Let the Ghost Boxer Beware
Ghost Box ITC has been a veritable candy-land for people who want to make a quick dollar. There have been a steady slew of profiteers for almost 8 years now. This has been discussed ad nauseum on some group pages, but that is for limited audiences. For that reason, it is time that this problem is recognized on ITC Voices so it can be addressed to a larger audience and for those who may need to buy a ghost box in the future.
Profiteering all started with radio hacks. When the radios used for hacking were still readily available, individuals would buy them and perform a modification that took a couple minutes and resell them for four hundred percent, or more, of the radios’ value on places like eBay and Facebook. These radios were often mislabeled as Frank’s Boxes in order to sell them quicker. For those who were not in the know on how to perform the simple modification, buying a shack hack was one of the best ways to get introduced to ghost boxing in the days before the P-SB line was available.
We often see the same level of resale profiteering off of boutique boxes like those made by Frank Sumption (Frank’s Boxes), Ron Ricketts (Miniboxes) and Joe Cioppi (Joe’s Boxes) because these pioneers are no longer with us. What is more baffling is to see defunct box models made by people like Andrew Openlander (Andy’s Boxes) being sold for a large profit while he is still currently making boxes!
Today, we still have that type of profiteering going on. I recently checked eBay and saw an armband radio, still in the original packaging, for three times the original price labeled “Can be modified for spirit box!” The radio wasn’t even modified but was yet selling for a ridiculous price because it could be modified with a little effort. There is another model on the market right now selling for less than ten dollars generally, but with a three minute modification this box suddenly becomes worth $50 or more.
But these things pale in comparison with the profiteering going on right now with a new box on the market.
The Geobox (Griftbox)
Let me start off by saying I do not own a Griftbox, excuse me, I mean a Geobox. I would never buy one and the following article explains why. This article is to inform the ITC Ghost Box Community and to point out how this box does the the community harm.
Lately a ghost box called a “Geobox,” made by a previously-unknown-to-the-ITC-community George Brown, burst into the ITC ghost box field. Brown packaged a ghost box in a very nice, antique cabinet that used to house a Stromberg-Carlson tube radio. That is where the beauty of the box ends. One of these boxes was bought by someone in the paranormal community with a large following, Steve Huff, and it was promptly proclaimed as the best box available in no subtle terms by Mr. Huff. He also proclaimed that Mr. Brown is the best box builder today and that is a patently false statement as will be demonstrated in this article.
There were five of these Griftboxes produced and sold. All of them sold for an exceptional amount of money, including one that went for $1,750 (plus shipping and handling)! The audio that comes out of these boxes is decent, but it is very wet with reverb; so wet in fact that it is almost to the point where you cannot make out what is being said. If one has to struggle to make out all communication from a box, then at face value, that box is not a viable tool for ITC communication.
This is not to say that the Geobox does not offer communication from the Others; from what I have seen from Geobox users, the box will allow for communication to ensue. But then again, so does a $10 armband radio.
One person who bought a Geobox was so disenfranchised with the sound he wound up reselling it. Before he resold it, he kindly took some photos of the Griftbox innards and what was revealed to the ITC community was nothing less shocking. Not only was there no circuits present, but the box was using an off-the-shelf hacked armband radio! Outside of the housing, there is less than a hundred dollars worth of parts in the Geobox yet the box was being sold for an egregious price.
We’ll take a look at what is inside a Geobox so you can see what constitutes this box. We’ll find out why the Geobox isn’t “a mystical, incredible device filled with MoJo. It has the highest potential of any box I have ever used, and is quite incredible,” but rather a box put together very sloppy that merely tries, and fails, to imitate what other box builders have been doing for years. (Steve Huff, Huff Paranormal Facebook Group May 19th, 2015).
First, I recommend reading the article on HuffParanormal.com that speaks very highly of the Geobox. I have copied word-for-word some of the stuff written by Steve and the Geobox creator, George Brown (all spelling errors are also copied as they appear on the site):
From the builder/designer of this incredible machine, George:
“This hand crafted ghost box is a major breakthrough in spirit communication like no other in the world it converts electromagnetic frequencies, radio, and spatial distortion/vibration to audio.
I designed it on a hypothesis that EMF readings are an attempt to communicate vocally. So rather than having a blinking light on an EMF meter I built this box to allow the EMF field to produce discernible audio.
The results are real and recognizable.
There are phrases that would not possibly come from radio transmissions such as known names, profanity, foreign language, native Americans, children, and even dogs. Also the lengthe of the responses exceeds the scan interval of the reciever.
