Hunting ghosts is serious business. The spirits of the dead are all around us, and with Halloween approaching; their restlessness is becoming palpable. Nevertheless, they'll only reveal their secrets to those with the tools to hear and see them.
To that end, we've put together this handy guide, with five must-have gadgets for aspiring and experienced ghost hunters alike. This high-tech gear would have cost a small fortune a decade ago, but today for the first time amateur spirit seekers can get in touch with dead relatives and old haunts just as easily as the pros. Here's everything you'll need to get started—now leave your skepticism at the door and jump in.
What you'll need: Handheld infrared night vision camcorder w/ optional Sima IR illuminator
How much: $99.95
Sure, EMF meters and audio recorders are essential, but what good is finding a ghost if you fail to capture any proof? Trust us—no one's going to believe you. But you don't need to carry around some shoulder-mounted monstrosity or military-grade goggles just to catch a spirit in the act.
This little night vision camera from GhostStop fits easily in your pocket and takes great daytime video, and it's easy to switch to night vision mode when a particularly bashful ghost might otherwise get scared away by the fury of your P2X flashlight. It outputs directly to AVI format and uses standard SD cards, so sharing footage of any "orbs" or other visual phenomena with other enthusiasts is as easy as uploading to Youtube. The optional Sima IR illuminator helps extend the night vision range, and the camera is even waterproof up to 16 feet for capturing lagoon-creatures and other under underwater apparitions.
What you'll need: Tri-axis digital electromagnetic field meter
How much: $30-300
Forget the "PKE meters" from Ghostbusters. Most enthusiasts of the supernatural agree that spirits are capable of altering the electromagnetic currents of haunted spaces, so the electromagnetic field (EMF) meter is the keystone of any true ghost hunter's kit. EMF meters measure specific kinds of electromagnetic activity, making them perfect for ghost detection.
On the cheap side, the simple Ghost Meter seems to work fine (and beeps when there's a spike), and the slightly higher-end digital version is popular. But real pros may want to invest in a tri-axis meter like the Extech 480826. Though more expensive, it gives a much more accurate reading than singe-axis meters, which require you to manually sweep back and forth to get readings from all three axes. As long as the display is backlit, you'll never miss a reading.
What you'll need: Sony pocket cassette recorder w/microphone
How much: $30
Next to the EMF meter, an audio recording device is a ghost-hunter's second most important tool. You see, many ghost sightings aren't sightings at all, and the most reliable way to detect a ghost is by picking up on its electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). Basically, EVP is any unexplainable audible phenomena. These can range from barely audible fluctuations in white noise to tortured, bloodcurdling screams.
A digital recorder is more convenient, and that's certainly an option. But an analog recorder is always a better choice for supernatural endeavors (everyone knows ghosts are drawn to antiquity), and several classic Sony models are in stock at Amazon. Just make sure you bring an external mic, as well, to avoid picking up the device's internal motor noises. To untrained ears, they can sound suspiciously like restless spirits.
What you'll need: Pistol-type infrared thermometer
How much: $98
In addition to EMF alterations and EVP anomalies, hardened ghost hunters are constantly checking for "cold spots" (how you accomplish all this with only two hands is your problem). Inexplicable fluctuations in temperature are one of the surest signs that a spirit is present—or that there's a draft. Either way, you're going to want to detect it. Infrared thermometers come with a steep price tag, but you're paying for a high degree of accuracy. The backlit LCD display ensures you don't miss anything, and the pistol-type laser target allows you to measure on-contact and ambient temperatures simultaneously, so even the sneakiest specters won't escape your notice. Get it at GhostStop.com.
What you'll need: SureFire P2X Fury Defender LED flashlight
How much: $165
Those looking for a classic torch can try a Maglite, but ghost hunters with a taste for high-end tech need look no further than the SureFire P2X Fury Defender. At a max output of 500 lumens, the Defender can basically be classified as a spotlight. It turns night into day and ensures that any phantoms glimpsed at the edge of your vision don't stay hidden for long, and anything caught by surprise in that beam will be temporarily blinded. Plus, you'll no longer confuse coat racks and large plants for vengeful spirits (except the ones that are possessed).
The Fury Defender also boasts high durability, two types of activation (momentary and always-on), and built-in self defense—that military-spec strike bezel and tempered window make it impact-resistant and particularly painful for any Scooby-Doo type impostors caught in its path. You can get it direct from SureFire—just be careful you don't kill anyone with this baby.