Ghost Hunting for Geeks

Let’s say you are a geek. Let’s also say you love all things tech and nerdy (cue the Weird Al song, “White and Nerdy”). Going just a bit further, let’s say you want to prove to your other geeky friends that your bedroom really is a portal for all kinds of ghostly creatures. What in the world would you need to prove your hypothesis?

Well, my friends, you would need gadgets. Lots and lots of gadgets. You might also need some ultra cool clothing to wear. Ghosts love a well dressed paranormal researcher! Along with these items, it is a good idea to have the same basics you would take on a camping trip. Below I will give little tech reviews on the items you’ll need.

If you are just a casual researcher, I would suggest finding an established group that has tech stuff you can borrow before investing in your own gear.

Alright, let’s make that list!

1. Checking In
If you are about to prove that the Mothman is speaking to you via ectoplasmic transmissions in the bathroom, for goodness sakes let someone know that you are headed off to research the phenomenon. It is also good to say, “If I’m not back by a certain time, please alert the authorities.” Leave contact information with someone, in the off-chance you get hurt on your adventures.

This leads me to #2.

2. First Aid Kit
If you are going to explore an old house, an eerie forest, or even your own backyard, it is is a good idea to have a first aid kit. Yes, this is the mom in me speaking, so I’ll just get that out right now. Don’t worry, however, I’m not going to mention your undergarments.

I highly suggest a first aid kit that has agents of sterilization (alcohol swabs), pain relievers, bandages and antibiotic cream of some kind. In my first aid kit I also carry holistic remedies for things like poison ivy, scrapes and out of control nerves.

3. Light Source
Take a flashlight for crying out loud, if you are going into a place that has no electricity. Also take a tip from cavers and have a backup source of light. Then, have a backup for that backup. Seriously, you cannot have too much light.

4. Batteries
This is not the time to save a few bucks on the cheapy batteries. Get the kind that get up and walk around on their own. Reusables are fine, but just make sure you have plenty on hand. Whatever gear you have, make sure you have extra batteries for it.

5. Suitable Gadget Bag
You must have a durable bag. Do not use that old backpack the library gave you during Summer reading all those years ago. Get online and research what the cross country backpack folks use.

A tip for you. Before going out on your adventure, hike around with all your gear for a few days. This will help you get acquainted with your ability to haul all of your stuff around.

6. Water and Snacks
This should be totally self-explanatory. If Casper has you stuck in the house, make sure you can be sustained during the ordeal.

On second thought, you better pack those extra undergarments.

7. Amateur Digital Gadgets
Finally, you say, some tech stuff!

A camera is a must. If you are feeling particularly techie, take both digital and film cameras. While the person at the camera store may try to sell you a $4,000 camera, you can get great results from a point and shoot.

You will need two types of electronic recording devices: a device that records sound, in both digital and analog, and a video recorder (with sound).

A digital thermometer is a must, as it is deeply important to record temperature changes. Not just as a “sign” for ghosts, but because changes in temps can tell you about the geology of the area. For example, if you are hearing ghostly winds in the forest, and also notice that the temps change in that area, you may discover that a cave is nearby (and not the wails of the deceased).

Finally, many ghost hunters carry an EMF meter. The popular philosophy is that ghostly energies cause fluctuations. This meter can help you pick up those changes. And, truly, it gives you some serious geek cred to walk around with a gadget that beeps and whistles each time you move it.

8. Professional Digital Gadgets
I’m just going to run over these quickly. Honestly, most amateur paranormal researchers do not have the funding to buy these things. However, if you do, and you’ve now found a new calling in life, this is what you’ll need to hang with the professionals.

Motion detection devices are pretty sensitive these days. Hook those to your recording devices in order to save resources. You can also leave the premises and catch up on Haunted Hollywood while your tech gear does all the work.

Geiger counters are fun, and if you get a WWII mask to wear, you can really freak out the neighbors. In the other hand it would be good have an air ion counter. With both of these handy tools, you are sure to pick up on something.

And finally, if you really want some interesting results, you will need a thermal imaging camera, an IR thermometer and a humidity gauge. These tools will give you razor sharp results on whether the spooky noise in your closet is a being from the other side, or your cat Fluffy.

8. An Open Mind
While some of these tools have been described in a tongue-and-cheek manner, it is important to understand that all science started with a wild notion to understand one’s environment. If you look at history, some of the experiments that were done, in the name of science, were ghastly and macabre. Walking around an old house with cool gadgets does no harm. And who knows, paranormal may be the gateway to a new type of science. If can happen with alchemy, it can surely happen with parapsychology.

- Kim Upton, Rogue Geek Tech Editor

About Jonathan Ryan

Jonathan Ryan is a novelist, blogger and columnist. His novel, 3 Gates of the Dead, published by Open Road Media, is in bookstores everywhere. The sequel, Dark Bride, will be out early next year along with a powerful new Young Adult Trilogy, Revolution of the Wolf and a moving middle grade series, Ghost Bear.

  • Voidhawk

    If you can’tafford a modern high-tech geiger counter, the soviets built a load of radiationdosimeters which don’t require electricity and are relatively cheap off the internet, I was planning to buy a couple before I visited Chernobyl but never got around to it so I can’t guarantee their accuracy.

  • Kim Upton

    Hey, Voidhawk!

    One of my oldest has expressed interest in Chernobyl. How was the visit (if I understand correctly, you have already been there)?

    Quite a bit of these tools can be made from scratch. And you can also use more simple technology in a pinch.


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