How to go ghost hunting – 10 tips for rookie ghost hunters


Whether it be at a spooky old hotel, a hotel bathroom, or an ancient cemetery, here are some tips and tricks to survive your first haunted adventure.

Cultures the world over believe in ghosts, and trying to document evidence of life after death is one of humanity’s never-ending quests. Wherever you go, regional folklore will feature many, many types of ghosts, from ancient to modern, from spirits of the dead to timeslips, poltergeists and doppelgangers.

With these ten relatively simple tips, you can set up on your own as a rookie ghost hunter… or take some friends along on an adventure you’ll never forget.

1. Respect the dead.

Unless you are callous or just out for cheap thrills, you are going to do this anyways. Respecting the dead means: leave no trace of your passing, don’t disturb the sleep of the living nearby, and don’t do anything that is disrespectful of a past one’s memory.

2. Take a friend (or two or three).

This is a good tip for safety and adds scare factor (by the way, if you like an extra heap of horror with your hobbies, have you ever thought about scare acting?). Ghost hunting solo is less fun and more risky; you don’t want to be plodding around an area in the middle of the night by yourself. Plus your friends are probably more likely to try to scare you – like when my mother went to a haunted restroom in Savannah, Georgia. She still isn’t sure whether it was her best friend or a ghost who gave her a fright.

3. Go ghost-hunting at night.

Unless the scary spot is a popular tourist attraction which is locked up during the twilight hours, night-time is the best time for ghosts. The ambiance is also a hell of a lot better in the dark.

4. Bring a torch.

For seeing. In the dark. You can spend money on night-vision solutions if you get really serious about the pastime, but a torch is great for starters.

5. Bring a camera and a sound recorder.

The movie White Noise is a good primer for why to bring these along. It is even better if your camera doubles up as a video camera. Once the night is over, the only thing left to do is scour the pictures and recordings to prove there were ghosts present.


6. Bone up (ahem) on legal consequences.

Ghost stories abound at the first college I went to (Gustavus Adolphus in Minnesota). As a student, I had a legal right to be in the dorms and halls, snooping around. Graveyards are becoming corporate entities, and they do not want packs of ghost-crazed girls wandering their tombstones at night. Try to find out just how much trouble you could get into in advance, and once you’re armed with information you can re-assess where you want to hunt ghosts and how you want to do it.

7. Plan a seance.

This is a tip for the less adventurous who would rather stay at home on their comfy couch with a group of their best friends and a bottle of wine. There are many options: Ouija boards, mediums or a pendulum are all options to connect with the dead. Just take the time to read the directions if a pro isn’t there to help.

8. Visit a spiritualist camp.

This is where it all started. In the 19th century, there was a whole spiritualist movement dedicated to talking to the dead and divining the future. There are still spiritualists sprinkled around the world, but it takes some research to find them.

9. Ghost hunting equipment for levelled up ghost hunters

Are you regularly found in graveyards, haunted hotels, ancient henges and folklore hotspots? Have you got to the point where you introduce yourself as ‘Insert Name Here, paranormal investigator’? If so, you may want to upgrade your equipment. Just some of the goodies you can procure for even more measurable results include:

  • Infrared lights (which light the entire area with infrared light, to avoid mysteries occuring just out of torch/camera view)
  • EMF meters (which detect spikes in electromagnetic energy)
  • Spirit boxes (these generate white noise, said to attract entities, by conducting FM/AM sweeps. You may even hear noises in the static)
  • Thermal imaging cameras (which help you spot thermal changes in the area; they do say a ghostly presence can turn very localised areas very cold)
  • Gadget holsters (yes, seriously. If you’re loading yourself up with kit like a Ghostbuster, you need a nifty way to hold that stuff and access it quickly when speed is of the essence…)

Kit, kit, kit. The cost of equipment can build up, but if ghost hunting turns out to be something you really enjoy, maybe the kit will help increase your chances of gathering evidence.

10. Find a balance.

Ghost hunting is serious fun (especially if you’re a taphophile, or someone who loves spending time around graves). Then again, you don’t want to be seen as the jerk who made a fool of herself and got everyone arrested for tipping over headstones.