Just in time for Halloween this year, we thought we could offer you a spooky or maybe not that spooky article about ghost hunting. Of course, the whole process of ghost hunting is widely challenged, and until now, there is no scientific evidence that something like ghosts exists, but there are at times paranormal events that cannot be easily explained.
Ghost hunting was made it to pop culture right when the Ghostbusters hit the cinemas, but even before that, there would be people who would investigate in reports about ghosts or other spooky things being spotted worldwide. Believing in ghosts roaming and the practice of people trying to make sense of that might be as old as humanity itself.
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Later shows like Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters in TV further tried to show the viewers how it is like to hunt for ghosts. Since those productions aimed to come across as a realistic documentaries, they often used tools and gadgets that actually existed, unlike the made-up equipment of the Ghostbusters movies. In the modern Internet age, we can also see a rise of ghost-hunting YouTubers who share their experiences with their audience. The media type might change, but many people are still drawn towards this somewhat paranormal type of investigation.
While this is no endorsement of the practice, some of you still might find the technology used around ghost hunting interesting, and this is why we did some digging and wanted to show you the methods and equipment used for ghost hunting.
Gadgets and technology used for ghost hunting
This list is just meant as an example, and indeed, there might be other pieces of ghost hunting gear that could work. I still hope that you’d find this selection useful or at least interesting. Generally, though, your ghost hinting equipment should not only monitor unusual events but also record anything that happens so you have evidence in case you actually manage to find a ghost or interact with them.
- EMF meters are usually hand-carried devices that react to electromagnetic fields to detect unexplained fluctuations in the same.
- Photography and recording video with various filters, including digital cameras, night vision equipment, infrared vision, but also disposable cameras and analog cameras that require a developer to make the pictures visible.
- Small computers like tablets, mini PCs or, smartphones can be installed to record data, audio, video, and other input like electromagnetic fields.
- Thermographic cameras can be used to monitor the environment for unexplained changes in the temperature within a space. There are different tools for screening the temperature of surfaces. The monitoring of ambient temperature is less popular for ghost hunting purposes.
- Ever since Microsoft produced the Kinect camera for the Xbox, such SLS or Kinect cameras are also used to detect movement in complete darkness based on an infrared dot light pattern that is pointed in a particular direction. For better results, the camera should be stationary for this.
- Recording audio with both digital and analog sound equipment to capture and analyze unexplained noises and electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) that may be interpreted as disembodied voices.
- You could be using a compass to check for anomalies in order to determine locations of paranormal activity.
- Geiger counters can be used to measure and monitor fluctuation in radiation. The setting of this device should be adjusted to a threshold that can identify smaller changes as well.
- Using infrared or ultrasonic motion sensors can help to detect movement that cannot be explained. A modern setup could also include an IoT mesh of connected devices and beacons based on Bluetooth or similar technology.
- Equipment to check the air quality can be used to identify gases appearing and record data of such. Gases like carbon monoxide and other unexpected changes to the air quality are sometimes reported to be part of paranormal activity and could help in a ghost hunt.
- Using infrasound monitoring gadgets, a ghost hunter could check and record the level of sound vibration in an area.
- Dowsing rods are held in the hands to find locations that might be of relevance for the ghost hunt. They are usually made of brass and bent into an L-shape. They are held loosely so the ghost hunter can see the rods react and point towards a location.
- A ghost box is a kind of radio with frequency scan mode that helps the ghost hunters to hear and talk to ghosts. There are also ghost box apps that can be installed on a smartphone to do the same. However, the usefulness of both is disputed. Personally, I think that the apps are possibly only designed for entertainment’s sake and don’t really function properly.
- Not only for Halloween parties, but some ghost hunters might also use an Ouija board to communicate with otherworldly entities. The board itself is made up of an alphabet, and the users would allow spirits to move their hands in order to build words on the board as a basic form of communication. Some claim that this is not truly a valuable tool as the users would subconsciously control the board, not some spirit.
- The human eye cannot see all sorts of light. This is why some ghost hunters rely on night vision and full spectrum video and photography equipment to identify and record changes in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum.
- Not that high-tech, but still sometimes used in ghost hunting are particular trigger objects. Such props are placed in an area with the hope that it would trigger a sort of emotion and motivate a spirit to interact with the object. This could be something like toys or plushies, just as well as photos or other items that could mean something to the ghosts that are being hunted and investigated.
- What else? Even if you don’t have any ghost hunting apps installed, bring your smartphone in order to make calls if you need to. If you’re a part of a team, you can use a radio to stay in touch or stay together the whole time to be safe.
- Can you see in the dark? I guess not, so don’t forget your flashlight and make sure it has enough battery power to last a while.
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Methods and practices used for ghost hunting
Not everything you do and could do during a ghost hunt is based on technology. Here are some methods and practices that could be considered which are not tied to gadgets but are equally interesting.
- Facilitating interviews with people to collect testimonies and reports from witnesses to paranormal activity and other historical information about a place can support the practice of ghost hunting.
- Historical research can be both carried out remotely and on-site to find out more information about a location or the people that might have become ghosts.
- Consulting psychics, mediums, or clairvoyants to have them support the ghost hunt and paranormal investigation to identify spirits and try to communicate with deceased individuals.
- If there is some certainty about the paranormal reports being about a malevolent entity, some might consult experts such as demonologists, exorcists, and clergy to provide spiritual support and protect the team or to remove “negative energy.”
- Some ghost hunting experts would prefer to carry out investigations from midnight to about 4 AM.
- Bring your dog to the ghost hunt. Animals might react to ghosts in different ways in comparison to humans. Dogs have an excellent talent to hear and smell much more than a human ever could. They also have a different vision compared to humans. If a dog reacts with growling or barking at a particular place during the ghost hunt, this might indicate something paranormal happening.
- Does that work only for dogs? No way, cats can also be helpful ghost hunting companions but might be less likely to support your efforts. Using cats for a paranormal investigation might be more useful when the cat is actually at home and not brought by yourself to a new place. Some people would claim that cats gravitating or looking into a particular area as if someone were present are believed to indicate a haunting.
Ghost hunting is undoubtedly fun to watch and exciting. If you discard the lack of full scientific evidence for the presence of ghosts in our world for a moment, a ghost hunt might seem like something adventurous to try out yourself. Perhaps, on the other hand, it’s also sufficient just to watch the shows and YouTubers from the comfort of your own home and be a stay-at-home enthusiast.
To all who are not satisfied with that, I just want to say: Whatever you do and whatever might happen during the planning and execution of your ghost hunt, respect living, and dead people, don’t trespass any property without permission, don’t film without permission, and most importantly – make sure you and everybody else are safe at all times. If you go anywhere for ghost hunting, tell someone about your plans.
Tell them where you will be and when you go, and check in with them before, during, and after your investigation. This will allow them to call the authorities in case you are not getting back to them in time in case you or someone on your team had an accident. Think about these things before you go. Other than that, enjoy the ghost hunt, and make sure to record your evidence always.
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Photo credit: All images are symbolic. The feature image has been done by Marta Novikova. The photo with the woman dressed up as a ghost has been taken by Steinar Engeland. The picture showing a woman at night in the park has been prepared by Artem Kovalev.