(All images have been sourced from Google Images, and some information adapted from “How To Hunt Ghosts : A Practical Guide by Joshua P. Warren.”)
Notebook and Pen
As with any research, taking notes and keeping records is really important. Locations, dates, times, witnesses’ names and contact information, environmental conditions and experiences should all be recorded. A notebook should be your constant companion on an investigation. You can’t trust yourself to remember all the details! When others scrutinize your work, the thorough details will prove invaluable. Such items are also important in the delicate process of finding patterns and correlations. A Research Log Sheet has been created for your use, based on the one in Joshua P. Warren’s book. Feel free to use it for various tours/investigations we go on (as a record keeper) or use it as a base to create your own!
A good torch is integral to ghost research. Most times you will find yourself in dark places. It can even be a good idea to have 2 torches. Keep a small, lightweight one in your pocket and a larger bulkier one, especially handy if you’re outdoors. Since you will be using other equipment, you may even want to consider investing in a hands free one that straps to your head. A red filter or gel on your lens might also prove beneficial. In a dark setting, your eyes are less affected by red light. This means if you turn off the light, it takes less time for your eyes to adjust in the darkness. Those precious extra few seconds could prove priceless if it means the possibility of actually seeing a possible faint apparition! Torches can obviously be bought just about anywhere. For the headlight versions and red light torches or red filter/gel cover I would look in places like ebay, sporting good & camping stores and disposal stores. You could even just cover your torch with some red cellophane!
Recording the time of events is important in any field of work. Knowing the time allows you to pinpoint the specific moment when something occurs. This can be especially helpful in deducing patterns in activity.Discovering patterns is the key to defining imprints. Variables like the hour and stage of the moon might play a role in imprinting. Often a particular scene may replay itself only when these conditions are right. For example, a phantasmal suicide might be reenacted on every full moon at three in the morning, just like it originally occurred. A watch that can be seen in the dark is important. It is also a good idea that investigators synchronize their watches. It is well known that spiritual activity sometimes stops watches and clocks. If you find that you watch has stopped, note the time it occurred. Watches are delicate instruments and powerful energies can overwhelm them.
A compass is the most basic tool for detecting strange magnetic and electromagnetic fields. They are one of the most popular tools for beginners. To use one most effectively requires keen awareness and a steady hand. Obviously, when all is normal, a compass needle points to the north. If the device is influenced by another energy, the needle is affected. If the needle does not point north, or if it is moving erratically, you are encountering some kind of unusual field. In some cases the needle will actually spin as if it’s in the middle of a magnetic vortex. This is the simplest way to detect the presence of unseen spirits. If your compass isn’t acting normal, something is awry.
As with all instruments, you must be careful to rule out conventional explanations. Magnetic fields can be created by the wiring in appliances and electronics, or by metal objects that have been magnetised. Compasses are small,inexpensive and easy to find. You can find them in stores such as Big W, KMart, Rebel etc. Basically any store that sells camping and sporting goods. You can pick up a compass from as little as $4.
Electromagnetic Field Meter
The serious ghost hunter will quickly find an electromagnetic field (or EMF) meter to be an essential tool. They do exactly what it sounds like: give specific readings of electromagnetic energies. Read outs can be obtained in most any format, including a standard needle, LED indicators, digital and an accompanying audio tone. When choosing an EMF meter, ones that detect DC fields are best. However, AC meters can work as well. The fields encountered by ghosts can at times switch just like an AC field. Therefore, either type of device can detect ghosts, but it’s best to use AC meters to find and rule out artificial fields, and use DC meters for locating phantoms. That’s becasue AC is used in most homes and natural electrical fields are usually of the DC type. EMF meters generally provide readouts in units called ‘milliGauss’. An average television usually gives off around 4 to 8 milliGuass from a foot away. Keeping this in mind will help you scale the impact of readings you get in the field. Most EMF meters cannot detect the subtle energy given off by the human body. However, devices like the TriField Natural EM Meter can pick up humans from up to ten feet away. It can also be set to pick up radio waves and microwaves.
When using EMF meters in a haunted location, you want to look for erratic fields of energy with no physical source. The best of these are self-contained fields that hover in mid-air, gliding around an area, then disappearing. When you detect such a field, you should take a photograph. As you will see, an EMF meter and camera are best used hand in hand.