Likely this proprietary design will soon be copied by others but for now the design is secret and I exclusively offer this truly unique and groundbreaking device which I am proud to say does what I hoped it would do.
I’m building just a very small quantity and I do not know just how many I will make.
Sorry for the cost but it is expensive and time consuming to make each one and with the sale I plan to provide technical support if needed to resolve any issues in the future.”
There are a lot of claims in the quote above that are phenomenal. These are matched by these gems written by Mr. Huff as well (once again, the spelling and random use of capital letters is directly from the site):
“I can say that yes, his claims are 100% valid and correct.”
“The Geobox has HUGE HUGE potential and I will say it is the most valid box ever created by anyone, ever. What I mean by that is IT GIVES NON STOP communication, and is QUIET when there is none. VALID.”
“No more radio noise scanning is heard. No more radio bits to weed through for the replies. No more nasty headache inducing white noise screeching (as it is NOT needed, just as I said a year ago). What you get with a Geobox is a smooth sounding box that has a bit of spookiness to it as ALL YOU HEAR when on is silence, maybe some electrical hum and noise but them when the spirits talk, they do so freely, and even they seemed surprised at how they were able to work this box.”
“The EMF antenna is part of what is being used to deliver the voices..EMF converted to voice. There is also a spirit box radio inside but we do not hear the radio, just voices and replies. The way the amps, mixer, EMF Antenna and spirit box work together here did something to the sound and the way they are able to come through. It’s a GOOD thing. What some would call a “Breakthrough”.”
“It is a crazy thing. But it’s legit, it works and it looks amazing as well. It is not cheap, which puts it in a new price range for a new spirit box, but for me, you just can not put a price on real valid tools that allow you to talk to the dead, or whoever we are conversing with. At $800, I have no regrets as like I said, it has HUGE potential.”
So there you have it folks. This Geobox is the best thing since sliced bread. VALID.
Until you look inside and see how the box matches up with the marketing claims made by Mr. Brown and Mr. Huff.
Here are more photo’s that have surfaced of another Geobox design.
On shoddy workmanship…
The very first thing that struck everyone who viewed these photos was the shoddy, and to be frank, dangerous level of workmanship. There is a lot of heat generated in these cabinets and the components are crammed together with no breathing room nor heat sink. When you combine these factors with wood and the use of hot glue and wiring taped together without the use of wire nuts, the Geobox goes from being a ghost box to being a fire hazard! In fact, the first Geobox that was purchased (remember, he made only 5) caught on fire and Mr. Brown was not allowed to rebuild it by the person who purchased the box. I cannot blame him, Mr. Brown simply does not have the skills to build a safe box! Just think, electrical tape to connect wires on a ghost box that cost almost two thousand dollars.
Mr. Huff even mentioned this in his review of the box:
“Now I have no clue if this box will die, burn up or have issues due to the sloppy wiring job inside, but I have let it run for 2-3 hours straight with no heating up at all. Nothing even became warm.
The 1st GeoBox had issues for the owner, and even caught fire. The designer of the box offered a fix but the owner decided to have someone else fix it. In any case, I was told there should not be any heating issues with box II and up.”
Yet Mr. Huff had no qualms about proclaiming Mr. Brown as “the best box maker there is” and that the Geobox is one of the “best ITC tools made today, without question.” (Steve Huff, Huff Paranormal Facebook Group June 30th, 2015).
No variable sweep! No circuits!
The second thing that had the ghost box community aghast was the use of cheap components in the Geobox. We have already discussed the armband tuners as ghost boxes. In case you are not aware, an armband tuner allows for a single sweep rate that never varies. It changes from channel to channel at the exact same rate, each and every time. That is why hacked radios cost much less than boutique boxes which allow for variable sweep rates. Hacked radios without an additional variable sweep (remember, these radios cost only $10-$20 on average) are decent boxes, but they are used more by entry level ghost boxers as the technology is now eight years old. If one pays hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a box, one typically expects what the more professional box builders offer in their boxes that are readily available today: multiple modes of sweeping (forward, reverse, linear, random) along with reverb and delay controls, multiple tuners, etc.
With the Geobox, there is no variable sweep. There are no modifications demonstrated on these armband tuners that would apply the voltage control necessary. In fact, there is no circuit present in the photographs at all! Every component is plug and play because it was apparently designed by a guy who has no idea about wiring circuits or electronics in general!
