Ghost Hunting Equipment
Those individuals interested in ghost hunting will need to make sure they have all the ghost hunting equipment they need to get started. Some ghost hunter equipment is expensive, while other ghost hunter equipment is fairly easy to purchase. Better still is the ghost hunting equipment that doesn't cost anything: the skills of the investigator or the accumulated skills of the paranormal team. Below is an extensive list of the equipment used in ghost hunting and precisely what the equipment is used for. Hunters will find that some of the ghost hunting equipment is absolute: there is just certain equipment that a ghost investigator cannot be without. In contrast, anyone interested in ghost hunting will also find that they can get by without certain ghost hunting equipment until they can reasonably afford to purchase the more expensive equipment by working with and utilizing lesser expensive equipment and investigative methods.
Scientific Ghost Hunting Equipment
35mm Camera: Some investigators swear by the 35mm camera. Our team has used 35mm cameras in the past, as a backup to the digital camera. Nevertheless, there is a downside to using 35mm cameras. First, the cost of film can really add up over time. Secondly, the cost of film processing can also accumulate quickly. More and more investigators are moving toward digital camera use because of the cost factor. Plus, the use of a 35mm camera leaves the question of whether or not any phenomenon identified is of paranormal origin or if it is, as in some cases, a problem will film processing. Finally, unfortunate accidents happen and you wouldn't want some incredible shots to be accidentally lost due to an unexpected error while the film is being processed. Consequently, for those investigators looking to use a 35mm, they should ensure that they first have a quality camera and that they bring the film to be processed to a film processor that is reputable.
Audio Tapes: Ghost investigators need audio tapes if they are not using a digital recorder and they plan to capture electronic voice phenomena samples. Unfortunately, when using audio tapes, it is better if the investigator uses the more expensive tapes. Even more unfortunate is that investigators will find that buying audio tapes can get really expensive because only one side of the tape is used to ensure that there is no sound bleeding on the recording from one side of the tape to the next. Dollar store tapes aren't going to cut it: often times the quality of such tapes are so poor that they create a static or scratchy sound on the tape: making it both irritating to listen to and even more irritating to spend hours analyzing the sounds. In fact, the static-like sound that cheap tapes produce can contaminate some really good evidence. In the end, investigators may find that purchasing audio tapes in bulk saves money in the long run.
Batteries: Ghost investigators need A LOT of batteries. It is not uncommon for batteries to drain down to nothing at all at a site that has paranormal activity occurring. In fact, the more batteries the ghost investigator or ghost investigation team has the better. Stock up on 9-Volt batteries, AA batteries, AAA batteries and any other batteries that your equipment may require. Investigators should make sure to bring spare batteries on every paranormal investigation and they may even want to consider purchasing lithium batteries; our team finds that lithium batteries tend to outlast their less expensive counterparts. Rechargeable batteries, although they may save money in the long run, are not really practical because, often times the investigator cannot afford the time it takes for the batteries to recharge.
Compass: One of the least expensive pieces of ghost hunting equipment and equally, one of the most useful is the compass. First off, compasses are an excellent navigation tool that is, when and if they are not being adversely affected by paranormal activity. Compasses easily detect electromagnetic energies and compasses tend to go haywire and, in some cases, will begin spinning when activity is present. If anything, a compass can be a great tool to advise you where electromagnetic disturbances are present. In fact, until an investigator can readily afford an electromagnetic field detector, a simple compass will do for disturbance detection.
Digital Camera: The digital camera is a must have for every paranormal investigator. Our team uses a variety of digital cameras during our investigations because they are easy to use and can save hundreds of dollars on film processing. The digital camera is ideal when it comes to ghost hunting because it allows the investigator to take hundreds of pictures, and the pictures are readily available for analysis when the investigation is concluded. It is important to purchase a digital camera that offers a lot of storage and one that is of considerable quality. Of course, a lesser expensive 35mm will do until the investigator can afford a digital camera. When using a digital camera it is important to have plenty of batteries on hand. Digital cameras drain batteries quickly and even more quickly when paranormal activity is present. Finally, digital cameras range in both price and quality.
Digital Recorder: Some investigators use a digital recorder to capture electronic voice phenomenon. This saves money on audio tape purchases because the digital recorder can be used again and again. The digital recorder is usually a little more expensive than the standard tape recorder. Some digital recorders have a limit on the number of samples that can be stored on them, and the investigator will then be required to download the information to a computer. It is a good idea to have a laptop or notebook so that if one is on a lengthy investigation and wants to continue a sample session they can do so. Our team prefers the standard tape recorder and external microphone.
External Microphone: If you are planning to sample for electronic voice phenomena, most investigators recommend that you do not use a tape recorder with a built in microphone. Consequently, you will need an external microphone to record for evp samples. The theory behind the use of the external microphone is based on the idea that when an internal microphone is used, it often records the sounds of the gears moving within the equipment, and the investigator therefore runs the risk of contaminating their session with additional noise. External microphones can be purchased for as little as 10 dollars and with repetitive use the external microphone is well worth the nominal investment. Finally, external microphones can be purchased for both the microcassette recorders and the standard tape recorders.
