Ghost hunting, also called paranormal investigation, is the process of investigating locations that are reportedly haunted by ghosts. Most ghost hunters try to collect evidence of paranormal activity by taking photos or using equipment that may be able to detect the presence of spirits. If you are not properly prepared, ghost hunting can be a dangerous activity.
Ghost-hunting has taken off in a big way, becoming a huge phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic. This is fueled by a veritable production line of Hollywood ghost films spanning decades. What they all have in common is our preoccupation with the paranormal and a persistent quest for answers.
Check out the tips below to avoid getting in trouble on your first ghost hunt!
7 Things to Know Before You Go on a Ghost Hunt
1. Never go alone
Always take a friend or two with you when you go ghost hunting. They can help if something goes wrong, as well as be the extra pair of eyes and ears you need to validate potential manifestations. Ghost hunters joke that it’s not the ghosts they’re scared of, but the real people. Be cautious of entering “abandoned” spaces, which might be serving as encampments for people, or have security alarms in place.
2. Choose accessible locations
Find out exactly where the paranormal activity has been reported and check if it’s accessible to the public. Trespassing should be avoided, and it’s best to get written consent from the owner to avoid any legal trouble. You should know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Always ask permission if you want to investigate a private property.
3. Check it out during the day
Check out the location you want to investigate during the day to get a feel for the area. Make sure you know exactly where the haunted hot spots are.
4. Prepare carefully
Do your research about the reported hauntings and the entities involved. Some investigators believe that certain entities have the ability to drain fully-charged devices, so make sure your equipment is fully charged and bring extra batteries in your bag.
5. Talk to the spirits
Introduce yourself to the spirits, let them know you mean no harm, and ask their permission to take pictures. Invite the spirits to be in your photos. If they respond, thank them.
Explain what the tools are that you’re using. Ghosts from 100 years ago won’t recognize tools like a spirit box or EMF reader, so a simple explanation can help spirits feel more comfortable.
6. Follow your instincts
If you feel the need to take a photo of something, do it. If it seems like something or someone wants to talk to you, tell them you are open to a conversation.
7. Leave the location as you found it
Respect both the dead and the living. You can touch things, such as walls or tombstones, but don’t move them or alter the location in any way.
Ghost Hunting Equipment
Explore some of the tools we use during investigations. Ghost-hunting equipment is only as good as the ghost-hunter who uses it and how they use it. Simple equipment can be just as effective in an investigation of ghostly phenomena as the most sophisticated apparatus, as long as it is in the right hands.
Basic ghost-detection Equipment
Here is a list of basic equipment to include in any ghost-hunting kit:
- Sketch pad and drawing pencils (for maps of location)
- Measuring tape (checking distance & witness accounts)
- Extra batteries (you never know when they may fail)
- Recording device (for witness accounts and for electronic voice phenomenon or EVP)
- Small tool kit
- Camera (for documenting the location and anomalous photographs)
- Video camera (for documenting the location and investigation, plus interviews)
- Portable motion detectors (great for securing locations)
- Two-way radios (allow the group to stay in contact & they avoid the electromagnetic interference caused by cellular phones)
- Notebook and pen (recording notes, witness statements, and making diagrams)
Electronic devices serve a variety of purposes during an investigation.
Sensors help us detect movement invisible to the naked eye and help to identify if any movement is present during the investigation. There are a wide variety of sensors available for use in investigations with features like motion detected alerts and location detection technology to see which area of the room the motion is being sensed. For most investigators, hunting takes place at night or in a dark, old building. This makes sensors an essential tool in the ghost hunter toolkit for picking up on things we might not be able to see!
All paranormal investigators, seasoned vets and new hunters alike know how valuable a camera is for gathering information. Cameras also come in a variety of styles with added features to make hunting easier for you or your team. Some include night vision capabilities and easy uploading or sharing options. You might choose different cameras for specific locations. Based on the environment, your team, and what you’re looking for, your camera will help you during your investigation and when reviewing the investigation the next day.
Audio devices are great for recording whole sessions to revisit after the investigation and helpful to have on hand at all times. You might not hear something at a low volume while moving through a building, so going back to the recording later might reveal something you missed. Many devices give you options for calibration, sound levels, and more to thoroughly review your investigation. Depending on what you need, you can choose sensitive microphones that will pick up a whisper, or long-distance recorders that will pick up sounds across the room. Fit an audio device to your style and needs during a ghost hunt.
Lighting has come a long way in technological advances, especially for the paranormal investigation field. Grids, night vision, and video lighting are just a few pieces of lighting equipment that come in handy during an investigation. Again, the tools you add to your kit will depend on how you investigate and what you need. Other popular features like wide angle infrared light, dual infrared, or night vision video light can be great tools for most investigations.
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