With that being said, let’s take a look at what professional box builders put onto the market today:
Next, we looked at the reverb. The sound of the Geobox devices is what we term as “wet,” (a term used by musicians and audio engineers to describe overly processed audio signal with reverb). The type of reverb used in the first set of photos is known as a spring reverb. Spring reverbs are some of the oldest reverbs out there because you simply transduce the audio input onto a spring. At the other end of the spring, a transducer converts the motion of the spring into an electrical signal that is mixed with the dry input sound. Not all the audio makes it’s way out of the spring at once, some stays behind, and this creates the spring reverb sound that is classic and adds a bit of delay. This quantifies how Mr. Brown can say “Also the lengthe (sic) of the responses exceeds the scan interval of the reciever (sic).” The reverb sticks around and has an inherent delay to it – that is why the responses are longer than the radio scan.
Spring reverbs are exceptionally cheap and basic. One input, one output. They are also very outdated as there is no control for the amount of reverb that is created. The spring reverb used in this device is made by a company out of South Korea called Accutronic. The Accutronic manual spring reverbs sell from about $15 to $25 depending upon model.
Reverb is not a new addition to ghost boxes by any means – but the use of a spring reverb (or reverb tank as it is often called) is. Reverb was first envisioned by Frank Sumption who created an “echo chamber” that was first an exterior device and later incorporated in some of his boxes. The ones that were made of metal offered reverberation due to the choice of materials being used. Steve Hultay had the idea of using a pre-fabricated reverb circuit in his devices and was the first to have a realized reverb in a ghost box. Andre Openlander later used this circuit to perfection in his Model E boxes and later, added additional functionality in hid PRD-1000 boxes by incorporating feedback and delay controls (although the first to do this was Frank Sumption in his last run of his boxes in 2014). All of these reverb additions from professional box builders were via a circuit, not an off the shelf reverb that can be connected to any audio signal via a pre-made cable like in the Geobox.
Reverb definitely has a place in ghost boxing. Anyone who uses reverb, whether it be in an Andy’s Model E Box or a Geobox, will notice that there is no “noise” or “popping.” That is because reverb blends the frequencies together to allow for a smoother sound. Think of singing in a tile shower, that is the reverb effect. Good boxes with reverb can be bought for a fraction of the price of a Geobox.
EMF to audio antenna…
This was the boldest claim made by Mr. Brown. In case you forgot what was written by him:
I designed it on a hypothesis that EMF readings are an attempt to communicate vocally. So rather than having a blinking light on an EMF meter I built this box to allow the EMF field to produce discernible audio.
The results are real and recognizable.
That’s right. Instead of an LED, he created included a bonafide EMF to audio transducer.
For those who do not know what EMF is, it stands for electromagnetic field. The EMF spectrum consists of all waves made of photons (radio, gamma, x-ray, microwave, etc.). These waves are simply light packets vibrating at different frequencies and they can travel through a vacuum.
What is not part of the electromagnetic spectrum? Sound. Sound is a pressure wave, not a light wave. Sound also requires a medium to pass through in order to be heard. There is no sound in a vacuum.
By stating that he has designed the box to convert EMF to audible sound, he is stating that the device can convert light packets to sound. Yes, this box has that capability. It is called a radio. All ghost boxes have this capability because a radio tuner converts EMF in the form of Radio Waves to an audible sound.
But the way he packages it – a special EMF antenna – is pure drivel. It is over-hyped marketing jargon used to make this box seem above the rest in the ghost box field. While technically not a lie, it is misrepresentation at its finest.
Note the Crystal Feeler used in the second set of photos. This is an antenna used to help the radio signal strength. The use of the Crystal Feeler came about in 2014 when Andrew Openlander started packaging them with his Andy’s Boxes from Chicago Spirit Wave as an optional antenna. They are basically boxes of crushed crystal with an output. After copious amounts of testing by dozens of ghost boxers, there is really no discernible difference between using a $2 Crystal Feeler versus a regular antenna wire. The ghost box community knows this already, but yet Mr. Brown apparently never got the memo since he included it in at least one of his models.
Watching some of the videos of these Geogrifts being used peaked my interest – especially in relation to the “EMF Antenna.”
First of all, the “EMF Antenna” is made of copper. It looks cool so it must do as it says, right? Notice how wide the antenna is in comparison to a normal antenna. From the size alone, and the fact that it connect to the box itself with a decent sized diameter, we can properly assume that there is something in that “EMF Antenna” that goes into the box.
It wasn’t until I paid close attention to some of the videos out there that I realized what was going on with this antenna that supposedly transposes EMF to audio. There is a reason why the antenna is sealed, it is because there is a microphone capsule hidden inside of that antenna!
This video below is a quick pieces of demonstration video that were originally posted by Afterlife Paranormal and Steve Huff.
In the Afterlife video, notice how the LED’s on the front of the Geobox are picking up the song that is playing and as the phone gets closer to the box, the song becomes louder. This is how microphones work.