The most challenging aspect of using EMF meters is ruling out artificial fields, created by electronics, wiring and appliances. Any time electricity runs through a wire, it creates a magnetic field around it and our modern world is inundated with electrical technology. Some meters will filter out artificial fields automatically, reading only those created in the natural environment. However, in most cases, you’ll have to know how to do this yourself. The key is the behaviour of the field. Since fields created artificially by tv’s, lights, computers etc are primarily the product of electricity running through their wires, they do not fluctuate, they always remain constant. The closer you are to the objects, the stronger and more stationary the fields. The farther away, the weaker and more inconsistant. However, fields associated with spectral activity fluctuate wildly and are usually temporary.
Nine times out of ten, if a mysterious field is constant and stable, it’s artificial; if it fluctuates erratically, it’s paranormal. With experience, you’ll quickly become proficient in differentiating between the two. Most life-forms create inconsistent fields. Simply try to imagine the motions of a spirit moving around you, traveling about the location. When you detect paranormal fields, try to track them, following the motions of the ghost. You may find these contained masses of energy doing remarkable things: moving towards walls, then disappearing into them, or rising higher and higher until they seem to float away.
Some hot spots always have a wealth of bizarre electromagnetic energy. If you continually get fluctuations in an area, and you’ve ruled out all artificial causes, you may have a hot spot. The energy might be caused by a ghost or could be a source of energy the ghost uses to materialise. Such masses of EMF’s may be the product of geomagnetic activity or a large scale artificial source, like power lines. Even though artificial and conventional types of energies are not paranormal themselves, they could still enhance, or somehow affect, the total electrical environment necessary for a ghost’s materialisation. Masses of artificial EMF’s, from perhaps an electrical power box, might somehow be used by a spirit to aid in manifestation.
There are several compact, hand-held versions on the market. The cost of one usually varies from around $40 to upwards of a few hundred dollars. Some EMF meters are: GaussMaster, CellSensor (shown above left), K2 (shown above right), Trifield and TriField Natural. You could even make your own! There are companies on the internet that sell EMF meters (just do a google search) as well as ebay. I would also look at retailers like Dick Smith and Tandy.
Tape recorders are used for what is generally known as “electronic voice phenomenon” or EVP. Basically, you set up a tape recorder in a haunted location and leave it undisturbed for the length of the recording. When the tape is played back, bizarre noises may be recorded, including actual voices from the spirit realm.
When using standard audio tape, it’s possible that these sounds and voices are directly imprinted by the spiritual dimension on the electromagnetically sensitive medium. However, this may not be the case with digital recording devices. Though one of the most widely used methods of ghost detection, there is little understanding of how this remarkable phenomenon works.
Some claim to be able to communicate with the ‘other side’ by asking a question, then letting the tape roll. Upon playback, the questions may be answered by an eerie, static-sounding voice.
Audio recording devices are wonderful for documenting noises that can be heard by the human ear as well. Just keep in mind that, for a successful session, the tape must be fresh, and the area must be left undisturbed. Otherwise, the slightest murmur can be mistaken for an otherwordly sound.
A lot more researchers these days are using digital voice recorders as they can then run it through special programs on the computer, but don’t think tape recorders aren’t handy either! From Officeworks you can pick yourself up a tape recorder from $30 and a digital one from $80.
Infrared meters are similar to EMF meters. They are compact, handheld units. But instead of detecting and measuring EMF’s, they display levels of infrared activity. These meters are most useful when applied to infrared photography. The instruments can locate masses of invisible energy so they can be photographed. One must be careful when using such meters, however. They pick up humans, animal and sources of heat, usually up to 150 feet away.
Hunters use infrared meters to locate downed game in the wild; they are commonly called ‘game scans’. I would try to locate such a meter at sporting good stores or disposal stores. I would also search on the internet through Google or Ebay. An infrared meter would set you back $100 +.
You can use dowsing rods by walking around a haunted location with them. Make no attempt to move them voluntarily. In fact, take precautions to prevent them from moving due to air currents or your stride. Being made of metal, the rods will react if they come in contact with strong fields of magnetic or electromagnetic energy. They will swing wildly, or, upon coming atop the source of a field, they often cross each other. You can experiment with their behaviour using a regular magnet. Dowsing rods can therefore be used somewhat like EMF meters and compasses: to help locate energy fields.
You can generally purchase dowsing rods from places like new age stores or Ebay for around $10. Alternatively you can make your own at home using a metal coat hanger!
|Please go to the section on Pendulums in our article called Dowsing for the Paranormal for information about the pendulum.|
When exploring haunted grounds, ghost hunters frequently refer to ‘cold spots’. These are simply isolated and seemingly self-contained patches of air that feel significantly cooler than the surrounding environment. The difficulty with understanding cold spots lies in differentiating between subjective and objective temperatures, For example, one may feel ions brushing the flesh. However, just because the person may feel cold, that does not mean the temperature is actually lower. One’s body temperature can drop with nervousness or fear. It’s not uncommon for one person in a room to be cold while another is hot.
