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How to Ghost Hunt
Experience a Real Life Mystery
We’ve all heard about the famous Ghost Hunters show on television. These types of shows continue to be one of the most popular “reality” genres around and doesn’t look like there will be a decline in interest soon. If you’ve ever been curious about this line of work and wondered why the individuals who take part do so, then you’ve come to the right place.
Fun fact: Real ghost hunters DO NOT scare easily. If they hear sounds, see images, they become excited, don't yell words that need bleeping, or go running for their mothers. These effects could indicate catching a real ghost . . . which is the whole point!
What Ghost Hunting is Genuinely About
Ghost hunting is not about devil worship. Most hunters are of Christian beliefs and feel hunting spirits is proof of an afterlife.
Ghost hunters are not paid for their work and don't seek fame. There are no guarantees of proving the existence of an active spirit, thus don’t charge for services. Ghost hunters work day jobs.
Ghost hunting is being involved in a real-life mystery. If true spiritual activity is occurring, who was this person? How did they live? How did they die? Why are they here? Who did they love? Every ghost had a life and their story awaits discovery.
Ghost hunters are great historians due to their abilities to conduct research in pursuit of answers.
Ghost hunting is the ability to take a break from the normal hum-drum of one’s life. Come on . . . ghosts are more exciting than cleaning the house or paying bills.
Ghost hunting takes a strong sense of responsibility. The responsibility to think scientifically, do research, keep an open mind and help others understand if they are experiencing something unique.
Ghost hunting is the opportunity to face insecurities. Because of the necessary steps to pursue spirits, these same steps can apply to life’s challenges and help solve problems.
Ghost Hunting Equipment
You don’t really need equipment for ghost hunting. You could just sit, listen and let things happen naturally. However, if you would like some equipment, the following is recommended.
- A camera, one that can take film of 400 speed or greater and with night vision capability. Most hunters like a digital camera as the technology involved can capture images not seen with the naked eye. However, digital cameras are also prone to photo anomalies like false orbs, where an “old fashioned” 35mm camera’s technology captures pictures differently and is an excellent backup of proof.
- A thermometer, preferably a digital type, that will provide instant readings. Time is of the essence when ghost hunting and waiting for a mercury thermometer is a lesson in futility. Often air feels colder in the presence of a ghost, but it can also become warmer. Digital thermometers respond immediately to these changes.
- An electromagnetic field meter, (EMF meter), to test the atmosphere for fluctuations in magnetic fields in the air. Spirits are said to disrupt these electrical currents and if you experience peaks in readings, this may be an indication of an active presence.
- A voice recorder to capture any spiritual communication. Electronic voice phenomenon, (EVP), is sounds of unknown source and not usually heard by human ears. These can be caught using any recording device but the digital devices are tops in capturing spiritual communications for their heightened sensitivity to sound.
- Flashlights--for safety sake—unless you like going bump in the night.
- Backup batteries--lots. Spirits tend to suck the energy right out of batteries. Note, if this does happen, good job! It’s an indication of an active spirit nearby.
- Notebook and pen for each person hunting. Notes can be a saving grace in ghost hunting.
- Cell phone and/or walkie-talkies. It’s important if you decide to go off in a spilt group or alone, that you have a means of contact with others.
- Wear darker-colored clothing. Wearing white tends to reflect any flash from a camera and give off a false orb possibility.
- Snacks, water, other comfort items if planning on staying anywhere over several hours. Ghost hunting requires a lot of time to just sit and observe. Keeping yourself comfortable is advantageous.
Fun Fact: Never, will you experience a ghost with its arms flailing and yelling out booooooo … booooooo! Honest!
If you’re lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, these items are also a favorite among the most elite ghost hunters.
- Frank’s box. This device is an adjusted radio that is set to rapidly scan AM or FM frequencies. The belief is that if past all the static you hear clearer words blurt out, it could be spirits communicating. It is believed the voices of spirits can be captured within radio frequencies. The jury is still out on the validity of this device.
- Video or Digital camera with night vision capability. The more imagery you can take the better.
- Thermal camera, also known as an infrared camera. If spirits can lower or raise room temperatures, then their images can be then caught on this specialized camera that photographs temperatures. There has been success with this type of device.
- Motion detectors. Since spirits can create changes in electromagnetic fields in the air, they can also set off a motion detector. Ghost hunters like to use them as a heads-up device to where a spirit may be wandering.
- Viewing screens such as computers. It is always fun to have someone stationed watching these screens and then give notice to fellow hunters if they’ve seen something potential.
- A variety of electrical cords to set up more than one station of ghost observations.
If you are new to this adventure idea, I highly recommend getting a starter kit. The Original Ghost Hunting Kit by Gen-El provided the best supplies to begin with plus they were reliable. In the beginning trying to obtain equipment, my confidence of finding reputable products was a bit daunted. Marketing ploys can lead to money spent foolishly, especially with the popularity of ghost hunting shows. Always check sources for reviews. This kit took the guesswork out for me. It was exciting learning to use the equipment which in turn heightened the desire to be as efficient as possible.
