Paranormal investigation is a lot like studying an elusive animal. You can’t duplicate its behavior in a lab, but you can spend time in its habitat, record its movements, and hope to catch a rare glimpse.
We use scientific methods to observe and document alleged paranormal activity. Our process usually works like this:
- We find out as much as we can about the building or area and its history first and the names (if known) of any people who died there.
- At the beginning of the investigation, we do a walkthrough of the building, noting any drafts, potential safety issues, and features that might explain the activity. We take photos and baseline electromagnetic field (EMF) and temperature readings.
- We set up cameras in areas where activity has been reported.
- We split into groups and do Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) sessions, which involves asking questions and using a KII meter and a digital voice recorder to capture answers which may be inaudible to the human ear.
- If the activity has resulted in moving objects, we place “control objects” to encourage the participation of entities who may be present.
- We attempt to duplicate the effects of reported paranormal activity through normal means. For example, the light falling in a certain way on a window creates a reflection that looks like an apparition.
- After the investigation is over, we review our photos, video, and voice recordings and report our findings.
Our Most Important Tools
People have been observing, investigating, and documenting the paranormal for centuries without fancy equipment. Our eyes, ears, sense of touch, and even our noses are the most valuable instruments we have. They’re so important that team members can’t investigate while on any type of substance that may affect or influence their senses, such as alcohol, cold tablets, or heavy pain medication.
That said, we do employ a number of useful tech tools in our investigations.
Gadgets & Gear
- Two-way radios to communicate with team members in other parts of the site
- Pen & paper to map the location and keep an investigation log
- Electromagentic Field Meters to determine if and how EMF relates to the activity
- Audio recorders to capture Electronic Voice Phenomena
- Still cameras to document the location and movement of control objects
- Video cameras to capture movement and sound
- Temperature probes to check for cold spots and changes in temperature
- Geiger counters in the very rare instance where we believe radioactivity may exist
- Laser grids to help identify movement or figures in dark rooms
- BATTERIES!! (see below)
High electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been associated with paranormal activity. High unshielded EMF, such as from a transformer or bank of computer equipment, is dangerous to humans. It can cause paranoia, nervousness, feelings of discomfort, and even hallucinations. People who experience “not feeling right” or the hair rising on the back of their necks for no reason are often surrounded by high EMF.
Paranormal activity also frequently occurs in conjunction with spikes or erratic EMF readings, patterns that can’t be caused by electrical equipment (which is either on or off). We use EMF meters on every investigation to both rule out EMF from natural sources and document instances of bizarre EMF.
Our favorite EMF meters are:
- Mel-KII Hybrid – includes a temperature sensor and red flashlight
- TriField EMF – very sensitive meter that detects all EMF sources
- Natural EMF – the same meter which only detects EMF from natural (not human-made) sources
- K2 Meter – get one with an on/off switch instead of a button you have to continuously hold down
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) can be captured with any decent digital recorder. We set up a recorder and ask questions such as “Who are you?” and “How did you die?” with pauses in between for answers. When we play the recording back, we’ll occasionally hear words or sounds that we couldn’t hear in person. When we do EVP sessions, we almost always set up a KII meter near the recorder; in rare instances the lights on the KII will flash in response to questions.
Photo & Video Cameras
To select from among the hundreds of different photo and video cameras, we recommend reading product reviews and if possible, renting models you’re considering from a camera shop to test how they work. You should become familiar with your camera before its first field run. Know its quirks and learn how to handle it in dim light or darkness, so that when something happens, you’re not fiddling with buttons and missing potential evidence!
Any kind of camera, even a cell phone, can be useful on an investigation. If you have the funds, full-spectrum cameras can catch infrared and ultraviolet light as well as visible wavelengths.
When beginning investigation, every piece of equipment you use should have brand-new batteries and several sets of backups. It’s not unusual to have fresh batteries go dead – sometimes several times in a row! – on an investigation. If you’re 100% sure that you have fresh batteries and you can’t come up with a rational explanation (such as extreme cold) why they might suddenly die, it’s a good indicator of paranormal activity. Some investigators believe that paranormal entities need energy to manifest activity, since electrical malfunction and battery drain often occurs in conjunction with activity.
A Word of Caution…
None of this equipment was developed specifically for paranormal investigation. If their makers want to stay in business, they have to make products that work. In recent years, people have been developing gadgets designed to “detect ghosts.” We’re skeptical of these products because there’s no way to prove they’re working. If you use these gadgets, we recommend employing conventional tools first and using these as auxiliary equipment.