Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Hunting: Equipment, Procedure & More

Beginners guide to ghost hunting

What is Ghost Hunting? How can you hunt something especially when you know nothing about it? Come on, it is above from what our five senses can detect or, the giant borders of science can cover. These questions may usually appear in various people’s mind when they hear this term at first. This is completely genuine and hence, it took us to create an extensive guide on Ghost Hunting, explaining major aspects of it – destroying several high end rumours by involving a piece of science in it.

Generally speaking, Ghost hunting is the phenomenon of tracing paranormal entities such as ghouls at isolated, awkward and haunted places. Because those places remain vacant for a substantial period of time, it is highly common that negative energies have taken over those locations.

Example of a paranormal Investigation Log
Ghost Hunting Log

Because many people instil faith in afterlife and spirits, they have a firm belief in the paranormal world too. Ghosts like to colonise at isolated places, far from crowd and what’s better than a ramshackle mansion in the city’s corner?

The idea of ghost hunting dates back to the 18th century when a group of paranormal believers had put together the base of the “Society of Psychical Research”. The research society was formed to authenticate the much disputed discussion on “the world of evident vs the world of belief”.

By that time, there were many other mysterious phenomenon which the science couldn’t explain and thus, a number of people were in favour of the fact that there are certain things which are out of the boundaries of scientific explanations.

How Ghost Hunting Started in the first place

The term Ghost hunting might have been familiar with the world during the 18th century, but this phenomenon dates back to more than 3000 years ago. In ancient Hindu scriptures like the Atharva Veda, there are chants to keep evil spirits at bay. Additionally, many additive measures to detect the presence of spirits are mentioned there.

In the 19th century, a majority of people were lured towards this world of mystery. This resulted in the foundation of numerous research societies, psychic reading centres and horror clubs. However, most of them were fake.

In this connotation, a famous ghost hunter Harry Price caught some of the world’s most renowned Psychic medium such as George Valiantine and Maria Silbert, who made use of fraudulent activities in order to lure people to their business.

Ghost hunter Harry price busting mischievous psychics
Harry Price busting mischievous psychics

A century later, Ghost Hunting was in the list of one out of three people in the United States. Almost 41 percent of adults in Europe actually toured to at least one haunted place in their lives. That gave birth to early amateur ghost hunting organisations such as the Ghost Club in UK.

These organisation arranged tours for horror aficionados to various spooky locations and involved the use of scientific methods to show the anomalies happening there.

As the time evolved, the field of paranormal research saw new equipments and mystical methodologies. Their modus operandi now involves the use of a checklist with several bullet points such as the presence of cold spots, electromagnetic frequency alteration and physical sensation to judge the creepiness of certain place. More bullets ticked, more spooky would be that place.

How Ghost Hunting affect one’s belief in Paranormal

Ghost hunting craze in the USA
Ghost Hunting Trend in USA

A belief is a psychological state where our brain tells us that something is true. Quite often for people, a belief exists beyond doubt – because they have found their own (not necessarily logical) reasoning. Therefore a believer is, in a sense, a person who has made his mind up about something.

And the question of being a believer or non-believer is perhaps is one of the most fundamental ones when it comes to paranormal…

What is paranormal belief?

While those who do not accept that the paranormal exists will tell you that those who conduct paranormal investigations are actually ‘believers’ – there is a distinction to be made here. True that ‘belief’ is when a conjecture or a not-necessarily-true premise is held as true.

And while this can be true of the paranormal ‘believers’ as well, that sort of belief would probably defeat the purpose of any and every paranormal investigation. In fact, the fact that they are investigating, itself establishes their skepticism…at least on the surface!

Belief in paranormal phenomena

After all, think about it – when a group of people believe, the biggest truth is that they have arrived at a point of stagnation – a premise that they are unwilling to test, a conjecture that they have no need to ‘prove’. And either of these approaches would only serve to further widen the gulf between the so-called ‘believers’ and the ‘non-believers’ in the paranormal.

Definition of Paranormal

The paranormal is defined as anything that lies beyond normal experience and scientific explanations. And therefore it is something that defies explanation or logic. Or let’s put it this way, it hasn’t yet revealed its very own logic, the truth that lies at its core.

And in our pursuit of this ‘truth’ experimentation is more our friend than blind belief. When you hold such things as the ultimate reality – ghosts, orbs, poltergeists or even Sasquatch – you are more likely to be wrong. On the other hand, holding them as true phenomena and investigating or studying them brings one closer to the truth.

So, to ‘believe’ or not to ‘believe’?

Blind Belief brings you closer to the ‘dark ages’. Open-minded skepticism, or doubt, on the other hand, brings you closer to experimentation and investigation. In a recent survey, 18% of Americans admit seeing anomalies. And when you investigate you go deeper to reveal truths that can convert more ‘non-believers’ in the paranormal into ‘believers’!

We may not have reached the core of paranormal phenomena, but ghost hunts and other such endeavors take us closer. And of course, in addition to being exciting and interesting, the finding of scientifically conducted hunts also furnishes more evidence to support the validity and the presence of what lies on the other side of what we know as ‘reality’!

How to do a proper ghost hunting?

steps required for a proper ghost hunting

When we hear about the term “Ghost Hunting”, it appears to us as an adventurous business. We have met with few hardcore ghost hunters and quite a lot of newbies who go out at some spooky mansion with their group, believing they can trace them. It is never a child’s play to get hold of a spirit. 

There are several reason behind it. First, if the spirit is a generous one, he won’t appear before you in the first place. These kind of soul try not to communicate with humans without an obvious reason.

