Ghost Hunting 101
Conducting an Investigation
Tools of the Trade
iGHOST uses a variety of methods and equipment
to investigate a location. Digital cameras, audio recorders, digital thermometers, and video recorders are all invaluable
tools to have when conducting an investigation.
Digital or film cameras are perhaps the most invaluable tool to have, and even weekend or "amateur" ghost hunters should have
them. Solid, visual evidence of the spirit world is often the most compelling evidence that can be obtained. However,
it is also the most scrutinized. When conducting an investigation, it is helpful to snap as many pictures as possible,
not only of the target area, but of everywhere. One never knows what will show up in any given picture. Digital
cameras are especially ideal in that they can hold dozens (or hundreds depending on the storage capacity) of pictures, the
investigator can view the pictures instantly, and the need to buy film and pay for film development is eliminated. It
is best to use a digital camera with a high resolution (5+ Mega-pixels. Anything over 3.2 mp is considered a higher
resolution than traditional film).
iGHOST uses digital
audio recorders to capture electronic
voice phenomena (EVP). Often, EVP's may be the only bit of evidence obtained on an investigation. We find a quiet
spot and begin asking questions, such as "Who are you?", "Why are you here?", "What is your name".
If a spirit wants to communicate, you may pick up a response on your recorder, even though you will most likely not hear it
at the time. We use digital recorders because it is easier to upload our audio to a computer and filter out background
noise. Also, digital recorders have no moving internal mechanisms that may interfere with the recording quality.
If a more traditional cassette recorder is used, it is wise to use an external microphone to help eliminate internal noise.
Field Detectors (EMF) are useful in finding fluctuations in energy, which may
or may not detect the presence of spiritual activity. It is believed that when ghosts manifest themselves they draw
energy from their surroundings (i.e. batteries, the air, or even people themselves), which can explain why fresh camera and
flashlight batteries drain quickly at haunted locations and some investigators report feeling lightheaded or develop
headaches. EMF detectors can allow an investigator to follow the fluctuations, and, perhaps, follow the spirit.
Digital infrared thermometers are helpful in finding temperature changes from one location to another, often only a few
feet from each other. It is speculated that when ghosts draw energy, they often leave pockets of "cold spots"
in the air, which is another way to help detect the presence of spiritual activity. One drawback with this type of thermometer,
however, is that it measures the temperature of the object the laser is targeting, therefore, the result is the temperature
of an object, not necessarily the "space" where potential paranormal phenomena may be. However it is usefull to
read temperature changes on doors and walls where one feels a presence may have recently passed. Digital ambient
thermometers, such as the probe type, is useful in measuring air temperature changes.
Video cameras are especially useful in documenting an investigation, and is often
the most expensive tool in an investigator's arsenal. It is best to invest in a good recorder, one that will last a
long time and meet your needs beyond just paranormal investigation. It is wise to use one that has a "night shot"
feature for filming in low light, as well as an attachable infrared emitter. Many types of video cameras are on the
market today, from the cassette type to the newer "mini dvd" cameras. iGHOST likes the mini dvd recorders;
they tend to have excellent features, are easily stored and carried, and have great resolution. However, the dvds do
not have a lot of storage space so it is necessary to carry several extra discs, as many will only hold 30 minutes of data.
Some paranormal investigators
set up dedicated or static infrared cameras at specific low-light locations of a site in order to attempt
to capture video evidence of spiritual activity. These cameras record to a digital video recorder (DVR) and are an excellent
tool because they can be set up and left alone to record all night (depending on the DVR storage capacity). These can
be expensive, however, due to the amount of equipment needed, (cameras, transmitters, receivers, DVR's, monitors, etc...)
and are nice to have, but are not an absolute necessity to conduct a solid investigation.
tools include infrared motion detectors, Geiger counters,
and thermal imaging cameras.
When reviewing evidence obtained from an investigation, iGHOST
is careful to scrutinize every piece and not jump to conclusions. We make every attempt to find rational answers to
puzzling pieces of evidence, and when we cannot, we leave the piece of evidence as open for interpretation by the viewer.
iGHOST does not claim that everything we capture
and post on this site is proof of paranormal activity, merely that the piece of evidence is unusual, defies all logical
attempts to debunk, and warrants a closer examination. We invite all guests of this site to form their own
opinions on collected evidence.
exists to continually seek answers and discover solid evidence of paranormal activity.
Two types of questionable evidence to consider:
There are two major phenomena
associated with paranormal evidence that we would like to discuss, and caution people about.
