This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.
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.
– 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 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.