A Ghost Hunter's Kit
A Ghost Hunting Kit
A true ghost investigation involves the use of a multitude of equipment, some from the very mundane and found in any household to very complicated and sophisticated equipment used only in technically specific careers. The important thing to keep in mind is that all this equipment must be used in conjunction with each other for the best results. No one piece of equipment will have consistant results by itself. For example, a camera taking pictures by itself will be less likely to catch anything abnormal than a camera used in conjunction with EMF readings.
Though there isn't a single company who manufactures equipment specifically for ghost hunting, there many places on the internet where one can purchase this equipment among them are Ghost Hunter Store, Ghost Gadgets, and American Ghost Society's Ghost Store. Keep in mind that none of the equipment that ghost hunters use was developed for ghost hunting. The equipment we use was originally intended for other fields. Because of this, it is VERY important that we are familiar with the proper way to use our equipment. This means reading in detail the manuals that come with this equipment and gaining knowledge of what the equipment was originally used for. I couldn't tell you how often I've run into groups that use their equipment incorrectly. The results they get are impressive but not ghostly. For instance, EMF meters were originally developed for electricians to use to locate electical sources in walls. Thus, when you point a EMF meter at an electrical source, you get a reading. Thus, when you get a reading, you must locate all the electrical sources in the area and determine if the EMF meter is registering those sources. If it is not, then it is probably ghostly in origin. Too many groups ignore this and believe that any reading they get on their EMF meter indicates a ghost. This is not true! Thus, the importance of knowing your equipment.
Along with the different gadgets and equipment, a proper ghost investigation must have a means of recording the events that take place and reference materials. There are a large amount of different "field guides" and information books out there dealing with ghost hunting. The ones I would most recommend are: The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook By Troy Taylor, The Parapsychologist's Handbook: ESP, Haunting and Poltergeists By Loyd Auerbach, and The Field Guide to Spirit Photography By Dale Kaczmarek. I would encourage everyone to read these books and follow the recommendations found in them.
That said, let me list off the equipment that I would recommend be in any ideal ghost hunter's kit.
1. An Open But Critical Mind
This is among the most important for any ghost hunter to have. One must go into the investigation with no preconceived notions or objectives. Let the evidence fall where it may. Investigate every piece of evidence as if there is a natural explaination. Once every natural explaination has been rule out, then perhaps a paranormal explaination can be made.
2. Knowledge About The Site
There are those that say one should not go into an investigation with foreknowledge of the investigated site. Others would say you should know as much as possible about the site. I see advantages to either tactic so I leave it up to the individual to decide what amount of pre-knowledge they wish to have. Whenever you plan to do your research (and research IS among the most important things in an investigation), use the local libraries and historical societies to learn as much as possible about the location.
3. Knowledge About Your Subject
Any ghost hunter should know their subject matter. Ghosts are what we deal in. To not know the theories and history of the paranormal phenomenon makes for a bad ghost hunter. You have to know what to look for in a supernatural occurance. You can only learn that by learning your subject.
4. Notebook, Paper, Pen (Laptop Computer, if applicable)
You need to make sure that you have a means of documenting any events that take place as they happen. Waiting until after the investigation could create faulty or misleading information. We want to make sure that things are recorded as soon as possible before pieces are lost to memory.
5. Camera (Preferably both digital and film)
The ghost hunter's mainstay is the camera. With the camera, we can capture visual images of ghosts in all their different forms.
6. Video Camera (with nightvision and tripod accessories)
Like still cameras, video cameras are another mainstay of ghost hunters everywhere. Video cameras allow us to capture the movement of ghosts as well as capture Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP, voices of the dead). A night vision accessory for the camera is essential as well as tripod to keep the video camera steady for long periods of time.
7. Tape Recorder (with microphone accessories)
In an attempt to gain EVP from a site, ghost hunters will set tape recorders on record and leave them running. This has been successful in the past in obtaining good EVP. It is important to use a microphone so that the only sounds captured are not from the internal workings of the tape recorder itself.
