Why do batteries drain?
Every investigator worth their weight in gold is usually carrying with them an abundance of batteries. Every pocket is usually full of them. With the large array of equipment used on any given investigation, this means a whole new batch of batteries is used to power it as well. Not long into the investigation, something strange happens. The equipment switches off. It is dead. The battery has gone flat. The most common assumption is that it is paranormal in nature. Why? Quite simply there is a theory that spirits need energy to communicate. The more energy they have, the easier it is for them to communicate. If they have been communicating, this takes energy and they need more. Where do they get their energy? It is thought they can draw it from the electromagnetic field, they can draw it from a person and they can draw it from a power source such as batteries. The assumption being made in this instance, is that the battery has drained because a spirit has drawn upon it's energy to recharge. Does this mean that every time a battery goes flat there is a spirit trying to communicate?
In order to understand this phenomena better, let's look at the different reasons as to how a battery can go flat. In order to do this, we need to first understand how a battery works. A battery has 3 parts. the + which is called the cathode, the - which is called the anode and the electrolyte. The + and - parts are hooked up to an electrical circuit. This causes the electrolyte to start buzzing and all these cool chemical reactions start taking place. The electrons travel from the positive and negative ends of the battery through the circuit board powering it along the way. Eventually, you run out chemicals to make a reaction and a battery eventually goes flat. There is a much more complicated explanation, but this is the easiest way that I understand it to work as I am not a highly technical person. So now we know the basics of how a battery works and the important element here to remember is that a battery is powered by chemical reactions. The question to now ask is, are there natural occurrences that can affect these chemical reactions shortening the life of a battery?
Once you start a chemical reaction, you cannot stop it
Essentially, once you start using a battery, the chemical reaction process has begun. There is no way to completely switch this off so even when the battery is no longer in use, they is likely to be some activity happening within your battery even if it is small. This is why it is important to use fresh batteries at the beginning of each investigation. Even if you only just put new batteries in your equipment and used it for a short amount of time the week before, the life have the battery has been slowly draining in between.
Cold weather slows down the chemical reaction process
Most investigators are investigating at night time and it is usually in cold conditions. The cold weather slows down the chemical reaction process. This may mean a battery may not last as long as there is not enough of the chemical reaction process happening to produce a strong enough current to power the equipment.
Sometimes you just get a dud
Like with anything, sometimes there is just a dud battery or a dud batch. Doesn't matter what you do in this instance, they are simply faulty.
Some brands of batteries are just better than others
We all know the saying 'you get what you pay for'! This is true in the case of batteries. Generally the more expensive more well known brands last longer because they store more energy than the cheaper brands. Some pieces of equipment only function well with expensive brands of batteries. They will either malfunction or just wont work at all with some of the cheaper brands. If you are finding a lot of your equipment is not working the way it should be during an investigation, before thinking it is paranormal, look at changing your brand of batteries.
So now we know how a battery works and different things that can cause it to drain. Does it explain every occurrence of a drained battery during an investigation? Not at all. I myself have seen some very head scratching battery drain scenarios and sometimes they all seem to happen in the same place at a venue. It doesn't mean that it is paranormal, but there are some interesting ones. Next time a battery drains, make a note of how long the battery was used, what the brand was and the location in the building of the battery drain. Start a bit of a log. Is there a pattern you are noticing? This is the best way to either debunk or investigate this phenomena further. I think as investigators this is something we need to do more of. Not just the debunking, but looking into it further and collecting the data to analyse. We in the past have used devices that allow us to see in real time, how much energy is left in a battery via a digital display. It allows us to see real time what is happening. If you think you are communicating with an intelligent spirit, ask them to drain the battery by a certain number and help back up your claims. Lets start using these kind of things to our advantage. Next time you are on an investigation and the battery drains, don't get frustrated, get to work!