However, there are equal chances that you encounter an evil ghoul. We have seen many cases where devilish creatures captured people upon getting disturbed. If you study the past cases of various asylums in America, 13 percent of patients actually carry the symptoms of ghost possession.

That being said, It is not a great idea to peep into such places without carrying an adequate knowledge of the procedure, techniques and equipments. You gotta also take care of the rule book; the sheet of adequate safety measures in order to be out of dark world troubles.

Follow these necessary steps and you are good to go on your first ghost hunting programme-

Know Your Ghosts

Know your ghosts
Image Source: Wikipedia
  • Ghosts and apparitions: They are a kind of ‘recording’ on the environment, prints so to speak, residual energy that can have its origin in a human being, an animal, or even an inanimate object. This lingering energy becomes perceptible to us momentarily through sight, smell, touch and sound.
  • Spirits: Celebrated author of How to become a ghost hunter, Richard Southall provides a comprehensive definition. He says that a spirit is the “actual sentient presence, or soul, of an individual or individuals who have remained in the material world after his or her physical body has died.”
  • Poltergeist activity: Rather than being caused by spirits, poltergeist activity results from the mental (often negative) energies from living human beings. Research reveals that the perpetrator is usually a person in the house suffering and probably repressing extreme emotional stress and distress. The energy within is given unconscious release through mysterious knockings, physical movement of objects and their disappearance.

We have created a separate guide- this list of mythical creature includes various malevolent entities.

Extensive Preparation

A good preparation always results in better outcomes. Having said that, every sort of activity needs a series of brainstorming session. The ghost hunting adventure is not different from it. If you are a beginner, just sit down with a paper and pen and jot down the things you would require.

Usually you would need several equipments based on your field of expertise, that we will talk later in this article. There are some general instruments such as having a pair of comfortable shoes, jackets, a torch and of course your mobile phone to track the time in emergencies.

Jot down the items you will require. It is highly dependent on the place you live and the spots you are going to perform you ghost hunting session. Last time, we met Jacob on a collaborated ghost hunt to one of the most haunted places in America and he shared with us how he had to suffer the whole night for not carrying his rain suit during his open sky paranormal investigation at a dilapidated building.

Research, Plenty of Research, Repeat

Research about a haunted place prior to the ghost hunting

When you plan of visiting a strange place, it becomes really important to know more about its history and the past incidents which has taken place there. Many haunted houses are usually associated with brutal murders and suicides coming out from anxiety.

Doing a proper research always put you under some sort of advantage. In that way, you become ready for potential challenges and learn about the basic traits of the hauntings going in there.

If it is possible, do a dummy visit to the neighbourhood. Meet people, learn about the spooky phenomenon and stories related to your ghost hunting destination. If you are a beginner, we would advise you to start it off from your own locality.

Run a search of the haunted locations in your locality, preferably accident sites, forts, graveyards, isolated schools and houses. As soon you find the one, you are ready to take your first leap.

Follow Proper Guidelines

Now when you have found your desired spot, it becomes really important to know about the property. Is it a private property or, a government building which remains locked during night hours? In such cases, the wise’s play would be to fetch proper permission before investigating it.

There have been many cases when the ghost hunters rushed into private properties without seeking a permission from the owner, resulting in a hefty fine and imprisonment.

Thus, make sure you you have a written consent with the property owner in order to get rid of future legal troubles. A property owner truly knows the haunting going in at his haunted property and he will never issue you a permission if the resident malevolent spirit possesses a disturbing history.

There are several other public properties with clear guidelines. Take the classical example of the haunted Bhangarh fort. The government authorities have issued a clear warning in order to prevent entrance in the fort after sunset and before the sunrise. 

Say No to Solo

Do not go solo on ghost hunting tours

Paranormal research may seem adventurous when you go on a solo, but its quite more entertaining and safer when you take your group along. You don’t know the types of spirits you will encounter during your ghost hunt, so bring a couple of friends who match your interests. Your ghost hunting team should include:

  • A researcher who will do the online research, get details, make the necessary phone calls, and secure permission required to access the investigation site.
  • A team leader (preferably someone with experience and optimal physical fitness and mental composure) who will make the decisions regarding the safety and ‘duty delegation’ required for the investigation of the team. She/ he might attempt to communicate with the ghosts as well.
  • It is a good idea to take along a psychic or a medium to communicate with the ghosts.
  • There should be a technology expert who can operate the different ghost detecting equipments and document all the things going on during the investigation.
  • A camera operator can take the snap shots and operate the camcorder when you are investigating the haunted spots.
  • You can consider including a skeptic (probably someone from science background) who might come up with ‘rational’ explanations of the reported phenomenon.

During ghost hunting session, it is common to encounter shadows, creepy noises and mystical apparitions. Even if you are not a beginner, it becomes really important to have a mate along in order to not to skip a shot. In addition, spirits may come with a greater impact when you go there alone and if there are comparatively high chances of casualties.

Pay Respect to spirits

Paying respect to spirits is an ancient tradition

It is very important to follow proper guidelines when you are on a ghost hunt. There have been many instances when the amateur investigators mock spirits associated to that particular haunted spot. This can be dangerous. Pay respect towards them and don’t disturb spirits in any demeanour. Even a spirit happens to be a generous soul, he would be angry; let go of the malevolent entities. You don’t breach your code of conduct, they won’t come in your way.

