I can always rely on Week in Weird, the paranormal "news" site to dredge up some horrible element of the paranormal from the past to haunt me. Last time it was their "Paranormal TV Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon" article that brought back terrible memories of the utterly repugnant exploitation-fest that is "Chip Coffey's Psychic Kids". Today they dredge something equally repellant (get used to this pun), and even Greg Newkirk takes a skeptical tone towards this one.
Behold The Trisaksri Ghost Repellent (2nd Edition)! Wait. It's not... not very impressive.... maybe my build up was a bit too grandiose. I'll try again... 'av a look at this tat....
Okay.... that's erm... rustic? Let's take a look round the back of this bad boy.
Let's not judge a book by it's cover and discover what the inventors of The Trisaksri Ghost Repellent, Supa Boondee Workshop, have to say about the device. Bear in mind before we do, English is not their first language. Also, I'm going to be ignoring a major elephant in the room here: In searching for the alleged mechanism for how the TGR box repels ghosts it hasn't escaped me that as ghosts haven't ever actually been shown to exist, there's nothing but speculation about the qualities they possess. Despite lots of talk from paranormal groups about electromagnetic fields, we can't view this as anything but idle speculation. In that respect selling anything that proposes to detect/capture/measure or quantify in any way ghosts is akin to selling strawberry jelly with the recommendation "9 out 10 Elves prefer strawberry". It's meaningless. What I'm looking for isn't an actual mechanism or theory but a consistent one. When we have that, then we can actually do some skeptical analysis.
From their sales site Supa Boondee Workshop say:
"You or someone may have experience with ghost or devil after bought new second hand house from the former owner. Some houses may have bad spirit inside which will interfere your daily life unhappy and frighten your children. Finally many of you leave away the house and find a new home. We have a solution for you, "Trisaksri Ghost Repeller". Just place this device in side your house and switch ON. All ghost and devil will leave away your home and won't come back again. Now who run away, You or ghost ? Save money in finding a new home."
So it'll repel the devil as well? That's handy. But how does it work? Ignoring the obvious answer "It fucking doesn't", the sales site of the 2016 version doesn't actually give many details how the manufacturers propose a wooden box with LED lights "repels ghosts" all we are told on the site is:
"Video capture the ghost then convert to radio signal and sent to WAVE KILLER."Now, the Week In Weird article states:
"when you’re ready to clear your home of negative entities, you simply flip the switch on the Ghost Repellent box, which activates a low-level electromagnetic field, condenser microphone, and infrared camera that work in unison to detect paranormal activity. Super Boondee calls this the “phenomenon receptor”. When the machine detects an anomaly, it automatically fires off a “Wave Killer” radio blast that they claim is enough to force the nasty phantom to abandon its chosen haunt. Much like those sonic-rodent repellents, the box will simply continue to drive off ghosts no matter how many times they attempt to return."I'm actually sure where Newkirk got this information. Possibly from the manufacturers themselves, but let's face it, if he'd just made it up himself it's probably as credible as anything Supa Boondee workshop offer. In fact, I'd say he's managed to make the device sound incrementally more legitimate, The reason for Greg's creativity is likely that Supa Boondee's statement seems to imply they posit that ghosts and spirits can be captured and held as video information. Their description clearly states the entities are sent to the "wave killer" not that the "wave killer" is fired at them. This proposition is one that even the most credulous paranormal enthusiast is unlikely to accept.
I was able to find slightly more information pertaining to an earlier version of the Ghost Repellant manufactured in 2009. At that point, the Supa Boondee site featured an FAQ page, which has likely vanished now as due to a swath of ridicule the company has likely decided the less information it offers the better.
Here's what that FAQ said:
Q: What about my house has a good spirit of our ancestor protect my family, would this machine kill their spirit ?
A: The machine can distinguist the phenomenon signal input, good spirit and bad spirit has its characteristic, the device will ignor or skip the good spirit.
Q: What happen if we unplug the machine at later time, how can we sure the ghost won't come back again with more angry ?
