Ghost Hunting 101
Process of Investigating Locations that are Reported to be Haunted by Ghosts

Ghost Hunting 101
Process of Investigating Locations that are Reported to be Haunted by Ghosts

Typically, a ghost hunting team will attempt to collect evidence claimed to be supportive of paranormal  activity. Ghost hunters often utilize a variety of electronic equipment, such as the following types: the EMF meter; digital thermometer; handheld and static digital video cameras, such as thermographic (or infrared) and night vision; digital audio recorder; and computer.

Some organized teams of ghost hunters refer to themselves as paranormal investigators. While many groups claim to utilize scientific methods, no scientifically testable and verifiable evidence supports the existence of ghosts

The Ghost Hunting Boom

The Internet, films (like Ghostbusters), and television programs (like Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters, and Ghost Adventures), along with the increasing availability of high-tech equipment are thought to be partly responsible for the boom in ghost hunting.

Despite its lack of acceptance in academic circles, the popularity of ghost-hunting reality TV shows have influenced a number of individuals to take up the pursuit.

Scores of small businesses selling ghost-hunting equipment, paranormal investigation services, and even ghost counseling are booming outside of their prime season: Halloween.

Several companies have introduced devices billed as "ghost detectors," along with the traditional electromagnetic field (EMF) meters, white noise generators, and infrared motion sensors.

The paranormal boom is such that some small ghost-hunting related businesses are enjoying increased profits through podcast and web site advertising, books, DVDs, videos, and other commercial enterprises.

James Willis, founder of The Ghosts of Ohio group says that his membership has grown to 30 members since it was founded in 1999 and includes both true believers and total skeptics.

Willis says his group is "looking for answers, one way or another" and that skepticism is a prerequisite for those who desire to be "taken seriously in this field."

Author John Potts says that the present day pursuit of "amateur ghost hunting" can be traced back to the Spiritualist era and early organizations founded to investigate paranormal phenomena, like London's 'The Ghost Club' and the 'Society for Psychical Research', but that it is unrelated to academic parapsychology.

Potts writes that modern ghost hunting groups ignore scientific method and instead follow a form of "techno-mysticism".

An offshoot of ghost hunting is the commercial ghost tour conducted by a local guide or tour operator, who is often a member of a local ghost-hunting or paranormal investigation group.

Since both the tour operators and owners of the reportedly haunted properties share profits of such enterprises (admissions typically range between $50 and $100 per person), some believe the claims of hauntings are exaggerated or fabricated in order to increase attendance.

The city of Savannah, Georgia is said to be the American city with the most ghost tours, having more than 31 as of 2003.

One ghost-hunting group reports that the number of people taking their tours has tripled, jumping from about 600 in 2006 to 1,800 in 2008.

Another says its membership has doubled. Others point to increased traffic on their websites and message boards as an indication that ghost hunting is becoming more accepted.

Participants say that ghost hunting allows them to enjoy the friendship of like-minded people and actively pursue their interest in the paranormal.

Ghost Hunting Injuries & Death

The popularity of ghost hunting has led to some injuries. It is very important to realize that ghost hunting can be dangerous. Many ghost hunters explore old homes that are not very stable and reports of people falling through floorboards have occurred.

Not only injuries can occur but reports of death have also
occurred during ghost hunting. It is important to know your limitations and be very aware of your surroundings at all times, especially when ghost hunting occurs generally at night.

It is usually suggested to explore the area that you will investigate during the day first, that way you will know your surroundings better when the sun goes down and the investigation begins.
Films like 'Ghost Busters' are believed to have contributed to the boom in Ghost Hunting.

The popularity of ghost-hunting reality TV shows have also influenced a number of individuals to take up the pursuit.

Ghost Hunting Injuries

Teenagers Fired Upon
Unaware that a "spooky home" in Worthington, Ohio was occupied, a group of teenagers stepped on the edge of the property to explore. The homeowner fired on the teenagers automobile as they were leaving, seriously injuring one.

Ghost Hunting Deaths

Woman Falls to her Death
Police say a woman who fell three stories to her death was apparently hunting for ghosts at an old University of Toronto building. The victim, 29, was at 1 Spadina Cres., an academic building associated with the university, when she fell from the third storey around 1:45 a.m.