Be ready for anything “Sudden”

Because Ghost hunting programmes require you to explore through worn places, it becomes very important that you carry your first aid kit along. Carry an antibiotic ointment, bandage sets, mosquito repellant cream and pain killers with you prior to the exploration.

Make sure one of your team member has his phone in its working stage in order to make calls if there comes an emergency situation. The safer, the better. Your safety is of utmost importance. Hence, while ghost hunting, you might want to keep the following handy:

  • First aid kit
  • Rope
  • Food and water ( to keep the team hydrated and energized)
  • Walkie-talkie (or at least your cell phone)
  • Flashlights and torches
  • Spare batteries (remember, spirits have been known to drain the power of gadgets)

Use your sixth sense

Learn to use and trust your sixth sense. If you sense the presence of “someone” around you, there might be someone around there. If you see a ghost, don’t freak out. Instead, try to communicate with it. You can start by asking open-ended questions Like “What is your name?” “What can I do for you”? Etc.

Signs that can indicate a paranormal presence

Ghost hunts are usually conducted to investigate paranormal activity. But, you wouldn’t just visit any place and start conducting a search, would you? The chances of the place being indeed haunted are usually established first – and then, depending on the manifestations that have been noticed, the hunt is planned and set up.

But how does one establish that there is paranormal activity at a particular site? There are a few signs to look out for.

signs that indicate the presence of ghost

Ghostly Sounds

Inexplicable repetitive noises, phantom voices or strange noises that you cannot find the source for can all be indicative of paranormal occupants.

Strange Smells

Certain signature smells like cigar smoke, perfumes or other smells associated with someone deceased may suddenly start manifesting. In case these phenomena are inexplicable, they can also signal haunting.

Sudden unexplained drops in temperature

According to popular theory, ghosts draw energy from their surroundings and can thereby affect drastic drops in temperature. Such cold spots that you cannot attribute to any visible cause can also be a sign of haunting.

Strange physical sensations

Paranormal activity can also be ‘sensed’. It could be a sense of touch, the feeling of being watched, a ‘hair-raising’ eerie feel or even dizziness, nausea, heaviness in the chest region etc.

Interference in the working of Electrical appliances

Measuring interference alteration with spectrum analyser

As is shown in popular haunting serials, fluctuating lights, TV signals, and sudden automatic switching on and off of appliances can also be because of the presence of ghosts. In fact, it has been observed during ghost hunts that equipment like cameras and recorders stop working, batteries get drained, etc.

Unexplained Telekinesis

By far the most alarming sign, this is when things start moving without human intervention, like shifting objects, doors and windows suddenly shut or opened, but not by a visible presence. Poltergeists may also manifest their presence by rearranging objects, or even piling up different things at the centre of the room.

Full body manifestations

This one is not detected every time. Full body manifestations are where you can actually see the ghost in their full form. In case the ghost doesn’t have enough energy then they can manifest themselves as visible disturbances in the air or even shadows.

If you have noticed any or a few of the above signs then you should contact a ghost hunting team to investigate the manifestation on your behalf. Or if you want to get to the root yourself, arrange your own ghost hunt.

Ghost Hunting Equipment

Interest of Ghost hunter community in various equipment

With the widespread popularity of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) on SciFi channel’s GhostHunters, there has been an increasing interest of the paranormal! This is fantastic for the field of paranormal investigations. Along with the increasing memberships of established paranormal societies, there has been a small movement of new investigation clubs and solo investigators.

If you’re thinking about getting into the field or if you’re a seasoned veteran of ghost hunting, but are looking for a piece of equipment to enhance your investigations or looking to replace or upgrade, this is the place for you.

In recent times, the outburst of technology and with an upliftment in scientific discoveries, we have a variety of accessories available today. These ghost hunting equipment facilitate you in detecting the paranormal vibes.

During ancient years, the availability of limited resources did check investigators to inspect thoroughly. They were unable to pick low frequency audio signals, or visualise the mystical orbs which would otherwise be visible with infrared cameras. Back then, buying those equipments meant breaking your vault.

However the constant progress in the field of technology has resulted in the production of cheap electronic equipments. Today, many advanced ghost hunting gears are available for under few hundred bucks.

Ghost Hunting Equipment for Beginners

Having said that, we are going to put major ghost hunting equipment in this list, in order from basic to advance prototype. You need not to pick them all for your next investigation regime. Instead, pick what you need on the basis of your budget and the level of expertise thou possess.

1. Infrared Thermometer

$93.95 | Buy on Amazon

Thermometers, and specifically laser or infrared laser thermometers, are used to help identify temperature changes in a room or a specific area of a room. It is believed that when spirit activity increases and they begin to draw energy from the room causing distinct cold spots. These cold spots can envelope an entire room or be extremely isolated and small. They can also move or be stationary.

When you are on the mission to detect something out from your sight, it becomes really important to have an equipment that can do the needful for you. An infrared thermometer comes really handy in Ghost hunting operations. It’s modus operandi is to monitor the temperature changes within its ranged space. In that way, it can trace cold spots in a room which indicates the presence of an invisible spirit.

Most of the times we investigate old spaces, but when you are hunting ghosts in a modern building, it becomes really important to check for little pot holes and AC flows which could result to a cold spot too. As an investigator it is important to rule out drafts from duct works, air conditioning units or drafts from windows and doors. Having a laser thermometer can help you identify these cold spots for further investigation.

