Ghost Hunting Equipment: Tools To Get Rid Of Demons

haunted house ghost hunting equipment

 

Want to be a ghost hunter this Halloween? Let Amy Bruni from the SyFy series Ghost Hunters show you how to detect paranormal activity in your home or whether those spooky chills and poltergeist-like malfunctions can be addressed through simple household maintenance.

Ghost Hunting Equipment Explained

Ghost hunting is hardly a newfangled pursuit, but it can be cumbersome if you don’t know what ghost hunting equipment to use. The macabre hobby has been around since the late-seventeenth century when sightings started popping up all over the British Isles. And it’s been popularized here in the U.S. by the hit television show Ghost Hunters.

Back in the 17th century, the application of leeches was one “cure” for seeing apparitions. Sleuths wrote tons on exploits and revelations. A hundred years later, a center for paranormal studies was formed and still exists to this day, laying the groundwork for a seemingly everlasting preoccupation with the occult.

Amy Bruni

Modern-day ghost hunters have come a long way since leeches. They now employ hoards of cool ghost-hunting tools to help decipher what the other side is trying to tell us and whether it’s speaking at all. We spoke with paranormal investigator, Amy Bruni from SyFy’s Ghost Hunters to help us determine whether that static in the attic requires the eagle eyes of a ghost hunting pro or a local electrician. “In almost every case there’s a logical explanation for what’s happening in your home,” says Bruni. Makes sense since only 20 percent of the Ghost Hunters’ cases can’t be attributed to real causes.

 

How to get rid of ghosts if your house is haunted? 

Here’s how to be a real ghost hunter and how to self-diagnose a bunch of household headaches that are likely leaving you scratching your head while they bump in the night.

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON #1: Frequent and extreme temperature fluctuations concentrated in one area (a.k.a. hot and cold spots).

Working Theory:

While cold spots are supposedly caused by a spirit’s need for copious amounts of warm air to reveal itself, hot spots are tip-offs that one has just shown up (or, at least, is gearing up to) in said area. “It’s a very old theory, albeit not a very scientific one,” says Bruni.

What Would a Ghost Hunter Do?

Cold and hot spots are some of the most common household irregularities for which ghost hunters are summoned. They also seem to be one of the real trademarks of paranormal activity. But just because you’ve got cold feet or an er…unusually hot seat, don’t expect Bruni and her team to declare your house The Amityville Horror; you can be too quick with those haunting conclusions. “We’ve found many hot and cold spots that couldn’t be traced to specific causes. But while they’re strange, they alone aren’t what Ghost Hunters classify as paranormal,” she says.

fluke-62-max-ir-thermometerDigital Infrared Ghost Hunting Thermometer – $86.50

The Arsenal:

Bruni uses a digital infrared (IR) thermometer to measure surface temperatures of objects (visible or not) within a certain distance even if they’re moving. So, if a chilly apparition were to hover between you and a solid wall (which is surprisingly already pretty warm), your IR thermometer would detect a significant drop in temperature, which probably couldn’t be readily explained. “We also use this cool tool called a thermocoupler, which measures ambient air temperature. It isolates the hot and cold spots to determine where they begin and end,” she says.

black-decker-tld100-thermal-leak-detectorThermal Leak Detector – $25.99

The Likely Culprit:

Just how can you be so sure The Sixth Sense isn’t playing out in your living room? Drafts, open windows, faulty heating and cooling systems, poor ventilation and insufficient insulation are all the usual suspects. “If you live in an older non-winterized home with a window that’s warped by even a fraction of an inch, frigid seasonal air can seem to hit you from out of nowhere. It’s shocking, but you could unknowingly be standing in front of an open window,” Bruni says. To ensure you’re not losing your mind, or precious dollars due to energy leaks throughout your home, invest in a thermal leak detector. It could help you save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs every year and an embarrassing call to your local ghost hunter.

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON #2: Toilets flushing and taps running by themselves; mysterious drips and pools of water on the floor.

Working Theory:

Water, especially large bodies of it, has long been thought to be a conduit between the supernatural and modern worlds. The element “seems to fuel paranormal activity somehow, similarly to how spirits can extract energy from electromagnetic waves.”

What Would a Ghost Hunter Do?

Call a plumber. Fortunately, Bruni doesn’t have to look far. Her Ghost Hunters costars, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, are Rhode Island-based Roto-Rooter plumbers by day.

