A couple of rules from the game of Life first:
One, you will meet very few people who genuinely want to help you.
Two, none of them will try to sell you anything.
At the moment, paranormal investigation is rather like gambling, in that the bookies always win. The bookies in this case being those who sell paranormal investigation equipment. You must disabuse yourself of any notion that they do this to help you. They do it to make money. It’s their business.
Now, I don’t want to sound as though I’m slating the sellers of gadgetry. I love gadgets. Two of my favourite places on the Internet are Tom’s Gadgets and Maplin. The former advertises paranormal equipment, the latter sells much the same stuff but as general electronic equipment.
Both are out to make money. They must not be regarded as places to turn to for help in deciding what to buy. That decision is yours, and yours alone. There are, however, very few pieces of equipment that are proven to be useful to the point of being indispensable. There are, in fact, only two. A camera and a voice recorder.
Thermometers are useful, infrared ones are not. I’ve raged about those in the past so I’ll leave them alone for now..
EMF meters are interesting, but have come to be regarded as ‘ghost detectors’. They are no such thing. They measure electromagnetic fields. That’s all they do. You might find an electromagnetic field where you didn’t expect to find one. It’s interesting but it’s only the start of your investigation. In itself, no EMF reading proves anything at all. Worse, no EMF meter records data in conjunction with time and place so the only one to see the reading is you.
The same is true of thermometers. You will never obtain proof that the dead are still around with either of these things. In an investigator’s kit, that’s not their purpose – if you come back from an investigation elated that you found cold spots and EMF spikes, but do nothing about them, you have failed. If you go back to the places where you found those things and investigate more deeply, then you’re working on the right lines.
Considerable evidence has come from the recorded voices on both tape and digital equipment. Ultrasonic equipment, such as using bat-detectors, is just being silly. Those things pick up sounds at frequencies too high for humans to hear. Why would any spirit attempt to communicate at those frequencies? They pick up artefacts that can sound like voices. Sounds that are always there but not normally heard.
Remember, what you’re looking for is proof. You don’t have to convince yourself of the reality of ghosts. If you’re willing to spend all night in some dark, cold place then you’re already convinced. Your proof has to convince those who scoff at what you do, and using any technique that’s open to artefacts is just wasting your time.
Similarly, using a method that allows easy fakery is not a good idea. Digital photographs can be manipulated and faked with no difficulty. Film fakery is much easier to spot. If you use only digital, then you’ll have trouble convincing sceptics of anything you find. They can reproduce your images in any photo-manipulation program. I use both. Digital allows lots of photos at no cost, and it’s easy to store them all on disk. If I think I have a result, I return with film only. That long-sought-after proof will only come with film. Digital images will always go down in flames.
You need a photo, you need a solid, unmistakable recorded voice. You need a camera and a recorder. The rest of it, the EMF meters, the ludicrously expensive and pointless tri-field meters, even the thermometers, are not the means to your proof. They are the means to find those places where you might get a photo, or a voice.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You don’t need a ready-made ‘ghost hunter kit’ although people are buying these at an apparently fantastic rate (thanks to Jude for the link).
The places selling these things will sell whatever you want to buy. If you want insanely expensive gadgetry because you think it makes you look like you know what you’re doing, then that demand will drive supply. All you’ll do is spend hours setting it all up and then all night changing batteries, adjusting and fiddling with your toys. None of it, no matter what results you record, will prove a thing. The only proof will be a photo or a voice.
Don’t gloat over orbs. Orbs are bunk. Don’t load yourself down with tons of equipment. Ghost manifestations have a nasty habit of draining batteries, so the less battery-powered stuff you have, the fewer batteries you have to carry. Have at least one camera that works without batteries, and a tripod to stand it on.
People have been seeing ghosts since the first human died. If you want to really connect with this, do what they did. They didn’t have miles of cable, they didn’t use cameras or voice recorders. They used something we’re all born with for free. Use that.
Use your senses. Switch off your damned ego-boosting gadgets and just listen!