The day the kit came I went out for a hunt. I felt more confident and so did my partner in crime — spouse. We had a blast although we didn’t “catch” anything. Lesson learned, try to go back to the same location more than once. Ghost are random and unpredictable. Regardless of equipment, you still may not obtain evidence but having equipment that feels right heightens the possibility.
Once having obtained a collection of ghost hunting toys, it will become much easier to add to them. Again, a kit is a great way to begin. Then you can just spend time focusing on the hunt and not worrying about if a piece of equipment was bogus.
This kit includes GaussMaster EMF meter, motion sensor, EVP recorder, Geo-Phone, vibration detector, Infr-red Thermometer, and carrying case. Everything even the most experienced ghost hunter needs.
Preparing for a Ghost Hunt
When preparing for a ghost hunt, evaluate your level of stress. Never do anything that is against your personal beliefs. Anxiety can cause one to hear false sounds, feel false temperature changes, and really spoil the whole experience. So be sure to be rested and keep your happy cap on.
It is best to ghost hunt with another person(s). This keeps everyone safe and can act as each other’s sounding board in the event you think you’ve experienced something.
Choose who will be with you, how many individuals, the site to be investigated, and what tasks everyone will be responsible. DO NOT take anyone who is impatient, a control freak or scaredy cat—these individuals are best left behind to clean, organize or hide in a closet.
Check the chosen site out before the actual hunt. This will give the opportunity to learn about any eyewitness reports, opportunity to interview witnesses, make notes where the “hot” spots are, and make notes on any possible safety concerns. This process also helps to relieve any feelings of anxiety. Include checking for available electrical outlets and places you will be able to set up desired equipment.
Obtain permission to ghost hunt at the targeted site. Never assume you can just show up and hunt. Bring I.D. with you as well--just in case.
Check all equipment thoroughly. Don’t falsely believe everything is working to peak. There’s nothing more disappointing to realize that your camera’s batteries are low charged, or the cords are tweaked.
Set aside a realistic amount of time to conduct the hunt --two hours minimum. Do not expect to spend 15 minutes and actually experience, let alone capture, anything. Many ghost hunters prefer hunting late at night, after midnight. The night brings quieter moments, not interfered by normal day activity sounds. However, there have been many successful hunts during the day--just plan ahead for more light and sound interferences that can occur.
Upon arriving at the site recheck all equipment again. Go over a game plan with your team including how much time all is willing to hang out. Ideally, it is best to return on another day and repeat the hunt. Ghosts are very random in their activities and returning for a second go often brings heightened results.
Fun Fact: No special clothes are needed for ghost hunting except to dress for weather and comfort. No, you really don’t need special equipment to suck up a spirit like in the Ghost Busters movie. Although that would really be awesome!
Researching the targeted property can actually be more fun than the actual, on-site, ghost hunt. It’s a wonderful experience to discover facts that reveal the information that answer a host of questions.
The best resource is the public library. Libraries often have archives of old newspapers on microfilm, now available on computers. Patience is needed here too as combing through the stories takes time.
Also check with the librarian about how to find local documented history. Many cities have actual printed books or some other directory that includes a variety of information including old land maps. Librarians frequently are connected to special organizations that can hook you up with a multitude of history information.
Don’t forget the power of the Worldwide Web. So many things are now available, and for free, via internet access. Libraries and county offices often have free online obituary records. Ancestory.com is a paid site but worth the money if you find yourself doing this on a large scale basis.
Check for information with the Chamber of Commerce for referrals to local historians. Most cities have a historical society and are a great resource to weed through fact or fiction on urban legends.
Fun Fact: Urban legends are those stories that get passed down generation to generation and are just plausible enough to be believed as true--often fictional, but often with one element of truth worth discovering.
Steps to Take During a Ghost Hunt
Upon starting the hunt, introduce yourself to the potential spirit you may be meeting. This may sound silly but remember that any potential spirit was once a living person. Mind your Miss Manners!
Begin asking questions, but wait for a response. You probably won’t hear a response, but hopefully, your voice recorder will have captured an answer. Don’t ask questions too quickly. Give time in between for a potential response or all you will get recorded is your own insistent talking. Ergh!
Move around to a variety of locations at the site with special attention to the reported hot spots. Stay at least 30 minutes each area. Remember, spirits are unpredictable. Moving around too quickly may cause a missed opportunity. Include both indoor as well as outdoor locations whenever possible.
Keep taking EMF and temperature readings. Warning: small changes don’t count. Twenty degrees or more in temperature and suddenly active and big swings of the EMF dial yes! These devices tell you if it is possible to be in the presence of a spirit.
