Thursday, February 10, 2011

Supernatural Friday

So you are fascinated by ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night? You always wanted to hunt ghosts, track Big Foot, or spy the Loch Ness monster. Maybe becoming a paranormal investigator is just the thing for you. I don't encourage amateurs without any training at all to conduct paranormal investigating though. You need some idea of what you are doing before you go off into that graveyard or haunted building. I do recommend you contact an established organization near you and join them on a hunt/investigation or get some on the job training, so to speak. If you do some investigating on your own, don’t do it alone for your own safety. One good reason you never do it alone is you may get hurt. Another is the slim chance the spirit may be a harmful one—like of demonic origin. In my opinion, whatever religion you are, utter a prayer of protection before you start any investigation.First of all, no one is born a "paranormal investigator”. All it takes to getinvolved in the field of ghost hunting is to:
1.) Have an interest in the afterlife.
2.) Believe in ghosts—without it, you're wasting your time. Though there are skeptics that are doing this too, to disprove the supernatural. And that is all right, too.
3.) Find a place you wish to investigate.
4.) Invest in some equipment. At a minimum, a respectable paranormal investigator needs a camera, a notebook, a tape recording device, and a flashlight. More experienced paranormal investigators invest in EMF detectors or meters which pick up disturbances in electric and magnetic fields. You can find many of the things needed at places online like the Ghost Hunter Store ( You can also find much of these things at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Radio Shack, etc…
5.) Spend time practicing HOW TO use your tools. Like any job, it is always best to know how to use them properly.
6.) Read everything you can on ghosts, poltergeists, UFO sightings, and any other kind of paranormal activity. Study the investigations of these phenomena to get a sense of how paranormal investigators approach their work. Learn the lingo and the different types of paranormal activity that may be encountered in an investigation. There are some good books on ghost research and investigation out there.
7.) Join a local paranormal investigation group. Check out online sites like at, MySpace, and even for information on groups in your area. If there are no groups in your area, consider attending a paranormal conference out of town or even starting your own group. I know of one being planned to be held in Virginia Beach area in 2011. You can find paranormal conferences by using
8.) Take a class. Many organizations now offer courses in paranormal investigation, like Flamel College (, the International Ghost Hunters Society (, and of course, organizations in your own locality.

GHOST HUNT - going to a place were there have been no sightings of ghosts and trying to catch some on film (video and photos), sounds, eyewitness, etc. . . (graveyards are the number one place to start, churches, schools and older buildings too).

GHOST INVESTIGATION - going to a known haunted place to record data (video, photos, audio, and temperatures), take notes, conduct interviews and get other evidence to prove/disprove the haunting and to assist the owners and the spirits in moving on and leaving the place if they want that. The assistance can be either you directly assisting the owner with the situation or putting them in contact with experienced groups or individuals that will try to resolve the situation. Your assistance can be something as simple as educating them on what is going on and their options.

There are generally 2 types of spirits you may encounter. One was a human at one time and it has remained on this level for some reason. The spirit may not know he/she is dead, and may be held here by unfinished business, guilt, and many other reasons. These spirits are like the person was when they were alive, so they can be good or bad, just like the living, but not normally dangerous. This human spirit is the type you will encounter 95% of the time. You could also witness a residual haunting which is just a playback of a past event. This is just like watching a video from the past playing over and over. The other types of spirit you may encounter were never human to begin with and are generally bad news. You must be aware of this type but not be obsessed with them. The chances that you will encounter them in a regular ghost hunt are slim. Just always be aware, protect yourself, and you should have no problem.

General Tips

Verify location, accessibility, safety, and related issues in daylight so you are familiar with the area. Look for dangerous places and obstacles that you will not be able to see in the dark, like parking, paths, and hazards.

Wear suitable clothing, including sturdy footwear. Don’t eat a heavy meal immediately before ghost hunting, but don’t ghost hunting hungry, either. Do not drink alcohol or use drugs before or during an investigation.

