Ghost Hunting Definitions & Tools!

Ghost Hunting Definitions & Tools!

The following is a list of ghost hunting definitions and tools you should use on a ghost hunt. It is important that you familiarize yourself with these terms as they are used quite frequently during a paranormal investigation. And as for the tools you don’t need to rush out and buy this gear. A basic camera, video camera is the minimum otherwise there is no point in going on a ghost hunt if you can’t show others what you may have captured

Amulets – Amulet Jewelry

Some ghost hunters use jewelry called amulets because they believe the amulet jewelry

provides protection; because it is enchanted and charmed with powerful spells – which

some believe make it an effective weapon against unhealthy spirits – ghosts. An example

of a shared amulet might be a crucifix – a cross. I believe jewelry is only powerful to the

mind that believes in it. An amulet is the same as a charm or talisman jewelry.


Something found on a picture, photograph, video or voice

recording that has no explainable source.


These are the holy grail of ghost hunting.

A spirit that is in human form and usually visible to the

naked eye; or may appear in a photo undetected originally by the

naked eye. Often this anomaly is dressed in period clothing. Very

hard to capture on film but many have reported seeing this kind of

ghost. This is the “Hollywood kind” ghost featured in many movies.


Cameras are an highly useful tool and a must for investigating a haunting. They provide

visual documentation of the investigation and the occurrences occurring. Since, cameras

are neither for or against the paranormal, they allow what we do not see with our closed

minds to be photographed. Digital cameras provide more results and are best for ghost

hunting because they can show you what’s in your picture right after you took the photo.

Digital photos are obtainable to upload to your computer closest after the ghost hunt,

while the events are nevertheless fresh in your mind.

Psychic photography is simply just following what you feel or sense, and taking pictures

using intention and intuition. When attempting psychic photography you should load the

film into the camera on arrival of the investigation site. Many say this will show the

intention you have and draw spirits to you to photograph. When taking pictures it is also

wise to notify others in the area you are taking a photo, so they are prepared for the

flash. Psychic photography is usually best achieved during the hours between 9 p.m. and

6 a.m.; but the best time for you will be when you have the feeling something is near you

or watching you – you should go with that instinct. While photographing at the

investigation site, you should try to avoid mirrors, glass, lights, poles or any other

obstruction that will interfere with evaluation or determination of the photograph and it’s

elements; otherwise you may want to observe the possibility of a false consequence with those photos

taken. Also, make sure your camera strap is removed and fingers are not in front of the

lens, as they can appear as convincing paranormal evidence. It is good to catalog your

photos with the corresponding negative for archival storage. If using a digital camera,

simply save the ghost photos and corresponding notes to a cd disk.

Dowsing Rods

Traditionally, a forked branch or stick that is believed to indicate subterranean water or

minerals by bending downward when held over a source. Divining rod, a rod, commonly

of witch hazel, with forked branches, used by those who discover water or metals under


Dowsing or divining rods can also be made of metal, and bent in an “L” shape – one for

each hand. In ghost hunting, when the rods cross while being held out in front of the

“dowser” they indicate spirit presence at the identify the dowser is at.

What is ectoplasm? It is the name given to a form of thick energy liberated by

living things which is believed to make possible the materialization of ghosts. In

short, it appears in photographs like a fog or mist, and is spirit.

We prefer to see orb vapor trails (such as in the above ghost picture), to determine

conclusively that it is indeed ectoplasm. Vapor trail cannot be re-produced by fog,

breath or smoke. Many ectoplasm pictures are produced by mistake, when the

ghost hunter has not been careful. Moisture, fog, cigarette smoke and human breath in cold weather can

produce some believable ectoplasm ghost pictures. Be sure to keep up your breath

before taking ghost pictures, and do not smoke during your investigations for positive results.

EMF Meters

The Electromagnetic Field Detector, also known as an EMF meter, is the

ghost hunters tracking device. Using this instrument, it is possible to

locate and track energy supplies. Before using the EMF meter as a

ghost hunting tool on an investigation, be sure to walk around the area

taking readings around energy supplies such as light poles and electrical

outlets to be sure of the readings you will receive while scanning the

area during the investigation. Some EMF meters come with a manual

describing shared household appliances and their corresponding

electromagnetic reading. When using this device be sure not to leave it

on for the complete length of the ghost investigation, as this will prevent the

instrument from burning out.

