Ghost Hunting 101 is a registered trademark
|Since I started The
Shadowlands website page
1994, I have always been asked how to conduct a ghost hunt, what
to bring, etc. I don't encourage amateurs without any training at
all to conduct ghost hunts without some idea of what you are doing or
some who has some experience witn you. You need some idea of what
before you go off into that graveyard or haunted building. I do
you contact an established organization near you and join them on a
before you go on your own. I have many groups listed on my Local
Ghost Groups page. I've created this page in order to
you the basics of ghost hunting in plain and simple talk and to provide
that to everyone for free. I think that there are already people
going out and conducting ghost hunts or investigations who have no
and they will not buy a book, attend a class or join a group to learn
to do it better. I hope to reach them, because this is "no
attached" information. I also hope the rest of you who haven't
a ghost hunt yet or even some seasoned investigators can take something
from this page and use it in the field. The following info has
from books, articles, WWW and experienced investigators
Keep in mind these are the procedures I follow and they are, in my
the right way of doing things. Because this is not an exact
they are differing opinions and I've tried to keep that in mind.
Feel free to use this info any way you want as long as you mention
you got it.
email me all
the typos and other errors as well as suggestions, I'm sure there
will be additions and corrections in the near future, thanks Dave
Investigation - going to a known haunted place and recording
audio, temperatures), notes, interviews and other evidence to
the haunting and to assist the owners and the spirits in moving
on and leaving the place if they want that. The assistance
can be either you directly assisting the owner with the situation or
them in contact with experienced groups or individuals that will
try to resolve the situation. Your assistance can be something as
simple as educating them on what is going on and their options.
There are generally 2 types
of spirits you may encounter. One was a human at one time and it
has remained on this level for some reason. It may not know it's
dead, may be held here by unfinished business, guilt, etc. These
spirits are like the person was when they were alive, so they could be
good or bad, just like the living, but not normally dangerous.
human spirit is the type you will encounter 95% of the time. You
could also witness a residual
haunting which is just a playback of a past event. This is
like watching a video from the past playing over and over. The
type of spirit you may encounter were never human and are generally bad
news. You must be aware of this type but not obsessed
them, the chances that you will encounter them in a regular ghost hunt
are slim. I have experienced both types and I just want to make
aware of their existence. So be aware and protect yourself and
should have no problem.
* Digital Camera -
what you've heard digital cameras are great tools for ghost
Once upon a time they had their limitations and problems but that is no
longer the case. Now you are also get cameras that
are modified to see in the Infrared spectrum of light or Full Spectrum
cameras that can see in the Ultraviolet, Visible and Infrared spectrums
of light at teh same time.
* Digital Voice Recorder - digital voice recorders are with out a doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment that you should have in you investigators toolbox. audio recorders are used for many different purposes throughout an investigation. Recorders are used for interviews, spontaneous thoughts, your notes and electronic voice phenomena (EVP). When using audio recorders be sure to state the location, time of investigation, and investigators names. When recording investigators names it would be wise to have each individual present state their own names, which will make it easier for distinction amongst voices heard on the tape during review. Voice activation mode should be deactivated on tape recorders during use when electronic voice phenomena is trying to be achieved due to the fact that it usually cuts off beginnings of words, sentences, and phrases.
* Flashlight w/ spare batteries - a common sense item. Remember to bring spare batteries for everything. Due to spirit activity, batteries often run down very fast and you don't want to miss anything because of dead batteries. I recommend using a red light flashlight to help preserve your night vision.
* First aid kit - just in case, it's very easy to trip in the dark and get cut.
* Notebook w/ pens and pencils- you need to write and log in everything that happens. If you don't then you really don't have much research information. An example of this is one investigator gets a EMF reading that's high and never writes it down. Another investigator takes a picture of the same area but is not aware of the reading and gets a anomalous image. Without that EMF reading the picture may be good evidence, but with a report noting the reading, the picture greatly increases in evidence value. Many investigators use a pocket tape recorder in stead and that is fine, just make sure you have spare batteries and tapes.
* Jackets or weather appropriate clothes - if you are cold you are not at your best and your observation skill could suffer, pretty common sense.
* Watch - so you can log in the times of events and your arrival and departure.
* Video camera (optional tripod) - Video cameras are an important instrument for an investigation. Unlike still cameras they provide us with constant visual and audio surveillance for review and observation. The video cameras we use are equipped with infrared capability and this is the mode we use. With video any phenomena occurring can be documented in its entirety. This will show the length of time the phenomena occurs, what is happening, the conditions surrounding the phenomena, and possibly even the cause of the phenomena.. The Sony line of camcorders has an infrared night shot feature that enables you to video tape in complete darkness and see beyond what the human eye can see. You can use these on tripods or walk around with them. You should also invest in an infrared light extender which will help your camera see in the darkest places and make the quality of the video better.
Detector - The Electromagnetic
Field Detector, also known as an EMF, is the modern day ghost
tracking device, a very important piece of equipment. With this
it is possible to locate and track energy sources. It will
detect fluctuations in electromagnetic fields and low strength moving
fields that have no source. It is a common theory that spirits
this field in such a way that you can tell one is present by higher
normal readings with this meter. Before using the EMF as a ghost
research tool on an investigation be sure to walk around the area and
initial readings around energy sources such as light poles or
outlets to be sure of the readings you receive while scanning the area
during the investigation. Most units when purchased come with a
describing most household and major appliances and their corresponding
electromagnetic reading. When using the EMF as a tracking
look for fluctuations of 2.0 to 7.0, this usually indicates spirit
Anything higher or lower is normally has a natural source.
* Cellular phone - if you have one it can come in handy in case of an emergency.
* A Compass - it's a useful instrument to an investigator due to its compact size and low cost price. When used on an investigation this will indicate spirit presence when the needle cannot come to a precise heading or spins/moves erratically. This works on the same principle as a EMF meter.
* Motion Detectors - these can be used to sense movements by often unseen forces or spirits. You can get battery operated ones for about 20 dollars and they are great for inside but I have seen them used successfully outdoors as well, just watch the placement. You don't want a tree branch setting it off.
* Thermometers - Thermometers are an instrument that is also very useful There are two types used regular digital thermometers and infrared non contact thermometers. When used on an investigation this will aid as a detection system for spirit presence. Rapid temperature drop of 10 degrees of more could indicate spirit presence. I recommend using the infrared non contact thermometers but cause they react in less than a second to a temperature drop and you can scan a large area quickly.
* Hand Held Radios - Or Walkie Talkies are very useful in a large outdoor area and a building with groups spread out in various rooms. They could be great in emergency situations or just to rotate groups. Be sure to be aware they could interfere with your EVP recording though.
Here's a condensed version the most popular procedures for conducting outdoor ghost hunts:
1. Have everyone meet near the location and decide who will work each piece of equipment and divide into teams if necessary. Pick a person or leader that will talk to anyone who comes in contact with the group (i.e. Police, Reporters, etc.)
and either privately or as a group ask for blessing or protection for
duration of the hunt. YOu can use this time to put yourself in a
positive frame of mind. It does not have to be a religious thing
so everyone can do this in some way. I do encourage everyone to
the 10 seconds this takes and do this. What can it hurt?
better to be safe than sorry. Many experienced groups believe
there are evil spirits in many areas such as cemeteries and by saying a
10 second prayer or making sure you are in a positive frame of mind you
can safely go about your business without worrying about them. An
experienced demonologist will tell you that by doing this in the name
God or whatever good deity you worship, you will keep any non human
at bay since they have to leave you alone when told so in this
manner. The prayers I use
3. Walk around the area to get a feel for the surroundings and allow the spirits to get a feel for you. Do this for about 20 minutes. Log in your start time and weather conditions and any other relevant information. You can also begin to set up any stationary equipment like camera on tripods or motion detectors. Make note of any areas that may cause you to get false readings or false positive pictures.
4. Now go out there and get some pictures and recordings. Be sure to note anything unusual that happens especially meter and temperature readings, visual sightings and strange sounds. Also make notes of any feelings or emotions you feel that may be odd or out of place. You can compare notes after the hunt and look for similarities in readings and feeling in certain areas or at certain times.
5. Whether you stake out a spot or you walk around try to give everyone the opportunity to try everything and be everywhere. This keeps every one fresh and at attention. Rotate a few times during the investigation.
are done have everyone meet in one spot and ask the human spirits here
not to follow you home and to remain here. Tell the others they
remain here in the name of God (or other good deities). Again
takes 4 seconds, it's simple and it can save you some problems down the
road. If we are wrong about these prayers at the beginning and
of the hunt and they are not necessary then you wasted 14 seconds of
time. If we are right about them, you saved yourself from allot
problems and grief.
* Every investigator or team should keep a log of events/times - everything needs to be logged, not matter how trivial. You sneeze, log it in, it may have sounded like something else to another member elsewhere in the building.
* All members and owners if possible, walk through the location. One members map location noting: air vents, heater, electrical appliances, fuse boxes, computer, etc. Mark down the temperatures in the rooms and any EMF reading you get during this walk through. One member take 5-10 test photos during the walk through. Do not discuss the details of the case during this walk through.
* Any witnesses that have not been interviewed before should be interviewed by 1-2 investigators and taped/videoed if it's ok with the witness. The other members should walk around the location and record any feelings or observations. Only the interviewers will know the location of events and sightings.
* Make no conclusions. Share no conclusions or opinions with the witnesses or owners until all the reports, photos and tapes are reviewed. You need to see the evidence and correlate it before you can give an educated opinion.
* no smoking at the location, this can appear like mist on the photos so you don't want to contaminate your evidence.
* Watch for dust or dirt being stirred up in the area you are photographing. They can give false positive pictures.
* All long hair should be tied back or under a hat, again this is to eliminate any false positive pictures and to give the skeptics less ammunition.
* Remove or
any camera straps so you don't take a picture of that, it looks like a
vortex when photographed.
* Don't bother with
your cameras viewfinder. Hold the camera out in front of you and
aim at the area you want to take a picture of. Many newer digital
cameras do not even come with view finders. This also helps
in cold weather by keeping your camera away from your breath.
* Watch for reflective surfaces and make notes of them. The flash reflected off shiny surfaces such as windows, polished tombstones, etc. can look light an orb or other anomaly. Make note of street lights and any other light source that may appear on the film.
* Let fellow investigators know when you are taking a photo so that you don't get double flashes and the night scope operators can look away. If you think you have a double flash photo or any other false positive, log the picture number so you can exclude that photo from the batch when they are developed. Night scope operators can get eye damage if they are looking at a flash through the scope so this is important.
* In cold weather be conscious of your breath so you don't photograph that, it'll look like ectoplasm mist. If you think you may have, log that picture number and discard it when you develop the pictures.
* Many people like to ask the spirit if they can take their picture , it can't hurt.
* Take pictures anywhere and everywhere. If you feel some thing or someone else does, take a picture. Did you think you saw something, take a picture. Take photos whenever you get a positive readings on any piece of equipment.
* Sometimes you will see an orb, mist or sparkles in your flash or others flashes, take more pictures right there, you may be near a spirit.
* You can set up stationary recorders and just let them run or you can walk around with them. During audio recording, ask questions whether general ones or one specific to a certain spirit. You can find a few ideas of question on or near the gravestones (i.e. how did you die, ask who left flowers, who is the presendent, did you live hereetc.)
* Make sure you view or listen to the whole recording. EVPs are usually not heard at the time of recording but are heard only after the tape is reviewed.
* Review notes where you
recorded any normal sounds as well as unexplained ones (dogs barking,
etc.) This way you can tell what a sound is that wasn't heard by you at
the time but is now on the tape.
This form is just something for you to build on. It based on the form my group uses for outdoor investigations. Feel free to download and use it. I have a preview page of it and you can download it there. Add to it , change it to suit your needs, it's just a starting point.
* Cemeteries - The age of the cemetery doesn't matter but the older it is, the more time it has had to accumulate restless spirits. Why cemeteries? Well there are theories such as they are portals to the other side or that some spirits are drawn to their former bodies.
* Schools - Schools and former sites of schools may have the build up of psychic energies and imprints of all the highly emotional events that have transpired there.
* Theaters - The actors have run the gambit of human emotions inside the walls of a theater plus many have interesting hauntings attached to them.
* Battlefields - These are great locations simply because of their nature. Many violent deaths in one area will always hold some spirits and psychic energy there.
* Churches - There is a long history of the faithful returning to the church they worshipped at. They may be looking for the salvation they were promised and cannot find.
* Hotels/Motels/Boarding houses - Many dark dealing and highly emotional events take places in these rooms.
- Many historic buildings, because of their age, have had more time to
have spirits attach to it. These buildings are often open the
and can give you a easy place to start. Many even have known
of hauntings and you may be able to gain access to the building after
after speaking with the caretakers.
* Books on
Local Haunted Places
- This what I used at first to get into some places. They let an
author publish the fact the place is haunted so there is a chance they
may allow you in to take a look.
* Keep an open mind, any negative feelings may drive the spirits away. Be respectful of the locations and the dead.
* Be skeptical, look for causes for any phenomenon such as natural or man made causes. As an investigator you have to make sure your final evidence will stand up to scrutiny. By eliminating all other explanations, your evidence becomes stronger proof.
* No smoking, alcohol or drugs at an investigation for mostly obvious reasons.
* No whispering, it can taint your recording results.
* The Tax Assessors Office can give you historical info on many locations you visit.
* Do not wear perfume, cologne or anything else with a very noticeable scent. This is so someone does not mistake the smell for a supernatural occurrence. Spirits often use scents and smells to get our attention.
* Make sure you let someone
where you will be so they will know in case of emergency.
Keep in mind that many of the people who will request an investigation will want to be comforted, educated and they may even want the spirits to leave. Whatever your approach or beliefs, be prepared for this and if you are not willing or cannot help the people in the way they would like, at least provide them with names of people who may help them. Also try to educate them so they understand what is occurring. After explaining what is happening to a witness, many will no longer be frightened or as concerned and you will have done them a great service. If you are a person or group that does offer more assistance through psychics, spirit rescues, etc. remember that the well being and the feelings of the living come first.
most of the
page in the Shadowlands, this one will rely on others to help it
So if you have a tip, procedure or suggestion to add let me know.
I am counting on the more experienced investigators out there to assist
us here so we can all share the info and further this field of study in
a professional and respectable manner.