Never go alone. This is just common sense. If you get hurt, who will get help?

Look for no trespassing signs. Make sure you are not trespassing. If you are on private property you are risking getting a ticket or arrested in some areas. You should get permission from any owner or caretaker. Notify the local Police so that they will be aware of your presence to take pictures and such. Provide photo ID if the police ask. If you are asked to leave, do so immediately, even if the property is not posted, for you won’t win this argument and you make other investigators look bad if you make a scene.

Make sure you bring you ID (A driver’s license, etc.), so if you are questioned by the police you can prove who you are.

If you become unreasonably frightened, leave. Always follow your gut instinct if you are prompted to leave. But remember, you have more to fear from the living than from the dead. There is not that much demonic activity, no matter what the movies say. Most hauntings are of the normal variety. Haunted sites are often isolated. That makes these sites attractive to people engaged in illegal activities. Use caution and common sense.

The best times are from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. These are the psychic hours, but anytime can produce results. I have gotten pictures during the daytime and recordings the same time, too. I have seen a solid (spirit solid as a living person) in a famously haunted historic house in San Diego after lunch time, so ghosts are not tied to night hours. My opinion, nighttime is good? There are not living people out doing things, no vehicle sounds, etc.. This way, you hear something or get an EVP, you know there was no one outside the building you were investigating.
Find out all you can about the history of the locale you are investigating. Check out newspapers, town historians, the World Wide Web, and books can be helpful finding folklore or hard facts about the site. There are so many books and web pages that deal with this type of information. Even online sites of local television news can have information.

Equipment for Paranormal Investigations

35mm Camera—nothing fancy, with at least 400 speed film. 800 speed film is also good at night, but you'll have to test your cameras flash strength to see which speed works best for you. Even those single use 35mm cameras have gotten good results. If you are more experienced photographer you may want to try infrared film. When you develop them you don't need to go to a camera shop, a local drug store or department store is fine. Let them know you want all the pictures developed so that you get the pictures that they might think are bad ones. These "bad ones" are normally your best ectoplasm mist photos.

Digital Camera—regardless of what you've heard, digital cameras are great tools for ghost researchers. Once upon a time they had their limitations and problems, but no longer is the case. Not only do they allow you to see instantly if you have a positive photo, they can also take photos in limited infrared range of light.

Flashlight / plenty of spare batteries—a common sense item. Remember to bring plenty of spare batteries for everything. Due to spirit activity, batteries often run down very fast and you don't want to miss anything because of dead batteries. I recommend using a red lens flash light to help preserve your night vision. But it's always a good idea to have a red light flashlight and a white light one in case of emergencies.

First aid kit—It's very easy to trip in the dark and get cut. Even if investigating during the daylight, you can accidentally get hurt. This is one reason you should never do an investigation by yourself, but do it in twos at the very least.

Notebook w/ pens and pencils—You need to write and log in everything that happens. If you don't, then you really don't have much research information. An example of this is one investigator gets an EMF reading that's high and doesn’t write it down. Another investigator takes a picture of the same area, but is not aware of the reading and gets an anomalous image. Without that EMF reading the picture may be good evidence, but with a report noting the reading, the picture greatly increases in evidence value. Many investigators use a pocket tape recorder instead and that’s fine; just make sure you have spare batteries and tapes.

Jackets or weather appropriate clothing—If you are cold, you are not at your best, and your observation skill could suffer.

Watch—to log in the times of the events, along with your arrival and departure.

