Have you ever been spooked by a bump in the night? Chances are it was the heating kicking in, or a draught slamming a door shut. But there are a some who are so convinced such sounds have paranormal origins that they spend their life looking for evidence. Now one such investigator has devised a so-called ‘pocket ghost detector’ that wouldn’t seem out of place in the Ghostbusters film. Called GhostArk, the detector was designed by Italian paranormal investigator Massimo Rossi. It features a so-called Ghost Box, that ‘sweeps’ various radio frequencies and records anomalies, and an electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recorder that can also track white-noise frequencies. An electromagnetic field (EMF) meter shows readings on the detector’s LED display and a thermometer scans for hot and cold spots, all the while recording changes in the ambient temperature. These measurements are widely recognised by paranormal enthusiasts as signs of supernatural forces, but scientists have previously discounted and discredited such claims.

In particular, paranormal researchers use EVP as evidence of ghosts or ‘otherworldly spirits’. It is classed as any unexplained, paranormal or supernatural voices and sounds caught on tape, or other recording device. EVP is sometimes known as instrumental transcommunication (ITC), which refers to how the sounds are captured using high-tech gadgets. Typically, the ‘voices’ aren’t heard at the time, and are only identified during playback. ‘I must say that paranormal research isn’t based on the strongest foundations,’ said Mr Rossi. ‘A paranormal researcher is more like a Victorian explorer than a scientist, he’s seeing a wide unknown territory to be explored, which can contain myriads of exotic plants and animals. ‘When Darwin saw the Galapagos, they were already known for almost 300 years.

I’ve never been to Galapagos, yet I have no doubt in my mind that they exist.

‘We know that the ‘not visible’ exists even at a scientific level, while on the transcendent level we call it the ‘other world’. We know that both of these exists and we need to prove it. ‘What derives is that a researcher cannot exclude what he cannot see or what he cannot demonstrate. ‘All he has to do is keep being stubborn and keep at it, no matter if he’s being discounted or ridiculed.’ GhostArk is available for pre-order from the manufacturer’s website for a discounted price of $199 (£132), although the scanner will retail for $249 (£165) when it goes on sale later this year.

Last year, a poll of 2,000 adults and children, by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attraction in London, found that the majority of people are more likely to believe in aliens and ghosts than God. Each of the participants were asked to rate how strongly they believed in five supernatural or religious beings including aliens, ghosts, UFOs, angels and God. Ghosts topped the adult’s list on 55 per cent, followed by aliens on 51 per cent and UFOs on 42 per cent. God was at the bottom of their list of beliefs on 25 per cent, behind angels on 27 per cent. Children believed in aliens and ghosts equally (64 per cent), UFOs scored 50 per cent followed by God on 33 per cent. Angels were bottom of this group’s list on 27 per cent.