[[quoteright:300:[[Webcomic/LoadingArtist http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/electromagnetic_ghosts.jpg]]]]

When they're not tormenting humans or scaring pets, ghosts are interfering with technology, appearing on video screens, making radios and [=TVs=] crackle and playing with the lights. Alongside [[GhostlyChill cold spots]], EM interference is one of the 'recognised' signs of a haunting. One variation, known as EVP (electronic voice phenomena), specifically involves anomalous voices or other sounds on electronic audio recordings.

An electromagnetic ghost may be a WalkingTechbane if the interference is strong enough.

Not to be confused with VirtualGhost (which is a "ghost" projected by technological means); HauntedTechnology, (when the ghost is actually inhabiting a machine); or GhostInTheMachine (which is nothing to do with ghosts at all). This trope covers any supernatural activity that makes electrical systems malfunction as a side effect of their presence.

Please note that this often happens in worlds that do not have 'magic' as such but still have ghosts.



[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In the ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'' fic ''FanFic/ShadowOfTheDragon'', Tomoyo uses a tape recorder to communicate with the ghost of [[OriginalCharacter Reiko Ichimai]].

* ''Film/HouseOnHauntedHill1999'' (remake): Ghosts show up on a camcorder screen just before murdering a contestant.
* ''Film/WhiteNoise'' is about "electromagnetic voice phenomena", where voices from beyond appear on audio and video recordings.
* In ''Film/TheSixthSense'', Bruce Willis's character discovers the ghosts actually exist when he can hear them on a tape recorder.
* The Ghostbusters of [[Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}} their self-titled franchise]] use a device that measures electromagnetic disruption to locate ghosts.
* ''Film/TheInnkeepers'' has Claire and Luke using recording equipment to pick up EVP and find the ghost that they think is haunting the hotel.
* The 2010 movie ''Film/GhostFromTheMachine'' (''Phasma Ex Machina'') has the protagonist build a device that creates an intense electromagnetic field in order to bring ghosts closer to the land of the Living, in an attempt to resurrect his dead parents. However, it also brings back his neighbor's dead wife, and [[spoiler: the psychotic murderer[=/=]suicide who used to own his house...]]
* In ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'' (1982), the ghost researchers use this sort of equipment to monitor the ghostly activities in the house. After one supernatural occurrence, one of them even notes "It's electrical - you can smell the charge."
* Samara Morgan in ''Film/TheRing'' imprints images on a blank videotape (cursing it in the process) and can manipulate televisions when someone's week is up, up to and including emerging from the screen. Before her death, she had similar abilities to psychically imprint images on electromagnetic film.
* ''Film/TheFrighteners'': When the ghosts haunt a house, light flickers and objects move by themselves.

* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Johnny and the Dead'', the Dead are able to manipulate, damage, or generally mess around with radios, telephones, televisions, arcade games, jukeboxes, computer networks, satellites, and radio telescopes. Justified because one of them was an electronics genius in life, while another is Albert Einstein's distant cousin.
* Creator/TimPowers is fond of this trope. In his trilogy that consists of ''Literature/LastCall'', ''Literature/ExpirationDate'', and ''Earthquake Weather'', ghosts can call people up on phones and appear on TV talk shows (at least, on the version being watched by the person they're haunting).
* In Richard Matheson's ''Literature/HellHouse'', the haunting is ''literally'' electromagnetic, as ghosts are essentially an energy field which survives the death of the body. [[spoiler:As a consequence, they can be destroyed by a good, hard degaussing unless they are protected in some fashion.]]
* The ghost from ''[[Literature/RepairmanJack The Haunted Air]]'' makes a clock radio's LED display run in reverse, and causes a television to show programming from TheEighties twenty years later, even when it's unplugged and had its internal components removed.
* Creator/AnthonyHorowitz's short story ''The Phone Goes Dead'' has a woman struck by lightning and killed while using her mobile phone. The phone's next owner, a teenage boy, soon starts receiving calls on it from beyond the grave.
* In ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy'', the Possessed - human souls returning from death via DemonicPossession - disrupt any nearby 27th century equipment. When the Possessed take over a planet, they must rely on archaic mid-20th century technology as modern equipment ceases functioning or is bugged beyond usability.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' normally invisible ghosts show up on camcorder screens and the EMF detectors used by ghost hunters.
* Averted in ''Film/TheStoneTape'' despite the wide array of electronic equipment used to study the ghost. Eventually the scientists realise what they hear and feel is the brain's reaction to whatever is [[LivingMemory imprinted into the walls]]; this is why some people are more sensitive to paranormal phenomena than others.
* An episode of ''Series/DeadtimeStories'' has the ghost of a young girl contact a preteen on her cell phone, in the form of a video that suddenly appears on the screen.

* The song and music video for [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ3jl794mGs “White Noise”]] by Music/{{PVRIS}} are about a frustrated ghost that wants to communicate with the living but can't do anything other than cause interference.
-->''It's hard to be what you need through a static screen\\
Been trying to speak for weeks and weeks\\
Open my mouth, all that comes out\\
Is white noise and incomprehensible sound\\
And all you ever do is turn me down''