 

refrigerator-door-gasket

Refrigerator Gasket Seal – $52.99

The Arsenal:

While there’s no particular ghost-hunter litmus test for water-borne peculiarities, some good, old-fashioned surveillance could help put homeowners’ minds at ease. Ghost hunters like Bruni typically use infrared digital cameras and video monitoring systems to capture seen and unseen (invisible) activity. So if someone, or something, has been taking its daily predawn soak in the family tub, you’ll now be in the know.

digital-video-camera-camcorder-night-vision

Ghost Hunting Full Spectrum Night Vision GhostPro Waterproof Action Camera Full HD 1080p 12mp – $99.99

The Likely Culprit:

Bad or faulty plumbing. A “phantom-flushing” toilet (when the flapper’s worn out, the toilet always refills and flushes because it allows water to leak from the cistern into the bowl.) Older faucet handles eventually stop being able to prevent water adequately from coming out of the faucet. Something called the valve seat gets worn out over time and needs to be replaced (you’ll know yours needs TLC if a handle turns nearly 360 degrees without stopping). “When this happens,” says Bruni, “city water pressure is often enough to start water running by itself.”

A clogged central AC drain line. (The evaporator coil’s pan could be overflowing due to the block; water than pools on the floor or leaks down into the floor below the unit, and then, into the ceiling above another floor of the home.)

A refrigerator that’s improperly sealing. (Refrigerators are forced to work overtime when they can’t close all the way, so condensation builds on the coils and pools on the floor. For a proper seal: wash the rubber gasket with warm, soapy water. Rinse. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.)

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON 3: Strange odors, both good and bad.

Working Theory:

Ghost hunters have gotten reports of rogue wafts of everything from pipe smoke, rotten eggs, and hemp to sweet hints of oranges, bubblegum, and perfume. Many theorize that ghosts express themselves via these scents, but what a cloud of Old Spice says (besides “I’m a man, and a provider”) is anyone’s guess.

What Would a Ghost Hunter Do?

Of course, she’d investigate. Bruni told us that there are instances in which people do smell real scents. A 2007 Ghost Hunters investigation of San Francisco’s legendary Presidio social club revealed that whiffs of cigar and cigarette smoke from the years-defunct smoking lounge came from its original woodwork. “Changes in humidity caused wood to expand, contract and release decades-old smoke,” says Bruni.

viqua-ihs22-d4-home-plus-water-purification-uv-system

Water Purification UV System

An ultraviolet disinfection system can remove smelly deposits from the pipe.

The Arsenal:

There’s no tried-and-true tool the Ghost Hunters can employ to determine sources of unexplained smells (save for the make-believe “Smell-O-Meter” Grant has said he wishes existed).

The Likely Culprit:

Okay, bear with us, but a fetid odor that’s concentrated in one area of a room could likely be a dead (and very unlucky) rodent that got trapped behind the wall. Oil heat systems, particularly after they’ve been serviced or haven’t run for awhile, could smell a bit (but it shouldn’t last for more than 20 minutes) and if they’re unpleasant, you could have an oil leak or combustion problem on your hands; best to call a pro. Your water can give off a rotten-egg smell if it’s passing through pipes or plumbing with sulfur buildup; it makes perfect sense that only one part of your house might be smelly; an ultraviolet disinfection system can remove the deposits.

Maybe your garbage disposal’s in need of a good cleaning? Trapped food and bacteria kick up a good stink. Flush out the disposal with a cup of white vinegar followed by two cups of boiling water, and then run it for good measure. Is something other than a poltergeist trying to get your attention? A dried-up plumbing-drain trap down in the basement can smell an awful lot like the undead. Buy some plumbing antifreeze, plug your nose and fill up the trap. Repeat as necessary. Still smelling that smell? “Many times there just is no explanation,” says Bruni.

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON #4: Electrical appliances are turning on and off willy nilly; rapid battery and light bulb burnout.

Working Theory:

Like with water, spirits are apparently able to suck energy from electrical sources. But Bruni feels this theorem “probably boils down to the 80’s movie, Poltergeist, Hollywood and TV” and has no real scientific basis. Still, though, she has experienced it first-hand: “I once watched a light switch turn on by itself. But how it happened, I can’t explain.”

What Would a Ghost Hunter Do?

