the ghost hunter's tool kit

Presented by Troy Taylor, Author of the GHOST HUNTER'S GUIDEBOOK and President of the American Ghost Society

Click Here for More Information about the Essential Guide to Ghost Research! 


Many of the items that are going to be mentioned and discussed below are featured in greater detail in Troy Taylor's Ghost Hunter's Guidebook, especially the electronic devices. This section of the handbook features usage directions and special hints and tips for all of the models. For information on how to purchase EMF detection meters, thermal scanners and other devices used in ghost hunting, see our Ghost Detector Shop.

The ghost hunter of today can be more prepared than ever with a wide array of affordable devices that have been adapted for use in paranormal research. The items that we will be discussing here are not the most complex or the most sensitive that exist, but they do fall into the range of devices that are affordable to the average person. The items in this "essential tool kit" can be purchased by anyone but all equipment takes practice and knowledge about how to use them. Never (and I can't stress this enough) go out on an investigation if you do not know how to properly use your equipment!
Also, don't ignore the basic items on this list in an attempt to get more technical. Ghosts hunters operated for many years, and got good results, using nothing more than basic items, good instincts and a camera.

Here are some things that you should never be without while conducting an investigation. You never know when they might be needed and many will compliment other items that we will soon discuss. I also recommend buying a large tool bag to carry everything in. Here are some of the basic items:

1. Notebook and pen (recording notes)
2. Extra Batteries (you never know when they might fail)
3. Flashlight (does this need an explanation?)
4. Measuring tape (checking distances and witness accounts)
5. Extra films and recording tapes (might be essential)
6. Small tool kit (some electronic devices need screwdrivers to change batteries)
7. Camera ( I recommend a good 35 mm)
8. Sketch Pad & Colored Pencils (diagrams)
9. Motion Detectors (infrared sensors)
10. Video Camera
11. Recording Devices

This is the most common device used by ghost hunters today and is considered to be the most reliable. Electronic devices have been adapted to ghost hunting as a way to give confirmation of our instincts in the field. Researchers believe that ghosts, and paranormal energy, are electro-magnetic in origin. The energy that a ghost gives off, whether it be a conscious spirit or a residual image, causes a disruption in a location's magnetic field and thus, becomes detectable using measuring devices.
Now, we should also add that the equipment can also be influenced by things that aren't supernatural. You have to learn what the readings on the equipment mean and which readings are caused by natural sources.... and which are the real thing. It takes practice to use these devices and I stress again.... never go out on an investigation of you don't know how to use and read your equipment properly!
The Ghost Hunter's Guidebook features a complete section on the use of EMF detection equipment (as well as other forms of equipment) and also has a detailed section of instructions on how to use various meters. 

When recommending equipment to any ghost hunter, I always suggest the inclusion of a temperature sensing device in their research tool kit. For a number of years, I have suggested the use of Infrared Non-Contact Thermometers for tracking down paranormal presences. These meters take instant temperature readings form a location and detect any changes that might be sudden or extreme. To state it simply, they pick up “cold spots” (unexplained temperature variances) that are believed to signal that a ghost is present. It is thought that a ghost uses the energy in a particular spot to manifest itself and by doing so, creates a cold mass.

The measuring of temperature is essential to any investigation and I always include a device like an IR Thermometer as an important tool for researcher to utilize. Through experimentation and further research though, some problems have arisen that seem to show that IR Probes, while still useful, might best be served as back-up tool for measuring temperature changes rather than as the main piece of equipment.

IR Thermometers are an excellent tool and they are very accurate when used as intended. The devices were designed so that they can measure the surface temperature of an object. The problem comes however, when they are used to try and measure the ambient temperature of a location. Many ghost hunters (myself included) have been guilty of trying to do this, believing that the devices could sample the air temperature. I believed that the infrared beam of the device, because of its optic spread, could give me an accurate reading but I have since learned this was incorrect. 

The type of temperatures that we are looking for changes in during an investigation is the ambient (surrounding area) temperature of the location and this is one of the most important areas to monitor. Because of this, we may be wasting a lot of our time with unnecessary work caused by the use of IR probes.

Ambient temperature (which cannot be picked up with an IR Thermometer) is basically the temperature of the surrounding air. We are aware of this in our daily lives, from the heat or cold outside and even from the weather forecast on the evening news. When a witness or researcher speaks of feeling a “cold spot” in a reportedly haunted place, it is in the ambient temperature of the location. This is where we need to focus our efforts when looking for temperature changes and abnormalities.

The best device to measure rapid changes in the ambient temperature is a thermocouple based temperature measurement device. These devices are affordable and can be purchased from many electronic supply companies. Most of them have a measuring unit of less than three centimeters, which is capable of measuring the rapid changes to the temperature needed when looking for cold spots. It is also feasible that a moving cold spot could be tracked with such a tool since it can react so quickly.

In the Ghost Hunter's Guidebook, I offer detailed instructions on how best to use a thermocouple unit.

So should we stop using our IR thermal probe meter? No, definitely not… while I have come to believe that a thermocouple device can offer more legitimate readings from within a more confined space, I also do not believe that this type of meter makes the IR Thermometer obsolete. When an IR Thermometer is used in conjunction with a thermocouple unit, it can actually compliment your investigation, rather than be the focus of it. When both devices are used together, it can offer some very compelling evidence. If a thermocouple unit picks up a strong temperature drop in the ambient temperature, the IR Thermometer could be used to track the location and the degree of the temperature drop. When offered together, you now have two different devices that have measured the same drop in temperature. This would be significant data and it would be very difficult to discount by anyone trying to debunk your investigation.

I have also included a couple of devices that have been around for many years. Now, I cannot guarantee the validity of these devices but I have gathered information from other ghost hunters who claim to have used them to some success.

Compass: For those who cannot afford the electronic devices, the compass can be purchased in any sporting goods department in your area. It is believed that carrying one of these devices into a haunted location will direct you to the ghost or energy field and then spin while the field is present.

Dowsing Rods: Here is another device that has been around for many years and is used to detect underground water sources. No one knows how it works, but it does. Dowsing rods are usually constructed of brass and are bent into an L-shape. By holding them loosely in each hand, they can point the way towards water. Genealogists also use them to discover unmarked graves in cemeteries and they have also been used to determine the sex of an unborn baby.
In ghost hunting, the short ends of the rods are held loosely in each hand and they are said to sway in the direction of an energy field, pointing the way to it. When the ghost is discovered, they are said to cross.

This is not the end of the equipment, or the electronic devices that you can buy either. I will suggest a few more that you might consider adding to your list as finances allow. For those who are electronically-inclined, you might consider building some of your own equipment.
Here are some other things that you might consider investing in:

1. Motion Sensor Devices (good for securing active locations from interference)
2. Ion Detector (expensive, but nice detection device)
3. Geiger Counter (also picks up anomalous activity)


Copyright 2004 by Troy Taylor, All Rights Reserved

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