Video camera (optional tripod)—Video cameras can be an important instrument for an investigation. Unlike still cameras, they provide us with constant visual and audio surveillance for review and observation. The video cameras many investigators use are equipped with infrared capability and so use that mode most often. With video any phenomena occurring can be documented in its entirety. This will show the length of time the phenomena occurs, what is happening, the conditions surrounding the phenomena, and possibly even the cause of the phenomena. The Sony line of camcorders has an infrared night shot feature that enables you to video tape in complete darkness and see beyond what the human eye can see. You can use these on tripods or walk around with them. You should also invest in an infrared light extender which will help your camera see in the darkest places and make the quality of the video better. An example:

Tape recorder w/ external microphone and high grade tapes—recorders or digital voice recorders are with out a doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment that you should have in you investigators toolbox. Audio recorders are used for many different purposes throughout an investigation. Recorders are used for interviews, spontaneous thoughts, your notes, and electronic voice phenomena (EVP). You have to use an external microphone when recording EVPs (ghost voices). If you rely on the internal microphone you will also be recording the internal gears and motors and this will make your tape worthless. Any sound you hear on the tape could not be used as evidence because of this, so use the external mic, they are pretty inexpensive. The type of tape investigators most often recommended are high bias tapes or metal tapes.

Digital audio recorders—this recorder is small and easy to carry and can be purchased at an electronics store like Radio Shack or even online at Amazon or other online retailers that sells electronics. You can also use the voice activation feature making less audio to review. This can be useful for note taking as well. Most units record the time of the recording as well which is very useful. When using audio recorders be sure to state the location, time of investigation, and the investigators’ names. When recording names of each investigator it would be wise to have each individual present state their own names, which will make it easier for distinction amongst voices heard on the tape during review. Voice activation mode should be deactivated on tape recorders during use when electronic voice phenomena are trying to be achieved due to the fact that it usually cuts off beginnings of words, sentences, and phrases. This is not necessary with digital recorders and they actual seem to work better in voice activation mode. Your digital recorder should have come with software and a USB cord to do this process quite easily. Once the recordings are on your computer, downloading a free or inexpensive audio editor should do the trick for analyzing and editing your files. Audacity is a good one:

EMF Detector—Electromagnetic Field Detector, also known as an EMF, is the modern day ghost researcher's tracking device, a very important piece of equipment. With this instrument it is possible to locate and track energy sources. It will detect fluctuations in electromagnetic fields and low strength moving EMF fields that have no source. It is a common theory that spirits disrupt this field in such a way that you can tell one is present by higher than normal readings with this meter. Before using the EMF as a ghost research tool on an investigation be sure to walk around the area and take initial readings around energy sources such as light poles or electrical outlets to be sure of the readings you receive while scanning the area during the investigation. Most units when purchased come with a manual describing most household and major appliances and their corresponding electromagnetic reading. When using the EMF as a tracking device look for fluctuations of 2.0 to 7.0, this usually indicates spirit presence. Anything higher or lower is normally has a natural source.

Cellular phone—if you have one it can come in handy in case of an emergency. But also remember, sometimes they won’t work in a haunted area. Step across the street and the phone is usually fine again.

A Compass—it's a useful instrument to an investigator due to its compact size and low cost price. When this is used on an investigation this can indicate spirit presence when the needle cannot come to a precise heading or spins/moves erratically. This works on the same principle as an EMF meter.

Candles & matches—batteries often run low during investigations so you may run out of them and still need a light source. Another good idea is a camping lantern that runs on lamp oil. Be careful using the candles around motion detectors, they will set them off.

Motion Detectors—these can be used to sense movements by often unseen forces or spirits. You can get battery operated ones for about twenty dollars and they are great for inside, but there are investigators who say they have used them successfully outdoors as well, just watch the placement. You don't want a tree branch setting it off.

Thermometer or Thermal Scanner—thermometers are instruments that are also very useful. There are two types used: regular digital thermometers and infrared non contact thermometers. When one is used on an investigation, it can make a system for detecting spirit presence. Rapid temperature drop of 10 degrees of more could indicate spirit presence. It is recommended to use the infrared non contact thermometers because they react in less than a second to a temperature drop and you can scan a large area quickly.

