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Connecticut dad builds gadgets for ghost hunters to honor late daughter

  • Ghost hunting gadgets.jpg

    The Mel-Meters are called 'the only professional measurement instrument line designed exclusively for paranormal enthusiasts.' They were invented by a grieving engineer who's 17-year-old daughter was killed in a car crash.D.A.S. Distribution Inc.

  • paranormal investigator Noah Voss AP.jpg

    Oct. 31, 2011: Paranormal investigator Noah Voss points a video camera at an electromagnetic frequency device to record any abnormal activity at the Sun Prairie Cemetery in Sun Prairie, Wis.Andy Manis/AP

Gary Galka knows better than most that a father's love lasts forever.

The Granby, Conn., dad lost his daughter, Melissa, eight years ago in a car crash. Galka says that his connection to Melissa remains strong, and that he constantly feels her presence. That connection led the electrical engineer to design what he says is a digital device for paranormal exploration -- or ghost hunting.

"I've created over 30 different products for paranormal research," Galka  recently told The Hartford Courant. He and his family were featured on a Travel Channel show called "Ghost Adventures," which explores paranormal phenomena. Using one of his devices, a voice is heard on the show saying, "Hi Daddy, I love you."

"No one was making products for these people," Galka said.

'One time she came into my room and I felt her sit on the edge of the bed.'

- Gary Galka

Galka's devices -- which range in cost from $79 to about $350 and are named for his daughter -- are sold through the Professional Measurement website, which calls them "the only professional measurement instrument line designed exclusively for paranormal enthusiasts."

The flagship device in the line is the Mel-8704-SB7-EMF meter, which detects a range of electromagnetic and temperature changes, has an AM/FM scanner, includes glow-in-the-dark buttons, and includes an "exclusive P-SB7 Integrated Sprit Box" -- the device purportedly used on "Ghost Adventures" to record the voice of a spirit.

That $349.90 product is sold out, according to the site, but a range of similar gadgets are currently available.

Sure, it detects electromagnetic frequencies. But does that mean it actually searches out ghosts?

Joe Nickell would know. He's a senior fellow at independent research organization the Center for Inquiry, and his job is to make scientific sense of paranormal investigations.

Last Halloween, he told NPR that such EMF readings are especially suspect.

"They're surprised that they're getting results in an old house, when in fact there are all sorts of non-ghost sources such as faulty wiring, nearby microwave towers, sunspot activity and so on. Even the electronic equipment -- the walkie-talkies and TV cameras and all the other electronic gadgetry that they're carrying with them -- has electromagnetic fields," Nickell said.

That hasn't stopped Granby, or a growing crop of ghost hunters who rely on his and similar devices. Or sites such as GhostStop, which sells equipment by Galka and others.

It seems the digital revolution is spreading beyond our world, replacing dark seance rooms and rising tables among the ghost-hunting crowd.

Galka's paranormal devices are sold through his company, D.A.S. Distribution Inc. in East Granby, which has six employees and makes the equipment in-house, according to the Courant. D.A.S Distributing sells sound meters, humidity and temperature meters and lasers to medical and aerospace companies as well -- the ghost-busting gadgets are just a small part of the business.

Dan Akryod and friends were famously warned not to cross the streams shooting out of their proton packs in the film "The Ghostbusters."

But free to use a Mel-Meter however you want.