When a ghost tries to materialize, it draws energy from the environment. Heat is a form of energy. Cold spots may be caused by spirits who take in the heat energy around them but fall short of enough to appear. There is no solid explanation for why else the presence of a spirit should cause such a drop in the external temperature. However, such phenomena are commonly reported by ghost hunters. For purposes of observation, it’s good to place a thermometer in an area where ghosts often materialize. The more information you have about your surroundings, the better.
To take temperature readings effectively, it is a good idea to have a non-contact infrared thermometer. These are devices that can give you the temperature of an area or surface instantly, up to hundred of feet away in some cases. They interpret the infrared emanations from an object and are able to calculate an accurate temperature immediately. When it comes to serious work, no paranormal researcher should be without one. You can pick up a non contact thermometer from Ebay for around $50. Some electronic or hardware stores may also carry them. Also, look into places that cater to chefs and mechanics as they use these in their trade.
If you have more than one person on an investigation, walkie-talkies are valuable, especially when researching a large area. If someone is experiencing phenomena, other witnesses can be called immediately. Just be sure that broadcast energy does not contaminate your results, especially if you’re using a device that can pick up radio waves. Sometimes, ghosts may even communicate via the radios! Also, haunted locations will at time produce odd radio interference that can be detected with your units.
You can pick up walkie-talkies from just about anywhere! I would recommend picking a pair up from an electronics store like Dick Smith (better quality ones) which will set you back about $50.
Powder and Black Plastic
Ghost hunters have long tried to capture the ‘footprints’ of spirits, or at least some physical trace of their presence. One of the simplest methods is to sprinkle white powder over a dark floor. If a field passes through, it might disturb the powder, leaving a mark or impression of some kind. The easiest way to do this is by cutting down a side and bottom of a black plastic garbage bag, thus creating a large, flat piece of material. Then sprinkle a thin layer of flour or talcum powder over the bag. The layer should be just thick enough to cover the black surface. Place the setup in a hot spot and leave it undisturbed. When checked later on, a phantom’s energy may have disturbed the powder. Using the plastic, cleanup is easy. Be sure that others know about the setup, otherwise you’re liable to end up with sneaker prints!
Ghost Box or Spirit Box
Real Time EVP Instrument, AM/FM Frequency Sweep Radio ~ The new Model P-SB7 is a mini size Spirit Box the size of an MP3 player. Designed by Gary Galka of DAS, with Spiritual guidance and influence from Chris Fleming. The P-SB7 made its premier debut on Ghost Adventures “LIVE” show from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum on October 30, 2009 Where the P-SB7 was used by Chris, a Sensitive, Paranormal Investigator and expert in the Paranormal field. The P-SB7 provided responses to his questions in real time over a 40 minute segment of the show (see second video below, starting at 5:03). When used by a properly trained individual, under certain circumstances, the P-SB7 will provide results similar that of an EVP recorder, but in real time.
The P-SB7 utilizes a milli-second adjustable Forward or Reverse frequency “sweep” technique coupled with a proprietary high frequency synthetic noise or “white noise” distributed between frequency steps. The new 2011 model now offers an enhanced FM frequency sweep which includes an additional 119 new frequencies from 76MHz to 87.9MHz. No other Hack Box or Modified radio currently offers this. A seven step adjustable sweep rate provides user flexibility based on individual technique and session circumstances. There are two discreet audio outputs; (1) 15mW Earphone, and (1) 250mW Speaker. A bright EL back light display with manual ON/OFF select is ideal for viewing in the dark. The P-SB7 uses three “AAA” batteries. The P-SB7 is intended to be used by professional investigators to help promote the field of Paranormal ITC* Research.
Ghost Box information from http://www.pro-measure.com/Mel_SB7_SB7_s/98.htm
* Instrumental Transdimensional Communication or Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) refers to the use of electronic devices such as tape recorders, fax machines, television sets, and computers to attempt to contact nonhuman entities. These are usually standard machines used in nonstandard ways to collect “paranormal” images and sounds. Auditory data are the most common types of ITC, known specifically as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP, also known as Raudive Voices, named after early proponent Konstantin Raudive). This communication is believed by some to be evidence for the existence of an afterlife.
Read about the origins of the Ghost Box at Frank’s Box: The Broken Radio – an article written by Karen Stollznow who is the “Good Word” Web columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).