The following is a list of equipment that we normally use on investigations of paranormal activity. There is almost no way to determine what piece of equipment will detect unusual activity during an investigation, or when such activity will actually occur. As such, most investigations involve more trial and error than anything else. What this means is that while we are sometimes lucky in being able to pick up on this activity with our equipment, we are probably inadvertently overlooking most of the activity that is actually going on around us.
Until a machine called "ghost detector" is invented, we are limited to using tools that were invented for other purposes. Every one of these tools can be purposely or accidentally tricked into giving false positive indications of paranormal activity. Therefore, the overriding rule on every investigation and with every tool must be to eliminate any possibility of of natural cause, and only then, begin to entertain the idea that something unexplainable may have been detected.
Audio recorders - Used for capturing "EVP", or electronic voice phenomenon. EVP basically consists of voices or other sounds that appear on the tape, but were not audible at the time of the investigation. The theory is that these voices and sounds have a basis in the paranormal. Precautions: The object is to capture unexplainable phenomenon, and to rule out anything that could be naturally explainable. Voices of investigators, rustling from passing feet, distant noises such as cars, planes, mechanical noise from the recorder itself - these are all examples of things that must completely be ruled out before any conclusion can be made of an actual occurence of EVP.
Cameras - This should really be the starting point for any paranormal investigation. As you can see from some of the photos on this website located in the Pictures section, something is showing up on film that was not visible to the eye when the photo was taken. Various types of genuine anomalies have generally exhibited several characteristics that differentiate them from naturally explainable phenomenon:
Orbs, which are a common type of anomalous image, resemble semi-transparent globes that seem to float in the air or appear on the ground. There does not seem to be a natural explaination for these orbs. They can be captured at any time of the day or night, and can range from semi-transparent to fully opaqe, bluish or greeish to white in color, and can be fully or partially spherical in shape. They rarely appear to be flat, almost always displaying characteristics of being three-dimensional. Water droplets on the lens of a camera can mimic the appearance of orbs, as can some occurences of "lens flare", which is when bright light or reflections are captured and projected onto the lens of the camera, and appear on the picture as an object. A vague concentric line caused by surface tension appears around the outer edge of water droplets and is easiest way to discount these.
"Mist" as it is called is another common type of anomalous image. It is more difficult to differentiate from naturally caused phenomenon, usually condensation, caused by exhaling too close to the camera during certain atmospheric conditions.
Compass - A compass can be used as a low-budget, feature-poor alternative to an EMF meter. We generally use EMF meters to search for unusual magnetic field disturbances, and a compass can be used in a pinch to detect these same anomalies. Unfortunately, while the EMF meter is a scientific intstrument designed for the purpose of detecting and measuring these types of magnetic field disturbances, the use of a compass is a far more random way for measuring such activity.
EMF meter - Once again, all anomalous activity is believed to be composed of, created by, or associated with some form of measurable energy. EM, or electro-magnetic energy is purported to be one of these types of energy. Actually, the relationship behind static electro- magnetic energy and alternating current EM, or radio waves, is an interesting one. Some EMF meters can detect all three types of energy, such as the Alpha Labs TriField meter. While this is a useful feature, applications in paranormal investigation, in our experience, have been limited for the most part to static magnetic field detection. Look for more research into the facts of EMF energy, and theories as to it's corellation to paranormal activity, coming soon.
Flashlights - Just one of the common sense tools to carry on any investigation. Carry one just in case, but also think about all the reasons not to use it, not the least of which is all the pictures and video frames that it will show up on, leading to possible false-positive evidence.
Human senses - Don't doubt your senses. If you feel uneasy, if you feel your hair stand up on end, you may be picking up on something that your other senses have not been able to. You don't need to be a psychic to have this happen to you - many pictures have been taken of people who were experiencing just these types of sensations, only to capture some form of anomalous activity or another. The bottom line is this: your senses may not be scientific instruments, but take advantage of what they are telling you to aid in possibly capturing real scientific evidence.
Ouija board - Just kidding! We don't use 'em for scientific work.
Thermometers - Thermometers of both the non-contact and ambient varieties are useful in identifying rapid temperature changes and cold spots, two types of phenomenon associated with paranormal activity. While non-contact thermometers are quite useful in detecting temperature drops on the horizontal plane 360° around the investigator, and perhaps at a trajectory of as high as 30-35° from horizontal, they are far less useful indoors, and almost worthless outdoors at a trajectory of above 40° from horizontal. Indoors, the non-contact thermometer will be almost completely unable to pick up on the ambient air temperature of a room, and will only register the average temperature of the closest solid surface directly in front of it. Outside, when aimed above 40° from horizontal, they will register false positive cold numbers that can dip as much as 50° below ambient, sometimes more. It is unknown why this phenomenon occurs, but non- contact thermometer users should be wary of these severe limitations.
Video cameras - Some video cameras are sensitive to infrared light and are able to pick up anomalous activity that is not visible to the naked eye. Also, still pictures are useful for stop-action, but motion video can aid in the identification of unknown activity as natural or anomalous. See our research section for more information on video sensitivity to infrared.
Our Equipment List
Minolta X-370 35mm SLR / Minolta 50 mm f 1.7 lens / Minolta 28 mm f 2.4 lens
Minolta Auto 200 X external high-intensity flash
Nikon EM 35mm SLR / Nikon 50 mm f 1.8 lens
Canon AE-1 Program 35mm SLR / Canon 50 mm f 1.4 lens / Tokina 28 mm f 2.4 lens
Olympus Epic Stylus Zoom 35mm Point and Shoot / 24mm-80mm wide angle telephoto zoom lens
SRS 35-RF 35mm SLR / integrated 40 mm f 2.8
Kodak Wratten filters: #89b gel flash, #25 gel flash
B&W filters: #89b infrared lens, #87c infrared lens
Cokin Filters: #25 lens, UV lens, polarizing lens
Cannon Z-115 35 mm zoom point-and-shoot
Film: Kodak 400 ASA Royal Gold C41 color, Kodak 400 ASA T400CN C41 B&W, Kodak HIE infrared
Other assorted SLR and point-and-shoot 35 mm and APS cameras
Modified Alpha Labs Tri-Field Meter
Raytek Raynger 100 non-contact thermometer
Assorted audio recording devices
Infrared motion detectors
RCA VHS video camera
Night Owl night vision optics
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