What is Ghost Hunting?
Ghost hunting is an adventurous hobby or pastime, and sometimes even a career choice. It involves investigating locations that are said to be haunted.
The main objective is to gather evidence and support to the existence of the ghost or ghosts and other paranormal going on’s.
Some people choose to ghost hunt with just a camera and no other devices and do it for the thrill. Others are more serious about the hobby and will use a variety of electronic equipment.
Ghost hunting became increasingly popular with the creation of the TV Programs such as “Ghost Hunters” and “Most Haunted”
It can be a very fun, enjoyable and interesting hobby and we hope this ghost hunting beginners guide gives you enough information to get started.
Check out this video of paranormal sightings.
Ghost hunting history
Ghost hunting, more specifically paranormal investigations, are found to date back to around the 18th century.
I imagine though that ghost hunting has been going on for centuries though and as long as people have believed in the paranormal and spirits.
The hobby increased largely in popularity when the TV series Ghost Hunters and Most haunted aired.
Ghost Hunting Terminology
The Afterlife: The place you go after you die. Life after death.
Anomaly: Something out of the ordinary which can’t be explained.
Apparition: A ghost-like image of a person, an unexpected sight.
Cold Spots: Areas in a location that feel cold, often associated with a spiritual presence.
Ectoplasm: A strange substance that can be emitted by spirits when communicating.
EMF: Electromagnetic Field or Electromagnetic Frequency, EMF fields are used to determine spiritual presence. Measuring the change in electromagnetic fields.
Entity: A spirit or ghost and sometimes even a person.
EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena is the act of capturing voices and sounds from the spirit world.
Exorcism: The spiritual and religious practice of expelling a spirit or demons from a possessed person.
Ghost: A Spirit that wanders our world often after their human shell dies.
Ghost Hunters: A person or people who conduct investigations into the paranormal to try and prove the existence of spirits.
Ghost Lights: Sometimes also known as orbs, strange lights that appear as colourful spheres.
Haunting/Haunted: A location where there appears to be paranormal or spiritual activity.
Medium: A person who acts as a medium between this world and the spirit world, someone who communicates with ghosts.
Orbs: Mostly in the shape of a sphere, a translucent white coloured light, sometimes slightly tinged that appear in photos.
Paranormal: Something that defies scientific explanation, a term often used to describe ghosts, UFO’s and other unexplained things from outside of what we call normal.
Physical Manipulation: When A physical object is moved by a ghost without human interference.
PK: Also known as Telekinesis and Psychokineses
Poltergeist: A mischievous or bad spirit who make a lot of noise and can move things with ease.
Portal: A spiritual doorway through which spirits enter and exit the location.
Possession: When a person, or even inanimate object, is taken over by a ghost and they then control the person or it.
Residual Energy: When an emotional event leaves residue from energy on objects or locations, these hauntings and residue will often repeat a single event over and over again.
Séance: A gathering of a few individuals with the purpose of making contact with the spirit of a deceased loved one or other spirit.
Spirit: A soul of an individual who has passed on to the afterlife but continues to be observed in spirit for in a specific location.
Vortex: The centre of spiritual energy.
Where can I go Ghost Hunting?
The best thing about ghost hunting is there are a vast amount of places you can go as long as you can get permission.
There are also many organisations that arrange trips and outings if you are lazy and don’t want to look for your own ghosts.
Some ideas of places you can go ghost hunting are:
Don’t be fooled by the age of a building either, just because the building is new does not mean that the land does not have a history.
Over time many historic buildings have gained more spirits attached to it, a lot of historic buildings are also open to the public giving you a great first place to start. Lots of historic buildings have had ghost sitings and hauntings. Doing your research and asking members of staff will help you get started.
A great place to start is to visit sites where there have been ghost sitings, there’s already evidence to suggest that there is a paranormal presence. You can use the internet and social media groups to research these sites and if you can find the people who have seen the supernatural, then you can gather more information by talking with them.
Woods and Forests
Over the years forests and woods have been largely associated with the paranormal and many are said to be haunted. I’m not sure why woods and forests have become so popular with ghost sitings. Before heading down to the woods nearby research first, try to look for ancient woods and not new forest land.
