A few readers have written asking what paranormal investigation equipment costs, and do you really need it. You need it. Even if you are a psychic or medium, wouldn't it be nice to be able to present some proof or at least a photo or voice recording, for people to experience and think about?
It is also important to have something to do. People who don't have any equipment first of all, aren't investigating. They are just hanging around. The more investigators the better, because I may capture a voice and the person 2 yards from me may not, or it may be louder and clearer on their equipment because they were closer to it. When people go with no equipment, they never really learn how to use it, and they usually get too chatty, then all you have on your evidence is a team member. Using equipment keeps people from chatting, moving around and disrupting evidence. It gives them something to do, and after checking their evidence the next day they will see that they talked too much, or moved around too much. Always make sure your hands have something to do!
I have quite a few EVPs that are class A and some are funny, some are informative, and none are really creepy, as you may think they would be. They are intriguing and people love to listen to them. I have captured them on a recorder that cost about $70. You can spend up to $200 plus on a multidirectional microphone recorder, or use the smaller one like I have. Make sure that you have ear buds for listening so you don't miss things. I have EVPs I can hear with the ear buds, that I can't hear on my computer! Speaking of computers, software for your EVPs and your camera. Most cameras come with them. I recommend Adobe Audition for EVPs.
A camera is essential, but not a little automatic camera. They don't see well in the dark, and flash will obliterate many supernatural phenomenon like shadow people. The flash will also create orbs where there aren't any. They are good for "before" pictures, so you can see if things moved or where objects were later to see if they would be the bulky black thing in the corner.
The best cameras are the ones where you can adjust the lens timing. You want to have no flash, and the lens needs to be open to allow exposure. This also helps you record things that move in the dark and get real orb pictures. New out are IR (infared) still cameras, and just like recorders help us hear things we can't hear with our ears (above and below our hearing), the IR handheld still cameras help us see what we can't with our naked eye. These are better than night vision goggles as they just help us see things in the spectrum we cannot already see in, night vision goggles just "add more light" so we can see it better. IR helps us see in a broader range of light waves.
Also you should have a notebook to note times and events,and a small flashlight to check equipment. That is the bare minimum.
Cameras start at about $500, and go up to about $1200. This isn't a cheap endeavor. Lok for used ones that people traded in to move up to more expensive models.
Then you can add other things like...
EMF meters (about $50-70), and similar devices like Trifield meters,K2, MelMeters, and the like. They will run up to about $100 or so each. Make sure that you know how to use them properly and what their limitations are.
IR video cameras. Either a stationary multi-camera system or a handheld. I like the stationary, because many things happen when no one is around. Sometimes I think the spirits just wait for us to step away to do things. Here you are talking $200-500 for the stationary (depending on type and number of cameras and length of the wire), and to have a monitor will cost extra. Hand helds cost around the same amount for a good camera. Sometimes the IR lights need to be purchased separately at about $100-150.
A ghost box . A device that uses white noise to allow spirits to speak in our natural hearing in real time. This will allow you to hear it as it is said and not have to listen to your recorder the next day. They used to be expensive, but now go for about $100. Do NOT get one that is a modified radio, it will not work well, the rate of scan and interval is crucial. Remember that these are noisy, and therefore their use is limited.
Thermal Imaging camera. The price on these has come way down with the technology being no longer cutting edge, more manufacturers and more people buying them. You can get a good FLiR (the industry's best) for about $1600-2000 for a small hand held. They are smaller, lighter and sharper than ever.
Thermometer. The best would be one with a probe, about $60, but just having one is good.
Cold spots and hot spots are frequently indicators of paranormal activity.
Laser grid- Great for seeing things move in the dark and picking up black shadow people. They run from about $30-50.
That is about all you will need. You do not need all of it, and you certainly cannot use all of it at once. You only have two hands!! Buy the most expensive you can afford , and buy what works in the dark. Train yourself on it, as you may not only need to react quickly, but you may be in a pressure situation (like things flying through the air), and have to think and react quickly IN THE DARK. You can't whip out the owner's manual and check it. Please do NOT use aps on a cell phone. None of them work, and your camera may take awesome pictures of your friends, but not spirits. The ghost boxes on them are pure junk, and the voice recorder is no where near good enough. NEVER use equipment for something it is not designed for, you will just get results that are not valid. Use the right equipment.
Also, invest in batteries, whether rechargeable or not, but have them , and have back ups, and back ups for the back ups. You can get started for $100.00 and have a couple of pieces of equipment. When joining a group, see what is needed if you are open to using any equipment. You also may have a talent for something. When it is photography, get a camera, good hearing...get a voice recorder.
Have a vest, or cargo pants for ghost hunting that you can carry all kinds of things in, or a backpack. The back pack gets old, but you can be in a huge building and far from spare batteries. It is good to have them on you so you don't miss anything.
My husband and I have several pieces of equipment from voice recorders, still cameras, an IR stationary system, an EMF meter (I never use), laser grid, and hopefully soon, an IR handheld still camera. I almost bought a handheld IR video camera, then thought, let the stationary system do the job (and my hands are free to do other things). You don't have to buy it all at once, just get one or two things at a time, set a budget you are comfortable with , and go for it! Ask your (experienced) local groups what they use and why.
(C)2013 Dr R M Wolf, may not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.