If you want to watch the entire video, it is available on the Afterlife Paranormal Facebook Page.
In the Steve Huff video, this is the most damning evidence of all regarding the EMF antenna. Notice when Huff turns the box on, there is a gradual feedback rising in the background (it sounds like ringing in the ears) and Mr. Huff needs to lower the volume to suppress the feedback. This is a classic tell-tale sign of a mic being present.
An audio feedback loop is exceptionally undesirable. It happens when a microphone is too close to a speaker or when the speaker is too loud. This causes the microphone to pick up the original sound source while that same sound source played out of the speaker with a minimal delay. These frequencies build and feedback happens, it slowly rises to an ear splitting pitch. Anybody who knows anything about live audio knows how to use volume control and about putting mics so close to a speaker output. These things need to be considered in order to prevent this kind of feedback.
Another tell-tale sign in the Huff video is that when he pushes the buttons, you can physically hear the click come through the Geobox. The microphone is picking up the sound of the clicking as is the spring reverb! The mic signal is being fed to the reverb tank as well.
If you want to watch the full video, you can view it on the Huff Paranormal Facebook Page.
So an EMF to audio antenna? Not at all. Just a microphone and as explained above, sound is not part of the EMF spectrum. So at the least, Mr. Brown is misrepresenting the pre-made radio tuners he is using as the EMF to audio converter. At worst, he is lying or simply does not know what he is talking about. In any of these cases, that certainly does not qualify him as the “best box maker there is.”
It also explains how Mr. Huff “unplugged his radio” and then heard voices through just the antenna as reported on his Hff Paranormal Facebook Page on May 22, 2015.
“It appears they are learning how to use it, just by using the EMF antenna, which is turning the EMF to voice. Now, this sounds unreal, but it is working.
Only problem is the voice is very low volume, and sort of muffled, like distant. Came in very low and muffled.”
There is a simple explanation for that. The mic capsule is covered by a metal enclosure. No matter how good the voice comes through, it will always be muffled for this reason. Instead of voices from the other side, one will simply hear their own voice plus any ambient sounds through a spring reverb – all courtesy of an internal antenna mic.
But wait – there’s more!
Recently Mr. Brown agreed to produce ten more Geoboxes, but not in the traditional sense. It had already been made known that Mr. Brown wouldn’t produce anymore Geoboxes past the fifth one made. The reason given was that the tuners were getting hard to come by.
Interestingly enough, there are plenty of cheap armband radio models still on the market that can be hacked in a couple minutes. There are also an unlimited number pre-made receiver circuits that are available with a mouse click. Shouldn’t the “best box maker there is” know this?
So a solution was arrived at. On June 2, 2015, Steve Huff started marketing a new version of the Geobox that had all the bells and whistles but no radio included. On June 3rd, he published the details from Mr. Brown on his Facebook Page:
The new box will have the same internal components as the original GeoBox 1 through 5 but without the radio inside. All the other components to improve responses will still be inside Including EMF and Vibration pick-up and rechargeable battery.
With the new box you will be able to plug in any Application Based Smart Phone, Tablet, & Computer or Scanning Radio to provide the source audio for Spirit Communication. (Any spirit box or app with an audio out)
The box will also include the green LED frequency display behind the grille.
The box will generally appear like the image below and designed to the same cabinet dimensions.
The speaker cover will be different but will include in some way the classic aged brass look.
The box will not be an antique but will be made of quality laminated wood and built by hand.
Dial knobs and other hardware may vary based on availability.
Price and Delivery
The price for each of the five boxes will be $799 plus shipping up front. I need a build time of 6-8 weeks before shipping the first five.
The next five pre-orders will have an 8-10 week build time before shipping.
I do have to admit, it is a sexy looking radio-less ghost box for only $800, up-front, plus shipping and handling.
I shouldn’t even have to mention it, but I will anyway. The premise of a ghost box is that a scanning radio provides communication. Without a radio, this Huff Edition Geobox is not a ghost box, but rather a re-packaged signal processor with an exceptionally large price tag considering the components being used.
Not surprising, within a couple weeks all ten signal thru-put Geobox models were pre-sold as was announced on June 24th, 2015. That puts the Geogrift on the charts as taking in well north of ten thousand dollars (ten Huff Edition Geoboxes at $800 a piece; the supposed $800 Mr. Huff paid for each of his Geoboxes (II & III), and the auction totals of boxes IV and V which sold for $1,750!!!) all in the span of only four weeks. Not bad.
