Slicing the Supernatural: A Basic Guide to Ghost Hunting Equipment and Paranormal Precautions
So you want to go ghost hunting but you don’t have the money for all that fancy ghost hunting equipment in those ghost hunting shows? Not to worry. There are plenty of cost effective ways you can make your own ghost hunting equipment kit and know what to expect when you go ghost hunting.
You can certainly acquire your kit over time, beginning with the basic components first, then working up to more advanced equipment as both your interest and budget grows.
Ghost hunting, like any hobby, can be enjoyed by both novice and the advanced hunter, so I recommend focusing on the basics until you feel the need to move up to more advanced kit.
The following basic kit is not absolutely required to have fun, but even the hobbyist ghost hunter is going to want to have some pieces of kit to capture, record, and verify any paranormal activity encountered.
First and foremost, you need cameras to capture visual evidence. You usually want every member on the hunt to bring a camera. It’s good to have video cameras, digital cameras, and film cameras taking pictures and recording the whole time. Video cameras with night shot are highly recommended though it is rare these days to find a video camera that has night shot for some reason. If there are objects that are supposed to be haunted, make sure to take many pictures of it. It’s a good idea with digital cameras to review some of the pictures on the scene to notice any abnormalities that may have appeared in the pictures.
If you see any, consider retaking pictures in the same spot to see if the abnormality recurs again. Orbs are a pretty common in pictures but most often are nothing more than dust or pollen. Take into consideration the location you are performing the hunt and take note if there is a lot of free floating dust in the area. Film cameras can sometimes capture more abnormalities than digital but be aware that it can just be a development error.
EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) detects high sources of EMF sources such as power lines, power outlets, lights ect. You can cheaply find simple EMF sensors online on sites like Amazon for $8 or less. You can find more advanced sensors for around $80 as well. The one we use was off Amazon for 8 bucks and it’s extremely simple to use. Basically, with EMF sensors, you want to note spikes in electromagnetic fields where there shouldn’t be any. If outdoors, make sure you are not standing under any major power lines as these will cause the EMF sensor to go off the charts.
Another relatively cheap and easy to use item that takes air readings of the temperature around you. The things you want to note while using one of these is sudden dips or spikes in temperature. It’s good to have a note pad to jot down the temperature readings throughout the hunt. Make sure to get a general reading of the temperature of the area you are conducting the hunt in and then test around for any changes. The one we use gives real time readings by holding the button down. It is a good idea to get video, pictures, and other readings in areas with strange temperature readings.
This is essential if you want to pick up EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon). Voice recorders will usually run from $25-35 sometimes more. It is best to leave them recording in a place where no one is around and leave it there for awhile. Make sure not to forget it. Load it to your computer and listen to it. This is not the most exciting thing ever to listen to a long audio track of what will mostly be nothing. Another method is walking around with the voice recorder on you and asking questions to any ghosts in the area. There are videos and recordings on the internet where the person asking the question gets an answer back right away but some of these I doubt are real. Listen closely for any unusual noises that wouldn’t be at the location you are conducting the hunt in.
If you’re conducting your hunt at night, you need flashlights for obvious reasons. Brighter the better and they can be useful in helping illuminate pictures for the cameras.
The following is not absolutely required or really even needed, and certainly can grow your expense, but could be useful to certain types of paranormal investigations you are conducting.
Thermal cameras are good for long term indoor hunts. You can get networked cameras that can be set up in various rooms and linked to a computer for monitoring. Clearly, these are not cheap, around $200+ on Amazon and elsewhere. These are less effective on outdoor hunts, especially in a big area. Color coordinated thermal cameras can also be bought but are extremely expensive and I would not know where to find one. We do not use thermal cameras on our hunts.
Night vision goggles
Another optional gadget to have on your ghost hunt. While there are NVGs that range from $20-50 these are technically toys. The ones we use are used sparingly and you can only see up to 50 feet max making not very useful in doors. You can buy military grade NVGs online but they will run you around $14,000. You can find some cheaper ones for about $300 but I’m not sure of the quality. A general warning when using NVGs is to be very careful of where you walk. You will have no depth perception and it is very difficult to see the ground. If you’re walking through thick woods you will probably trip and fall a lot if you’re not used to using them.
Take it from someone who was in the military and used them often. It’s best to just use them to survey a dark area without using flashlights or use the goggles in conjunction with cameras to take night-vision pictures.
This can be a controversial item as many might not feel comfortable using or being around one or see it as totally hooey. If you are going to use one, make sure you know someone who knows how to use one correctly. I’ve heard many horror stories about using these things and very bad stuff happening. I have no evidence to believe some of the stories but it’s much better to be safe than sorry. It is a good idea to leaving the voice recorder running if you’re going to be using an Ouija board to pick up any possible EVPs.
- If some place looks scary, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s haunted. Chances are it isn’t.
- Make sure you know why you are investigating the area that you are conducting the hunt in. What is the legend behind the place? Who/where did you get this information from? Are they reliable? Is it dangerous to investigate this place? Is there a high chance of being arrested for going to this place?
- Do not expect to experience anything the first time you go to a supposedly haunted site. It can take multiple trips before you experience anything. You also need to be there as long as possible. Most hunts are supposed to take all night.
- Be rational. Don’t jump to conclusions if something happens. Usually there is a perfectly logical and natural reason for what you experienced. Wanting something to be haunted can make you believe what you saw was a ghost when it could easily be dust.
- Make sure everyone in your group understands what to expect and what they could see and that they are ready for this. Some people are braver than others. It brings the hunt to a halt if someone starts to have an irrational fear based panic attack or break down in the middle of the investigation. Best to get them out of their quickly or if you know this might happen to them, not bring them at all.
- Similar to the previous, make sure not to bring someone who will horse around and try to scare everyone else. You’ll never get any work done with these people around.
- Hunt in small groups. Usually 2-6 for outdoor hunts and 2-4 for in doors (depending on the size of the building). Never go ghost hunting alone. You need someone else with you to help confirm what you see and keep your wits.
- Be safe. Some ghosts have been known to physically and psychologically hurt people. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Also be safe in the area you are hunting in be it outdoors in the woods or indoors in an old building. It’s good to bring a first aid kit and know how to use it.