There are many reasons why cemeteries are a good place to go ghost hunting before you begin though remember that you should respect where you are don’t go trampling on peoples graves.
It has been said that spirits are drawn to their former bodies and that cemeteries can be portals to the other side.
Organised events are the perfect place to start ghost hunting and to get a feel for whether you will pursue this hobby more seriously. The research has been done for you and you already have permission. It’s a great place to meet like-minded individuals and pick up some advice.
Ghost hunting location research
Once you are decided upon your location its time to use Google and other literature to do some more in-depth research.
This research will help you figure out if you will first need permission from the proprietor if you’ll need a ghost hunting team and what equipment you will need to take on your trip.
You can perform Google searches, visit your library, talk to the locals nearby the haunted location, and speak to other people who have been to the place that is reported as haunted.
Another great way of researching is in newspaper archives.
Planning is very important at this stage, you’ll need to know what times the ghosts were seen, Where the ghosts were spotted, the history of the location and more.
All of this information will lower the chance of you having a wasted hunt!
The research stage of ghost hunting can be just as exciting as the actual hunt, it builds anticipation and can be very educational.
Before you go ghost hunting
Ghost hunting safety
Before you venture out on your first ghost hunting trip you will need to know a little more about the dangers and safety measures to prevent them. The last thing we want is for you to harm yourselves.
So here are a few ghost hunting safety tips to ensure you are prepared for what lies ahead.
Visit the location in the light
Your ghost hunting should take place at night, however, you should plan a visit beforehand in the light. This will allow you to check the property or location so you can plan an emergency exit should you need to, check for damage and other potential risks and hazards.
Go with friends or a team
Going ghost hunting alone is a bad idea, having a team or some friends with you will help keep you safe in case of an emergency.
Take a safety kit
I’ve listed the components of this ghost hunting safety kit in the next section. Having this kit with you at all times will protect you in case of an emergency.
Ghost Hunting Equipment
The equipment you use depends entirely on how serious you want your ghost hunting hobby to become.
The best thing about ghost hunting for me is it’s a great pastime for all budgets. It’s a good idea to first have a few outings with a minimal amount of ghost hunting equipment so you can decide whether the hobby is for you before spending money on the more serious tools.
Here’s a quick list of the equipment you will need and some extras should your ghost hunting hobby budget allow you to.
What you will need for Ghost hunting (Checklist)
Ghost hunting safety kit (mandatory)
The ghost hunting safety kit is made up of a few components.
I believe safety is very important when hunting and this kit could potentially save your life or at the very least save you from injury.
First get yourself a backpack and put in a first aid kit, food and water, a mobile phone, extra layers of clothing, rope and some spare batteries for your flashlight. If you are on any kind of medication or suffer from asthma ensure you take what you need with you.
You will definitely need a flashlight, this is paramount for your safety.
When ghost hunting you will be in dark places, which could be part derelict, this means you can’t see trip hazards and potential danger. You can get great LED torches and flashlights now at a very small cost.
Make sure you also have some backup batteries, buy rechargeable batteries this will save you money in the long run!
Check out this rechargeable tactical flashlight (Check price on Amazon)
Paper & Pen (Mandatory)
Some paper and a pen or preferably a notebook or journal dedicated to recording your experiences as and when they happen.
Some people also try a technique called automatic writing when they are out ghost hunting. You can see more about the automatic writing technique and how you can do it here.
A Camera (Mandatory)
If you can’t afford to have a professional camera then the one on your phone device will suffice. That being said anyone who wants to take the hobby more seriously will want to have a range of different cameras.
With digital editing and manipulation available it’s hard to even have a picture as proof these days.
It is believed by many that when you are in the presence of ghosts or other paranormal entities that the temperature will drop and be rather cold.
A good digital thermometer will allow you to test temperatures of locations and areas helping you find the cold spots.
EMF device (optional)
EMF detectors measure the change in electromagnetic fields and it is widely believed that ghosts and the spirit world will alter the electromagnetic field surrounding you while in their presence.