Electromagnetic Field Detector (EMF): The EMF Meter is also referred to as a gaussmeter. Our team uses the Cellsensor EMF detector because the ease of use and its myriad features. Features of the Cellsensor include a volume controllable audio signal; an ISO 9001 visual signal which makes the tool excellent to use in dark places like basements and the like; and is small enough to be easily carried from one place to the next. Audio sound on the Cellsensor is optional, and it is a fairly inexpensive tool ranging around 39 to 49 dollars. Of course, different brands work just as well and there are both lesser expensive and more expensive variants. The Electromagnetic Field Detector is used to measure any disturbances that may occur in the electromagnetic field as a result from paranormal activity. The EMF meter is typically used to trace the sources of energy detected. Due to the fact that common, everyday appliances and some electrical wiring create disturbances in the electromagnetic field, paranormal investigators have to be very careful about trying to trace any disturbances detected to its source. For example, if an investigator is standing near a working appliance and they are conducting an emf reading, the reading may be a false positive because the appliance has created an electromagnetic field disturbance and the equipment has detected it. In contrast, it is the unexplained EMF readings that the investigator is interested in: the readings that seem to have no physical source for its origin. Ghost hunters look for readings that range in the area of 2.0 to 7.0 with no physical or logical explanation behind the disturbance in the electromagnetic field.
Flashlight: For a couple of dollars, the flashlight is a must have item. Even if it's as simple as a keychain flashlight, a tiny flashlight is better than none at all. You never know when you'll need one on an investigation and they are great in basements or when the power suddenly goes out! Just make sure that you have plenty of extra batteries on hand.
Film: If an investigator uses a 35mm camera, they are going to need several rolls of film. It is important to check the expiration date of the film and that only new film is used on every investigation. Ultimately, film is less expensive when it is purchased in bulk.
Infrared Digital Thermometer: A digital thermometer is a must have for the ghost investigator. Digital thermometers can detect sudden changes in the room temperature and can locate cold and hot spots, which could be an indication of paranormal activity. These handy little gadgets are easily portable, are handheld and can range in price from approximately 40 to 80 dollars depending on the manufacturer and distributor. Our team uses the IR-101 Digital Infrared Thermometer which easily measures up to ten feet away; has a temperature range from -5F to 572F; has a single button for easy operation; is capable of reading Fahrenheit and Celsius with a double click of the button; provides live temperature reading with updating; and stores the last temperature reading taken when the button is held for 20 seconds. Additionally, the thermometer lights up, so it's good for dark places.
Security Camera: A security camera is fantastic for ghost investigators looking to monitor various rooms or locations while they investigate the rest of the location. Our team currently uses the Homeland Security Camera Model 01875. The Homeland Camera is capable of viewing two channels and is easily connected to the television or VCR for taping via the AV input jacks. Each camera comes with sixty feet of cable. The camera has a built in microphone and the entire camera and monitor weighs only 7 pounds, making it easily portable.
Laptop Computer: A laptop or notebook computer is a nice tool on any investigation. Excellent for image and audio storage, investigators will find that a laptop can be indispensable. A laptop is great for interview notes as well, but notebooks and writing implements are still vital to any investigation. Finally, laptops are useful when an investigator might need an immediate connection to the Internet or if they need to communicate with other team members that may not be present on an investigation.
Video/Camera: A little more on the expensive side in terms of equipment, some teams and ghost investigators use a video camera. Our team has started using the Sony Handycam Camcorder DCR-DVD305. The camera allows for both video captures and still images and it has night shot capabilities. This camera comes equipped with a rechargeable lithium battery and the battery lasts a bit longer than a regular video battery. In terms of video, we also use a Panasonic video camera. Video cameras are also necessary if investigators plan to conduct instrumental transcommunication.
Tape Recorder: If an investigator plans to capture evps and they don't own a digital tape recorder, a standard tape recorder will be needed. Tape recorders with voice activation are fine but the voice activation should not be used: voice activation tends to take a second to get the tape rolling and will therefore cut out the beginning of any sound captures. Likewise, voice activation sometimes cuts the sample off too soon, and when capturing EVPS this is most certainly undesirable. Formerly, our team used a Radio Shack-CTR 121 with a compatible external microphone to tape client interviews and EVP samples. We have since converted to a digital recorder that works just as well.
Tripods: If using cameras, either video or for images, tripods are a good idea to have. Tripods can help steady a camera and are needed to mount video cameras in various rooms or areas on a site being investigated.
Two-Way Radios: It's a good idea to have two-way radios for communication. Investigators located in different areas can easily contact other investigators with the use of two-way radios. Likewise, if someone is monitoring live video feed, they can alert other team members as to what they are seeing when they have a radio to do so. Currently, our team is using Uniden radios with a 3 mile range and 22 channels. They easily clip to an investigators belt, leaving the investigator to handle other equipment freely.
Must Have Ghost Hunting Equipment
Maps of the Area and Road Maps: If an investigator is on a location and the site is a house or other type of building, it is a good idea to take a walk-through to become familiar with the area before investigating. If the investigation is outdoors, a rough map can be drawn of the location so that it can be easily investigated. Finally, if the investigation is some distance from the home base of an investigator or team, free maps and driving directions can be readily accessed on the Internet.
