How do ghosts turn flashlights on and off?

Ghosts and flashlights… they’re an interesting mix. Can ghosts really communicate by turning your flashlight on & off?

Here’s my answer.

Ghosts don’t actually turn the flashlight on and off. Not with a switch or lever, anyway.

Find out how ghosts turn flashlights on & off.The effect comes from a loose contact between the batteries and the light bulb.

A ghost might be able to move the flashlight just enough to make the light blink on for a split second.

Or, ghosts might generate EMF energy. That’s a popular theory. If it’s true, a small amount of energy might reconnect the battery and the light bulb.

Either way, some ghosts and flashlights seem to have a connection (no pun intended). Ghosts might be able to communicate through a loosened flashlight. That’s how it’s looked in tests on TV and in the field.

Fiona's adviceUse the kind of flashlight that turns on and off with a gentle twist of the flashlight case. The Mag lite brand is the most popular.

But, inexpensive clones can work just as well, as long a the flashlight has a metal case, not plastic or resin.

Note: I’ve talked with the staff at Mag lite. They were baffled by my questions. They wouldn’t tell me which metals are in their flashlight cases are proprietary. Still, they insisted that conductivity wasn’t likely.

So, any flashlight may work equally well.

How to get the best results with ghosts and flashlights

Here are steps to use a flashlight to communicate with ghosts.

  1.  Turn the flashlight on.
  2. Twist the case just enough so the flashlight is off.
  3. Gently shake the flashlight. If the light flickers on and off, the setting is right.  (If it won’t flicker easily, adjust the case until it does.)
  4. Place the flashlight on a level surface.
  5. Then, instruct the ghost to reply to questions by briefly turning the light on if the answer is yes. (Or whatever directions you want to give to the ghost. It might be “signal once with the light for yes, and twice for no.”)

This kind of real-time communication can be exciting and produce remarkable results.

Sadly, there’s at least one big problem:  This is far from actual, scientific evidence.

Heavy footsteps, a passing truck, a nearby train, or music with a heavy base can be enough to make the flashlight flicker.

In other words, a blinking flashlight isn’t proof of anything, even if it seems eerily accurate and consistent.

How I begin each flashlight session

Generally, I ask questions with known answers: “Is my name Fiona Broome? Flash the light once for yes.”

Then, “Flash the light once if I’m male, twice if I’m female.”

(I mix things up. I want to be sure the flashlight isn’t responding to footsteps in a nearby room, or infrasound from trucks or an underground stream.)

I’ll continue questioning the ghost for several minutes. (You could think of it as “establishing rapport” rather than commanding the ghost to perform.)

“Are we in [name of location]? Flash once for yes.”

“Did George Washington (or some other impossible name, like Queen Elizabeth II) live here? Flash once for yes, twice for no.”

If the answers aren’t at least 75% accurate, I don’t bother with a flashlight “seance.” The controlled responses must be more accurate than a coin toss.

If the flashlight responds accurately enough, I set up my equipment nearby.

Confirming flashlight responses

My usual tools include EMF detectors, real-time ghost communication devices, and EVP recorders. We set them up and resume our investigation.

We continue to ask questions, and check our other tools for anomalies that happen at the same time as the ghost seems to flicker the flashlight.

Flashlight communication with spirits can be exciting.  However, I believe you need more evidence, collected at the same time.

After our investigation, I look for documented history that supports or refutes what the ghost seemed to tell us via the flashlight.

Unless historical evidence exists, the rest is speculation. It might seem reliable, but I’m looking for more than just a consensus from a loosened flashlight and a few other tools.

I want something on paper that’s independent of any ghost investigations. That means census records, vital records (birth, marriage, or death records), court documents, and so on.

This article wandered far from the flashlight topic. However, “talking” flashlights are such unreliable evidence, they shouldn’t be your only focus in an investigation.

Besides… if the ghost really is that communicative, you might miss other investigative opportunities, like EVP and ghost photos or video.

But yes, flashlight communications can work. And, as part of a pre-investigation visit – or during your regular research – the answers can help you identify your ghost and why he or she haunts.

How much should I budget for ghost hunting gear?

As a beginner, avoid investing in specialized ghost hunting equipment.

First, make sure this will be a long-term interest, hobby, or profession.

With experience, you’ll know what kind of ghost hunting you enjoy. You’ll have seen others’ equipment, and know what works best where you investigate.

But, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, never invest more money than you can afford to lose.

Here’s why..

trees and moonlight in haunted setting– People drop things when they’re startled.  In the dark, you might not find whatever-it-is.

(The problem becomes worse if you drop what you’re carrying, and run away in terror.)

– If you drop a sensitive $5k camera or a $2k heat sensing device, it can break the same as a $40 camera or a $15 digital thermometer.

If you didn’t buy a replacement warranty, or it doesn’t cover that kind of mistake, you may have wasted thousands of dollars.

– Electronic equipment can fail in extremely haunted settings. In fact, many of us use unexplained equipment failure as an indicator of paranormal activity.

Personally, I think EMF spikes are to blame. Many electrical devices will glitch or fail when exposed to intense magnetic energy. That’s reasonable, unless it’s remarkably well shielded.

If your expensive camera or other device won’t work when you’re ghost hunting, you’ve wasted your money. Worse, it can be difficult to return that equipment if it shows any wear, or you can’t demonstrate how it fails.

Instead, focus on just one aspect of ghost hunting.

If you like ghost photography, invest in photographic equipment.

If you like divinatory tools, buy or make specialized dowsing rods or pendulums.

If I were starting fresh, today, I’d probably budget $100 or less.

– I’d start with the camera in my phone. It’s good enough. I wouldn’t bother with a fancy ($$) after-market lens attachment, either.

For many investigations, that’s all you need.

If I were starting out and decided I really liked taking ghost photos, I might get a good camera.

I bought a couple of used, refurbished point-and-shoot digital cameras. They’re great… but they use specialized batteries.

So, I keep going back to my trusty Nikon Coolpix camera. (I talked about that in my article, What’s the best kind of equipment for a beginning ghost hunter.)

For photo-processing software, I’d use GIMP, or something else that’s free. (Today, I use Photoshop, but GIMP and other programs work well enough to tell if you’ve captured an anomaly.)

– I’d make dowsing rods from coat hangers. (If you’re not sure how, see my Homemade Dowsing Rods article at HollowHill.com, for instructions.)

– I’d use the voice recorder on my phone, or buy an inexpensive one at an office supply store or warehouse. (Make sure the microphone is omni-directional, so it picks up sounds all around you, not just in one direction.)

– I’d buy an inexpensive flashlight with a metal case. I’d make sure the light bulb housing unscrews easily, to test yes/no responses when the housing is loosened.

– I’d get a good surgical-type mask that protects me from toxins, bacteria, and viruses around me. (Not vice versa. The free masks at doctors’ offices are designed to contain germs inside the mask… not keep bad things out.)

– I’d put all of that in a backpack with lots of pockets (to find things in complete darkness).

My backpack is the basic Amazon one. My cameras, Ovilus, etc., go in the big pocket. Maps, pen & a notebook, small first aid kit, etc., in the next largest. Spare batteries in the outside pocket. And so on.

I’d also add a small, inexpensive first aid kit.

Don’t spread yourself too thin, in terms of learning or financial investment. Set a firm spending limit and do not exceed that.

It’s easy to get carried away.  Keep your ghost hunting expenses low.

Don’t let ghost hunting jeopardize other aspects of your personal, professional, or family life.

When you’re a beginner, see how well you enjoy ghost hunting, before you spend much money.