8. Plenty of film, tapes and batteries
You want to make sure that you can keep your equipment running. It might also be a good idea to carry a small tool kit with you for on the spot repairs.
9. Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) Meter
It is believed that ghosts manifest themselves using electro-magnetic fields. By using an EMF meter, we hopefully are able to track them and increase our chances of catching the paranormal.
10. Flashlight or other light source
Ghost hunters usually work under dark conditions. A flashlight helps keep us safe and allows us to see any notes we may write.
11. Measuring Tape
If something occurs, it is important to be able to calculate distances between objects.
12. Motion Sensor Devices
These are particularly helpful during long investigations in a large area. By setting up motion sensors, one can leave a room and return if the sensors are set off. When using motion sensors, it is important that once they are set up that NO ONE go near the sensors until the investigation is over or the sensors are activated and investigation is required.
13. Walkie Talkies
This is particularly helpful when working in a very large area with a rather large group of people. Using the walkie talkies, communication can be kept up between investigators over distances.
14. A Photograph Log
We do not want to take photographs randomly. A photograph log should be maintained during an investigation. Every photo taken should have a reason for being taken. That and the location, time, weather conditions, as well type of camera and person taking the picture should all be recorded as it happens.
15. Food and drink
Especially during a long investigation, food and drink should be available. During overnight investigations, it is likely that drowsiness will be a factor. To maintain alert investigators during overnight investigations, drinks like coffee and soda should be taken. I would not recommend the use of drugs like Viverian on an investigation and certainly absolutely NO alcohol, illegal drugs or smoking on investigations!
16. Comfortable, professional clothing and shoes
Be sure to dress for the location and weather. Outdoor investigations involve weather that could be dangerous. Also, ghost hunting involves standing on your feet for great lengths of time. Comfortable footwear would come in handy in those situations. This clothing should professional. No t-shirts (unless they are advertising your group), no jeans (khaki pants would be acceptable). The clothing should be clean and well kept, no torn shirts or pants. Remember, when you are on an investigation you are a representative of your group. You want to put your best foot forward to the public.
17. Picture Identification and Business Cards
Be sure to have a driver's license or some other picture identification with you in case you are stopped by local authorities. If your group has some (and I would suggest any group create some) be sure to have business cards detailing the objectives of your organization. Not only does this allow for promotion of your group but also is something you can give to the authorities to explain your intentions. This does not mean that you should enter property without permission! ALWAYS get permission from the owner before entering a site! No amount of identification or cards can prevent prosecution due to an illegal entry.
18. A Cell Phone or Some Other Means of Communication
You always want to have a means of contacting the police, fire department or ambulances in case of emergencies. Be sure to carry a cell phone or if a cell phone is not available be sure to locate where in the area the telephones are located and plan for quick access to these telephones. Remember, ghost hunters do alot of their work in dark, some times run down, areas which can be dangerous. Even when we are careful, accidents can happen. Emergency services should be readily available at all times.
19. First Aid Kit
It would be a good idea to have a small first aid kit on hand in case of emergencies. In the event of an accident, early care to wounds could make a difference.
20. A Healthy Body and Mind
Ghost hunting is hard on the body and mind. It's important that your mental and physical health be at a 100% level during an investigation. Illnesses could spread to others in your group and cloud your judgement. Not to mention that going into a stressful situation with a weak constitution can result in your health getting worse instead of better. No ghost hunt is worth jeopardizing your health for.
21. A Barometer and Weather Radio
Keeping tabs on the weather is important during an investigation since weather patterns can effect the anomalies we obtain.
22. Ion Detector
The ion content of the atmosphere is another factor in a ghost investigation. An ion detector will help the investigators keep track of the ions in the air.
23. Gieger Counter
Radioactive elements in the atmosphere are another factor during a ghost hunt. The use of a gieger counter will help investigators determine the radioactivity of the environment.
24. Proper Legal And Investigative Forms
There are any number of forms that most paranormal organizations use as part of their investigations. These forms are used to protect the organization's members and the owner of the investigated property as well as to document needed information and to determine if further investigation is necessary.
Copyright 2005 - BWPI