It's my busy time of year, and I've been spending the last two weeks of October lecturing on Ghosts of Long Island II: More Stories of the Paranormal. I give lectures year round, but due to the nature of my books, things tend to get a bit busy around Halloween. During my lectures I often get asked what kinds of tools or ghost hunting equipment do paranormal investigator Joe Giaquinto and I use during our investigations.
There are many tools-of-the-trade, but Joe and I choose to use only a few. We mainly rely on our own intuition, but there are a few items which come in handy while we're working. Our two main pieces of equipment are our digital cameras and our digital recorders. Digital cameras are great for getting orb photos, and we've even captured an apparition or two. Digital recorders are used for getting EVP's, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. When Joe first told me about EVP's I thought he was crazy. Spirits can leave a message on a recorder? It seemed hard to believe. I wasn't convinced until I received a Class "A" EVP during my first interview with a couple in Greenlawn, NY. Right there in the middle of our conversation, was the voice of a little girl in spirit who said "hold me" in a loud whisper. I almost fell off my chair when I heard it! Although Joe is clearly the expert when it comes to EVP's, I'm proud to say I've capture several more over the years.
For Ghost II I started using an Electromagnetic Field Indicator, more commonly known as a ghost meter. The meter is designed to pick up energy, or electronic fields, at various frequencies. If you are away from an electrical source in a particular area, and all of a sudden your meter starts beeping and going wild, chances are there is a ghostly disturbance taking place. Spirits use energy to manifest themselves. The EMF detector can help capture this. Once the area of the energy source has been determined, you can then use your camera and photograph with the hope of capturing a ghostly image or orb. Use your digital recorder too, and ask the spirit who he is and if he's willing to say something. Ghost meters simply lead us in the right direction. They are fairly inexpensive and can be found and purchased online.
Joe Giaquinto on occasion will use divining rods, also known as dowsing rods. It works similar to the ghost meter in that it locates energy sources and paranormal activity. The history of the diving rods goes way back. Its use during paranormal investigations is relatively new. These L-shaped metal rods were used for centuries as a way of finding underground water. In fact, it is still used to find water today. Other uses for the rods have included locating treasures or minerals. They have even been used for determining the sex of an unborn child. When used by a paranormal investigator, the short end of the rods are held loosely, while the longer ends point out, away from the body. As one walks around, the rods will point in a particular direction. The investigator will follow until the rods cross, which means the source of the energy has been found. To confirm it is actually a ghost being tracked, the paranormal investigator will often use the EMF detector in conjunction with the diving rods. If the EMF detector also shows an energy source, chances are you are dealing with paranormal activity.
The Ouija board is a tool I do not recommend for the inexperienced ghost hunter. What appears to be simple play, can often have a very negative impact. A Ouija board is a powerful tool that can create a vortex for all kinds of spirits to enter. Many of these spirits can be strong or menacing entities. The Ouija board is not something I feel comfortable using for these reasons. There are so many better ways to communicate with spirits which bring about positive results.
In short, Joe and I travel light when it comes to equipment. Many of the paranormal groups you see on television use a vast array of tools and technology. These may include such items as night vision equipment, thermometers and infrared thermal scanners. More equipment doesn't always mean more results however, and Joe and I stick to the fact that your own intuition is often your best tool.
In closing, anytime one is searching for ghosts it is important to remain upbeat and positive. Most of all show the spirits respect. After all, they are people just like us who have simply moved on to the next realm. We have found the more respect you have, the more the spirits will work with you, and the more you will discover. So happy ghost hunting, and have a wonderful Halloween!