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The Paranormal Systems Minibox Plus

by Tim Woolworth

Minibox Plus…I love it.

It is interesting how the Minibox Plus came into my hands. I had gone to see Chris Moon use his Frank’s Box (built by Frank Sumption) at a public event on Halloween night, 2009, about a month before I knew that the Minibox existed. Right after watching Moon do his thing, I immediately took a huge interest in radio-based instrumental transcommunication. Prior to this, I was using a Shack Hack like everyone else and I was dissatisfied with the results. Seeing the Frank’s Box in action whetted my appetite for ITC and I was hooked. I started trolling the websites looking for a way to get a real piece of instrumental transcommunication equipment and I discovered the Paranormal Systems website (which is now defunct). The standard Minibox was selling for $400, the Minibox Plus for $800 and the Minibox Plus Ultra for $1,200. I could not afford to get a box so I started saving my money, but I did not stop looking.

Then one day, three months later, a Minibox Plus happened to pop-up on eBay for sale. I was blown away. I immediately contacted the seller and asked him a couple of questions. Satisifed with the answers, I bought the Minibox Plus from him. To this day, it is the most consistently reliable piece of equipment I own. If I had to get rid of all my equipment, the Minibox Plus system is the only thing I would not part with under any circumstance.

So what exactly does a Minibox Plus do? I wish I knew the technical aspects of it, but I am ignorant when it comes to electronics. But I do know how this ghost box works for me.

Paranormal Systems Minibox Plus #515

To begin with, these boxes were crafted in Texas by a man named Ron Ricketts. I was in touch with Ron after I bought my Minibox Plus and I have to say that he was very down-to-Earth and gave you technical support when needed. From what I have read, Ron based his design on the Random Voltage Generator circuit diagrams that Frank Sumption first posted online. This design was tweaked and the original Minibox was born. My understanding of a Random Voltage Generator is that it constantly applies voltage to a tuner, (and in the case of the Minibox Plus, at least the one I have, has an AM band tuner) causing it to constantly be sweeping the radio frequencies. Through this sweeping mechanism, voices are picked up by one of two means: building noise (using the background noise between stations to amplify a voice) or using voices (actually using the sounds coming off of the radio frequencies and manipulating them to make sounds). I have experienced both of these phenomena coming through my Minibox Plus. There are times when the box will have voices come through clear, and other times the voices are using radio channels to speak. My favorite is when the voices sing by manipulating the frequencies of a song to communicate or by actually singing in with tone-like qualites.

The Minibox Plus is field worthy. It has an internal battery which lasts for about thirty hours on a full charge. It has a heavy duty plastic case, but I keep my Minibox Plus in a Pelican case just to be on the safe side. It weighs a couple of pounds, but you must also carry a speaker with you in order to hear the responses. The Minibox Plus comes with a speaker output, which is only 300 milliamps. This output is mono, so you can plug headphones into it but you will only be able to listen on one side. If you use a speaker, I recommend a 10 watt, 4 ohm impedance speaker for this output. Unfortunately, this output is not loud enough to be used outdoors and really limits the use of the sensitivity knob. The lower the volume, the higher you have to turn the sensitivity to hear voices. To fix this, Ron offered the Miniamp 7 and Miniamp 30, both of which can be external or internal amplifiers. I bought the external Miniamp 7 myself and it works very well, it provides tremendous volume and clarity while allowing me to keep the sensitivity low.

Paranormal Systems Minibox Plus Set-up With Miniamp Seven, Speaker, and Headphones

So what is this sensitivity I keep mentioning? There are two dials on the Minibox Plus: Volume and Sensitivity. Volume is self explanatory whereas sensitivity is not. To start with, the sensitivity knob should always be turned to the lowest position when starting a session. Slowly turn the sensitivity until you hear the radio then gently nudge it forward a bit more. I believe that the sensitivity control is a filter of sorts, and when it is low it only allows the strongest frequencies in. The more you turn it, the more frequencies are allowed through and the volume goes up. If you have the Miniamp Seven, you can keep the sensitivity low and I have found this to be very beneficial. On a low sensitivity setting, I get the clearest voices and responses even though they might take a few moments to formulate. All of the Minibox Plus audio I have posted on this website was taken with a low sensitivity. It is at this setting that I can sometimes hear the Others rephrasing my questions to the Others through the speaker.

The Minibox Plus also has an input for a microphone and a recorder output which is useful for home recordings.

