Learn how to hunt for ghosts!
To learn how to ghost hunt, we believe it is first important to answer the question, why? Why do you want to hunt for ghosts? There should be a good reason to endeavor into ghost hunting before embarking upon the journey. Are you wanting to know if ghosts are real? Do you wish to study ghost behavior? Are you wanting to help ghosts move beyond this world and solve cases of haunting? If so, we'll provide some ghost hunting tips. But you should weigh the costs if your passion to ghost hunt is only for the thrill of it. We believe ghost hunters should explore, learn, grow and help others – including the ghosts themselves.
What Does it Mean to Ghost Hunt?
Ghost hunting can best be defined as "to hunt for ghosts at a location that may or may not be haunted." Typically, most people ghost hunt in locations that they suspect might have a haunting. This is different from ghost investigation which is the art of investigating a known haunting for one or more purposes, such as proving the haunting exists, seeking to learn more about the ghost and its behavior, or attempting to solve the haunting in order to bring it to an end. A ghost investigation is all about attempting to learn more about why the entity, or entities, are at the haunt.
Notes About Entities or Haunting Found During a Ghost Hunt
- Residual Haunt – An energy imprint upon the environment of an event that continues to reoccur, usually being witnessed by different people at different times - but seeing the same event. This type of haunting is typically non-responsive and is the reviewing of a prior event years later. Research Ghosts and Haunting.
- Intelligent Haunt – Encountering the soul of a person who is interactive. The ghost may be very interactive and will remain as they were when still alive in body. The reasons can vary as to why ghosts remain behind with the living. Ghosts are people, and like you, the motivations behind human behavior widely vary. Most ghosts are not ill-willed or nefarious; but some are not something you want to deal with. For more on solving cases of haunting, learn How to Get Rid of Ghosts.
- Evil Ghosts – Occasionally, it is possible to run across a ghost that does not play nice during a ghost hunt. When this occurs, we recommend not dealing with such dark entities without experience. They are disembodied human spirits (not demons) who behave very badly. If encountered, they may seek to warn trespassers to leave, alter their appearance, among other things, in order to invoke fear. Ghost hunters may be scratched, pushed, swore at or even followed home. Never fear - but never challenge such a ghost, as it may not end well. We recommend the book, Helping Ghosts for how to deal with ghosts during the hunt.
- Demons – Although there are malicious entities, we do not believe there is such a thing as the demonic. We have studied and written extensively on this subject. Learn more about our studies about Demons.
Where to Ghost Hunt
Ghosts can be found anywhere, but there are some locations that seem to be more active such as hospitals, churches, schools, libraries, places of tragedy or historic significance, battlefields, theaters, graveyards, funeral homes and more. Another way to find local legend of haunting is to take a Ghost Tour, if available. You'll be able to catch up on all the ghost gossip. You might also visit some old Haunted Hotels. If you are still looking for a noted or famous place to ghost hunt, then we suggest looking at our section on Famous Haunted Places and our list of Best Places to Find Ghosts.
Research Before You Ghost Hunt
If you are about to explore a historic site, then take some time and learn about its history before hunting for ghosts. It's a great idea to have some basic understanding of who lived or worked at the location, what occurred there (any tragedies) as well as the lore about any possible ghost sightings or experiences. Always make sure you have permission to be on the grounds you want to ghost hunt. If you want to ghost hunt a haunted residence to help the occupants, we recommend taking the time to interview them, taking notes of all paranormal activities the family has experienced. Allow them to walk you through the home, while explaining what possible ghost activity has occurred. Learn your ghost hunt site and seek out natural explanations for the occurrences before investigating.
When Should You Ghost Hunt?
Taking note of when the haunting seems to be active according to previous sightings, it may be a great idea to align your date and time for the ghost hunt, accordingly. We also recommend paying attention to full or new moons and any rise in geomagnetic activity to help select the optimum ghost hunt time. See Best Times for Ghost Hunting.
Who Should You Ghost Hunt With?
Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new and learning how to ghost hunt, we recommend always investigating with a team. Your ghost hunt team may be as small as two people but can include many more. You will need someone to take notes of all experiences as well as people to run equipment. If possible, you might want to invite a psychic medium, especially if working a case of haunting that you want to help resolve.
Basic Equipment for Your Ghost Hunt
The basics to bring include flashlights, extra batteries, a watch and some form of communication device such as a phone or walkie-talkie. How to ghost hunt can depend widely on whether or not you have access to ghost hunting equipment. Some investigators prefer older style ghost hunt devices such as a mercury thermometer, hand-held compass and a barometer to measure changes in temperature, magnetic fields and pressure. Newer ghost hunters love electronic devices such as cameras, camcorders, digital thermometers, audio recorders, EMF detectors and motion detectors. Beyond this list of equipment, there are many more devices that may be used during ghost hunts. Learn more about ghost hunters equipment.