2. EMF Detector

Ghost meter EMF sensor for ghost hunting

$49.95 | Buy on Amazon

An EMF detector would generally catch all the electromagnetic frequencies generating from power sources such as a fan, mobile phone and household equipments. But, if you buy a powerful EMF detector, it has an advantage to identify much smaller and less powerful electro magnetic anomalies. Because ghosts are known to generate low electromagnetic frequencies, that makes it a must have tool for paranormal investigators.

EMF Meters which stands for Electro-Magnetic Frequency Meters. It is theorised that spirits, entities or paranormal phenomena can be related directly to simple energy. Some believe that spirits draw energy or collect energy to manifest or when they try to communicate. Since energy is detectable, we can use a EMF Meter to detect energy fluctuations in a room or area.

When using EMF Meters, it is very important to establish a base line. The baseline is the normal EMF reading of a room, which should be low (approximately 0, depending on a room). Once a baseline is established, spikes can be identified. It is also important to realize that all devices that use electricity can emit a electro-magnetic field and should be identified and considered when spikes are discovered.

The ghost meter EMF sensor comprises of two scales, first for high sensitivity (0-5) and the latter indicates normal sensitivity (0-50). It works very well and beeps when it is picking up electric lines. We came across Sean Markel, who went on a ghost hunt at Colonial Williamsburg and clicked several pictures of orbs by the help of the EMF detector tool.

3. Voice Recorder

Digital voice recorder

$36.99 | Buy on Amazon

DVRs or Digital Voice Recorders or used to detect and capture EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomena. EVPs are almost a field into themselves. This the process of using DVRs to communicate or capture spirit or entity communications. They can be used directly as a form of question / answer gathering, or left alone in a room to record anomalous sounds. DVRs are extremely popular around ghost hunters and is vital tool.

Digital voice recorders are preferred over conventional tape recorders since you will eliminate the possible tape ‘warble’ or ‘ghosting’ on previously recorded media.

If you are an amateur ghost hunter, a digital voice recorder is the second thing you would probably need to bag to your paranormal kit. Contrary to analog recorders, a digital voice recorder has a better range and clear sound input intake. In addition, it can also record ambient background noise and audios from slightly lower frequency which you can hear to post processing the audio.

4. Cameras

Digital Camera
You can click clear pictures of orbs with the help of a digital camera

$109 | Buy on Amazon

Digital Cameras would probably be your first required piece of equipment. These are great tools for catching orbs (balls of energy) as well as paranormal mist. To be a thorough investigator it’s important to understand how optics work and how lights can play tricks, even in the digital world. Humidity, dust and reflections can all produce false-positives, so critical to understand your camera.

Any digital camera should work fine for your investigations, but finding a camera with high-megapixel and auto shutter could be invaluable in the end. You’ll also want to make sure you’re carrying extra memory cards.

Night Vision Camera
A good night vision camera assists in ghost hunting missions.

$169.99 | See on Amazon

Many Ghost hunting investigations are conducted in night in the absence of proper light and noise pollution. Moreover, peeping into a haunted house during dark hours makes it even more scary. During night, spirits are more powerful and hence, radiate more energy.

In order to detect that, you would need an infrared camera. You can get yourself a good night vision camera under 70-80 bucks which is efficient in capturing high quality footage even in complete dark scenarios.

5. Starter Paranormal Kit

starter paranormal kit consists of several entry level ghost hunting equipment

$ 170 | See on Amazon

If you are looking forward to your first ghost investigation and don’t have the budget to buy the aforementioned tools, get yourself this starter paranormal research kit. It, by any means doesn’t comprise of any advance tool, but you get a combination of entry level ghost hunting equipments at one place- that too under the price of 150 bucks. Gift it to someone on the halloween or have it to pursue your not-so-serious paranormal investigation hobby- It’s all worth it.

6. Flashlights

Ghost hunting flashlight

$25.99 | See on Amazon

Since most of your work will be during ‘lights out’, it’s very handy to have some light sources at hand. Flashlights which can be useful are the LED lights, which are extremely bright but compact and with low energy output. Headlamps allowing for hands-free work allowing you to focus on EVP or EMF sweeps are extremely useful as well. Additionally, you could use Infrared flashlights to help illuminate the room for night vision cameras, etc.

7. Dowsing Rods

Dowsing rods are unorthodox tools for ghost hunting.

$21.45 | See on Amazon

Dowsing rods is a more unorthodox form of ghost hunting. These rods are quite mysterious on how they work, and generally the scientific community will not accept this form of evidence, but it could be useful to identify activity where other equipment could be used to follow up the dowsing rod activity. Some believe in the effectiveness with dowsing rods, while others believe there is a sub-conscience influence applied.

Ghost hunting Equipment for the Pro

1. CCTV

best cctv for ghost hunting

$46.19 | Buy on Amazon

CCTV or Closed Caption Television would be for the serious ghost hunter or ghost hunting group. If you ever watched TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) on SciFi’s Ghost Hunters, you’ll notice that they monitor many infrared cameras from a central console. This is done by using a CCTV system. Prices for these can range from expensive to extremely expensive.

Once the base system is set up, adding additional cameras is much more affordable, but having a system like this can really enhance your investigations and establish a hands-free look at certain rooms, avoiding investigator reactions that can affect hand held cameras.

2. An EVP Recorder

Ghost box scanner with spirit box and EVP recorder

$89.95 | Buy on Amazon

“Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) is a well-established phenomenon where you record voices, utterances and sounds onto blank tapes. Voices that you don’t hear during the recording – only when the tape is played back. It’s widely believed to be communication between our world and the spirit world.”

There are many high end devices such as the ghost box, Echo devices and spirit box in order to record and play the audio inputs.