It appears she was following a man who jumped across the inner quad from a lower part of the building to a higher one when she slipped and fell into a courtyard. She was taken to St. Michael's Hospital and pronounced dead.

Police reported that the man and woman who were hunting for ghosts had been drinking.

Ghost Hunting Death

Christopher Kaiser, 29, of Charlotte, was struck and killed by a train while ghost hunting.

Man Struck by a Train
Shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, on the 119th anniversary of the Bostian Bridge train tragedy and at about the same time, between ten and twelve ghost hunters were on that approximately 300-foot long span of tracks.

They were hoping to hear the sounds of the crash, and perhaps see something paranormal.

Instead, a real Norfolk-Southern train with three engines and one car turned the corner as it headed east to Statesville, about 35 miles north of Charlotte, the authorities said.

The terrified "amateur ghost watchers" ran away, back toward Statesville, trying to cover the nearly 150 feet that they traveled to safety, said Iredell County Sheriff's Office Capt. Darren Campbell. All but two made it. Christopher Kaiser, 29, of Charlotte, was struck and instantly killed, said Campbell.

Belief in the Existence of Ghosts

Polls Conducted Regarding the Paranormal

According to a survey conducted in October 2008 by the Associated Press and Ipsos, 34 percent of Americans say they believe in the existence of ghosts.

Moreover, a Gallup poll conducted on June 6–8, 2005 showed that one-third (32%) of Americans believe that ghosts exist, with belief declining with age.

Women are more likely to say they believe in ghosts than are men: 56 percent of women believe, while 38 percent of men do.

More than half of younger Americans aged 18 to 45 believe in ghosts; those over 45 are less likely.

Having surveyed three countries (the United States, Canada, and Great Britain), the poll also mentioned that more people believe in haunted houses than any of the other paranormal items tested, with 37% of Americans, 28% of Canadians, and 40% of Britons believing.

 Skepticism Towards Ghost-Hunting's Methodology


Skepticism towards ghost hunting and the tools that ghost hunters use. While many groups claim to utilize scientific methods, no scientifically testable and verifiable evidence supports the existence of ghosts to this day.

Many ghost-hunting groups say they find evidence of something they can't explain through scientific or natural means, yet critics question ghost-hunting's methodology.

Particularly its use of instrumentation, as there is no scientifically-proven link between the existence of ghosts and cold spots or electromagnetic fields.

According to skeptical investigator Joe Nickell, the typical ghost hunter is practicing pseudoscience.

Nickell says that ghost hunters often arm themselves with EMF meters, thermometers that can identify cold spots, and wireless microphones that eliminate background noise, pointing out the equipment being used to try to detect ghosts is not designed for the job. "The least likely explanation for any given reading is it is a ghost," maintains Nickell.

Orbs of light that show up on photos, he says, are often particles of dust or moisture. "Voices" picked up by tape recorders can be radio signals or noise from the recorder, and EMF detectors can be set off by faulty wiring or microwave towers.

Ghost Hunting Equipment

Ghost hunters use a variety of tools and techniques to investigate alleged paranormal activity. While there is no universal acceptance among ghost hunters of the following methodologies, a number of these are commonly utilized by ghost hunting groups.

Air Ion Counter
Digital Cameras / 35mm Film Cameras
Digital Voice Recorder
Divining Rods (Dowsing Rods)
EMF Gauge (Detector)
Full Spectrum Cameras
Ghost Box
Infrared Video Cameras (IR Camera)
K-II Meter (K2)
Motion Detectors
PX Device (ITC Device)
Thermal Imaging Cameras
Vibration Detector (Seismic Detector)
Candles and Matches
Duct Tape and Electrical Tape
First Aid Kit
Flash Lights
Headset Communication (Walkie-talkies)
Notebook and Pens/Pencils
PX Device (ITC Device)
Spare Batteries

* Ouija Boards are used by many individuals and groups while doing a paranormal investigation, but some individuals and groups feel that it is not a wise idea to use a Ouija board. Not everyone feels the same way towards the Ouija boards but many groups and individuals believe that nothing good can come out of the use of this device. Nevertheless, Ouija Boards are generally widely used by many paranormal investigators and groups.

Ghost Hunting 101