Hunter - Investigator
Ghost Hunting 101
Do you hear bumps in the night? Does your hair stand on end when you walk
into a room? Maybe you feel as if someone is watching you or perhaps you think
you see someone out the corner of your eye, but when you turn to look no one
is there? What you may be encountering in those unsettling moments is a ghost.
So before you go running out of your house screaming, let’s take a moment to
talk about ghostly encounters and those that investigate this phenomena.
A ghost is believed to be the spirit or soul of a person who has remained
on Earth after death. When a ghost has taken up residence in a location, it is
referred to as a haunting. There are two different ways in which a ghost
inhabits a location. The most common type of haunting is a residual haunting.
A residual haunting is typified by ghostly energy that is static or goes
through a number of movements over and over again. It can be likened to
watching a movie clip that repeats itself or a record album that has a skip in
it, causing the needle to jump back to an earlier point on the album and begin
The second classification of haunting is the classic haunting. In a classic
haunting the ghost displays intelligence and interacts with the people in the
environment. It is not uncommon during a classic haunting for items to be
moved around, for lights or electrical appliances to turn on and off, to hear
voices our sounds out of nowhere or to be touched, tickled, stroked or even
shoved. These ghosts often reflect the personality of an individual, even
after their death. With this type of haunting, the aroma of flowers, perfume,
cigarette smoke or other scents that are associated with the individual are
So whether you think you are being haunted by a ghost and want to have a
group of trained professionals to come to your home or are interested in
investigating all that goes bump in the night, but don’t know where to
begin, here’s some information that can help you get started.
It is held that ghosts are electro-magnetic in origin and they create these
fields when trying to manifest into this dimension. The energy that is given
off by a ghost causes disruptions in the locations magnetic field, thus making
it detectable by specialized equipment and psychics alike.
Because the presence of a ghost can be detected by specific types of
equipment, a ghost hunter can become well equipped with a number of affordable
pieces of equipment, many of which you may already own. From basic to
advanced, there are many different types of equipment you can use to detect an
otherworldly presence. For someone thinking about participating in an
investigation, this doesn’t mean you have to own every piece of equipment in
order to perform a reliable investigation. It does mean that you should at
least possess a basic set of tools to use.
Starter Ghost Hunting Kit
35mm or Digital Camera – For a beginner, having a camera is probably the
easiest and least expensive way to begin. Pictures, whether digital or
recorded on film can capture paranormal activity, activity that is often
invisible to the naked eye. This is especially true in the case of documenting
the presence of orbs and ectoplasm.
Notebook & Pen or Pencil – Simple as this may be, it is always a good
idea to have something to record any notes, findings or experiences you may
have during an investigation.
Flashlight – Many times an investigation will take you to a dark or
foreboding location such as a cemetery, old warehouse, abandoned building or
other place that is dark or without electricity. In these instances you will
need to have a portable light source.
Extra Batteries – Depending on the paranormal activity of a location,
batteries oftentimes will mysteriously and unexpectedly lose their charge
leaving you in the dark. Regardless of the type of equipment you use, make
sure you bring extra batteries along to replenish depleted ones.
EMF Detector – The Electromagnetic Field Detector is probably one of the
most important pieces of equipment to own if you are serious about doing an
investigation. In addition to detecting the energy fields of ghosts, it is a
key tool to use when taking baseline readings of a site. A baseline reading is
a preliminary evaluation of a location, where investigators identify any
existing or man made electromagnetic fields such as those created by power
lines or electrical appliances.
Digital Video Camera – Video cameras can be a useful investigation tool.
Unlike still cameras, a video camera will document any activity in its
entirety including the length of time the phenomena occurs, the surrounding
conditions, as well as the phenomena itself. A tripod to rest the video camera
on is also helpful, especially if it is going to be left in a stationary
position to record the activity in a specific location.
Night Vision Camera
Tape Recorder with an External Microphone – There is no better way to
capture EVP’s (electronic voice phenomena) than through the use of a tape
recorder. Whether using a traditional tape recorder with high quality tapes or
a digital recorder, an external microphone should always be used. A detached
mic will eliminate the sounds of internal gears and turning wheels that can
contaminate your recording.