The EVP echo is an advanced system meant for professional ghost hunters in order to record electronic voice phenomenon in real time. This device is an upliftment in recent technologies and claims to have boosted communication with the afterlife.

Imagine for a moment that there is a way for you to know for sure when you captured an EVP –

as soon as you captured it. There is no more wading through hours of recordings and finding out days after the fact that there was an anomaly trying to communicate with you. How cool would that be?

Think about this a second:

For the first time, in the history of mankind, a real-time communication with the dead is possible

If you are doing an EVP session with an echo, you know right away that an EVP was captured, you can respond to it – immediately. Imagine a conversation like this-

Investigator: “Is there someone here”?

EVP: “Yes”

Investigator: “I can hear you. Are you there”?

EVP: “I’m here.”

Investigator: “What is your name”?

EVP: “Sarah”

This type of communication has never been possible because as Investigators we haven’t known that we secured an EVP until later when the recordings are reviewed. The ECHO has changed that.

How does it work?
EVP signals emerging out of a Ghost Box

The Ghost box is a system of components that records and plays tape – at the same time. All the material that is recorded, via a microphone, onto the tape on the left side of the recorder, is then played back, into headphones, on the right side of The EVP recorder.

When an EVP is captured, you’ll hear it in your headphones 5 seconds after it was recorded! You can then respond to it, encouraging the anomaly to communicate further. The secret to the Spirit Box working properly is this custom audio tape carrier system, called “The Echo Cartridge.”

It carries the tape from the left side recorder unit over to the right side playback unit, all in one continuous motion. The right side player plays back all the recordings from the left side recorder. As a result, you will hear ghost voices as soon as they communicate with you.

Starting with the Ghost Hunting Procedure

starting with the ghost hunting procedure

As a ghost hunter you want to prove the existence of ghosts. Always use common sense and good judgment about the evidence you collect during your investigations. Do it with healthy dose of skepticism. It’s easy to say that something you don’t understand may seem paranormal.

This guide will provide you with some steps and explain you how to start ghost hunting. There is no formula just some important steps and tips you have to know. Instead of dreaming a successfully ghost hunting, follow the basic steps to actual live that dream.

Step by Step Guide

  1. First of all you have to find the location for your investigation. Old buildings that has been standing for hundreds years. Places like abandoned castles, houses, hotels and battlefields have the reputation of being hunted. After you chose the location, make an investigation about the history of the place as we said before. Find out information like who lived in this place, in which condition etc.
  2. Meet with everyone (Never go alone. At least with another one person) near the location and decide who will work with each piece of equipment.
  3. After you enter the building, for about 5 to 10 minutes walk around the area, take 5-6 photos with your audio recorder always on and allow the spirits to feel you. Make sure that nobody is there. After that you have to find the best location to set up your equipment like motion detectors, camera, etc.  
  4. Now you are ready to begin your paranormal investigation. Get out there and look for anything anomalous. Anything unusual that happens you have to take notes. These can be sound of footsteps, strange sounds, feeling and emotions you feel, cold spots, smells, objects moving or even whispers. Use all piece of equipment you have. Take as many photos as you can and ask questions to spirits. Questions like what’s your name, how you died etc, with your audio recorder always on. Photographs and recording (video, audio) are the most popular sources for paranormal phenomena. 
  5. When you finish your investigation meet with everyone in one spot and make sure that no one is missing. Thank the spirits and beg them not to follow you, to remain here. Now slowly and carefully leave the building.

Photographing Spirits during your Ghost Hunt

photographing spirits during the ghost hunt

Merely experiencing any paranormal activity or encountering spirits can be unnerving for most or exciting for many. But assuming that you are trying to experience such paranormal phenomena wouldn’t it be more thrilling if you could share your experience with others in forms of proofs like photos or recordings?

Interestingly, even a staunch disbeliever would not turn down your offer of seeing a ‘ghost photograph’! Thus, a much more interesting and ‘authentic’ ghost hunt would be the one where you got to record the ghosts, either on film, camera, camcorders or audio recorders.

In addition, you probably are already aware of the wide-spread skepticism about the paranormal and its existence. In the present atmosphere, concrete proof that debunks such skepticism, such as a photograph, will actually be a positive strike for believers in the paranormal!

Tips to photograph ghosts

When going on a ghost hunt where you want to take photographs, it is best to go fully prepared. In that respect, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind:

1. Pick spots where you are most likely to see ghosts(where sightings have been reported).

When choosing the spot where you want to detect and photograph ghosts, it’s always best to choose places where you are most likely to see ghosts – like cemeteries, old penitentiaries, battlefields. These are places where a lot of people either die or are buried, and therefore chances of ghost sightings increase.

On the other hand, you could also zero in on spots where there have been recent reported sightings and experiences.

2. Get the right equipment.

Photographing the paranormal is possible with normal cameras, but some special equipment like infrared cameras, night-vision cameras and thermal cameras are better for photographing apparitions. In addition it is also important to have the right detection equipment with you.

3. Take a lot of photos.

You cannot always be sure if you have managed to capture paranormal activity till later- till you develop the photos that is. As a result it is advised that you take a lot of shots of areas where you have otherwise detected paranormal activity. And with new-age digital cameras and larger memory cards, this isn’t a problem. Take multiple shots, you never know one of them might disclose what you’ve been trying to capture!