When a positive EMF meter reading occurs, take as many photos as

possible. Be sure and point the camera in the same direction as you are

pointing the EMF meter. This is also a good time to take a temperature

reading. Be sure to always report the times of positive EMF readings,

temperature drops, and the times and numbers of each photo. This

provides collaborating evidence of the paranormal occurrence. At the

end of your ghost hunt, you may find that positive EMF and temperature

readings occurred at the exact time you took the photograph which

shows an anomaly.

Energy Lights

These show up on photos as colored lights during

some manifestations of hauntings. They usually are not visible to

the naked eye and can appear in different colors such as red, orange

or green.


Electronic Voice occurrence is the recording of audio tapes

at a suspected haunted site; and although no voices were heard at

the time of the recording, unexplained voices may be discovered

during playback of the audio tape. Both digital recorder and

traditional tape recorders may be used with an external microphone.

Kinetic Energy

Description for the movement of objects by a ghost.

A physical manifestation of an unseen force which may move, throw

or already destroy objects. These ghosts are known as “Poltergeists”

(German for “noisy ghost”).


Not all orb ghost pictures are ghosts. In fact, most orbs are caused by moisture, dust,

flash reflection, solar flare, and insect. Many have videotaped orbs flying around rooms –

some are dust with light reflecting off of it; others are balls of energy that

many ghost hunters are not sure just what they represent. We do not

claim to have the answers, but we seek to present the evidence we

receive and allow our viewers to research and decide on their own.

It is hard to determine exactly the source of an orb for sure. But one test

is pretty cool. Take a picture while stirring up some dust and watch how

many “orbs” appear in the picture. This is a good test to learn about

orbs caused by dust.

Motion Sensors and Detectors

Motion sensors and detectors are another investigation tool that many ghost hunters

use. Simply put, motion sensors or motion detectors are used to let the ghost

investigator know if something is moving in another room, while the investigator is

in other places. Motion sensors work well when left in a room during the time when no

investigator is present. Motion sensors have alarms that sound when movement is

detected in the room in which they are placed. Typically, they will sound in rooms

where no past activity had been reported; and upon further investigation, one may

find much evidence of paranormal activity in the room where the motion detector or

sensor sounded its alarm. The motion sensors used by ghost hunters project an

infrared beam. When the beam is disrupted by movement of any kind (natural or

spirit!), an alarm will sound that the investigator can hear while in another room: a clue

that spirits may be present in that area where the motion detector resides. Usually

motion sensors have an alarm mode and chime mode. The chime mode will only

announce the visitor or movement, but will not blare as a siren for a long time. Most

ghost hunters prefer the chime mode setting on their motion detector, as it is less

offensive and won’t scare the dickens out of you!


Moving orbs caught during the time of camera

exposure. Orbs have also been filmed moving, on video. In photos,

they appear as streaking light or as an orb with a tail showing the

path of motion. These are also known as “supercharged orbs” in


Poltergeist Hauntings

Poltergeists or poltergeist hauntings may be the most misunderstood kind of haunting, as

some believe that poltergeist hauntings are not already a haunting at all. The German information,

“poltergeist,” method “noisy ghost.” The best defining mark of a poltergeist is if there is any

manipulation of the physical ecosystem such as the movement of objects, physical attack,

instinctive combustions, etc, then this is a poltergeist-kind of haunting.

A shared thread between different poltergeist hauntings has strongly indicated that they

are caused by psychokinesis (the ability to move things by strength of the mind alone). The

question becomes whether the psychokinesis is from the people who live within (or visit) the

place where the activity takes place, or if it is truly occurring from an unseen troubled

spirit, called a ghost. The reason for this is because typically poltergeist hauntings center

around an adolescent girl (although young males and already adults have exhibited the same

occurrences) in the household. Typically, this central person is usually emotionally disturbed

in some fact, and is somehow the root cause of objects moving, knocking sounds (and

other noises), the turning on and off of lights and electrical appliances, etc. What is

interesting is that the person whom the activity centers around, is unaware that they are the

one who is bringing about the disturbance. But in true poltergeist hauntings, none of the

activity will continue after the person is removed from the ecosystem, as they are not there

to create it or influence an unseen entity. However, it has been reported that activity can

return later if the “right” person visits or lives in a notably poltergeist-haunted place. This

would lend one to believe that it requires a combined psychic energy to manifest such

terrible hauntings.

