How many cameras should you carry when you go ghost hunting?

This article is from 2021 and may be outdated.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

Ghost hunters should carry at least two cameras.

1. Your first camera should be your favorite.  It does everything you want. You can operate it with your eyes closed, or in total darkness, even without moonlight.

2. Your second camera should be a no-frills camera with few moving parts.

A cheap film camera from a discount store is fine, as long as you know it’s reliable. (I look for budget cameras. Usually, that’s a cardboard box with a flash, a “good enough” lens, and film inside. Then, I stock up and always keep one in my car’s glove compartment.)

These days, I rarely take film photos. The backup camera is strictly for weird haunts where my regular camera balks.

Note: I’ve talked with several ghost researchers who are returning to film cameras for investigations. Some feel the anomalies are more credible.

Others can’t articulate why they think film is a better choice. Even if it’s just a “gut feeling,” I respect those researchers to take their views seriously.

'man in blue' photo, port townsend, wa
“Man in blue” ghost photo. Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA (USA). I took this picture with a film camera.

Always have two cameras in case the location is profoundly active. The more complex the camera, the more likely it is to fail completely.

Do not rely on the camera in your phone. Mobile phones may stop working at haunted locations.

Usually, that happens before digital cameras and EVP recorders fail. But, if the phone won’t work, its camera may not work, either. So, your phone shouldn’t be your one-and-only ghost hunting camera.

My usual backup camera is a really old, simple, point-and-shoot Olympus.

And, if all else fails, I rely on cheap, disposable cameras. I usually have at least one in my backpack or in my car.

Always carry extra batteries for your equipment. At haunted locations, batteries – even fresh, new ones — routinely lose their charge. If you have backup batteries, and lots of them, you increase your chances of a successful ghost hunt.

Think about this when buying a digital camera. My Nikon Coolpix digital camera uses standard AA batteries. Even if all of my batteries fail during an investigation, I can buy more at a nearby convenience store.

If I relied on a built-in battery, I might miss an important opportunity for great ghost photos.

Usually, a “broken” camera is a temporary problem.

If your camera stops working and seems broken, don’t panic.

In most cases, the camera will work fine if you move a few feet away from the “hot spot,” or after you leave the haunted location.

Rarely, you’ll need to be many miles away, or wait a day or so.

Before the spring of 2012, no camera remained broken after I left a haunted location. (In other words, I took ghost photos for decades before a site actually broke my camera.)

In 2011, the lens on my favorite digital camera stopped working. At the time, I was in a strange little NH haunt best described as “a cemetery that’s not a cemetery.”

I tried the camera when we were about 10 miles away. No luck.

I waited a few days, and tried the camera (at home). It remained broken.

Eventually, I gave up and bought a replacement camera.

I want to conduct more research at that weird little site. Then, I might know if the problem was an aging camera or something more interesting.

So, it’s possible that I’ve stumbled onto a site (thanks to researcher Sean Paradis) that’s so active, it actually breaks cameras.

That’s so unusual, it’s a first.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.