4. Be careful about how you shoot.

It is possible that if you stick around you may not always be able to capture paranormal activity. In fact quite a lot of shots of ghosts have been clicked by unsuspecting people who were trying to photograph other things. Therefore, setting up your camera on a tripod and programming it to fire a series of random shots on its own is a wiser thing to do.

5. Try to take photos in the daytime.

It is seen that most images of ghosts have been taken during the day. So there is no reason this should be impossible. On the other hand, when taking photos in the dark, it is possible that the flash may fire, and this can cause little orbs of light to appear on the picture. Owing to general skepticism, such irregularities actually take away from the authenticity of photos of the paranormal.

6. Try and avoid mirrors in your photos.

While it is true that quite often ghosts show up on mirrors, when you take photos of ghosts reflected in mirrors, the multiple reflections in the mirror, especially of the flash, cast shadows on the authenticity of the photo.

7. Luck is a very important element

And finally, always remember that it is all a matter of luck. This life and the paranormal are on ‘two sides of the same mirror’, and when ghosts appear isn’t in your hands. Often you may have spent a lot of time and not managed to take photographs of any ghost or apparition. At other times you may be so lucky that you go back thinking the hunt wasn’t fruitful, but the photos tell you a completely different story.

Therefore, never lose hope in your search for the supernatural. If it exists, it is sure to show up sooner or later.

Understanding the Spirit Prototypes

Full body manifestations

full body manifestation of a spirit

Most of the times appear in the background of the photo or in front of a person.  They look like livings person and can communicate through conversation but it’s possible that they will suddenly disappear very quickly in front of you or walk through doors and walls. They are either unwilling to accept their own death or they want to continue do the same things they did before death.

Ectoplasm, Mist

ectoplasm or, mist captured during ghost hunt

It appears several feet off the ground in form of mist and can travel very quickly. Lots of people believe that this mist is the spirit of those that they passed on from the physical world. On the other hand other people believe that this kind of effect can caused by the weather temperature and human breath during ghost hunting.

Orbs, Ball of lights

picture containing orbs, also known as the ball of lights

This is the most common manifestation that caught on cameras. They show up as transparent or ball of light above the ground. Many ghost hunters believe that an orb is a condensed ball of energy. Many other people believe that these orbs are created at the time of the flush. It has not been proved that an orb is a spirit or a ghost.

What do do when you see a Ghost?

Ghost sightings are not unnatural, and you never know which phase in your life brings you face to face with an ‘otherworldly’ entity – a ghost/spirit. Even if you have nerves of steel otherwise, you could feel a little (or a lot) scared, or might feel curious, or, you might feel both.

Regardless, it wouldn’t do to let either your fear, or curiosity to get the better of you. Instead, follow a list of things you should do if you come face to face with a ghost.

Here’s what you should do once this moment arrives.

What to do after seeing a ghost during investigation?

Do not freak out: 

you can be the part of a ghost hunting mission, or the spirit might take you completely unawares. Irrespective of how you come across the spirit, do not freak out. The fight/flight instinct will naturally kick in, as it happens to the best of ghost hunters. But giving in to your panic will not be helpful, it might make your situation worse, imagining more than you are actually experiencing and you will lose out on a valuable experience due to panic.

Communicate to Understand: 

This is the first step to understanding the spirit, especially if it is a case of intelligent haunting – and you are dealing with the spirit of a once alive individual. In this case, the spirit is aware of the current real world as well, so attempts at communicating with it might result in clues and important discovery.

But if you are dealing with a residual haunting, which are like an echo of a traumatic experience from the past, the ghost might not even notice you. Whatever you do, be respectful, treat it like you would another human being, even if the being is not from your world and does not respond to your attempts at communicating, it deserves the respect.

Take pictures – your proof:

Snapping a ghost

Use the camera on your cell phone if nothing else is available, but do click pictures. Needless to say, be discreet while you do so, otherwise you will lose the spirit and you won’t be able to collect proof for the sighting. Points to note while snapping pictures:

  1. Always use the best camera available at hand to snap the pictures.
  2. Do not use the flash, it might either wash out the figure of the specter or bring about unwanted reflections to mar the shot.
  3. This means that you will have to shoot blind with just your camera, and it is difficult to get a good picture without the flash, especially in low-light scenarios. So try to keep your hand steady when you click the photographs.
  4. Take as many photographs as you can while you can still see the spirit, and also take shots before and after the apparition vanishes to be able to compare and study them later.
  5. If you have a camcorder, do not hesitate to use it. And if you don’t, then make use of the video recording option in you cell phone (if it is available).

Record audio to supplicate your video: 

If you don’t have the option of capturing videos, at least use the voice recording option on your phone to get some voice recordings. There are mainly 2 reasons for this:

  1. To document the experience with the spirit.
  2. Capturing an EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomena can reveal valuable clues upon further investigation when you listen to the recording later.

Call Others to add to proof:

This is mainly to increase the number of witnesses. If there are others nearby, call to them quietly. Make sure that they too remain calm and do not become hysterical the moment they spot the apparition. You can all compare notes later to match or compare your findings.

Wait it out

From the beginning to the end. Stay and observe the spirit as long as it is visible, do not let it outside your sight even for a second, because that second is enough to lose the apparition. And even after the spirit vanishes, stick to your spot; you don’t know when it might come back into visibility.

Document it:

documenting ghost logs

This is important, and if you do not document your findings and experience, no one is likely to believe its authenticity. Make sure you have jotted down:

  1. Exact place and time, the more exact your figures and facts the better. Do not exaggerate
  2. Environmental aspects – how was the weather, any unnatural occurrences accompanying the sighting
  3. The duration of the entire experience with specific records of how long the apparition was visible to you
  4. Details on the apparition itself: height, posture, appearance, race (if it could be discerned), full bodied, partial exposure, features, facial expressions, any attempt at communicating with you on its  part, what did the apparition do, was it carrying anything, how did it disappear, did it come back etc.

