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Basic Equipment for Beginners


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#1 Redhead

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:09 AM

I am going to be going to the W.I.S.P. Expo in Southern Iowa this spring. The conference includes the opportunity to do an investigation with Donna La Croix. My friend and I are pretty excited as this will be the first time either of us has gone on an investigation. We've both been wondering what we'll be needing, so I thought this would make a good topic. What would you experts and 'old hands' advise a brand new investigator to bring with them? Why do you favor a particular item over another? Remember, this is for those of us who have never gone to something like this, so keep it simple - and affordable. Neither of us has a lot of lucre to throw around.
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#2 Axman

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:32 PM

Start with basics. A digital or cassette recorder, preferred with external microphone. A decent focus free camera, preferred 35 mm. An EMF detector helps a lot. Maybe a digital IR thermometer. If you have access to a camcorder by all means use it.
Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#3 ~*Jazzy*~

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 09:45 PM

The number 1 most important thing is a FLASHLIGHT! Never go without it! Add that to what Ax said and you'll be set. If you don't have a 35mm camera, any digital will work just as well. I recommend atleast a 5.0 megapixel or higher. If you use a camcorder, get one with nightshot mode.

P.S. The 2nd most important thing to talk on an investigation is an OPEN MIND! :whee:
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#4 Axman

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:09 PM

The number 1 most important thing is a FLASHLIGHT! Never go without it! Add that to what Ax said and you'll be set. If you don't have a 35mm camera, any digital will work just as well. I recommend atleast a 5.0 megapixel or higher. If you use a camcorder, get one with nightshot mode.

P.S. The 2nd most important thing to talk on an investigation is an OPEN MIND! :whee:



Oh yeah, a flashlight! DUH!!! BTW, extra batteries will be a plus. I might as well recommend 800 speed film for best results in dark conditions.

Edited by Axman, 29 February 2008 - 10:11 PM.

Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#5 ~*Jazzy*~

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:58 PM

The number 1 most important thing is a FLASHLIGHT! Never go without it! Add that to what Ax said and you'll be set. If you don't have a 35mm camera, any digital will work just as well. I recommend atleast a 5.0 megapixel or higher. If you use a camcorder, get one with nightshot mode.

P.S. The 2nd most important thing to talk on an investigation is an OPEN MIND! :whee:



Oh yeah, a flashlight! DUH!!! BTW, extra batteries will be a plus. I might as well recommend 800 speed film for best results in dark conditions.

LOL You forgot the flashlight and I forgot the extra batteries! I guess that makes us even!!!
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#6 Axman

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 11:33 PM

The number 1 most important thing is a FLASHLIGHT! Never go without it! Add that to what Ax said and you'll be set. If you don't have a 35mm camera, any digital will work just as well. I recommend atleast a 5.0 megapixel or higher. If you use a camcorder, get one with nightshot mode.

P.S. The 2nd most important thing to talk on an investigation is an OPEN MIND! :whee:



Oh yeah, a flashlight! DUH!!! BTW, extra batteries will be a plus. I might as well recommend 800 speed film for best results in dark conditions.

LOL You forgot the flashlight and I forgot the extra batteries! I guess that makes us even!!!



Well, we'd have each other covered in an investigation! :D

Edited by Axman, 29 February 2008 - 11:33 PM.

Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#7 Seeker

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:46 PM

I too am a beginner.
I have one of those kidney shaped backpacks with only one strap that goes across your chest. I got it at Walmart, I think it was around $12. It doesn't put strain on my back and to get things out I just slide it around to the front. It even makes a little table right in front of you to change batteries when you do that. In the bag I keep a digital camera, my cell phone turned off, a digital recorder, (I don't have an external mike on it) at least one bottle of water, a few dollars, my car keys and a chap stick. I have an emf meter but I bought a cheap one and its worthless and noisy. If its an all night hunt, I also keep a snack in there, and a drink with caffeine and sugar in it. I keep a 5"(?) maglite flashlight in my back pocket, also from Walmart. I also hang my wands off the backpack but they're a pain because they're long and clank when I walk. The rods are a pretty cool tool for me but I wish they would just disappear and reappear when I snapped my fingers or something. :)
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#8 AnnieV

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:49 PM

That backpack thing sure sounds great, Seeker. Gonna have to get me one of those before I go on an venture. :)
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#9 Seeker

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 01:01 PM

Off topic: It is so weird to see that name and remember its me!

