If you’re looking to find some treasure, a long-range metal detector may sound like the perfect tool. Online you’ll find dozens of products that purportedly detect gold and other metals that are too far away for a standard metal detector to pick up. You may wonder if any of the claims about these long-distance metal detectors hold water, especially if you’re new to treasure hunting.
Long-range metal detectors do not work. There has never been any compelling evidence put forward to back up the wild assertions made by the proponents of long-range metal detectors. Like other pseudoscientific technologies, manufacturers of these products exaggerate scientific concepts to make their claims sound legitimate.
If you’re curious about the science—or lack thereof—behind long-range metal detectors and are considering what products you should buy to aid your next treasure hunt, this is the article for you. Below you will discover why long-range metal detectors don’t work, whether they can be used for anything and what kinds of technologies may be better suited for your next treasure hunt.
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What Are the Claims Surrounding Long Range Metal Detectors?
Proponents of long-range metal detectors claim that the devices pick up the resonant frequency of metals—including valuables such as gold. They assert that these devices can recognize metals that are too deep underground for an ordinary metal detector to find. Some even profess that their detectors can find metals from a distance just by pointing them in the right direction.
The long-range metal detectors will sometimes resemble a ray gun from a science fiction movie, while at other times, they simply look like an ordinary metal detector. There are even a few rod-like devices that probe into the ground. The variations in appearance usually correspond to the claims the manufacturer is making about the product. It’s important to note; Long-range metal detectors are just one of several pseudoscientific long-range locators.
How Long Range Metal Detectors Are Supposed To Work
The following list includes a summary of each of the claims surrounding the science behind long range metal detectors.
- As mentioned above, the science behind long range metal detectors is hinged on them being able to pick up the resonant frequency of metals.
- Using antenna-like devices, they claim that these detectors can emit electromagnetic pulses that will correspond with the exact frequency of the metal you are looking for.
- Sometimes instead of antennas, they use probes that go into the ground. The visual of something in the ground picking up tiny vibrations can make the con more convincing.
- Because the long-range metal detectors are supposed to identify with an exact frequency, many of their manufacturers claim they can be set to find a specific metal such as gold. Because of this, some long-range locators are not just bound to finding metals. We will discuss this in more detail later.
What are Resonant Frequencies?
Resonance is the natural oscillation of an object and the wavelengths that it gives off. With applied pressure, the resonance can increase. For example, when you pluck the string of a guitar. The people who sell these fake technologies claim that they have invented a circuit board that can pick up the frequencies given off by specific metals or other objects, even if they are deep underground or far away.
Are Resonant Frequencies Real?
Resonance is a real scientific concept, supported by complex mathematics and modern physics. This is part of why long-range locators of all types can be so convincing. Even if the average person tries to fact-check the claims of the manufacturers, they may come across real science websites with useful information. Science fiction often exists on the border of real science, so you must be careful not to conflate reality with fantasy.
Why Don’t Long Range Metal Detectors Work?
If resonant frequencies are a real thing, you might be wondering why long-range metal detectors don’t pick them up. It is in large part due to the Inverse Square Law. According to Merriam Webster, the Inverse Square Law is defined as “a statement in physics: a given physical quantity (such as illumination) varies with the distance from the source inversely as the square of the distance.”
To put it simply, the resonance of the metals and other objects this equipment is supposed to be able to pick up, are not strong enough at the distances claimed. If such a technology did exist it would be groundbreaking and would probably garner far more attention from the media than these pseudoscientific devices have done so far.
Are Long Range Metal Detectors Useful For Anything?
While the manufacturer of a long-range metal detector might put both their pseudoscientific technology alongside standard metal detector technology, it isn’t really a risk worth taking. Because these detectors are supposed to find metals far deeper than that of an ordinary metal detector, they can be far more expensive. It is best just to avoid long-range metal detectors altogether.
Common Types of Long Range Metal Detectors
Because of the convincing scientific language adopted by Long Range Metal Detector manufacturers, it can be difficult to tell that they are fraudulent. This is further complicated by the fact that they are sometimes referred to by different names.
Below is a list of other terms for Long Range Metal Detectors. Be sure to keep an eye out for these terms when looking to buy a metal detector. They may come up with new terms in the future, so also remember to always carefully examine what the seller claims their metal detector can pick up.
- Long-range locators: “Long-range locators,” is a general term used to designate any kind of device—including long-range metal detectors—that supposedly picks up the resonant frequency of various objects.
- Long-range gold detector: “Long-range gold detector,” is a term that capitalizes on the popularity of gold in the treasure hunting community. They use gold to catch your attention, then they try to sell it to you by making wild claims about how it can also find all other metals. This is the most common alternative term we were able to find.
- Long-range diamond detector: Like the long-range gold detector with gold, the long-range diamond detector is specially marketed to find diamonds. Oftentimes the diamond aspect is used to catch a customer’s attention, however, they claim that it can find metals like gold as well.
- Underground gold/treasure detector: Underground gold/treasure (sometimes they just use the one term, while other times they use both) is the least common term we were able to find, however, we did stumble across a few brands of long-range metal detectors marketing themselves this way. They are usually the rod-like probes we mentioned before.
As if things were not already complicated enough, it is important to note that sometimes real metal detectors market themselves as being long-range. To distinguish the real from the fake, you should examine how the seller is claiming their metal detector works. If it works like a regular metal detector, then it probably is one. If it makes wild claims about the frequency of specific objects, it is probably fake.
What Are Some Other Kinds of Long Range Locators?
