The Well Equipped Hunter

by Tony Harrington

During our recent monthly meeting we discussed the importance of being well-equipped for your ghost hunt.

This is not to say that you need to own every piece of equipment on the market, doing so is a sure-fire way to break the bank. Unless you are an absolute tech-junkie, you can typically get by on the basics.  But unless you know what to look for, the basics can cost you a pretty penny and cost you even more in frustration and heartache.

One of the first things you should know is that there is a huge market out there for ghost hunting equipment, and just like their contemporary counterparts some outfitters are not as reputable as others. Price jacking is all too common. Take the Electromagnetic Field reader for instance. The K-II meter once ran for around twenty-five dollars. The minute it was used on “Ghost Hunters” the price skyrocketed to over sixty dollars with some outfitters charging as much as one-hundred fifteen dollars.

Another thing several companies do is take regular over the counter items like digital cameras and slap labels on them like “Ghost Cam”, or “Spirit Lens” or brand it with the name of a popular ghost hunting television show and charge exorbitant amounts for you to possess the item in your arsenal.

While I am not a fan of single shopping sites, I prefer to obtain my gear from more traditional outlets like Best Buy and Wal-Mart, there are great sites out there that charge respectable prices for top-notch gear and offer an assortment of similar items for every price-range.

One of these sites is Static Zone.  The guys at Static Zone seem to run a tight ship and have a large stock of items from which to choose. Search for EMF and you get a results page with six items and an “add to cart” button. Each item contains a brief description that may put unfamiliar users at a disadvantage. It truly helps to know what you are looking for when looking up items on this site.

For example, I know from searching other sites that my preferred choice for a K-II meter is actually not made by K-II at all but by Mel. I know that I am interested in the Mel-KII HYBRID Meter and I know that three other stores were selling this item for$186.00 plus shipping. The folks at Static Zone are selling the item for a few dollars cheaper at $179.00 plush shipping. Obviously this item is a little on the steep side but it combines several items into one. It is a red flashlight which wont interfere with IR extenders and lights on cameras/camcorders, it also is a digital thermometer to capture temperature readings, it is an EMF detector which shows on a backlit digital readout. This unit also mimics the popular K-II with red yellow and green lights across the top of the unit.

For my particular tastes, this unit is worth the near 200 dollar price tag. For those just starting out and in need of a good EMF detector, there is the “The Ghost Meter” which will set you back approximately thirty to forty dollars. The display is not backlit so you will need a flashlight in the dark to see the readings. The device does light up and beep when high EMF is detected.

For those who want to carry camcorders in an attempt to capture ghostly phenomena (Know that this is extremely rare and the cost may not be worth the frustration) it is highly recommended that you invest in a camera that is labeled either has having IR Night Vision or Night Shot.  Most camcorders today have opted to go the route of low light recording which is not the same as night vision. The infrared aspect of night vision on camcorders was looked down upon when it was discovered that the use of IR lights enabled the camera’s lens to see through certain clothing types. As a result, most manufacturers have eliminated this feature all together from their camera models. So look for zero light, IR, or night vision models. Low light is NOT the same. You can start by doing a simple internet search; there are plenty of places out there to find great camcorders with the night vision feature at various price points. Just remember, you get what you pay for and of course buyer beware. Read user reviews, see buyer feedback and always review the return policy if there is one.

Digital cameras are the preferred choice of visual capture. Gone are the days of carrying film, loading cameras, and waiting for the development process. Almost every modern digital camera has a backlit LCD preview screen which allows you to see your picture immediately. You should find a camera that best suits you. I prefer a camera with some weight to it, a metal casing preferred. I have ten megapixel, unless you are printing your pictures anything over eight megapixel doesn’t matter.

Point and click cameras are preferred over cameras that require changing out of lenses such as professional grade DSLR cameras. Point and clicks are less expensive which counts considering the environments you are entering could be dangerous for fancy cameras. They could be dangerous for point and click cameras as well but because they are cheaper the cost to replace a broken one is not as heartbreaking.

Digital voice recorders are another piece of equipment you will want to pick up. This piece of equipment is what you will use to capture EVPs. You will want something functional and easy to use. Make sure your purchase includes a USB adapter to transfer your files to a computer. As far as versatility and affordability goes you can’t do much better than the RCA VR 5220 series. Great sound quality, picks up noise from a good distance with the conference setting, and has a built in USB connector that attaches instantly to any computer with a USB and automatically installs the required software for playback.

Additionally, some other good things to carry are:

A good old-fashioned flashlight. You might want to geek it up a notch and invest in a head lamp, the kind spelunkers wear. This will allow you the convenience of a flashlight without having to carry it in your hands, leaving them free to hold a camera or other handheld device.

A notepad and pen:  That’s right, the analog writing implements. Use the pen and paper to log personal experiences, exceptions such as you sneezing or coughing or making some other noise that could be misconstrued as paranormal when others listen back tot heir recordings, and other important information such as base readings for EMF. I am a firm believer that a notebook and a pen is the most essential of all items you need on an investigation.

Ghost hunting can be an expensive adventure. The items add up quickly and therefore itg is imperative that you buy quality items that are built to last. You can buy cheaper items but you may very well end up replacing them with more frequency than those around you who invested in the more costly and more durable items.  Just make sure it is costly because it is of solid stock and not simply because the manufacturer or supplier is fleecing you.

What items do you feel are essential for a paranormal investigation? Share with us what you and your group brings on-site  by responding to this post.

Until next time, happy hunting!

3 thoughts on “The Well Equipped Hunter

  1. Good article, Tony. For those interested in getting a nightshot camcorder, I would recommend the Sony HVL-IRM IR emitter. It comes with a bracket that screws into the tripod mount on your camcorder, you can even use two at once for maximum illumination. It has dual power sources, switching between regular AA’s or a camcorder battery at the flip of a switch. As flashlights go, I use Stinger’s ‘Nightcom’. It’s compact, bright, and has a separate nightvision safe mode. A charge station also comes in handy, never know when something nasty might drain your batteries!

    1. I have the same IR lamp that you mention in your response and it is a great model. They seem to have been discontinued by Sony but you can still find them at online retailers.

      Keep in mind that your camera must be capable of seeing infrared for this lamp to work. Low light cameras will not. Only cameras specified as night vision or nightshot/super nightshot can read IR light

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