GPS: Instead of investing in maps, some ghost hunter groups choose to save up funding and invest in a quality GPS system. GPS systems are fantastic, help groups save a considerable amount of time locating an investigation site, and can be purchased at a relatively reasonable cost. Some GPS systems fall in the range of $140.00 to $170.00, while there are higher priced GPS systems that can be as much as $500.00 or more. Our team currently relies on a Tom Tom which works quite well. The downside to using a GPS however is that if the satellite signal is lost due to weather conditions, the team will have nothing to guide them to the destination they seek. It is always advised that one bring a back up set of printed directions to a destination to be prepared for adverse weather conditions.
Cell phone: Cell phones are indispensable to the ghost investigator, especially when a team is traveling from one location to another. With a cell phone, team members can ensure that they don't lose anyone on the trip. Just remember to turn them off during the investigation process!
Photo Software: In order to analyze photos, especially if they are to be shared on the web, investigators will need to have photo editing software. Software can help during the process of analysis and can convert images into acceptable files for uploading to a website. Currently our team uses ArcSoft PhotoImpressions for photo analysis and uploading. The software allows images to be blown up, cropped, and viewed with inverse color.
Scanner: If photos are captured with a 35mm camera, it may be necessary to scan them if they are going to be uploaded to a website. There are numerous scanners available and the price varies according to the manufacturer and distributor.
Audio Software: In order to analyze evps, a ghost investigator will need audio software. There are a number of programs available (some more expensive than others). Our team currently uses Acoustica 4.0 to analyze evp samples. Other brands of audio software used by investigators include Goldwave, Adobe Audition 1.5, and Cool Edit Pro. Audacity is popular among beginning investigators, but the program offers certain limitations.
Psychic Ghost Hunting Equipment and Psychic Skills
A Note about Psychic Equipment and Psychic Abilities: Some ghost investigators don't feel that the use of psychic equipment or senses provides credible evidence. Our team firmly believes in the use of both psychic equipment and psychic senses. In contrast, we will not solely base our evidence on such findings and choose to look at the entire picture by using such tools in conjunction with scientific equipment.
Dowsing Rods: Dowsing rods are two L-shaped rods used to detect paranormal activity or the disturbances of energy. Dowsing rods can be made by hand or purchased. Typically they are made of brass and they are relatively inexpensive to purchase. Like a compass, they can be used to identify disruptions in the electromagnetic field. Also, investigators will find that dowsing rods are far less expensive than an electromagnetic field detector. The Dowsing rods are held loosely in each hand and when a disturbance is detected, the rods will cross.
Pendulum: a pendulum is used to detect spirit activity and looks like a weight suspended from a chain. The weight itself can be made of any number of materials, from metal to stone to crystal. Pendulums are extremely inexpensive and ghost investigators can purchase them for little expense.
Psychometry: Psychometry is a form of retro-cognition and involves the psychic sense of touch. It is believed that objects retain energies and they can be either negative or positive. These energies are sensed by the psychic and then interpreted as impressions. The investigator holds or touches an object at a site where paranormal activity is noted to see if they can get impressions from the objects they touch. Impressions should be noted on a tape recorder or in a notebook and such impressions are later compared to all of the other evidence and research collected.
Clairaudience: Some individuals confuse clairaudience with clairsentience. Clairaudience is the sense of psychic hearing. A clairaudient does not necessarily see images, but will hear certain messages that others may or may not hear. Basically, on a ghost investigation, clairaudience serves as a form of telepathy between the spirit and the individual. If a clairaudient hears something, it should be immediately documented. It is interesting to note that when listening to electronic voice phenomenon on a regular basis, some individuals have found an increase in their clairaudient ability.
Clairvoyance: Clairvoyance is a psychic ability that involves seeing more than what one can see with their eyes. A clairvoyant has the ability to pick up images and relay them to others, images that others may be unable to see or experience. On an investigation, a clairvoyant may actually get impressions of things that have occurred in the past on the site, as well as images pertaining to what may happen in the immediate and distant future. Clairvoyance is the art of "clear seeing." Again, any impressions gathered from a clairvoyant are collected and analyzed with all of the other evidence and research.
Clairolfactory: clairolfactory is a psychic sense of smell. Someone that possesses this ability may smell scents that no one else can. Some cases of paranormal activity have been accompanied with unusual scents; in such instances, either some or all of the investigators can detected the smell. In other instances, only people who have honed clairolfactory abilities can smell the scent in question.
Clairsentience: clairsentience is the psychic ability to receive emotional impressions or to "feel" atmospheric changes that others may not feel. Clairsentience is a form of psychic empathy and the impressions received can be used to compare with other evidence collected on an investigation.
Psychic Art: Psychic Art, also known as Psychic drawing or Psychic sketching, is when a ghost investigator uses their artistic abilities to draw what they see or feel. Any number of mediums can be used during the process of psychic drawing. All sketches should be compared with other findings.
Article written by: Dayna Winters.
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