Thermal Imaging Cameras— Objects that emit heat are emitting energy. This energy can be classified as infrared energy. Thermal cameras can be used to capture this energy. Once captured, the computer and software parts of the cameras read the infrared signals coming in and translate them into an image that we can easily see. The best part about this technology is that there is no need for sunlight or artificial light to receive a quality image. In fact, Thermal Imaging cameras work just fine in the dark. Because these cameras use the heat emitted from an object to produce images, there is no need for external light.

First, there are very high-tech, rather expensive cameras that can do pretty much anything. These cameras, like the IR 996, can store digital images, allow audio recordings, and measure temperature with incredible accuracy. Another camera (called the Pan/Tilt 5000M) has a mounting feature, allowing for easy placement to observe the surrounding area. There is a camera equipped for military operation. This camera has an infrared scope that can be fitted to a gun. Other cameras are small and more portable. These cameras capture thermal images with amazing quality and can read temperature – all this in a smaller and more convenient size. There are also cameras made for those looking for a more affordable option like the Thermal Engine Camera. They even have made the T-7 Binocular, a binocular shaped piece that gives the same great thermal imaging performance.
Of course, there are lots more to choose from, but knowing these basic types should help you along.

Hand Held Radio or Walkie Talkie—is very useful in a large outdoor area and in a building with groups spread out in various rooms. They could be great in emergency situations or just to rotate groups. Be sure to be aware they could interfere with your EVP recording though.

The Divining/Drowsing Rod—made of willow or hazel; these were called virgula divina. Willows, because they are thought to be most attracted to water. They require a moist environment to grow properly. Which divining rods were used to find water, though it’s now used in ghost hunting, too. The theory is that there is some element in the twig that acts in conjunction with the diviner to find the underground water. A forked (or "Y" shaped) branch of a tree or bush. The two ends on the forked side are to be held one in each hand with the third pointing straight ahead. Often the branches are grasped palms down. The pointing end turns up or down when water is found. This method is sometimes known as 'Willow Witching'.

Another type of dowsing or witching rode are ones using two brass "L" shaped wire rods (commonly made of brazing or welding rod, but glass or plastic have also been accepted) that are to be held one in each hand. When something is found, they cross over one another making an "X" over the found object. If the object is long and straight, such as a water pipe, the wires will point in opposite directions, showing the direction the object is pointing. Brass is commonly used. My husband told me after I bought my rods at the gift shop of Ferry Plantation in Virginia Beach that he could have made these as they do in Utilities to search for sewer lines. But you can purchase them, too.

Alarms for Doors—One group of paranormal investigators I know uses these so when a door that is check over earlier and is closed or locked, they will know when it opens when no on is near it.

Ghost Box, or Frank’s Box—A ghost box is a device that it's completely homemade with AM-FM radios, digital voice recorders and speakers, and it's been used to communicate with the dead. The device was first use by Frank Sumption and now is use by many Paranormal Researchers when they are investigating a supposedly haunted location.

Most ghost boxes work by what is known as sweeping of the FM or AM band.As the channels are scrolled through upward or downward, a mix of white noise and audio fragments can be audibly heard. These audio fragments may bestbe described as bits and pieces of disc jockey voices, music, or whatever is being broadcasted across the band at the time the sweep is made. With the ghost box radio sweep method, spirit or ghost voices seem to be carried upon these audio fragments and white noise. It is believed that these audio fragments sometimes not only alter the tone and overall pitch of the spirit voice recorded, but also may affect the pace of the message making it line-up in sync with the speed of the frequencies changing. One theory by paranormal investigators is that ghosts and spirits actually manipulate the audio fragments into forming words to create a message for us to hear. Others believe that that the spirit voices recorded are affected by the frequency changes of the audio which is used as a carrier of the spirit voices.

However, there have been times when recorded spirit voices were not affected whatsoever by the audio fragments and white noise, as pitch and tone were left unaltered by the sweeping ghost box. These messages seemed very much "on top" of the audio frags and white noise, but not affected in tonality, though syncopated in rhythm, possibly caused by the frequency changes of the ghost box. These spirit voice recordings sounded much like
EVP--Electronic Voice Phenomena, appearing as the same voice in different recordings.