A: The machine is smart than ghost, fear and not return. You did not battle with ghost, the machine fight with ghost for you.
Q: How can i know my house has ghost ?
A: We can not tell you, you are the only person face this experience yourself. For e.g. having bad dream or nightmare every day, some abnormal noise in the night, fear in the night, etc.
So we're left with literally nothing. We're told what the box does but not how it does it, or how it even could do the things it states!
Let's take a look inside and see if the Trisakri Ghost Repellent's inner workings reveal anything.
Erm... that just looks like useless circuitry ripped out of something else to me. But I have to admit that pretty much describes the inside of every device I've ever seen. Luckily, I know a guy who isn't completely terrified of wires and circuits. And sent the above image to the ever awesome Kenny Biddle along with this schematic of the 2009 version published in the Week in Weird article:
Here's what Kenny concluded:
"At first glance....this looks like junk from an old PC tower. WTF is a "Phenomenon Detector"? Ha! That made-up component is probably worth $800 itself (actual retail value...10 cents)... It's just parts from a computer...and some other random electronic parts (looks like from radios) screwed to the walls of the box. It's worthless."As Kenny points out the things that really highlight this as a complete scam are the meaningless components, what particularly struck me was the pseudoscientific glory of the "wave killer engine". Sounds like something a bad comic book villian from a 1970's Captain America comic would say. In fact...
With such vague descriptions and psuedoscientific bluster, it's clear that no amount of useless circuitry can differentiate the TGR box from magic. Checking further into the 2009 version of the TGR box reveals more outright inanity. Here's the company's statement made shortly after the device was revealed:
Since the 5th March 2009 we launch this product, we have received a lot of complaint where you can read the comments on various forum on the internet. Most people against this product which made us unhappy, so we will wait about 2 more weeks if the feedback is remain negative we may decide to terminate Ghost repellent out of our product ranges. Herewith, we apologise for the uncomfortable sensitive caused to you at this time.
11th March 2009
Hmmm sounds a like"If you lot don't stop pointing out what terrible scam artists we are.... we won't sell this scammy shit anymore!" Good. Of course, they backtracked on this when they went back to the well and released the device in 2016. Apart from some minor cosmetic changes, the major difference between the 2009 and 2016 models is the price. You may think "Well the box was negatively received and it is a MASSIVE fucking con. One can't be surprised if they lower the price." Except they haven't raised the price. Considerably. The 2009 model was selling for $259, whilst the "improved" 2016 model retails for $1500. I think I know the reason for this huge price hike. I think Boondee may have sold a very small number of these boxes in 2009, and they've decided that if they just sell one or two this time around before yanking the product again, the high price point make this worthwhile.
Now, you may well be forgiven, given all I've told you, to suspect that this whole Trisakri Ghost Repellant is a hoax. How gullible do these people think believers in ghosts and spirits are? Well, Boondee also sells a wide range of dodgy devices. Here's their "free electricity" device, which I initially thought was a "free energy" exploiting piece of tat. The truth is actually a bit more worrying.
The device, also housed in a plain wooden box, attaches directly to your electricity meter meaning not only is it dangerous, it's actually illegal! That's if actually works. The description offered is equally as vague as that offered for the TGR box:
"Generally any electrical appliances when apply with home electricity it will run your watt hour meter. But Boondee resonant device does not run your watt hour meter. This is a reason why it is called Free Electricity, you use electricity but the watt hour meter is not spinning. Thus you don't pay electric bill !!"So no, I don't think this is a wind-up.... that's Boondee's other "free electricity" device, the GR 777. I shit you not. Just look at it's windy wooden majesty.
It's clear Boondee are an equal opportunity exploiter. Whilst their GTR box targets those with legitimate fear of ghosts and spirits, their free electricity devices target the poor and desperate. Without a doubt the Trisaksri Ghost Repellant is repellant, but the only thing it will ever rid you of is your cash. I doubt your daft enough to buy one, but I suspect someone somewhere won't be.