF if you were to lean against the window for any length of time (for the record, no claims of anything paranormal were reported by the windows anyway). To be a fear cage, it has to actually surround you. This is likely where the “cage” part of the term came from in the first place. If something with high EMF is across the room or in a completely different part of the building, its’ EMF will not cause fear cage symptoms unless it’s able to spread that far. EMF is a natural occurrence and is literally everywhere, but it’s the level of EMF that makes the difference.

The best example of a fear cage that I have ever personally seen was in a library. The staff had reported all of the typical claims of what high EMF is believed to cause. They experienced uneasy feelings as if they were always being watched and never alone whenever they were in the break room. A quick look into the room and sweep with the mel meter explained all of those things. To start, the room was very small. It was slightly bigger than a janitor’s closet. Items in the room that gave off high levels of EMF included an old refrigerator, coffee maker, time clock for employees to punch in, a microwave, and an alarm clock. To top it off, since the break room was located in the basement, there was even an electrical box on one of the walls that gave off such a high amount of EMF it crashed the mel meter. Each item was giving off anywhere between 100mG and 200mG. It’s hard to say what the electrical box’s actual reading was since the meter would turn off near it, but I’ve heard the mel meters start to malfunction at around 2,000mG; which is obviously extremely high. There was a table right in the middle of the room where staff would sit during their breaks. They were literally surrounded and within inches of all of these things that were giving off massive amounts of EMF. Considering that along with the claims that they felt like they were being watched or never alone, the break room at this library is the perfect example of how EMF can create a fear cage and lead to symptoms that can be mistaken for paranormal.
Even though I believe fear cages do exist and can provide a natural explanation for something that is suspected as being paranormal, it can be easy to both overlook the possibility of a fear cage and misidentify something for a fear cage. It’s important to take into consideration the size of the area along with the level of EMF and how far it extends or dissipates. Also listen to the details of the paranormal claims. For example, hallucinations are a sign of a fear cage, but multiple people having the exact same hallucination at the same time is very unlikely. These are the things I always consider when deciding whether or not to use a fear cage as an explanation or not.