Previously, we alluded to the fact that long-range metal detectors are not the only pseudoscientific long-range locators on the market. There are long-range locators that are supposed to detect everything from golf balls to explosives. They all use the same basic claims rooted in the principle of resonant frequencies. Below is a list of a few well-known hoaxes.
- Dowsing Rod: Okay this one isn’t exactly modern, however, it was perhaps the first fake long-range tracker, meant to help find freshwater. These Y-shaped rods supposedly pull the user in the direction of a body of water. Some people still believe in the power of dowsing rods to this day, which is just a testament to how strong confirmation bias can be in human beings.
- ADE 651: Developed by the company ATSC (Advance Tactical and Security Communications) this fraudulent device was meant to detect bombs. This device was so convincing that it was used by the Iraqi Army and Police for a time. They acquired hundreds of these devices back in 2008.
- Sniffex/Sniffex Plus: Homeland Safety International created this fraudulent technology. Like the ADE 651, this is another device supposedly purported to find bombs. In 2008 Homeland Safety International was sued for fraud and financial crimes that included misreporting their profits and stock fraud.
- Alpha 6: Like the above two devices, this one was purported to be able to find bombs, however, its producers went as far as claiming that it could even pick up drugs as well. In 2010 the UK banned the export of this product to Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Quadro Tracker: The manufacturer of this device claimed that it could detect the molecules of everything from bombs to golf balls. This just goes to show anyone can fall for these false claims if they are pushed convincingly enough, as this product was sold to schools and police departments in the early nineties.
Why Do People Still Believe Long Range Metal Detectors Work?
There are a number of possibilities as to why these devices are still sought by some people to this day. Below is a list of some possible reasons why people still buy long-range metal detectors and other long-range locators.
- Treasure hunting is a niche hobby and sometimes scams like these go undetected. The scheme that long-range metal detector companies are pulling, can fly under the radar because it is a hobby that doesn’t always garner as much mainstream attention.
- People are prone to superstition and still believe long-range locators work despite all the evidence to the contrary. There are still some people who believe dowsing rods will find freshwater. It’s not all that surprising others might also believe long range metal detectors work.
- Like those who still buy long-range detectors, some of the vendors may also genuinely believe they work. Sometimes the people who are selling Long Range Locators, aren’t necessarily being dishonest but actually believe they work themselves. This is especially true if you’re buying it used from another treasure hunter.
- The concept of long-range locators is based on some real science and can sound convincing. Not everyone has an advanced degree in science. One of the main ways hoaxers like to sound convincing is through their use of esoteric language.
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad If You Were Tricked
If you have already bought one of these devices and find yourself here because you can’t seem to find any metals with your new detector, you may feel like you should have known better. The fact of the matter is anyone can fall for these types of claims, especially when they sound like they are supported by science.
With the long-range locators designed to find bombs, entire governments, police stations, and schools have been duped. It would be unreasonable to expect everyone to understand physics to the degree you would need to in order to examine the claims these companies make about their products in real-time.
Finally, confirmation bias is something every single person in the world experiences. Confirmation bias is when what we believe corresponds with what we want to be true. Everyone has it to some degree. If you really want to find treasure, you’re by nature more likely to be susceptible to false claims about better treasure hunting technology. It’s perfectly normal.
How to Examine Claims in the Future
Whether it’s a product someone is trying to sell you or a claim someone is making about any general subject, in today’s world, it is always a great idea to fact check what you read. Below is a list of steps you can take to suss out false information.
- Start with a basic google search. In the case of these long-range metal detectors, I would google something like the title of this article; “do long-range metal detectors really work?”
- Look for multiple sources confirming that the information is true. There are plenty of websites and Youtube videos out there that are made by the people pulling these scams to make their outlandish claims more believable. You should make sure the ones you’re reading are backed up elsewhere.
- Find information on reputable websites if at all possible. The more niche a subject, the harder this advice is to put into practice, however, it is best to look for websites that have a good reputation. Despite the fact that it is often the butt of jokes, Wikipedia is actually a good place to start. Just follow the links in their sources section to confirm what you’re reading.
- If you really want to examine a claim’s veracity, take a step deeper. In this article, we’ve not only attempted to answer the question of whether or not long-range metal detectors work, but we’ve also performed a cursory examination of the scientific claims behind them and similar historical hoaxes that have been pulled in the past. It’s always a good idea to go as deep into a subject as time permits.
- Lastly, if you’re part of a community, find out if anyone you know has a specialty in the subject. If you’re into treasure hunting, you likely know other people who are also treasure hunters. In this case, you could ask around and see if anyone you know has experience with long-range metal detectors.
What are the Alternatives to Long Range Metal Detectors?
So now that we’ve looked at other examples of long-range locator hoaxes, you may be wondering if there’s anything that actually works. While there are no metal detectors that utilize the resonant frequency principle to be super-powered, there are some great regular metal detectors on the market.
If you’re serious about becoming a treasure hunter, you should get a high-quality metal detector. While standard metal detectors do not have the enormous scope that is claimed by their long counterparts, you’ll find far more success using them. With a long-range metal detector, you might as well just randomly search for metals without any equipment.
So, Do Long Range Metal Detectors Really Work?
Long Range Metal Detectors do not work. They are just one of many long-range locators–all of which are pseudoscientific hoaxes. Any piece of equipment that claims to be able to use resonant frequencies to find objects deep underground or far away, is likely to be fake.
If you find yourself questioning whether the metal detector you’re looking to buy is real or not, scan the product description for keywords commonly used in long-range locators. Another rule of thumb is that when you find something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below. Thanks for reading and until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!
Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.