Ghost Box Recording and Editing It is said the best way to record the ghost box sessions is with the simple hand-held digital recorder which can be purchased at an electronics store. Place the recorder near the ghost box, but be sure the volume of the ghost box is not too loud or your recording will be ruined. Practice will show you what volume to set the ghost box at for the best recording results. The digital recorder should be able to record both the ghost box and your voice while asking questions. Shorter recordings work best, as they allow for easier editing and especially the dissemination of recording sessions into sections. Longer recordings make it much more difficult to "find" certain sections, while having several recordings of a couple minutes length each make it much easier to sort through, especially if good notes are taken. After recording your sessions with the ghost box, you will want to upload the audio to a computer.

Instructions on how to make a Radio Shack 12-820 Ghost BoxOne place I found that recommends the 12-820 ghost box hack. Below is supposed problems with other ghost box hacks:
12-470 - older radio that is becoming harder to find, but a good box if you can find it. The new 12-470 is unhackable.12-469 - newer radio that is easy to hack, but makes an obnoxious click. This radio is found on eBay for sale, but is not a great purchase.20-125 - This is a good box, but is more difficult to hack.

You purchase a Radio Shack 12-820 arm band radio and remove the four screws on the back. Lifting the back cover off carefully, you will see two bundles of wires. Both bundles should contain mainly gray wires, but with one red wire to the far right of each bundle. You are concerned with only the left bundle of wires. Be careful to snip the third gray wire from the left of the red wire of this first bundle (do this at your own risk). If you remove one more screw from the circuit board, you would be able to separate the circuit boards and see that this gray wire is the mute wire. It will cause your arm band radio to sweep without stopping when the up or down arrows are held down for about a second. The radio should still work and you can manually tune to any station; but now it should scan the FM or AM band without stopping.
The next thing you will need is a set of speakers that are amplified to use with your hacked radio. If the speakers take batteries, they are amplified. Simply plug the pair of amplified speakers into the earphone jack to be able to hear the radio without earphones. The ghost box should then be complete. For this model, add Velcro to attach the radio to the outside of the Radio Shack 40-1441 folding speakers. If you do the hack correctly, the ghost box shouldn’t cost you much, under $50 and will sweep both the AM or FM bands. This radio is nice, as it also has a bass boost.

Making Ghost Box from Another Radio Shack Radio, Model 12-187
You need the model 12-187 pocket radio from Radio Shack. Pull the 3 screws that hold the case together out (Two are hidden in the battery bay)Snap the case apart and pull the 3 screws that hold the circuit boards together.Pull the circuit boards apart.You will see a bunch of pins in the lower left that look something like this:
Take the "O" pin and bend it over so it doesn't plug back in. Put the thing back together. It shouldn’t take no more than five minutes to create the “ghost box.”
Website where one can hack the Radio Shack radio to make into a “Ghost Box.”
Also tutorials on YouTube: (Part 1) and (Part 2) and

Pendulums—Pendulums can be made of different materials, some people using a simple necklace with a crystal or charm at the end. Be sure the bob or bobber - or weight on the end - is not too light or too heavy. It should weigh less than half an ounce. The best shape for the weight - or point - is something that comes to a point. The best length for the pendulum is six inches. You can make your pendulum or buy one. Pendulums are a simple way to communicate with the other side. People have been caught in stores using them to select products such as: books, food, and clothing, just about anything.

The most common types of pendulums are:
-a crystal tied with wire then suspended on a chain or cord - a chain necklace with some kind of charm suspended at the bottom- a chain with metal pointer at the bottom - these are usual store bought- the human body

Pendulums movements:
- straight line - side to side or front and back - circles - clockwise or counterclockwise- elliptical motion- some pendulums bob up and down to indicate strong action, usually affirmative

Step by Step Procedures:
Here's a condensed version the most popular procedures for conducting outdoor ghost hunts:
1. Have everyone meet near the location and decide who will work each piece of equipment and divide into teams if necessary. Pick a person or leader that will talk to anyone who comes in contact with the group (i.e. Police, Reporters, etc.)