Take a lot of pictures, at least 100 per hour of hunting --the more photos taken, the more chances of capturing spiritual activity.
Make notes that include time and location of any personal experiences-- temperature changes, smells, seeing shadows, even periods of equipment malfunctions count. Also make notes on the type of weather taking place. Damp weather can create false orbs as a result of camera flashes reflecting off of the moisture.
Stay in touch with other team members to keep each other informed of any experiences or concerns. On occasion, a hunt has to be discontinued due to weather or equipment malfunctions. Staying in touch with each other promotes safety as well as assisting in working through concerns and remaining successful.
Once it is decided to end the hunt, collect all equipment and do an inventory to be sure nothing--or anyone--is left behind.
YouTube has great, real life, ghost hunting videos. Key "ghost hunts" in their search engine.
After the Hunt, Or How to Determine If You Caught a Ghost!
Another exciting part of ghost hunting is reviewing all collected data --all video recordings, all sound recordings, all of your photographs.
Get rest before starting the process of review.
Listen to all audio carefully and then listen again.
Scrutinize all photos. Run through a computer program like PhotoShop to filter possible anomalies.
Compare audio and photos to notes taken. Does anything match up? Can anything be explained or tossed out?
Have someone who wasn’t at the hunt review all evidence. This prevents any biased interpretations.
Step away for a few days and review all collected data again.
Occurrences That Tend to Cause False Evidence
It is not uncommon to capture an “orb.” Orbs are spherical energy objects often transparent and whitish in color, sometimes yellow or orange flashes. If multiple whitish orbs are seen in a photo these are most likely dust flecks. This happens most often with a digital camera as digital camera technology is very sensitive to debris floating in the air. Orange or yellowish light often is a partner’s flashlight reflection. The PhotoShop program can help filter out these problems.
If you felt many temperature changes check notes if there were any areas of causes for drafts. Older homes are famous for drafts, but newer homes can also have faulty insulation issues. Even recent weather issues can cause expansion in door seals. Get suspicious if you kept feeling temp changes everywhere you went.
If you feel you caught something on a photo, try to return to the site and attempt to replicate the image. The ability to replicate indicates it is merely false evidence. If you’ve tried many possible causes but can’t replicate, then wahoo! You captured something special!
Moisture or even a hot, dry atmosphere can cause false evidence in terms of temperature changes or increased static electricity, aka EMF readings. So disappointing!
Are You Ready to Ghost Hunt?
Here’s some additional information. The more you know the more success you will experience. Good luck!
Did you know there are ghost hunting apps for your iPhone? Check out BrightHub.com for a list of those available for purchase at a nominal fee or are free. Do read reviews on available apps for their reputation in functionality. Some are for fun while others are for the serious hunter. This is a great way to save on individual product purchases.
Join a ghost hunting organization such as AmericanGhostSociety.com. Here they have members that provide ongoing information, resources for equipment, and even training courses.
GhostHunting.com is another great site for free tutorials on how to ghost hunt.
Audacity.download.org, is a free downloadable program for audio editing --an invaluable tool for sifting through your EVP recordings.
If you are interested in making your own Frank’s Box (invented by Frank Sumption in 2002) to communicate with ghosts, simply key into your favorite search engine, “how to make a Frank’s Box” and multiple sites for instructions on converting a simple radio will pop up. These can also be found for purchase on the internet and fortunately, the price has come down making it one of a more affordable tool.
There are endless resources for ghost hunting. Do any internet search and you will find an abundance of groups to join. So get your Scooby Doo on and let’s get huntin’!
Good Read, Good Tutorial
Ghost Hunting for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started, by Rich Newman became a must for my ghost hunting supplies. I love learning all I can about ghost hunting and even though I was blessed with a ghost hunting mentor to glean experiences from, I still felt a bit uneducated on the subject. Rich outlines not only true experience stories but workable tactics to use as well as recommended equipment that won’t break the bank. I learned tricks I had not even thought of and ways to improve photography skills. I am still dreaming on capturing an apparition but coming closer now.
Having now studied ghost hunting, I continue to seek more information. There is always new gizmos and gadgets coming out. What is reliable? What isn’t? Rich helps to sort this out so when I decide it is time to obtain a new piece of equipment, I feel more confident. The ghost hunting phase, especially around Halloween, tends to bring out some pretty strange items. Everything sounds so good to be true. I like having a guide that reminds me what will truly work for a ghost hunt, and what to pass up.
I also envy the experiences Rich talks about. With every experience was a new featured learned that he shares. There are also mishaps, but at least those are funny. I’ve had plenty of mishaps and have learned that is actually the norm of ghost hunting. Now I wonder what the spirits must think of us.
If you're one of the countless fans of ghost hunting TV shows itching to get off the couch and track some spirits on your own, this book provides everything you need to know to conduct a successful paranormal investigation.