Before Buying Equipment, Don't Base Your Shopping List off Shows
In the paranormal field, the equipment we use can seem intimidating, especially if you are basing the equipment off of television shows. From the number of cameras and close surveillance systems used, thermal cameras, and specialty ghost hunting tools, the price can easily cross into the thousands threshold. With television shows, not only do they have the budget for that equipment, but based on their target audience, they NEED that equipment, but not for the same reason you may need the tools. The producers need the “wow” factor to keep audiences at the edge of their seat, and to do that, equipment is the best way. Unless your kit needs a “wow” factor, the tools you choose will be different.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. Purchasing items linked to will result in myself earning an affiliate income. I link to these products based on my own suggestions for recommended products, and have not been asked to by any company.
Create a Kit That Fits Your Needs
When deciding on a goal for why you want to research the paranormal, there are a few that are most common. While there are certainly cases outside of this list, the most common reasons are:
- As a personal hobby
- Seeking answers about the afterlife and/or religion
- Creating a team for a common social interest
- A social media channel about the paranormal
If Investigating as a Hobby, You Probably Have Everything You Need Already!
I started researching more hands on back in 2006 once I turned 16 and was able to drive myself to locations. The luxury I have now that I wish I had then is the ability to carry most basic equipment in my pocket. The resolution of cameras in cell phones continue to improve every year. Fifteen years ago 1.3 megapixels cameras were the standard, if a phone had a camera. It wasn’t until the early 2010s when cellphones began having cameras beyond 6 megapixels.
Fast forward to today, most cellphones can replace many point and shoot digital cameras. The video resolution has improved drastically throughout the last decade. If you have a smartphone with decent camera resolution, combined with the voice recording tool, that’s three tools on a device most people already carry in their pocket.
If You Decide to Purchase Equipment, Avoid Ghost Hunting Branded Items if Possible
Purchasing equipment through a ghost hunting equipment shop online is incredibly tempting. There are two reasons I suggest avoiding items labeled as a ghost hunting tool. The first reason is largely due to the cost. Items such as video cameras, voice recorders, and even flashlights have been sold as a “ghost hunting” edition item. They’re no better than the equipment purchased through any retailer, but they will often mark up the price to attract those in the field. There really is no reason to spend the extra money for the label, unless that is something you wish to have for marketing when out investigating, though not necessary.
The second reason I avoid branded gear, is that if you decide to sell equipment down the road, it minimizes your customer base. Potential customers may see the branding, and possibly perceive the item as lower quality, as untrue as that belief may be. You also may not get the markup back when reselling. If the market has a fair amount of competitive pricing, you may need lower your price to attract buyers. Because of the cost and reselling aspects, only purchase from ghost hunting sites unless there are no other generic alternatives.
The Equipment That I Own and Use
Over the last decade or so of investigating, I’ve used a variety of pieces of equipment, ranging from dowsing rods and EMF meters to cameras, and the Ghost Box. Over time as I tried equipment and found better results with some equipment over others, my own kit shrank down to the pieces I use most.
The Ghost Box
The Ghost Box is the only ghost hunting branded tool that I use. I have had quite a few sessions using the Ghost Box where words or phrases were produced relating to the discussion shortly within 10 seconds of being relevant. The one great feature about this piece of equipment is that sessions can be recorded onto a mini SC card. However, external noise, such as your questions and discussions will not be recorded, only the radio signal produced.
The Camera That I Use
For a camera, I use a Nikon D3400, which has been upgraded to the D3500. There are only a few differences between the cameras, mainly being the longer battery life on the D3500. You can see a full comparison here. What I like about this camera is that it’s an affordable, high quality entry level DSLR camera. It captures crisp photos and video, and can be used with a flash for nighttime photography. You can certainly use a point-and-shoot camera if you wish to have a less expensive camera, or even your phone. If you want a camera with more capabilities, I do suggest either the D3400 if you can find a used model for sale, or the D3500.
What About Night Vision?
If I do need to film in night vision, or sessions longer than the allowed 30 minutes on my Nikon, I use a camcorder from Zohulu. It’s a fairly basic camera in terms of features, and while it isn’t a well known name, it’s a good build, and the price is right for it. Even though the product description does say ghost hunting and paranormal, the actual camera doesn’t say it on it which I like. If you do want to film in night vision without going over budget, I do suggest this model.
For Temperature and EMF, I Use an All-in-One Meter
For both temperature and EMF readings, I prefer numbers, rather than devices that show a change in levels with colored lights, such as the K2 meter. The meter I use is made by Meterk. It provides accurate readings in both a compact and affordable design. Even for an EMF alone it’s a reasonable price, and with the added bonus of tracking temperature, it saves additional money and pocket space. One feature I use often is the alarm feature. If you leave the meter in a room and leave, it can alert you of any changes, so long as you’re within earshot.
When Building Your Own Kit, Keep in Mind Your Reason for Investigating
Purchasing equipment based on your own goals for researching will produce a kit that you will use more often, and spend money most effectively for your own needs. If investigating as a hobby, you may not need much, if anything. If you are hoping to experience something that gives hope of an afterlife, you only need your senses. If you wish to purchase equipment for a more in-depth experience, you’re more than welcome to, but it isn’t required.
If purchasing equipment for a podcast, vlog, or blog, what will you be creating content about? If you are writing about product reviews, having access to equipment will be critical. But if you are telling stories about popular haunted locations and their ghosts, you may only need a kit similar to mine. If you wish to provide enough digital evidence to add to the story, placing a bulk of the content on the history and lore, you may only need a few tools.
I’m hesitant to recommend buying thermal cameras, surveillance systems, and multiple pieces equipment for team members. That’s a decision your team needs to make, based on budgeting limits, and investigation needs. They aren’t necessary, unless your team personally sees a need for them, and it fits your goals. On a final note, I would like to stress avoiding tools you see on shows. They’re meant to provide a “wow” factor, and may not fit your needs.