On topic, the best $12 I've spent. I highly recommend it. I bought the first one for my son for a trip to Spain and planned on stealing it, he wore it for 10 days and had no intention of giving it up. I had to buy another for myself.
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#10 Axman

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 02:27 PM

Amy, the external mic is only preferred with the cassette recorders to eliminate the mechanical noise telegraphing through the machine. Digitals have no moving parts so it's not really needed. Sorry for not clarifying. :)

Edited by Axman, 02 March 2008 - 02:28 PM.

Ah. Well... I attended Juilliard... I'm a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I've seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING FUNNIER EVERY SINGLE TIME I SEE IT... NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT YOU'RE TALKING TO A DEAD GUY... NOW WHAT DO YOU THINK? You think I'm qualified? --BeetlejuiceI'm the ghost with the most, babe.--BeetlejuiceWe've come for your daughter Chuck--Beetlejuice

#11 Tantric Kitten

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 02:46 PM

My kit grows as I go along and have cash.

What I started out with was a 5.2mp digital SLR with auto mode (something we already had because we had a rugrat and hubby needed a toy... because my $5,000 worth of photographic equipment wasn't good enough), a keychain flashlight and my cell phone.

Right now I've expanded that to include a hardcover notebook and a pen that writes upside down, a digital voice recorder (olympus 3200PC), dowsing rods, bottled water (ALWAYS), a laptop pc, research on the area and solar/lunar/geophysical activity (checking for patterns), a smudging "recipe" and accessories (a marble mortar/pestle and a lighter), a wind-up flashlight and lots of extra batteries.

The next item on my list is a decent EMF meter or laser thermometer.

EDIT: Oh... and it all goes in a fashionable Eddie Bauer messenger bag that also doubles as my "weekend" luggage (I have a backpack for "real trip" luggage as well as "real" luggage that I never dig out of the closet). :)

Edited by Tantric Kitten, 02 March 2008 - 02:48 PM.


#12 ~*Jazzy*~

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 10:03 PM

I have an IR thermometer. Just remember when you are using it how that IR will show up on a picture. I try to not use the laser as much as possible. You wouldn't believe the number of people that will get that in a pic and you don't even realize they are snapping the pic at that time. If you DO use a laser thermometer, I would suggest taking a few test pictures of the laser so you know how it looks so you can use it for future references. They do make some pretty amazing "orb" pics from time to time!
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#13 brass city paranormal

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 10:58 AM

I have a small pack (approx 12x10) on me at all times too, inside you will find:
Digital recorder
micro-Analog recorder
cassettes
batteries
flashlight
headlight
compass
duct tape
pad
pen/pencil/sharpie
utility knife
wound wash
wallet
keys

My camera stays in it's own case and I keep a first aid kit in the car.
Pockets: cell phone and pendelum

If you're going out for an extended period of time and don't know the area - water and snacks are a must.

but for a first timer, the basic neccesities would be a flashlight, a camera and/or an audio recorder.

Edited by brass city paranormal, 03 March 2008 - 11:00 AM.


#14 Redhead

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 08:45 AM

Thanks for all the information. I had to chuckle at the comment about keeping an open mind as that is my basic advice for everyone! I never thought about water and snacks - but this particular investigation is going to be held after the lecture/conference topics and will actually be led by experienced investigators. There are three or four sites in town that we will be able to choose for our investigation, and I believe we'll be in Donna La Croix's group. Thanks for all the ideas.
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#15 JimDe

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:57 PM

Hi Red, thought I'd chime in...

I can hardly believe how inexpensive good equipment is ‘nowa days, and since it’s going to be around for the rest of our lifetimes digital equipment is obviously worth the investment.

I think audio capture is more obtainable than photographs, I would say concentrate on EVP using a digital recorder that can be used elsewhere if it doesn’t work out, and the same goes for the camera (...they’re great for capturing those family photos’ too).

The other thing I thought I would share is I don’t eat anything for several hours beforehand and honestly would not consider eating in the field (just put out some cookies for the kids and quietly wait for them to come and get it...).

Good Luck.
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