You can’t rely solely on an EMF device as proof but it’s a great bit of kit to have in your ghost hunting arsenal and will allow you to take the hobby to another level.
Check out the Ghost Augustine K2 EMF Meter. Great reviews, simple for beginners to use and most importantly it works fantastic!
Audio Recorder (optional)
EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena and is a standard process that ghost hunters use when out ghost hunting, the goal is to capture audio with paranormal sounds or even voices.
Again depending on your budget will depend on what kind of audio equipment you purchase. A digital recorder or cassette recorder will suffice, but you can go as far as high tech equipment with external microphones if you want to take the hobby more seriously.
You can pick digital audio recorders up for a great price!
Your first ghost hunting trip
So you’ve got your equipment, you’ve done your research and you have your location and permission. What do you do now?
Before anything, you should have visited the site in the daylight and planned your safety regime. This is very important.
If you are going at night and won’t be getting back until late then make sure you are well rested and if possible have a nap before, this will make sure you are alert and ready for what lies ahead.
Pack your equipment and check that you have everything needed, check it twice!
When arriving at your location you should check your digital equipment and turn on the time and date stamp on both your video recorder and your photo equipment this will make analysing your findings much simpler.
Before entering some people like to say a little prayer as a form of protection to stop spirits from attaching themselves to you or your equipment.
Pre Investigation Prayer
Heavenly Father, God of the Universe,
We all come to you in prayer tonight for our protection.
Please protect our bodies, souls, equipment, and all personal possessions from any harm.
We ask that You send your angels to guard us against all evil and malevolent spirits and protect us with Your white light.
We give permission to Your Angels to intervene for us on our behalf.
We pray that You allow the spirits to show themselves to us and allow us to obtain evidence of their existence.
Lord, let our endeavours tonight, not be in vain.
Please allow us to have a safe and eventful investigation tonight.
We pray that no spirit or ghost, of evil will or intention, be allowed to attach themselves to any of us or our belongings and that they not be allowed to follow us to our homes or enter therein.
We pray Lord that You also protect all of our fellow paranormal investigators from any harm tonight and allow us all a safe journey to our homes.
We pray these things in the name of the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Your first ghost hunting trip continued…
You’re now ready to enter the location with the team and your equipment!
Once you are inside don’t get excited and go running around, make a plan and visit each room. While you are in each room thoroughly investigate and take lots of pictures, video and recordings.
Ask politely if anyone is there and to give you a sign of their presence. Talk to the spirit world like you would talk to a friend, be polite and friendly.
If you have more advanced equipment like EMF readers then be sure to make use of them and record the meter readings in each area of the location you visit.
Make a note of anything that could interfere with the EMF reader, anything electrical. Things like sockets, lights and switches can all cause shifts in the EMF.
For the purpose of photography and video, you should also look for objects that may cause a reflection or glare. You may want to cover shiny surfaces where possible to avoid any reflections in pictures or video which could interfere with your investigation.
Follow your gut feelings while in the house and try to clear your mind as much as possible, take pictures even in places you aren’t looking directly at, point the camera wherever you feel the need to.
Continue your ghost hunt throughout the whole of the location covering every accessible area if somewhere is too dangerous to get to which may pose a risk to your safety and cause injury then do not attempt to enter.
Have respect for the location and leave it exactly as you found it.
When your paranormal investigation has concluded you should gather together and say another prayer of protection.
Concluding the investigation Prayer
In the name of Jesus Christ, I command all spirits to not follow any of us home or attempt to bind to us personally.
God bless you and may you find peace and love in the Lord and in the afterlife and be free to move on to the next plane of existence as God wills.
I hereby command all demons and inhuman spirits to go where Jesus Christ tells you to go, for it is he who commands you.
Beginners Ghost Hunting Tips
- Don’t go ghost hunting alone, you should take a friend or go with a group it’s always good to have extra ears and eyes and to confirm any sightings. It’s paramount for your safety too!
- Research, get permission and do not trespass. You should carry some form of identification with you and if you can a letter granting you permission.
