Paranormal State Illustrated


Taking a close look at what you see and hear on a “Real Life. Drama.” TV series.



How it works, and why it behaved erratically.

The Ovilus is an electronic device, shown on the manufacturer’s Website to be used for entertainment only, but yet we see the Paranormal Research Society using it as a serious tool.

The Ovilus is an electronic device to be used for entertainment purposes. A weak battery causes the Ovilus to act erratically.

The Ovilus 1 is made by Digital Dowsing, and was used in the Paranormal State “Hell’s Gate” episode. It has different modes, but was most likely set to the “Dictionary” mode for “Hell’s Gate.” The “Dictionary” mode has 512, pre-programmed words.

The synthesized “voice” is due to the electronics. A soft-spoken, female voice could have just as easily been used, but the mechanized manly-voice is more ominous and representational for a device that’s supposed to serve the paranormal community.

Here’s a quote from Sergey, when he introduces the unit.

First published: 30 Oct 2008

Written by: Ernie Marsh

Sergey: What the Ovilus is designed to do is it takes readings from the environment and then puts them into words. It has an analog digital converter which converts the EMF, the ELF, the temperatures, all that into a number. And then that number is assigned to a certain word.

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Digital Dowsing

The Daily Collegian Online
“Member reflects on tech progress”

Wikipedia definition of Magic 8-Ball

“Ask the Magic Eight Ball a Question”

Screenshot from Paranormal State “Hell’s Gate”

A note about the quote: the audio for Sergey’s quote was most likely made from two separate recordings, and pieced together in post-production. I say this because there is a clear delineation in the sound of the sentences. An additional recording of Sergey’s voice could have added a more detailed description of the Ovilus.

Apparently, if you change even one of the environmental parameters enough, that will result in a different number, and the Ovilus will produce the word associated with that number. It is highly unlikely that a ghost / spirit / demon / other entity, read the instruction manual to know what combination of EMF, ELF and “temperatures” would be needed to pick a number for one of 512 words that someone else assigned to the unit.

By systematically controlling the change of environmental readings, one could work through all 512 words, one at a time. And, by recording each of the words, at a later time, such as in post-production, the audio for a particular word could be laid down for any video segment. For example, did you notice the Ovilus said “music” when a video of Eilfie (Music) was shown? It is likely the Ovilus was not pointed at Eilfie Music when a spirit picked the right EMF, ELF, and “temperatures” (and read the instructions) to get the word “music.” The word was probably recorded separately, and just edited along with Eilfie video. Nothing paranormal about that.

Also, you don’t need to ask the Ovilus any questions, it will select a word from the “Dictionary” on it’s own.

Ryan turned the Ovilus off after it was portrayed as behaving erratically after saying “demon” a couple times. Due to the quick editing and flashing of scenes, and word choice from the Ovilus, and when Ryan exclaimed “No,” one might get the impression that a demon made the Ovilus cut in and out. But, don’t be fooled. A weak 9-volt battery causes the Ovilus to behave erratically. Do you think Sergey or Ryan read page three of the Instruction Manual? You can go to and click on the blue link near the bottom of the page to download the pdf file “See The Manual” and read it for yourself.

There is a fortune-telling toy (for entertainment purposes, also) that’s been around a long time. It is currently made by Mattel, and will give you one of it’s twenty “answers” on it’s icosahedral die. Just turn it over (gently), ask a question, and turn it back to read the response. I consider this to be an “analog” style-device, but operating on the same principle as the Ovilus: the Magic 8-Ball has fixed “answers,” similar to the 512-word dictionary of the Ovilus.

Also, there are Websites out there operating a computerized-version of the Magic 8-Ball. Here’s one where I entered a question, and the answer I got back.