Author Brad Steiger contends that the central figure in a poltergeist haunting truly brings

additional energy which the troubled ghost then uses to manifest with physical attacks or

manipulation. This can be especially true if one is slightly psychic and/or complete of fear. The

ghostly entity seems to satisfy off of low energies such as fear. This is when more unhealthy

attacks can occur. Sometimes the effects of a poltergeist are more playful than unhealthy, but

have been known to be downright nasty. Reports of scratches, bites, unhealthy objects being

put in one’s way (such as glass shards on a pillow or tacks under a bed sheet) have been

noted, in addition as ghost possession. Perhaps Brad Steiger’s best phrase is, “Ghosts haunt

houses; poltergeists haunt people.” Perhaps many times, the troubled spirit wants only to

communicate a message to those who nevertheless are in bodies.

Residual Haunting

When a spirit is seen doing the same thing over

and over, many believe this to be simply an energy imprint or

residual haunting. In other words, a strong, traumatic event that

occurred in some other time, repeating itself over and over. Usually

these spirits do not interact with those who see them. My opinion, is

that this could simply be a state of mind I call “hell;” being retained by

one’s own mind in darkness or without of understanding. Sort of reliving

of an event perhaps by fear, guilt or condemnation until that

spirit finds truth and freedom.

Think of a residual haunting as a movie being re-run on TV day after day. It is believed by

ghost hunters that some events, due to perhaps strong emotional energy attached to it,

imprint themselves somehow on the ecosystem where the event took place. Sort of

“retained in time,” the event is recorded in the air of a place. If one were to see a

ghost doing the same activity over and over, and with no response to the present

ecosystem, it is most likely a residual haunting. Residual hauntings are past events playing

in the present, but with no interaction with today. It is a shared ghost hunters theory that

most residual hauntings occur in places built over top of limestone, quartz stone and/or

water. These seem to act as a transmitter, perhaps creating the perfect ecosystem to

allow the residual haunting energy to manifest.

How can residual hauntings occur? Energy is spirit and spirit is life. All of us are spirit, with

or without the physical body, and we live and exist within spirit. Spirit is the life-force of all,

whether plant, animal or human being, and is everywhere. Everything that is, exists within

spirit. Spirit or energy is everywhere. consequently, is it possible for an event or person to imprint its

energy upon a place? Most ghost hunters believe so…

Dark Shadows/Shadow People

Dark shadows in ghost pictures usually appear as a black

smudge or fog over an image. Some certainly could be caused by

a finger or something else over the camera lens, but many are not.

There have been many interesting observations of shadow ghosts

(dark shadows or shadow people). They are usually seen out of

the corner of one’s eye, hence this is why some call them shadow

people – they often observe others. Also, dark shadows have

truly been recorded playing with one another. This has led

some ghost investigators to believe they can be children, in addition

as adults. Some have seen shadow ghosts 6 feet tall with general

shoulders, for example. Shadow ghosts can see and react with

people. We have theorized that perhaps their darkness may be

just an indicator of their without of progression into the light and unto

their life review…call it “in darkness,” or “without of understanding of

truth” – unaware of where they are, having unfinished business, or

afraid to move on.

Thermometer / Thermal Scanner

Thermometers are an instrument that are also very useful. There are two types used regularly:

digital thermometers and infrared non-contact thermometers. When used on an investigation this

will aid as a detection system for spirit presence. Rapid temperature drops of 10 degrees or more

could indicate spirit activity. I recommend using the infrared non-contact thermometers because

they react in less than a second to temperature drops and can examine a large area quickly.

As mentioned, good thermometer can detect changes in room temperature quickly. But some nevertheless

use the old-fashioned mercury-filled, red-line, thermometers. Electronic thermometers should be

used, but in high paranormal, haunting activity where electromagnetic forces have been reported

they may fail right when you need them. So bring an old mercury thermometer with you as back up,

and you should be o.k. during your ghost investigation.


A long streak across a photo that may be

caused by a very high-speeding “orb;” some believe vortices are a

gateway between both realms (physical and spirit realms). They are

usually white in color and may appear as a funnel-shape. Camera

straps, human hair, a tree branch, etc., right in front of the camera

lens during exposure have been notoriously mistaken for a vortex. It

is important to make sure anything that may interfere with your photo

is removed from within the front of the camera.

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