Motion Detectors – Motion detectors can be used to sense the movement of
unseen forces. Many need to be plugged in to an outlet, but battery operated
ones are also available. Before you go out and buy one, decide which type will
best support you investigatory needs.
Thermal Scanner – A thermal scanner or non-contact thermometer can be
used to detect rapid temperature changes. A change of ten degrees or more from
the ambient temperature (the temperature of the surrounding area) can indicate
an ethereal presence.
Psychics – As An Investigative Tool
In addition to tools such as cameras, meters and gauges that are used by
ghost hunters, many groups also utilize the services of trained psychics as a
means of gathering information about a site. This is the role I play when
working with ghost hunting groups.
Finding a true psychic to work with can be a real asset to the quality of
your investigation. They can play an invaluable role in supporting the efforts
of any paranormal investigation. Like a good piece of equipment, a psychic can
help to detect anomalies as well as provide additional insights into the
nature of activity encountered.
If your group decides to include the use of a psychic as part of the
investigation team, there are a few items that should be considered. To
maximize the objectivity of the investigation, it is critical that the psychic
go into a location “cold”. This means that they do not know the details of
the location or of any activity that may have been encountered by other
members or the property owner. Telling the psychic the history of a property
can cause the individual to become “contaminated”, which can make it
difficult for them to differentiate what they perceive from what they have
Conducting An Investigation
With at least a basic kit of equipment in hand, you are now ready to
explore the world of paranormal phenomena. Before you begin, there are a few
ground rules to consider. First, never go on an investigation alone, in
addition to personal safety, you never know what may happen. Next, consider
the fact that ghost hunting groups are often judged by their behavior and
professionalism – so always try to be respectful of the people, places and
situations you may encounter.
To do an investigation, the first step is to select a location. Locations
can include cemeteries, old buildings, historic sites, private homes and
businesses. Always get permission to be on a site. This will keep you from
getting in trouble for trespassing. Before you begin a formal investigation it
is a good idea to do some research on the site. Talk to the owner, check out
old newspapers, or contact the local historic society to see if anything
happened there in the past. It is also a good idea to evaluate the terrain for
potential hazards or/or to identify places where you can setup stationary
video cameras, motion detectors or tape recorders.
Most investigations occur after dark, between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
These hours are considered the “psychic hours” and are believed to be the
best time to record paranormal activity.
When you get to the selected location, walk around to get a feel for it.
Next, set up any stationary equipment and take baseline readings of the site.
Then let the investigation begin. Take pictures, shoot video, record for EVP
and take meter readings. Take them everywhere and anywhere, especially if you
feel something or get a reading on another piece of equipment. When you are
done walking around a site, turn your stationary equipment on and let it run
while you and your group are out of the area.
When you have finished collecting your data, it is time for analysis. Here
each picture, video and tape is reviewed for evidence of a haunting. This is
probably the most important part of any investigation. As you review your
materials, be skeptical. Look for earthly causes of any phenomena. Was someone
smoking in the area? Was the room or location dusty? Where there reflective
surfaces that could be the cause of the anomaly in your image? It is important
to make sure your evidence will stand up to scrutiny by eliminating any other
explanations. This will give your data more credibility.
As you pore over your data, what you will find is that not every location
you go to will have ghostly activity. You may discover that many of the things
you initially detected during your investigation actually have real world
explanations as opposed to supernatural ones. What keeps many ghost hunters
going is that one-in-five chance that this investigation will be the
When your analysis is done, presenting your finding to the home or property
owner or sharing your results with others is often done. Many groups also post
the results of their investigations on their group’s website, thus share the
outcome of their investigation with the rest of the world.
If you are interested in ghost hunting or think your have a ghost hanging
around in your local, there is a plethora of information available on the
worldwide web. Here you can find articles about ghost hunting in general,
stories of other people’s ghostly encounters, places that sell ghost hunting
equipment and even sites hosted by ghost hunting groups in your geographic
So if you think you are hearing bumps in the night, don’t be afraid –
it just might be a ghost!
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