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A how-to guide for ghost hunting

On October 24, 2013

Ghosts—and paranormal phenomena in general—have gained so much popularity in the last decade that they’ve become practically mainstream. Ever since the notion of a scientific approach to paranormal investigation was put into practice, the belief in ghosts finally became something that could be proven… or disproven. Ghost hunting does not have to be expensive, either. Anyone can be a ghost hunter; all it takes is patience, passion and an earnest fascination with the unknown. Below is the basic information to get you started on your first ghost hunt.

EQUIPMENT
In order to successfully become an investigator, it is necessary to obtain the proper equipment. All of these items can be found online. Amazon.com is a good place to start.

1. EMF Meter (also known as a K-II meter)
A K-II meter is a device intended to detect electromagnetic activity. For the purpose of ghost hunting, electromagnetic activity can indicate the presence of a spirit. The belief is that when a spirit is attempting to manifest (take form), to communicate with the living through speech or physical contact, it emits an electromagnetic surge. The reason for this is that when the physical body dies, all that remains is energy. This energy is what some people think of as a soul.

2. Digital or Analog Voice Recorder
A recording device is necessary to capture Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). EVPs occur when a disembodied voice is captured by a recording device. Most of the time, these voices cannot be heard by the human ear at the time of the recording, but can be heard when the audio is played back at a later time.

3. Camera
A camera is the most basic piece of equipment a ghost hunter will use. Photographs will often capture anomalies that the human eye cannot see. Any camera can be used for this purpose, though different cameras will have different results. During a hunt, you should take pictures liberally. You never know when you might capture something unusual.

4. Video Camera/Night Vision Camera
Since paranormal investigations take place in the dark, a night vision camera is essential for documenting an investigation in an effort to capture video anomalies. You can also use a regular camera, but it must have an adequate light source. In general, the built-in light in video cameras is not sufficient.
5. Laser Grid
A laser grid emits multiple beams in a geometric pattern that can cover entire rooms or large outdoor areas. If a disembodied spirit moves through such a grid, it will disrupt the beams in a manner that can reveal the ghosts size and shape.

6. Infrared Thermometer
A thermometer is good for the detection of cold spots. Abnormal cold spots are often associated with the presence of the dead. Be sure to rule out possible drafts that may occur near windows and doors.

TIPS
What follows are some guidelines for a successful investigation.

1. Before an investigation, sweep the area with your K-II meter in order to identify areas that give off a consistent electromagnetic pulse, such as power boxes, conduits or electronic equipment.

2. Bring extra batteries. Ghosts have a tendency to feed off various power sources. A particularly active area can drain your batteries in a matter of seconds.

3. Log everything! Keep a record of all paranormal activity for later reference. If possible, capture everything on video as well.

4. The best time to perform an investigation is between midnight and 3 a.m. This period, known as “dead hour,” is when the ghosts are statistically most active.

5. During an EVP session, keep very silent and still. Wait 10-15 seconds after asking a question to allow time for a possible response. Ask questions that reveal something about the spirit, such as its name, age, and any message they may want to deliver to the living. If research is done prior to the hunt, you will likely have many more questions to ask. It is also good practice to ask a spirit to make a noise to indicate they are present.

6. When using a K-II meter, ask a spirit to approach the meter or touch it. Using the K-II meter in conjunction with a digital recorder is a good idea. Whenever you use the K-II, be sure to record video of the session as well.

7. Some hunters choose to provoke spirits who do not want to communicate. While this method is effective, understand that you do it at your own risk.

8. Remember that there are two main types of haunting: Residual and intelligent. Residual hauntings are like echoes of an event that replay themselves like a broken record—there are no actual ghosts present. An intelligent haunting is an active spirit of a once living person that may or may not wish to communicate. Other types of spirits are shadow people, poltergeists and demons (non-human entities.) The ability to identify the type of spirit encountered is integral to a successful investigation.

9. Take photographs liberally. If you are using a digital camera and you photograph an anomaly, continue taking pictures in the same area, as fast as you can. You may be witnessing a manifestation.

These are just some suggestions to get you started. The best way to learn ghost hunting, like anything else, is by doing. Remember: have fun and be careful.

Geoffrey Foster can be contacted at foster147@marshall.edu.

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