Ghost Hunt- Going to a place to look for signs of ghosts and trying to catch
some on film (video and photos), sounds, eyewitness, etc. Graveyards are the
number one place to start, churches, schools and older buildings too.
Ghost Investigation- Going to a known haunted place and recording data
(video, photos, audio, temperatures), notes, interviews and other evidence to
prove/disprove the haunting and to assist the owners and the spirits in moving
on. The assistance can be either you directly assisting the owner with the
situation or putting them in contact with experienced groups or individuals that
will try to resolve the situation. Your assistance can be something as simple as
educating them on what is going on and their options.
What you may Encounter- There are several types of spirits you may encounter.
One was human at one time and has remained on this level for some reason. It
may not know it's dead, may be held here by unfinished business, or guilt, etc.
These spirits are the same as they were alive, so they could be good or bad,
just like living people, but not normally dangerous. This human spirit is the type
you will encounter most of the time. You could also witness a residual
haunting, which is just a playback of a past event. This is like watching a video
from the past playing over and over. These apparitions are completely unaware
of the presence of others. The other type of spirits you may encounter were
never human and can be bad news . Most non-human spirts are good,
indifferent, or malevolent. You must be aware of this type but not obsessed
with them, the chances that you will encounter them in a regular ghost hunt are
not high. If you do encounter them, leave them alone. If they are causing
problems, the removal must be left to someone experienced in exorcisms.
General Tips- Check out the area in daylight so you are familiar with the area.
Look for dangerous places and obstacles that you will not be able to see in the
dark. Look for no trespassing signs. Make sure you are not trespassing. If you
are on private property, you are risking getting a ticket or arrested. You can
get permission from many owners and caretakers. If you are asked to leave, do
so immediately, you will not win this argument and you make other
investigators look bad if you make a scene. Make sure you bring you ID.
(drivers license, etc.) so if you are questioned by the police you can prove who
you are. Never go alone. This is just common sense. If you get hurt, who will
get help? The best times are after dark, but anytime can produce results.
Photos have historically been better in the dark, but don't let that discourage
you from taking them during the day. Find out all you can about the history of
the locale. Newspapers, town historians, internet, and books can be helpful
finding folklore or hard facts about the site. The books and web pages dealing
with this type of info is enormous.
The Basics- 35mm Camera - Nothing fancy with at least 400 speed film. 800
speed film is also good at night, but you'll have to test your cameras flash
strength to see which speed works best for you. Even those single use 35mm
cameras have gotten good results. If you are a more experienced
photographer you may want to try infrared film. When you develop your film,
you don't need to go to a camera shop, the local drug store or department
store is fine. Let them know you want all the pictures developed so that you get
the pictures they might think are bad ones. These "bad ones" are normally your
best ectoplasm mist photos .
Digital Camera - Regardless of what you've heard, digital cameras are great
tools for ghost researchers. Once upon a time they had their limitations and
problems, but that is no longer the case. Not only do they allow you to see
instantly if you have a positive photo, they can also take photos in limited
infrared range of light .
Flashlight w/ spare batteries - A common sense item. Remember to bring spare
batteries for everything. Due to spirit activity, batteries often run down very
fast and you don't want to miss anything because of dead batteries.
Notebook w/ pens and pencils- You need to write and log in everything that
happens. If you don't then you really don't have much research information. An
example of this is one investigator gets a EMF reading that's high and never
writes it down. Another investigator takes a picture of the same area but is not
aware of the reading and gets a anomalous image. Without that EMF reading
the picture may be good evidence, but with a report noting the reading, the
picture greatly increases in evidence value. Many investigators use a pocket
tape recorder instead and that is fine, just make sure you have spare batteries
Jackets or weather appropriate clothes - If you are cold, you are not at your
best and your observation skill could suffer, pretty common sense.
Watch - So you can log in the times of events and your arrival and departure.
Advanced and Optional
Video camera (optional tripod) - Video cameras are an important instrument for
an investigation. Unlike still cameras they provide us with constant visual and
audio surveillance for review and observation. With video any phenomena
occurring can be documented in its entirety. This will show the length of time
the phenomena occurs, what is happening, the conditions surrounding the
phenomena, and possibly even the cause of the phenomena.. The Sony line of
camcorders has an infrared night shot feature that enables you to video tape in
complete darkness and see beyond what the human eye can see. You can use
these on tripods or walk around with them. You can also invest in an infrared
light extender which will help your camera see in the darkest places and make
the quality of the video better.
Tape recorder w/ external microphone and high grade tapes - Recorders or
digital voice recorders are with out a doubt one of the most important pieces
of equipment you should have in you investigator toolbox. Audio recorders
are used for many different purposes throughout an investigation. Recorders
are used for interviews, spontaneous thoughts, your notes and electronic
voice phenomena (EVP) . You have to use a external microphone when
recording EVPs (ghosts voices). If you rely on the internal microphone, you will
also be recording the internal gears and motors and this will make your tape
too noisy. Any sound you hear on the tape could not be used as evidence
because of this, so use the external mic, they are pretty inexpensive. The type
of tape that is most often recommended is high bias tapes or metal tapes. Do
not reuse tapes. Sounds from previous recordings can bleed through.