2. Enter the site and either privately or as a group, ask for a blessing or protection for the duration of the hunt. You can use this time to put yourself in a positive frame of mind. It does not have to be a religious thing so everyone can do this in some way. Or each person in their mind uttered whatever prayer from their own religion. I do encourage everyone to take the ten seconds this takes and just do this. What can it hurt? My philosophy is it's better to be safe than sorry. If I am wrong about these prayers at the beginning and end of the hunt and they are not necessary, then you wasted some seconds of your time. But if I am right about them, you have saved yourself from possible problems and grief. When you are done with the investigation, have everyone meet in one spot and ask the human spirits not to follow you home and to remain there. Tell the other non-human kinds that they must remain there in the name of God (or other good deities). Many experienced groups believe that there are evil spirits in many areas such as cemeteries and by saying a ten second prayer or making sure you are in a positive frame of mind; you can safely go about your business without worrying about them. An experienced demonologist will tell you that by doing this in the name of God or whatever good deity you worship, you will keep any non human spirits at bay since they have to leave you alone when told so in this manner. A good rule also is to never use sarcasm and jokes in haunted settings, especially toward the ghosts. Remember that you are visiting a location that a ghost considers “home.” Behave as politely as you would in someone else’s house. Most ghosts do not “possess” people without their consent. But if someone or something seems to be taking control, tell it to stop. This would be another reason for that prayer or something before doing the investigation.
3. Walk around the area to get a feel for the surroundings and to allow the spirits to get a feel for you. Do this for about twenty minutes. Log in your start time and weather conditions, along with any other relevant information. You should also set up any stationary equipment like cameras on tripods or motion detectors. Make sure to take note of any areas that may cause you to get false readings or false positive pictures.

4. Now go out there and get some pictures and recordings. Note anything unusual that may happen, especially meter and temperature readings, visual sightings, and strange sounds. Make a note of any feelings or emotions that you feel that may be odd or out of place, and write that down. You can compare notes after the hunt and look for similarities in readings and feelings in certain areas or at certain times.
5. Stake out a spot and walk around or try to give everyone the opportunity to try everything and be everywhere. Rotate a few times during the investigation.

6. If you are troubled by unwanted thoughts after leaving a haunted location, relax. Eat some comfort food. Watch a happy movie or TV show. Talk it out with a skeptical friend. Spend some time in a church. If the unwanted thoughts persist, see a professional for advice.

Every investigator or team should keep a log of events/times—everything needs to be logged, not matter how trivial. You sneeze, log it in, it may have sounded like something else to another member elsewhere in the building. When recording, if you sneeze or make a sound, acknowledge it was you on the recording.

All members and owners if possible, walk through the location. One member will map location, noting: air vents, heater, electrical appliances, fuse boxes, computer, etc. Mark down the temperatures in the rooms and any EMF reading you get during this walk through. Another member can take 5-10 test photos during the walk through. Do not discuss the details of the case during this walk through.
Any witnesses that have not been interviewed before should be interviewed by 1-2 investigators and taped/videoed, if it's ok with the witness. The other members should walk around the location and record any feelings or observations. Only the interviewers will know the location of events and sightings.
Make no conclusions. Share no conclusions or opinions with the witnesses or owners until all the reports, photos, and tapes are reviewed. You need to see the evidence and correlate it before you can give an educated opinion.
Generally, you cannot help a ghost. You can advise them to move on, but don't waste more than about ten minutes discussing this. If you aren't making any progress, it's best to leave that kind of work to a professional like a priest, minister, or a psychic.

If you’re in this to earn money, forget it. Most investigators don’t do it for money, but for fun and to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. And shouldn’t that be what it’s all about?

No comments: