This article is from 2021 and may be outdated. We're working on restoring a newer version.
When someone asks me how ghosts communicated before modern ghost hunting tools, I laugh.
My reply is simple. “They did what the living did, before electricity. They used what was available.”
Ghosts can communicate without modern electrical devices. Sometimes, people are so focused on high-tech ghost hunting tools, they forget that ghost research flourished in the 19th century and earlier.
Low-tech ghost hunting tools
Time tested, non-electrical communications include:
– Dowsing rods.
– Table tipping and table tapping. (The first involves the table moving. The other means rapping sounds on the table. Both may occur at the same time.)
– Automatic writing.
– Ouija boards and spirit boards. (Some insist they’re very different devices. There are safety issues; be sure you’re aware of them before sitting down with this kind of tool.)
– And, one of my favorites: Direct requests to ghosts. In other words, just ask them to respond in specific ways, like moving an object or making a sound.
The problem is: non-electrical communications can be entertaining, but they’re not scientific evidence.
Worse, they’re very easy to fake. The more high-tech the faking methods, the more difficult they are to detect.
Most ghost hunters want more than easily debunked entertainment.
Some want ghosts that perform reliably on command, and give 100% accurate responses to questions, 100% of the time.
Even the living don’t do that. I’m not sure why we expect ghosts to.
Others want full-body apparitions in photos they take themselves.
We seem to be able to photograph orbs, and shadow people. We rarely see apparitions, much less capture them on film.
Some people want to hear ghostly voices on a recording.
Convincing apparitions and crystal-clear EVP are so rare, they still impress me… when they’re credible, that is.
The future of ghost hunting tools
Today, scientists and technicians are developing high tech, paranormal research tools.
They’re designing ghost hunting devices that might produce consistent results under laboratory conditions.
We’re getting closer, but it may be several years until we have ghost hunting tools that work consistently in haunted locations.
However, for an entertaining — and often convincing — display of ghostly activity, old-school methods can be a fine choice.
If it’s your research — meaning that you’re in full control — low-tech ghost hunting tools can be excellent. Perhaps even better than electronic ghost hunting devices.
If that’s what you’re looking for, follow the careers of two ghost hunters.
One is Brian Cano, who appeared on the “Haunted Collector” TV series. He’s familiar with many old-school ghost hunting tools & methods.
The other is researcher Sean Paradis. He’s been exploring very low-tech ghost investigation tools.