* In ''Podcast/TheMagnusArchives'' it is implied that this is why the "bizarre" statements (i.e. all the ones the audience hears) come out distorted when the archivist tries to record them on a computer, so he has to use an old tape recorder. Some of those making statements seem to have come across similar distortion.
** In the episode "Growing Dark" it is hinted that something supernatural is causing the lights to stop working in the narrator's girlfriend's flat. They replace the bulbs, check the fittings and call in an electrician but can find nothing apparently wrong. Then [[spoiler:subverted when it turns out not to be supernatural, merely bizarre - someone (presumably his girlfriend's strange flatmate) keeps unscrewing all the bulbs just enough to break the connections]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters'' affords ghosts several Numina that allow them to do this, such as Ghost Sign (imprint a message in a medium) or Left-Handed Spanner (make technology go haywire). As such, several Sin-Eaters have necromantic Ceremonies that rely on these tropes, like Spectral Photography (take a photograph of an area, get a glimpse of the most dynamic ghost activity that happened in the last few days) and Dead Voices on Air (leave a specially-prepared camera behind, and it will capture whatever ghostly activity occurs in the meantime).
* ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' characters can do this using Inhabit, which allows possession and control of inanimate objects.
* Exaggerated (or drawn to the logical conclusion) in ''TabletopGame/BladesInTheDark'': ''all'' ghosts are electromagnetic phenomena, by the virtue of ectoplasm (or rather "''electro''plasm") always carrying electric charge in this setting, which its residents have learned to exploit in order to launch an industrial revolution.

* Depending on the production, the ending of ''Theatre/BlitheSpirit'' as ghosts Elvira and Ruth destroy the house.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In response to a supernatural event in ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'', the lights go wild (most of the time they just flicker, but in some instances, they overload and shatter or just mysteriously break), your radio crackles and "unknown origin" is shown as the source of the transmission. Alma also appears on monitors occasionally, like a visual equivalent of an EVP. [[spoiler: Her contractions cause an EMP like effect in ''F.E.A.R. 3''.]]
* While most supernaturalness in ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'' and ''VideoGame/DeadSpace2'' is [[spoiler: inside Isaacs head]] ''something'' is interfering with RIG transmissions.
* Many of the powers in ''VideoGame/GhostMaster'' are electrical in nature such as blow fuse,blackout, wild and crazy and strange behaviour. Technology is also one the 'fetters' or places ghosts [[HauntedTechnology can be anchored]].
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill1'' had a radio which gave off static in the presence of monsters.
** In ''SilentHillShatteredMemories'', you can only see ghosts by looking at them with Harry's cell phone camera, and "echo memories" (which are sort of... lingering traces of emotionally-charged events?) cause the phone to give off weird static/feedback.
* In ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara 3'', [[TheWoobie Oichi]] has a similar "static effect" sometimes when she speaks, in a reference to this phenomenon.
* Taping [=EVPs=] and scanning for electromagnetic signs of ghosts is a crucial part of ''TheLostCrown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure''.
* Rotom from the ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' series.
* Played in all 3 ''VideoGame/DarkFall'' games. In the first one, sometimes ghosts talk to you through the [[EvilPhone reception phone]], Polly and Nigel's surveillance system occasionally flickers into showing dark splotches, or how various rooms appeared in the past. And distorted audio files on their computer can be edited to reveal voices. The second, ''Lights Out'' has an old World War 2 radio that's been rumored to be haunted, and tuning it to a certain frequency and using ghost-hunting goggles reveals an evil voice talking to you. A haunted TV appears in ''VideoGame/DarkFall: Lost Souls'', displaying cryptic images that provide clues to [[spoiler: the code for the ring mechanism]].
* Happens in ''VideoGame/AmberJourneysBeyond'', complete with gadgets to track what happens. Two examples center around a TV in the master bedroom. At one point, a camera in the room shows a ball of white light coming out of the TV and morphing into a key, dropping itself into a drawer. Then, if you actually use the TV, it shows a creepy POV shot of someone running through the house, screaming and eventually coming up the stairs and knocking you out.
* All ghosts in the ''VideoGame/TheBlackwellSeries'', including Joey, can interfere with radio-based devices simply by getting close to them. This is crucial to solving several puzzles throughout the games. Also Rosa notes that she had to install cable just so she could watch TV with Joey around.
* The "ghosts" from ''VideoGame/{{Oxenfree}}'' speak through heavily distorted radio messages, and their control over time causes {{ominous visual glitch}}es. Tuning the radio finds new broadcasts from them and forces them out of possessed characters. It's played with, as they're not ''technically'' ghosts (and they themselves mock the term) but [[spoiler: the crew of nuclear submarine that was transported to another dimension after its destruction]].
* While White Face from ''VideoGame/{{Imscared}}'' is never stated whether to be a ghost or not, it does have the appearance and behavior of one. And it does interfere with technology; [[spoiler:your computer]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos Slender Man]] is often shown to muck up electronic equipment, causing static, audio and visual distortion, missing frames, added frames, and general horror. A video camera is also a way to see him when he is otherwise invisible. In ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'', trying to film him tends to make it worse.
* Jay Are's backpack in Theatre/TheLeagueOfSTEAM is supposedly a device for picking up [=EVP=]s.

* The webcomic ''Webcomic/{{Chainsawsuit}}'' plays with this in one of their panels, where the ghost in question is the ghost of an old bunny-eared TV set spouting static.
* ''Webcomic/{{Hejibits}}'' has [[http://www.hejibits.com/comics/spectral-signal/ this]] example.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Beyond This Earthly Realm" has Finn getting stuck in the SpiritWorld, where it seems he can't interact with anything in the physical plane and no one can even see him but Ice King, who has "wizard eyes", then gets stuck there itself. It turns out they ''can'' effect things subtly, which Finn discovers when he moves around near a television and sees the static start to change.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** In one episode Bender the robot inherits a castle that turns out to haunted by robot ghosts because their graves are inadequately grounded.
--> Ghost: "Come with us Bender. You'll like being ''dead''!"
--> Bender: "That's what they said about being ''alive''!"
** In a later episode Bender dies and becomes a ghost in the digital cloud. Nobody can see or hear him (except the Robot Devil, and some cows) but he can possess electronic devices and annoy his friends.