A Beginner’s Guide to Ghost Hunting

A few simple and easy tips for ghost hunting this Halloween.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Rhea Malhotra

So, you want to see a ghost this Halloween? It's all the rage these days, but to all you beginner phantom finders, do you know where to start? Well, here are some beginner-friendly tips and tricks to have the spookiest time ghost hunting this season! 

Do Your Research

This is a crucial step for all ghost hunters. First, you must know which ghosts are in the area you are hunting in. Whether you are seeking out a particular ghost (like the ghost of your parents’ affection!) or just trying to find any undead Tom, Dick, or Harry, knowing what types of ghosts are in your desired hunting grounds is a must! If you’re looking for Peter Stuyvesant, you better hope you did your research and are looking for him out of the city and not the old Stuyvesant building! If you’re looking for the plumber who went missing seven years ago, look no further than the girls’ locker room—not in the pool drains! The best way to prepare for anything is to first do a Google search about it. If you really want to go all-out with your research, Ghostbusters is the premiere resource.

Scout out the Area

Sometimes, ghosts can be a little crafty. They may ghost you (haha). This is why it is important to investigate the area beforehand. Not only is it good to find hiding spots (for when a banshee tries to kill you OR you have a really shy mare on hand), but also it may help you detect and avoid ghostly booby traps and the like! Plus, if you end up finding the ghost’s decomposing physical body, you can get your face in a true crime video on YouTube. 

Be Prepared

All ghost hunters carry the same essentials, though if you want to do anything other than the standard-fare gawking and recording clickbait, you may need special equipment. 

Generally, it is best to carry a few specific items. The first is a light source. Flashlights and torches will do, but if you’re going into a particularly run-down or old area, candles are preferred. Next, a method of detecting if a ghost is nearby. Professionals only need their senses, but a beginner should always have some sort of reliable instrument such as, but not limited to, a Polaroid camera, an Ouija board, an EMF reader, or a thermometer. Lastly, you need some protection from any supernatural retribution that may befall you. Always carry at minimum: three crucifixes, seven tiny bottles of holy water, three bundles of incense sticks, a holy water water gun, four bottles of table salt, a stick with bells on the end, a white sheet with eye holes cut out, and a sweat-and-tear-soaked gym uniform. Remember, safety comes first! Keep in mind the HOPE acronym: hide, offend, pray, and escape.

If you’re ghost hunting for any specific reason, it may be best to first consult with a professional in the field of your interest. They’ll likely have a few common suggestions. For exorcisms, remember to have a really thick book with you—if prayers don’t do the job, then blunt-force trauma will. For other kinds of extermination, always have a wire charger, and make sure to only do your ghost hunting within 10 meters of an outlet. Your Dyson Cordless Vacuum sounds good on paper, but it would not do you any good if your battery ran out mid-ghost-sucking. For film, always have some spotlights (to make the ghost’s and your complexion pop! If you’re not going to look good while ghost hunting, then what’s the point?), a dedicated cue card holder present, and a phone to call the ghost at 3 a.m. Always remember to do your research and get a professional opinion before attempting any ghost hunting.

Have Reinforcements

Never go ghost hunting alone. That is the second rule of ghost hunting, right after not farting on the job.

Always have a buddy with you, whether in the building itself or in a van outside hiding in fear. Always make sure they have communication devices and access to your supplies. They’re your safety net in case something less normal than paranormal happens. 

Next, have a professional on speed dial. Who ya gonna call? The Ghostbusters! They have top-notch speed and quality on the job. Plus, if you’re in New York City, they even offer a 30 percent discount on their services. Save the money (and your life) and throw away your pride. They’ve seen it all, whether you’re screaming and bawling like a baby or peeing yourself in fear, they have 95 percent customer discretion! If you still can’t afford the Ghostbusters’ services even with their generous discount, have a priest/monk/shrine maiden on call. They’ll do a good enough job. Nothing to write home about.

Have Fun

Remember, this is supposed to be a fun activity! If you ever feel like you’re getting possessed, remember, you can tap out at any time. Don’t be peer pressured by friends or ghosts to do anything you’re not comfortable with, like selling your soul or donating your plasma. It is also completely fine to be scared. The ghosts are used to it. You're not the first person to break down sobbing in the face of a poltergeist or run away screaming from a wraith. The first time is always the scariest! Next time, you’ll know what to expect. 

Now that you know the tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to see the spirit of your dreams or the revenant of your darkest nightmares! Having a fun but safe ghost hunt is the best way to spend your Halloween this year. Who knows, maybe the ghosts will like you so much that they follow you home!