Your facts should be as pinpointed and honest as possible. And the entire documentation should be objective to retain its scientific nature. This is especially true for seasoned ghost hunters, and amateurs should also follow this tip to the letter.

Return: 

Revisit the spot, you might come across the same apparition once more, and make a more detailed study this time because you would be prepared, both with camera equipment as well as nerves.

Wait for the next chance that comes your way.

Most Common Mistakes Ghost Hunters often Make

You might have heard that many paranormal investigations, both amateur and professional, are not always a grand success. Though the matter may seem flippant and crazy on the surface to most non-believers, for success a ghost hunting expedition does call for meticulous preparations.

In fact, many an expedition goes all wrong due to little careless and silly mistakes, made before and/or during the investigation!  

So before you get started, why don’t stay aware of some basic mistakes that many ghost hunters both newbies and experienced often make?

most common mistakes ghost hunters often make

Mistake #1: Going Alone For Ghost Hunting

When you are out for a ghost hunting expedition, make sure that you have at least another person to accompany you. Going all alone for such expedition is not a wise decision. Many of the ‘haunted’ sites are secluded – hence you should always take precautions for emergency situations.

If not for anything else, your partner might help you in case you accidentally stumble, fall down or twist your ankle.

Mistake #2:  Smoking/ Drinking At The Spot While The Investigation Is On

You should not drink alcohol or smoke while investigating a place for any paranormal activity. The smoke from your cigarette rings can create confusion looking like apparitions while you click any pictures of the place. And, alcohol is likely to ‘disrupt’ your senses, thus ‘disturbing’ your power to observe things accurately.

Mistake #3: Never Ignore Your Gut Feeling

Never ignore your intuition during a paranormal investigation. For example, if you feel any presence or just that it gives you any unnatural feeling at a particular spot, then there could be a valid reason for it. Investigate that area. Following your instinct might lead you.

Mistake#4: Not Giving The Equipments A Test Run

You may have a tough time while collecting evidences, if you don’t learn to operate your ghost hunting equipments properly. So before you go for the investigation, make sure that you take out some time to learn how to use the EMF detectors  and the working of the other essential ghost-hunting equipments.

Also, take care that you learn to employ the right camera settings to take the photographs. You might want to conduct test runs with the equipments before you actually go out for the investigation.

Mistake#5: Wearing colognes, after shave, or perfumes

Do not wear anything that emits any distinct smell. It might affect your fellow ghost hunters’ judgments. Also, the air should be clear, for you to detect any abnormal odors. However, if you need to use mosquito repellents at the haunted location, use odor-free bug sprays.

Mistake#6: Forgetting the essentials

Make sure that you bring sufficient flashlights. Optimally, every member of the ghost hunting team should have a flashlight with him. Also, never forget to bring extra batteries- (of course you will have to check what kinds of batteries are needed for each piece of equipment).

And carry a portable charger for your cameras and video recorder, as you will have to take a lot of random shots as you never know which click might ‘reveal’ something.

Mistake#7: Choosing a Dangerous Location

You might find it tempting to conduct ghost investigations in notoriously famous haunted spots. However, the risk is not worth it without the proper resources to back you.

Also, do not go to any site if the weather is not favorable.  And when you are out for investigation, make certain that someone at work, or at home, knows where you are going. In case something happens, your friend will know where to find you.

Mistake #8: Not Being Respectful Towards Any Spirit If You Come Across One.

Many ghost investigators take a confrontational approach while communicating with spirits, acting rudely while trying to elicit response from ‘them’. However, though there are many theories regarding this, either way, spirits and apparitions deserve the same amount of respect you will show a regular person.  But in case you feel the presence of an apparition, you should start communicating politely but assertively without being too pushy.

When you prepare yourself and your team for a successful ghost hunting, it is imperative that you pay heed to every ‘minor’ detail; no matter how ‘minor’ they seem to be.

Risks factors involved with Ghost Hunting

Over the past few years, ghost hunting has become quite a favorite ‘hobby’ – and has gained a huge line of interested followers and participants. Whether it is a historic location, a deserted asylum, a public library or even a private building – ghost hunting enthusiasts are exploring all the places with the slightest ‘whiff’ of haunting! 

Some to unravel the mystery, and others to experience the excitement and the adrenaline rush associated with investigating anything paranormal!

However, amidst all the excitement, you cannot rule out or even afford to ignore the dangers that are associated with ghost hunting. In fact, the more aware you are about the dangers you might face, the better will be your preparation for the hunt.

Risk factors involved with ghost hunting

1. Physical Hazards

Direct attack from ghosts is not common. However, since the investigation requires a lot of wandering in the dark, it is possible that you might trip and fall. The dark and the fear of the unknown can also induce panic. When you panic your decision making is affected and that is where the chances of getting hurt increase. So…never hunt alone and always carry your cell phone and other safety equipments.

And also, be honest with yourself. Are you physically fit to carry out the investigation? If you are a patient of high blood pressure and the like, then ghost hunting is not very ‘healthy’ for you.

2. Negative Spiritual Experience

Some places where you will go ghost hunting might have a strong negative energy about them. And you might get affected by it. Investigators often experience mood swings and other mysterious physical symptoms like a pounding headache, absolute exhaustion or nausea.

