Chapter 5: Equipment
Earlier, I mentioned that there are many devices available today that make ghost hunting easier. There are the basics such as tape recorders, camcorders, cameras and so forth. However, there are many other items that can prove to be quite useful. For openers, a digital camera is a good thing to have. On some of the simpler models, you can download the pictures on your PC. This can save you a considerable amount of money in developing expenses. There are more expensive digital cameras that let you see what you will be taking a picture of. For example, if there is an orb floating around, the camera will show that to you before you shoot. This provides instant gratification. In addition to that, the pictures can be stored on a disk making life much easier. These cameras are expensive but it will prove to be an invaluable tool. It never hurts to have a Polaroid instant camera with you, especially if you cannot afford the fancy digital ones.
Today, there is a variety of night vision related items available that are more than useful. There are camcorders with night shot so that with the aid of an inexpensive illuminator, you can film in complete dark. Amazingly, these are not terribly expensive. Night vision scopes are also very handy items. Much of the time spent on an investigation is in the dark. Having one of these gives you a good chance of seeing something that may only be comfortable moving around in the dark. Seeing the problem can save you a tremendous amount of time.
A basic and inexpensive item that is a must is a digital thermometer. It is best to get an indoor/outdoor model. Should you notice a remarkable change in room temperature on an investigation, you want to make sure that the outside temperature has not changed drastically. There are some nice non-contact thermometers available today.
One favorite of ghost hunters is the Gauss meter or EMF meter. EMF stands for electromagnetic energy field. What is a fairly accepted belief in the industry is that when spirits manifest in some form, there are usually unusual spikes in the electromagnetic energy fields in the area. Having a meter that can show this is valuable because it can alert you to the possible manifestation of a spirit. If your meter goes off, you might want to get your camera or camcorder ready.
There are many models available today. Some are inexpensive, some are hi tech and expensive. There really is no advantage to purchasing an expensive electro magnetometer. More inexpensive models function quite well for the purposes of ghost hunting. The key to using them is to record baseline readings in the location you will be working in. There are many causes of electromagnetic energy such as TV’s, computers, fluorescent lights and microwave ovens. (These give off high readings even when they are not in use.) There is no single, specific number to look for. In other words, a reading of 5 milligauss does not indicate the presence of a spirit. A reading of 10 milligauss does not indicate a spirit more powerful than one that registers 7 milligauss. (At least none have been determined yet. Studies of correlations between an entity’s strength and the energy readings associated with it are in the infancy stage. I am not aware of any published research in this area although I am doing studies of this type myself. The problem is that EMF research has been geared towards the belief that haunting phenomena is a result of high energy readings produced by a person. This is the theory of RSPK. Since parapsychologists for the most part do not regard an external entity as the source of haunting phenomena, no one has really done extensive research into the correlation between high energy levels and spiritual manifestations.) The point is that EMF levels will vary from one location to another and you must establish what the “normal” reading for a location is before you can attempt to determine whether anything preternatural or supernatural is going on.
Geiger counters and radiological survey meters are often used during investigations although they have not proven to be as useful as the EMF meters. Since beta and gamma radiation levels are not normally present in a natural environment, you should get baseline readings near zero. Spirits do not give off radiation either; if they did I would be pretty bright at night. However, my belief is that when there are strong enough anomalies taking place in the environment, these machines are “tricked” into giving off false readings. That alone can make them useful but they tend to be expensive. Their value may not justify the price of one for simple ghost hunting purposes.
Remote viewing or listening monitors are a good thing to have since they allow you to monitor activity in a room without coverage. Walkie talkies are a must if you will be working apart from other investigators. Motion detectors come in handy and you can buy portable ones inexpensively. They can alert you to movement in an uncovered area. More expensive models can be hooked into camcorders. That is great because once the motion detector is tripped, the camcorder will begin recording. That saves you hours of viewing time when the investigation is over. Having to watch hours of tape of a blank wall can drive you insane. In my case, that is not that far a drive.
The point is that there are many items that you may find useful. The list can get fairly long. However, for the average ghost hunter, you need not spend exorbitant amounts of money. For those who love and can afford gadgets, there are plenty of items.