Because there could be a household safety issue that requires immediate attention, “we don’t want people to assume immediately an electrical irregularity is a ghost. Always call an electrician,” cautions Bruni.

ghost-hunting-emf-magnet-and-radio-field-detector

EMF Meter – $109.99

If you are not familiar with analog EMF meters, she recommends the below digital equivalent.

mg-300-elf-gauss-and-emf-meter-and-detector

Digital EMF Overvoltage Multimeter – $99.99

The Arsenal:

Because an electromagnetic field (EMF) is produced by nearly every structure (some weaker and stronger than others). It’s thought that strong, recurring and erratic EMFs throughout someone’s house and those that seem to move up and down staircases or through walls are good signs that there might be some bats in the belfry. Why the two are connected is still somewhat of a mystery, though. Because a slew of things radiate EMFs (the human body included), Bruni and the Ghost Hunters team use an EMF meter to rule out appliances (stovetops, washers, and dryers, cordless telephones, fluorescent lights, and computers) that may be generating ultra-high EMFs.

The Likely Culprit:

Many times, electrical problems can be chalked up to plain bad old wiring. And as far as appliances turning on and off by themselves? Bruni says that it’s often just a case of a forgetful homeowner. “Say you take something out of the microwave before the cooking time elapses. Then you shut the door, and it’s ancient history,” says Bruni. Speedy battery drain, too, can be explained. Hot and cold temperatures and fluctuations in temperature both detrimentally affect battery performance. Batteries can even lose 8 to 20 percent of their life by just sitting around in a drawer! Light-bulb burnout and flickering could be due to several things.

Over-voltage of the circuit can cut a bulb’s life in half. Check to see if yours is correct with a multimeter. Having a bulb that is a wattage that’s too high for the fixture causes the bulb to burn too hot, thereby causing it to burn out faster; always use the suggested wattage. And last, although this may seem obvious, check to see if your bulb is screwed in tightly. Flickering is often due to excessive vibration. Buy a shock-resistant bulb if you figure out the light that’s been giving you the creeps is in a high-traffic area.

UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON #5: Vapor, mist, and fog.

Working Theory:

Some think these energies are portals between the physical and spirit realms, but Bruni and her team aren’t entirely convinced. “Some people report far-off mists outside, some are over water, some are tinged with blue or other colors and most are seen strictly in photos. But there’s still no rock-solid science behind it,” she adds.

What Would a Ghost Hunter Do?

Although the Ghost Hunters mainly encounter these anomalies in photographs (they’re usually whitish, opaque, long, and funnel-shaped streaks and hazy forms), Bruni did check out reports of a misty presence in the Cuban Club in Ybor City, Florida. “I saw it, too. It had no real shape. It just appeared from behind a stage curtain in the ballroom, illuminated a bit and went back from wherever it came from,” says Bruni.

infrared-motion-sensor

Infrared Motion Sensor – $24.99

An infrared motion sensor might be used by ghost hunters.

The Arsenal:

If you’re don’t live in the Deep South, and you’re convinced there’s nothing scary about your home’s heating and cooling systems, you could try investing in an infrared and ultrasonic motion sensor and hooking it up to your digital infrared camera. The former will prompt the camera to snap a shot of the spook once it flies across the camera’s path.

The Likely Culprit:

If the atmosphere in your den is looking as thick as the broth in a witch’s cauldron, although unsettling, try to relax. Your HVAC unit could be acting spooky. If you live in a particularly humid climate (we’re talking 90 plus percent) and rely on an air conditioning system, a clogged drain pan may be the culprit.

Although this is rare, your entire home could potentially fill with fog (harmless water vapor) and even trip your smoke alarms. It is common to see it in the freezer. Fog and mist are seen outside can be caused by any number of natural weather conditions, during all four seasons of the year, in all areas of the world. The possibilities are nearly endless. And on film, chances are the camera’s lens unwittingly came into contact with moisture or condensation, someone’s errant cigarette smoke swirls, a wisp of human hair or a bit of airborne pollen. Each can look an awful lot like a scary specter that’s angling in on your turf.

Finally, for the newbies out there, here are a few paranormal equipment kits you can use in your haunted house. Even better, you can start a whole new business in your neighborhood. All you need is a pack of business cards to hand over your neighbors.

deluxe-ghost-hunting-kit

Deluxe Ghost Hunting Kit – $99.95

 

ghost-hunters-advanced-ghost-hunting-kit

Advanced Ghost Hunting Kit – $259.95

Ever experience spooky symptoms in the home? Tell us about it!

Christen Tung

Christen is a freelance writer residing in Mount Holly, N.J. She writes for several online magazines, and she also helps her clients improve their marketing efforts by writing newsletters, brochures, content, press releases, etc. When she's not working on improving the environment, Christen enjoys visiting her local farmer's market, reading, traveling and gardening.

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