Possibilities of spirit ‘possession’ though rare cannot be overruled and it mostly happens when all your mental and psychological ‘barriers’ get drained, broken down and ‘invaded”.

3. Assault

You may get subjected to assaults–not only from the negative spirit or energy you’re investigating but also normal terrestrial humans who have made the ‘haunted’ location the base of criminal operations.

Sometimes, the venue of ghost hunting is located in such a remote part of the city or town that they often become the ‘shelter’ for homeless mendicants and even murderers. Thus it is important that you work in groups, stay absolutely alert and carry your cell phone with you.

Then again, on other occasions, there are instances about getting pushed or getting tangled in wires and cables.

4. Property Damage and Getting Arrested

Just because it is desolate and there are rumors of the location being haunted doesn’t mean that the property doesn’t have any owner. So, take appropriate permissions. If you trespass or if you damage the place in any way you can get into legal hassles. Just remember, your reputation as a ghost hunter will increase depending on how professionally you behave.

5. Mental Breakdown

Mental breakdown is common with paranormal investigation. You become so obsessed with the whole investigation that your mind might trick you into hearing voices and sounds. The obsession can rise to such levels that you might eventually cut off all ties with your friends and family. And if the investigation fails, sometimes the depression can blow out of normalcy and become too much to handle.

These risks are real and you can face them too. Being aware of the possible negative outcomes can help you stay prepared better.

Why Ghost Hunting require professionalism and Expertise

The paranormal has interested many a person over the centuries. And this interest is clearly reflected in the sheer number of ghost hunt documentaries, ghost films and reality shows as well as the ghost hunting societies and experts booming everywhere.

While many an amateur has dabbled in their very own search for spirits and ghosts, and often come up with scary and even terrifying, but real results, it cannot be denied that there is still the need for professionals.

Just as the interest in the field is very real and palpable, there is an equally large fraction of people who, in their disbelief rooted in ignorance, hold paranormal investigations and ghost hunts as activities to be ridiculed and joked about.

However, the fact that needs to be underlined is clearly their ignorance and inability to be open –minded,   and to contemplate a reality that they may not have seen with their own eyes. Especially because of this undercurrent of disbelief, investigation into the paranormal needs professionalism, scientific methodology and hard evidence on its side.

With that in mind, let’s look at 3 pioneers in the field of paranormal research.

Loyd Auerbach

Loyd Auerbach was a famous paranormal investigator and psychic phenomena writer

Loyd Auerbach is possibly the most well known of all paranormal investigators. And he wears quite a few hats at that. He is:

  • a consulting editor for FATE Magazine
  • a professor at JFK University
  • Director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations
  • President of the California Society for Psychic Study, and
  • The author of a number of books on ESP, ghosts, and other psychic phenomena.

Impressive track record, you say? Well, with 25 years of experience in investigating the paranormal as well as a Master’s degree in Parapsychology from JFK University, his books and interviews are sure to help the cause of scientifically conducted investigations into the paranormal.

Christopher Chacon

Christopher Chacon is amongst the top ghost hunters of the world.

Christopher Chacon is considered to be one of the top paranormal experts in the world. He has extensively contributed to field investigations into various categories of the paranormal – UFOs, ghosts, poltergeists, cryptozoology, demonic possession and psychic/para-psychological phenomena among others.

He is currently retired from the Phenomenology Division of The Office of Scientific Investigation and Research (O.S.I.R.), and he has participated in numerous paranormal investigations.

As for his contribution, his works consist of an infinite number of actual field as well as laboratory research that is documented and available for future ghost-hunters to rely on.

William Roll

Photo by Anomalien

Recently deceased, Dr. William Roll has left behind a legacy of investigations and research into the paranormal. He’s also been listed as one of the 3 top experts in para-psychological/psychic phenomena along with Loyd Auerbach and Christopher Chacon.

He is also credited with 20 publications on the paranormal – some independently and rest in collaboration with others. A PhD holder in psychology, his most well known case is the one of the “Columbus Poltergeist” conducted in 1984. During that investigation, the spirit was captured in surprisingly clear color photos, and telekinesis was observed.  

Since investigations into the paranormal are often shrouded in doubt, and when starting out as a beginner, you would obviously want some handy pointer, why not refer to the experts and pick up clues which can turn out to be of real help in your own investigations?

Concluding this Ghost Hunting Guide

worldwide interest in ghost hunting
worldwide interest in ghost hunting is spiking again

Today, the field of ghost hunting is growing immense with the increasing interest of horror aficionados across the world. While everyone is going gaga over this, ghost hunting requires a lot of expertise and a vast equipment handling experience.

There are many instances when newbies invest a lot in these ghost hunting equipments and later, they realise it is a lot tough and boring to handle those giant devices. In addition, they lose their interest in this field after investigating a few haunted places and tracing no spirit at those places.

We are going to conclude this ghost hunting guide with outlining few important things. First of all, if you are a newbie, follow the aforementioned guidelines strictly. There is no need of investing your bucks in high end equipments. You can bag them at later period of the game, as you gain expertise in this niche.

In conclusion, the world of ghouls is still unexplored. You don’t know their rules and hence, it is better to pay heed to each and every signal they give. If they are angry, creating disturbing phenomenon, it’s simple- get out to that place. We have few heart wrenching examples of classical cases of demonic possession.

In the last, we wish you very best for your next ghost hunting tour. If you have thoroughly waded through this guide, you need not to skim other articles related to it. Happy Haunting.

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