Jake from Ghostly Activities answers your questions about selecting ghost hunting equipment for a paranormal investigation. Get the scoop after the jump.
What kind of equipment do you absolutely need for any ghost hunt?
I think every ghost hunter needs to have something that measures changes in energy and gathers evidence at a haunt. That means an EMF meter, temperature gauge, digital camera and digital audio recorder. The EMF meter and temp gauge show the changes in energy, so you can tell if a ghost manifests. A digital camera and audio recorder can get evidence of a the ghost manifesting as a shadow or apparition, and its voice. I’ll tell you about my deployment kit a little bit later.
What determines which ghost hunting equipment you use on an investigation?
The research about the haunt and its potential ghosts tells me which gear I should bring. For example, Port Gamble is known for its ghosts touching people and interacting with different objects. We have that information from teams that publish reports, a few eyewitness accounts and even ghost stories.
That means I needed to bring a few trigger objects. So, I had a well-known teddy bear gadget to use for interaction. I also brought a full-spectrum camera to tape the session and, maybe, catch an apparition. There was a geophone, which measures vibrations, next to the teddy bear to visualize the movements and how strong they were.
In other cases, you don’t have much information. You’ll have to wing it. With these situations, I stick to the basic equipment in my deployment kit. I’ll go into that a little bit later in this article. If you get interesting readings with the basic gear, then I come back with more specialized equipment to run experiments. That means if I get some kind of apparition or shadow figure on the digital camera, I’ll come back with a full-spectrum camcorder and a laser grid to see if I can get better views of the suspected ghost.
Do you use experiments to decide which gadgets to use, or does the gadget determine what kind of experiment you can run?
In general, I think about the experiments first and gadgets second, but it goes both ways. I mean, if you don’t have a thermal imaging camera, it limits some of your tests for apparitions.
To give an example, I once investigated an old bridge in Coles County, Illinois. Local investigators said it had a ghost portal form in the middle of it. Since ghost portals are rare, you want to make sure you capture all the environmental factors and energy levels when it happens. And, you need to get it opening and closing. So, I had a camcorder to capture the opening and closing. I also brought my handy MEL meter for EMF and temperature. There was an EDI+ ready to record all the barometric pressure, humidity and vibration changes. I even had some Ziplock bags and Q-Tips if it left a residue behind.
And then nothing happened. But, I think I was prepared!
Is there one gadget you always bring?
My MEL 8704-R with REM and ATDD. I like how it creates the EMF field around the antenna to be detect potential ghostly energy, and it’s got the temperature sensitivity to alert me to subtle environmental changes. I also use it for engagement sessions, and I sweep potential haunts to see if anything set it off. It helps me use my time better and focus on areas with more ghost potential.
If you only had 5 minutes to pick out gear and go on a ghost hunt, what would you bring with you?
So…I’ve got a rapid-action deployment kit, as I like to call it. It’s just a backpack with the basics. I can grab it and investigate with very little planning or thought. Inside, I have an infrared camera, a MEL meter, Zoom H1n Handy Recorder, a 4-pack of 9-V batteries, and a dozen AAA and AA batteries. This is very much for those ‘discovery’ opportunities that come up from time-to-time. I mean, if you get the chance to investigate that old asylum down the block, but you’ve got to go now, have that deployment kit ready. Really, some haunts you only get to check out once and you don’t want to miss out!
If you had no limits (on budget, time or staff), what equipment would bring on ghost hunts?
Wow, no limits!
I think I’d keep to what’s practical for the haunt. If it’s something like Waverly Hills, then I’d have professional video recorders with full-spectrum, the WiFi DVR systems to remotely record different wings of the building. I mean, I’d have all the gadgets you’d see on the ghost hunting reality TV shows (thermal imaging, HD full-spectrum video cameras, etc.), but without the Ghost Boxes or Ovilus. I’d use Zoom series audio recorders with microphones jacked in with XLR cables to capture those EVPs!
Got a question? Leave a comment and we’ll answer within a day.
Jacob ‘Jake’ Rice has always loved ghosts and scary stories. When he’s not being a tech nerd for work, he’s the gadget guy on the team. He hunts ghosts, spirits and other paranormal entities in Seattle and the Puget Sound area.