The Minibox Plus operates on presets for the most part. I have an older version that only offers seven presets, and a newer versions which offers fifteen presets. The amount of presets available to me does not matter because I only ever use one. The other presets work as they are supposed to, but for me, the Random Jump is the mode which allows me the clearest audio responses. I can control the speed of the jumps (which in preset mode is somewhat fast) by pressing and holding the Up or Down buttons. This variable rate control comes in handy sometimes when responses are coming through but are getting cut off by too rapid of a jump between frequencies. There are other button’s on the front of the Minibox Plus which allow me to calibrate the unit for local frequencies, alter presets and save these alterations. I have found that Random Jump is perfect the way it is, so I have yet to feel the need to alter it.

I have noticed that when using the Minibox Plus, I get a much better response when I am physically holding the box. For this reason, my fingers are always on the sensitivity knob and I am always making micro-adjustments to find the best communication. It is strange, if I take my hand away from the sensitivity control, the volume diminishes and staticky communication ensues. This is something I cannot explain as of yet.

I do have two complaint’s about the Minibox Plus: no dedicated headphone output and the antenna. The antenna itself is inside of the Minibox Plus and it is lined with crystals to enhance reception. This antenna is great, but the outside antenna? Not so much. The outside antennae is a post that allows you to hook up a wire antenna to be used in areas where there are not many radio frequencies available. This post is connected to the interior antenna via a single solder point. Multiple times since owning this box, I have hooked up an external antenna only to have the nut come loose on the antenna post on the inside of the box. Recently, this happened yet again and the solder point broke free from the antenna post. I do not have a soldering gun, nor do I want to let my clumsy hands work on the inside of this box, so I am currently just using the internal antenna because I do not want to part with the box for weeks to have it fixed. surprisingly, the box works just fine without the internal antenna connected to the exterior post.

Overall, Paranormal Systems offers the best radio-based instrumental transcommunication devices that I have encountered for sale. I have been continually blown away by the Minibox Plus and like I have said in other places, it has changed the way I view ghost hunting. I highly recommend the Minibox Plus for those who are serious about the work in instrumental transcommunication. It should also be noted that the Minibox Plus tunes in to one person. I wish I could explain this better. When I first got the Minibox, second hand, I received nothing but noise for the first two weeks or so. Then my name started getting called everytime I turned the Minibox on and this continues to happen in every session. Now, I am the only one who can really use it. If I have the Minibox running in a group setting, others from our ghost hunting group can ask questions and get responses. But, if I leave the area, the box goes to noise and my name keeps getting called. The same goes if I try to let someone else use the Minibox Plus in a session. I think that once you establish yourself with the Others through repeated communication, you have a group that works with just you. I am happy to have a group of voices that are always there and that conversation with the Others always possible. One day, I hope to buy the best box Ron made (provided I can find one for sale), the Minibox Ultra Plus. I can’t wait! But for now, I am glad to have my hands on a Minibox Plus!

*Note – Ron Ricketts passed away and Paranormal Systems no longer exists. There are a handful of Miniboxes out there, but they are rare and are very hard to find. I have been blessed to have three Minibox Pluses over the years. I still have my first one because the other two could not stack up to its quality. One was given to Frank Sumption to examine and it was torn apart. The other was sold to Steve Huff who I hope will get many useful years of ITC communication out of the device.

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  1. Ron Smith says:

    I have a MiniBox #122

  2. […] August, 2014. The other custom box designers, Joe Cioppi (of Joe’s Box fame) and Ron Ricketts (of Minibox fame) have also passed through the veil so their boxes are next to impossible to buy on the open […]

  3. tom says:

    If anyone is every considering selling their minibox plus please contact me at tomphilpott91@hotmail.co.uk

  4. stephen odonoghue says:

    sad news,ron rickets died

    • Matt says:

      Sad indeed. Any additional details or a link where we can get more? Your terse reply only creates more interest.

  5. Lyse says:

    I’m very interested in purchasing a Mini-Box or even to see the different types ex: plus, ultra. Where does one go for this info?

  6. Dean Diaz says:

    I bought a MiniBox Plus several years ago. I need to sell this item. It’s in pristine condition and seldom used. Do you know anyone who would like to purchase my item.

  7. pattie says:

    I want to buy one of these but there site is down. How do i get a hold of Ron Ricketts

  8. Matt says:

    What happened to Paranormal Systems? They seem to have disappeared.

  9. dave says:

    Would u want to sell your minibox plus?

    And if so how much?

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