- Talk to the ghosts as you would talk to a living person. Be polite, ask questions, ask for their permission to take photographs and video, remember before you leave to thank them and say goodbye.
- Be respectful not only to the location owner by leaving the location as you found it but also to the spirits. Don’t charge in running around and being loud disrupting their home.
- Prayers and Wards some people like to say a prayer of protection before entering the location, others also where religious wards and protection.
- Take lots of pictures and video footage, whenever you feel like it. If your gut tells you to take a photo in a certain direction then do so, take pictures in places that you aren’t even looking in. The more pictures and video the better. Also, make sure you have your spare batteries and you have plenty of storage space on your device.
Analysing your ghost hunt investigation data
Once you’ve been on your ghost hunting trip and recorded your data and evidence it’s time to analyse.
You should have at this point media like photographs, video, audio and perhaps even wrote some notes.
Firstly you will want to find a quiet place away from distractions, layout your evidence and findings in front of you and take your time to review everything and if you can grab a friend to help or even one of the ghost hunting team who went with you that will help a lot. Two sets of eyes are better than one!
You will want to transfer any digital media to your PC or laptop and if you have had film photos printed then organise these in front of you.
For analysing photos you will need a graphics program installed. A good free graphics program is Gimp.
You can use the zoom magnifying feature to zoom right in on your photos and the manipulation features to adjust and fine-tune brightness, contrast, saturation and more.
Be sure to examine each part of every photo as you never know where orbs or anomalies will show up.
Video footage will be the hardest part to examine and can be very tiring and hard on your eyes. It’s better to analyse the video footage in shorter sessions.
If you see anything out of the ordinary jot down the time so you can easily return to double check with fresh eyes.
To edit and view video footage you can use AVS video editor it’s completely free. This program will also allow you to cut snippets from the full video file an save separately.
To begin with, you will need the software for editing and listening to your digital audio. Audacity is one of the best free audio editors and analysers available.
At this point, you’re going to want to plug your headphones in, preferably ones that block out any background noise allowing you to hear any suspected EVP’s. Again if you hear anything out of the ordinary, jot down the time of the audio.
With audacity it allows you to cut sections from the big audio file, it will also allow you to finetune by removing background noise and can enhance audio.
Cross Checking Your Media
If you think you have found something then it’s time to cross check the other media.
So for example perhaps you think you heard an EVP on your audio file, you noted the time, so now skip to the same time on the video and re-analyse to check to see if there is anything out of the ordinary on the video footage.
If you have a photo of something, then again you can skip to the same time in the video or in the audio.
Tip – Always ensure you have time and date stamps switched on in your camera and video camera before going on a hunt.
Analysing the media data is the longest and hardest part of ghost hunting, it can be very tiring. Don’t rush and if you start to feel too tired come back to it another day, you don’t want to run the risk of missing anything because you are fatigued and tired.
Create a folder on your computer with the time, date and location of each ghost hunt so you can revisit your evidence.
Ghost Hunting Summary
Ghost hunting can be exciting and educational not to mention exciting in a terrifying way! Always remember to stay safe don’t take silly risks and plan your outings. I would love to hear from you all, ghost stories, sightings or maybe you have some advice for our beginners. Be sure to leave a comment and happy ghost hunting!
Ghost Hunting FAQ
Is Ghost Hunting Safe?
Generally speaking yes it is safe, your biggest risk is injuring yourself in the dark. As long as you are responsible and you use your common sense and the safety tips I’ve listed above you should be very safe. Don’t go ghost hunting if you have heart conditions or such like!
Are Ghosts Actually Real?
Isn’t that the whole point of this hobby and why you are interested? To prove that they are!
There have been millions of sitings and many unexplained videos and photo evidence it’s hard to believe that there isn’t such thing as ghosts. This question will always be debated. I believe!
Where can I go ghost hunting near me?
You can go to many places as long as you have permission to be there, use your imagination, old buildings, previous sitings, historic places etc you can even go on an organised ghost hunt with other like-minded people. To find a ghost hunt near you, go to Google and type “Ghost hunt” followed by “your locality”