Digital audio recorders - This recorder is small and easy to carry. You can also
use the voice activation feature so there is less audio to review. Most units
record the time of the recording as well which is very useful. When using audio
recorders be sure to state the location, time of investigation, and
investigators' names. When recording investigators' names it would be wise to
have each individual present state their own names, which will make it easier
for distinction amongst voices heard on the tape during review. Voice
activation mode should be deactivated on tape recorders during use when
electronic voice phenomena is trying to be achieved due to the fact that it
usually cuts off beginnings of words, sentences, and phrases. This is not
necessary with digital recorders and they actual seem to work better in voice
EMF Detector - The Electromagnetic Field Detector, also known as an EMF, is
the modern day ghost researcher's tracking device, a very important piece of
equipment. With this instrument it is possible to locate and track energy
sources. It will detect fluctuations in electromagnetic fields and low strength
moving EMF fields that have no source. It is a common theory that spirits emit
EMF energy in such a way that you can tell one is present by higher than
normal readings with this meter. Before using the EMF as a ghost research tool
on an investigation be sure to walk around the area and take initial readings
around energy sources such as light poles or electrical outlets to be sure of
the readings you receive while scanning the area during the investigation.
When using the EMF as a tracking device look for fluctuations of 2.0 to 7.0, this
usually indicates spirit presence. Anything higher or lower is normally has a
Cellular phone - If you have one it can come in handy in case of an emergency.
Compass - It's a useful instrument to an investigator due to its compact size
and low cost price. When used on an investigation this will indicate spirit
presence when the needle cannot come to a precise heading or spins/moves
erratically. This works on the same principle as a EMF meter.
Motion Detectors - These can be used to sense movements by often unseen
forces or spirits. You can get battery operated ones for about 20 dollars and
they are great for inside but I have seen them used successfully outdoors as
well, just watch the placement. You don't want a tree branch setting it off.
Thermometer or Thermal Scanner - Thermometers are an instrument that is
also very useful There are two types used, regular digital thermometers and
infrared non-contact thermometers. When used on an investigation this will aid
as a detection system for spirit presence. Rapid temperature drop of 10
degrees of more could indicate spirit presence. I recommend using the
infrared non-contact thermometers because they react in less than a second to
a temperature drop and you can scan a large area quickly.
Hand Held Radios - Or Walkie Talkies are very useful in a large outdoor area
and a building with groups spread out in various rooms. They could be great in
emergency situations or just to rotate groups. Be sure to be aware they could
interfere with your EVP recording and set off EMF detectors.
Step by step procedures Here's a condensed version the most popular
procedures for conducting outdoor ghost hunts:
1. Have everyone meet near the location and decide who will work each piece
of equipment and divide into teams if necessary. Pick a person or leader that
will talk to anyone who comes in contact with the group (i.e. Police, Reporters,
2. Walk around the area to get a feel for the surroundings and allow the spirits
to get a feel for you. Do this for about 20 minutes. Log in your start time and
weather conditions and any other relevant information. You can also begin to
set up any stationary equipment like camera on tripods or motion detectors.
Make note of any areas that may cause you to get false readings or false
3. Now go out there and get some pictures and recordings. Be sure to note
anything unusual that happens especially meter and temperature readings,
visual sightings and strange sounds. Also make notes of any feelings or
emotions you feel that may be odd or out of place. You can compare notes after
the hunt and look for similarities in readings and feeling in certain areas or at
4. Whether you stake out a spot or you walk around try to give everyone the
opportunity to try everything and be everywhere. This keeps every one fresh
and at attention. Rotate a few times during the investigation.
5. When you are done have everyone meet in one spot and ask the human
spirits here not to follow you home and to remain here. Tell the others they
must remain here in the name of your deities of choice.
6. All members and owners if possible, walk through the location. One member
map location noting: air vents, heater, electrical appliances, fuse boxes,
computer, etc. Mark down the temperatures in the rooms and any EMF reading
you get during this walk through. One member take 5-10 test photos during the
walk through. Do not discuss the details of the case during this walk through.
7. Any witnesses that have not been interviewed before should be interviewed
by 1-2 investigators and notes written down. The other members should walk
around the location and record any feelings or observations. Only the
interviewers will know the location of events and sightings.
8. Don't jump to conclusions
For 35mm cameras: Use at least 400 speed 35 mm film. 400 and 800 speeds
work the best. Black and White film also works well. * For 35mm cameras: If you
are an experienced photographer, you may want to try infrared film which also
has had excellent results in the past. * Make sure you note any other lights in
the area so when you view your developed pictures you will not think a street
light is an orb. * Make sure you clean your camera's lens regularly. * No
smoking at the location, this can appear like mist on the photos so you don't
want to contaminate your evidence. * Watch for dust or dirt being stirred up in
the area you are photographing. They can give false positive pictures. * All
long hair should be tied back or under a hat, again this is to eliminate any false
positive pictures and to give the skeptics less ammunition. * Remove or tie up
any camera straps so you don't take a picture of that, it looks like a vortex when
photographed. * Don't bother with your cameras viewfinder. Hold the camera
out in front of you and aim at the area you want to take a picture of. Many newer
digital cameras do not even come with view finders. This also helps in cold
weather by keeping your camera away from your breath. * Watch for reflective
surfaces and make notes of them. The flash reflected off shiny surfaces such
as windows, polished tombstones, etc. can look light an orb or other anomaly.