Pareidolia, aka Matrixing
The first is a phenomenon
known as pareidolia, also referred to as "anthropomorphizing" or "matrixing". Basically, this means
that the human brain tends to shape seemingly jumbled patterns into a coherent and familiar image; often people claim to "see"
a human form or face in a complex pattern. Think of it as finding faces in the clouds, or seeing The Virgin Mary in
an oil stain on the driveway. Click here for more information on this phenomenon.
Paranormal investigators must be careful not to fall into the trap of "matrixing", and
must be sure that their evidence can stand up to scrutiny before revealing it as solid, irrefutable evidence of spiritual
activity. See an example of matrixing and how it was discovered below.
This is a good example of matrixing. At first glance we thought there
may be an
anomaly as there almost appears to be a face
in the image.
We were able to debunk this photo after we located a picture taken of the
You can see the black , red, and green graffiti
on the wall that appeared as an anomaly
in the previous picture
(the black and red "smiley face" was not considered part of the
anomaly). 5th floor, Waverly Hills, 2006
The second phenomena we would like to examine are "orbs". Many people fall into the
trap of capturing on film what appear to be small balls of light and believing they are evidence of spiritual activity, when
often (if not most of the time) they are merely specs of dust or water vapor reflecting off of a camera's flash, or lit up
by a video camera's light.
orbs are collections of energy, and they occur naturally (after all, energy is all around us). True orbs will
be visible to the naked eye (as opposed to only being seen when lit by a camera's flash), emit their own light, and have noticeable
flight paths. While it is possible that some orbs do indeed represent paranormal activity, it is important to note that
ORBS, IN AND OF THEMSELVES, ARE NOT NECESSARILY EVIDENCE
OF A HAUNTING OR SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY!
are some examples of "orb" activity. Please don't fall into the trap of believing that every little speck
of light captured on film is a paranormal anomaly (as so many amateur ghost hunters and even some established paranormal groups
do). Below are images of dust and water vapor we have captured to illustrate how easy it can be to fall into the trap.
The following pictures ARE NOT PARANORMAL!
|Don't be fooled. These "orbs" are nothing but dust!
|Not the moon or an orb. Its just dust.
|Bugs...or dust...or both. But NOT paranormal!
|Just a bug!
Types of Hauntings
Traditionally, there are three widely acknowledged types
of hauntings: Intelligent, Residual, and Poltergeist hauntings.
hauntings are perhaps the most often type of haunting reported. In this circumstance, the entity is aware of itself,
and aware of the living. The entity remains in a location for whatever reason, and continues to dwell perhaps as it
did in life. Sometimes the entity manifests itself and even tries to communicate with the living.
Residual haunting are often reported in locations marked by large-scale violence and tragedy
(such as battlefields or mass genocide sites). A residual haunt can be thought of as a video set on repeat. An
entity manifests at a particular location at a particular time and consistently repeats its actions. In this style of
haunt, it is believed that the entity is unaware of itself or its surroundings, it is merely a form of energy that remains
in a given location, bound by its location and circumstance of death. The energy that makes up its manifestation is
residual; there is no consciousness attached to the apparition. Many people report witnessing the replaying of battles
with ghostly manifestations. It is merely the leftover energy in the location playing itself over and over again.
the most compelling type of haunt (especially where Hollywood is concerned) is poltergeist activity. While rare, dozens,
if not hundreds, of incidents have been reported around the globe. Poltergeist haunts could be considered a subgroup
of intelligent haunting in that the entity is certainly physically interacting with its environment, usually quite violently,
and is therefore certainly aware of itself and the living. Objects are moved and often thrown, people are attacked,
slapped, scratched, bitten, or assaulted in some other manner. It is believed that most poltergeist activity centers
not necessarily around a location, but often around a living individual. Many reports have been made of families fleeing
their homes due to such hostile activity, only to be confronted again with the same activity in a new location. While
more rare than pure intelligent or residual haunts, poltergeist haunts are perhaps the most compelling of all haunts, as pure
interaction between the spiritual world and the living is at play.
It should be noted, however, that many researchers
attribute "poltergeist activity" to increased psychic "flare-ups", often brought on by changing and increasing hormones
in pre-adolescent people (women are more common centers of activity than men).
iGHOST strives to put forth the best evidence possible and
will not make any claim to the irrefutability of anything we post. We are more concerned with the quality of
evidence we present rather than the quantity of evidence we present. Evidence is always subjective, and is
open to individual interpretations. All we can do is display what we have captured, and let the public form
their own opinions and draw their own conclusions. We will continue to post unusual pictures, EVP's, and video evidence
as we collect it. We will also be sure to add more examples of our own evidence that we have "debunked" (disproved)
in order to illustrate how some seemingly odd and unusual pictures can be mistaken for legitimate evidence when there
is, in fact, a rational explanation.