How To Ghost Hunt
After arrival at the location, take some time to set-up equipment to monitor areas with the highest potential for paranormal activity. Devise a plan for different members to spend time in different locations for the collection of possible ghost evidence using several methods (e.g. video, photo, audio). Work with patience, being respectful and compassionate; try to avoid whispering and any excess chatter. Speak openly out loud with ghosts, letting them know who you are and why you are there. Ask questions. If you can get the ghost to interact, you will have a better chance at collecting evidence that the haunting is true; and you just may be able to help the ghost resolve any life issues. Remember, that ghosts are people, so treat them like you would another person. Learn to control fear at all times, remaining strong; fear will embellish events and also open one up to being manipulated by others (ghosts included). When ghost investigating, it's important to immerse one's self into the environment, maintaining an open mind, listening to what you perceive internally. Note the exact time of any ghost activity, evidence collected and each personal experience.
Haunting Is a Puzzle That Must Be Solved
The best way to ghost hunt is to work the haunting like a puzzle. Collect all evidence captured by equipment and combine it with experiences and impressions that took place during the ghost hunt. Further combine the evidence and experiences with the research you did prior to the investigation. Did a picture emerge of what may be happening? Do you have a good idea of the ghost or ghosts that are haunting the location and why? If so, it may be time to communicate with the ghost further in order to help resolve any unfinished business or assist in reuniting the ghost with loved ones who are in spirit and waiting for him or her to join them on the journey. The ultimate quest of the ghost hunter should always be to provide help with haunting and solve the case.
Use EMF Meters During the Ghost Hunt
You'll use your EMF meter to detect changes in electromagnetic frequencies. So to do that, you will need to walk the entire location before investigating in order to take benchmark readings while noting any hot spots that may be there from electrical appliances, wiring, etc. To get an idea of how your EMF meter works, take it near an appliance and or electrical outlet, and you should see the meter rise. If you have stayed clear of explainable EMF, then any movement of EMF readings, spikes or fluctuations, etc might indicate ghost activity during your ghost investigation.
Why Ghost Hunt With Thermometers?
Thermometers can be used to detect changes in a room's temperature. Like using an EMF meter, it is good to take some benchmark readings at the start of the investigation. If there is suspected paranormal activity, keep an eye on your thermometer and note any changes. Take note of cold spots, especially. If you have an IR thermometer, it is going to read the surface temperature of the area it is pointed at, such as a wall. If there is a drop in temperature (or increase) between you and the wall, then you have something that could be paranormal (but verify that the wall is not cold). An ambient air thermometer will measure the temperature right where it is sat and can be used to monitor a noted spot during the ghost hunt.
Ghost Hunting Photography
We recommend the use of digital cameras because they allow for quick analysis and what would seem like an unlimited amount of photos that can be taken during the ghost hunt. When taking photos, remove the camera strap and try not to use the camera's flash unit. If the flash is used, be aware of how your camera records flash anomalies such as reflection, dust, lint, etc.; and do not use the night time camera setting which will lengthen the exposure and produce light bars, false apparitions and orange haze. Be aware that if the weather is cold, your breath will be visible by the camera (hold it while snapping photos). Also, do not take pictures directly into light as it will produce lens flare. To learn more, explore our article, Cameras That See Ghosts and Ghost Hunting Camera. Also visit our Ghost Pictures section for more on ghost photography.
Tips for Recording Video
We prefer that camcorders, video camcorders, be mounted on a tripod or sat stationary so that any changes in the video can be quickly noticed while reviewing video files recorded during your ghost hunt. In addition, equipping investigators with video cameras or helmet cams is another way to possibly capture additional paranormal activity, validate personal experiences or verify audio and video clips recorded by other devices.
Audio Recording Tips for the Ghost Hunt
When recording ghost voices, it is best to ask questions and allow time for a response. You may lay the audio recorder down to help eliminate noise created by movement of the recorder. Ask open-ended questions in lieu of closed-ended questions that only require a Yes or No answer (otherwise, ambient noise may sound like a response.) What is your name? Why are you here? How long have you lived here? What can we do for you? If you forget and whisper, hear a sound that is explainable, or if you make a noise such as a cough, “tag” it by audibly announcing what the sound was (that was a train passing by, I accidentally whispered, etc). This will later allow you to know of any sounds created by investigators. You may also elect to leave an audio recorder in an empty room, returning later to see what you recorded. For more EVP how-tos, visit our Ghost EVP and Talk With Ghosts pages.