Essential Tools

Flashlight This could very well be the most important piece of equipment a ghost hunter will ever use. This inexpensive tool may not help you detect ghosts, but it will keep you from falling over tombstones and breaking your leg. It’s a good idea to remember that there may be other people out there with you in the wee hours of the morning. (It’s not the ghosts you have to worry about) Therefore, I recommend using a popular brand of flashlight called a “Maglite.” These flashlights are not only brighter than most but their sturdy aluminum design makes them almost indestructible. Another nice feature is a screw-off compartment at the bottom of the flashlight to hold an extra bulb. Also, it is fairly easy to find an easy-to-fit infrared lens for these flashlights. (To be used on those nights you are going stealth ghost hunting.)
Camera This is absolutely the second most important item in your tool box, for obvious reasons. This can be digital or traditional film format. I have found both formats to be excellent cameras, although there are advantages to having a digital. Besides getting the instant gratification of seeing your pictures right away, these cameras are also easy to use. You can also take as many pictures as your memory will hold and you can get smart cards that have up to 128mb of memory. The greatest advantage of using a digital camera is that there aren’t any developing fees. I have so say that when it comes to taking pictures any camera will do; but when you are shooting in the dark you are better off with equipment that is easy to use and accurate. There are good points about using the point and shoot camera too. When it comes to questioning the authenticity of your pictures there is no questioning the negatives to your photos. They are much harder to alter than digital photos are. Getting the negatives to your pictures is also a good idea because you can see if you have anything in your picture then develop just those particular ones. What do I do? I bring both cameras along. I don’t recommend using Advanced Photo System cameras especially because the film and processing fees are more expensive than standard 35mm. Last but not least if you own and prefer to use an SLR (Single Lens Reflex camera, set the lens to infinity. You can’t focus in the dark.
Film This part would go together with the point and shoot section in the above paragraph. Using anything but a digital camera you can’t take pictures without film. I recommend using 400 ASA film and above. This is a good all around film speed for low light conditions without sacrificing too much of the graininess that comes with using 800 ASA film.
Tape Recorder I carrya tape recorder with me for a couple of reasons. I use it primarily to document any pertinent information such keeping track of times, places, things to remember, occurrences etc. The more important job of the tape recorder is to use it to try and pick up EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). There are three basic types of recorders that I have used; Micro-cassette, standard size, and digital. Micro-cassette recorders require Micro-cassettes tapes that are generally more expensive than using standard size tapes.
FRS Two Way Radio These radios are essential for communicating with other members of your group, especially if you are in a large cemetery. FRS (Family Radio Service) Two Way radios have an effective range of 2 miles, and are extremely clear throughout their range. The radios are generally available with 14 channels, however some less expensive models may be limited to 1 channel. They are fairly inexpensive and you can pick one up for as little as $30 at Sears. This invaluable tool, it should be considered to be as important as a flashlight. Consider it an investment.
Camcorder This is a nice item to have because it can also serve as a source of documentation or as a way to record paranormal activity. Because camcorders differ from one to another you have to pay attention to the features. I recommend a “Sony” camcorder with the “Night Shot” feature. This feature is almost exclusive to Sony camcorders (some Panasonic camcorders have it) and allows you to record in total darkness. These camcorders are available in 5 different formats; 8mm, Hi 8mm, Digital 8, Mini DV, and Micro MV. The least expensive and lowest quality is 8mm and most expensive, highest quality is Digital.
Thermometer There are many ways a spirit can makes itself present. Besides visually another sign that a spirit is present is a drop in the ambient temperature. With your handy dandy thermometer you’ll be able to tell if and when there is a temperature drop and document how often and to what degree. One disadvantage to having a thermometer is that they take a few seconds to stabilize even digital thermometers. How do you avoid this you ask? The answer is “Infrared thermometers”. All you have to do is pull the trigger and this thermometer sends out an infrared beam that gives you an accurate, instant reading. Very nice feature on cold nights.
Gauss Meter It is generally accepted among the ghost hunting community that a spirit causes some sort of change in the basic electromagnetic field. A gauss meter is an instrument that measures this fluctuation in energy and gives you a reading level of electromagnetic energy in “gauss” or “milliguass.” This is also a helpful tool when trying to determine the determine the presence of a spirit.
Batteries It is inevitable that every thing you take into the field will require batteries. I suggest that you take extra batteries with you on all investigations. Batteries have a funny way of being found dead when you need them the most. (Especially when it’s cold outside.) I would recommend using rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. These batteries are a little expensive, but can be recharged and are a necessity in those high drain devices like digital cameras. They also do not have the “memory” problem that rechargeable Nickel Cadmium batteries do.
Power Inverter You have to love this one, because it is a life saver. It is a device that plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car, and converts it into AC; which is what your household outlets are. Now with the use of a battery charger you can plug any equipment that needs to be charged into your inverter and charge your batteries while on the road. Radio Shack makes a (Nickel-Metal Hydride) Ni-MH charger that charges batteries in one hour. This is an ingenious invention that is also available in array of different wattages. Using a 300 watt inverter should meet all your needs, unless you want to plug in a hair dryer. Another feature that most inverters have is a safety feature that turns off the inverter in the event that your car battery voltage drops too low to start the car. I HIGHLY recommend getting one.
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