Make note of street lights and any other light source that may appear on the
film. * Let fellow investigators know when you are taking a photo so that you
don't get double flashes and the night scope operators can look away. If you
think you have a double flash photo or any other false positive, log the picture
number so you can exclude that photo from the batch when they are
developed. Night scope operators can get eye damage if they are looking at a
flash through the scope so this is important. * In cold weather be conscious of
your breath so you don't photograph that, it'll look like ectoplasm mist. If you
think you may have, log that picture number and discard it when you develop
the pictures. * Many people like to ask the spirit if they can take their picture, it
can't hurt. * Take pictures anywhere and everywhere. If you feel some thing or
someone else does, take a picture. Did you think you saw something, take a
picture. Take photos whenever you get a positive readings on any piece of
equipment. * Sometimes you will see an orb, mist, or sparkles in your flash or
others flashes, take more pictures right there, you may be near a spirit. * You
may only get about 1- 2 pictures for every 50 you take, that's about the average,
so don't get discouraged. Sometimes you don't get any and others get many. *
Don't pay for fancy developing , you can get them developed anywhere. Just let
them developers know to process and print every photo. I use the local
discount stores photo service.
* You can set up stationary recorders and just let them run or you can walk
around with them. During audio recording, ask questions whether general
ones or one specific to a certain spirit. You can find a few ideas of question on
or near the gravestones. * Make sure you view or listen to the whole tape.
EVPs are usually not heard at the time of recording but are heard only after the
tape is reviewed. * Review notes where you should have recorded any normal
sounds as well as unexplained ones (dogs barking, cars, etc.) This way you can
tell what a sound is that wasn't heard by you at the time but is now on the tape.
Getting Started- These are some places you can start your ghost hunting .
These are suggestions and you should not limit yourself to just these, spirits
can be anywhere. Don't let the age of a building or area fool you. . Also,
remember, do not trespass . * Cemeteries - The age of the cemetery doesn't
matter, but the older it is, the more time it has had to accumulate restless
spirits. Why cemeteries? Well there are theories such as they are portals to the
other side or that some spirits are drawn to their former bodies. * Schools -
Schools and former sites of schools may have the build up of psychic energies
and imprints of all the highly emotional events that have transpired there.
Theaters - The actors have run the gambit of human emotions inside the walls
of a theater, plus many have interesting hauntings attached to them.
Battlefields - These are great locations simply because of their nature. Many
violent deaths in one area will always hold some spirits and psychic energy
there. * Churches - There is a long history of the faithful returning to the
church where they worshipped. They may be looking for a connection to
important events in their life and their friends and loved ones.
Hotels/Motels/Boarding houses - Many dark dealings and highly emotional
events take places in these rooms. * Historic Locations - Many historic
buildings, because of their age, have had more time to have spirits attach to it.
These buildings are often open the public and can give you a easy place to
start. Many even have known histories of hauntings and you may be able to
gain access to the building after hours after speaking with the caretakers.
Books on Local Haunted Places and Newspaper Articles- Good resource.
Tips- If it's raining, snowing or foggy and you are scheduled to do an outdoor
ghost hunt, reschedule it. You cannot conduct a proper investigation in these
conditions. * Keep an open mind, any negative feelings may drive the spirits
away. Be respectful of the locations and the dead. * Be skeptical, look for
causes for any phenomenon such as natural or man made causes. As an
investigator you have to make sure your final evidence will stand up to
scrutiny. By eliminating all other explanations, your evidence becomes
stronger proof. * No smoking, alcohol or drugs at an investigation for mostly
obvious reasons. * No whispering, it can taint your recording results. * The Tax
Assessors Office can give you historical info on many locations you visit. * Do
not wear perfume, cologne or anything else with a very noticeable scent. This
is so someone does not mistake the smell for a supernatural occurrence.
Spirits often use scents and smells to get our attention. * Make sure you let
someone know where you will be so they will know in case of emergency.
Keep in mind that many of the people who will request an investigation will
want to be comforted, educated and they may even want the spirits to leave.
Whatever your approach or beliefs, be prepared for this and if you are not
willing or cannot help the people in the way they would like, at least provide
them with names of people who may help them. Also try to educate them so
they understand what is occurring. After explaining what is happening, many
will no longer be frightened or as concerned and you will have done them a
great service. If you are a person or group that does offer more assistance
through psychics and spirit rescues, remember that the well being and the
feelings of the living come first.
Ghost Hunting 101