So what is signal thru-put? As an old audio engineer, here is a basic schematic of what I believe the Geobox is doing.
It really isn’t rocket science, anyone can put this together the way Mr. Brown did. One could also simply use good audio software that will give you all of the same effects. Or as an alternative, one could use a hack in tandem with professional audio reverb, an audio mixer and a recorder; it’s simple to do and still costs a lot less than the Geobox.
I have been a public figure in the ghost box field since 2010 when I started this site, but I have used them longer than that. During that time, I have given almost 50 public demonstrations to large audiences in real time. I have spoke at conferences, been interviewed countless times for radio and even television. I was part of a ghost hunting television show in which I used a Minibox Plus in 2010. I have written more articles on ghost boxing than anyone currently living. I have helped to educate the field as a whole and have never made a profit from my efforts. I give knowledge freely and expect nothing in return.
In short – I love this field. Ghost boxing is a passion of mine and it means the world to me, and for so many others as well. Through my years, I have earned the respect of my peers through hard work and dedication; that is payment enough for all the years of work and money I have put forth in this field.
I didn’t want to write this article because I know that by publishing it’s contents, some of my peers will no longer associate with me. I realize now that protecting the integrity of the ghost box ITC field as a whole is worth losing a few “friends.” I am OK with this.
One thing I am not OK with is grift, especially in the ghost box community. There are a lot of people who look towards the leaders in this field for advice, myself and Mr. Huff included.
I hate to cast a dim light on this field, but this article needed to be written in order to show how Mr. Brown, and Mr. Huff through supporting his work, are doing a disservice to the field with these Geoboxes.
That is the definition of grift – obtaining money through swindles and frauds.
The claims of Mr. Brown are not correct. His box is shoddily made and is a fire hazard as proven by his first sold box catching on fire! The is no EMF to voice antenna, but rather a microphone. The parts used are cheap and easily plug into one another with almost no soldering.
Mr. Brown is not a box builder, but rather a box assembler who charges an enormous sum for very little work (other than buying pre-made parts and gutting old radios).
Think about it. The Geobox went from an obscure box to one that is in the limelight in the span of a few weeks thanks to the heavy online promotion of Steve Huff to his followers. Within this same span of time, Mr. Huff went from describing the box as having a build quality that is “…sub-par inside where it looks like a rats nest of wires, bad tape jobs and sloppy layouts,” (May 19, 2015) to proclaiming it as one of the “best ITC tools made today, without question.” (June 30, 2015)
During the same amount of time, Steve Huff formed a relationship with Mr. Brown in order to market the new Huff Paranormal Edition Geobox.*
So buyer beware. There have always been people in the ghost box community who want to take your money, and the same holds true in the broader paranormal community as well. There will always be people who overcharge for a product. There will always be product misrepresentations.
Then there are people like Mr. Brown who overcharge by entire decimal points for a box that is not original in any way – everything in that box has been done before (except and EMF to voice antenna of course) and the ghost box builders of today do it much better.
These are the people who have build several boxes and are worth getting to know despite Mr. Huff proclaiming them all as evil. Yet, Mr. Huff has had a box built by most of these builders and at separate times proclaimed the Andy’s Box, the Andre’s Box and the Greg Manchester’s White Box as being the best box on the market. That is until he could find a “builder” that would let him put his name on a ghost box that isn’t a ghost box at all, but rather am overpriced signal processor.*
REAL GHOST BOX BUILDERS
for real ghost boxers.
There are several people building one-off boxes for themselves and friends. They are not included in this list. This list is comprised of the people who have had their hands burned with solder more times than they can count building various ghost boxes. These are the builders that have put in the time and are making breakthroughs. These are the builders that have helped solidify the foundation laid by Frank Sumption, Ron Ricketts and Joe Cioppi
These are the real ghost box builders. These are the ones whose products have earned the trust of not only myself, but hundreds of ghost boxers around the world.
ANDRE WULLAERT – Andre’s Box
ANDREW OPENLANDER – Andy’s Box
GREG MANCHESTER – Greg’s Box (no site currently available)
So if you want to get a ghost box in the future, you would be best served to work with people who are known in the field for producing boxes that work right, every time. You know what you are getting with these guys as there are hundreds of videos online of their products – and they have never had to lie about functionality to sell a box. They are active in the community and are approachable by everyone, unlike Mr. Brown who still is unknown by everybody except Steve Huff and the few people that have bought his boxes.
And to this date – none of the listed ghost box builders have created a box that has caught on fire.
*Mr. Huff would like me to include the fact that he is not receiving one penny off his promotion of either the Geoboxes or the Huff Paranormal Edition Geoboxes currently in production.