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Basic questions about ghost hunting gear


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#1 Bobnoxious

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 03:31 AM

I'm currently working on a screenplay that involves a group of paranormal investigators. Although Camille and I go out to various locations reputed to be haunted, we don't really get into the whole gear thing, so I'm not very knowledgable about this area. So can anyone tell me what are the essential tools for a serious ghost investigation, and what are the basic principles on which they are supposed to work? I know about cameras and orbs and about trying to record EVPs, but anything else that a respectable ghost hunter might use I'd like to know about.

Although I'm personally a skeptic with regards to the paranormal, I'm not looking to debate anyone here. I'd just like a short simple description of the most used devices so that I can portray this aspect as accurately as possible in my screenplay. Since I'm currently involved in another movie project (without any paranormal elements) I have no idea when or if this will actually get made. However, it is sort of my "pet" project and I plan on at least trying to move forward with it. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.
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#2 krcguns

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 09:18 AM

Ok, I will give it to you in a quick nutshell.

The first thing to remember is that any respectable ghost hunter will be using a film camera and not digital. Also, for EVP you need a cassette tape and not digital media. They provide for too many mistakes and false posititves that a professional paranormal investigator will avoid as it taints your evidence right from the start.

The next thing is a camcorder. Again, tape and not digital. It must also have night vision capabilities since the infra-red spectrum is, I think, the easiest way to see ghosts. If you are a skeptic, check out this video that I captured of a ghost http://ghostvillage..../12192003.shtml

Another piece of essential equipment is an infra-red thermometer. This way you can track the differences in temperature and follow cold spots, warm spots, etc.

That is really it for essential tools. The EMF meter is something that comes in handy some times for spotting spikes in the electromagnetic field. I fing them cumbersome and not very accurate since they can be set off by many things, so I don't personally use mine.

I hope that this helps.
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#3 Bobnoxious

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 03:01 PM

Thanks, KRC.
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#4 flyingorb

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 06:18 PM

The first thing to remember is that any respectable ghost hunter will be using a film camera and not digital.

With all due respect to a fellow Seeker KRC......Baloney!!! :( *snickers*

Most of the problems with digi cams is bad photographic technique, same as with "film" cameras. False orbs can appear in both camera types due to proximity of the flash to the lense and environmental conditions.

The ability to sense (CCD) near-infrared is a great advantage in both still cameras and camcorders.

Bob, you might want to include an EMF meter that allows detection of magnetic changes in. Their best use is to be stationary, to monitor changes moving into a given monitored area.

I also feel that night-vision goggles are an invaluable aid in detecting the unseen. My field work suggests that spirit forms emit and/or reflect near-infrared very well indeed. You might just be surprised at what you see with night-vision if you give it a try. :weeee:
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#5 boombalu

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 07:26 PM

So you have one guy with digital equipment tip toeing through the haunted house, and another with equipment with tape and film for your screen play . Which one carries the laptop? :P
Just teasing guys.
Actually could be an interesting twist to the plot of your story, old school seasoned investigators and new age "digital" generation investigators.
Oh this could be Hollywood! ;)
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#6 cryptkeeperva

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 08:23 PM

I am sorry but speaking as a Paranormal Investigator of twenty plus years I have to agree with KRC.

If you would like your investigation to be taken seriously use a 35mm Camera instead of a digital one. In this day and age of all kinds of High Tech Art Programs it is to easy to manipulate Digital Photography.

Your investigation will be taken more seriously if you have the negatives that can be checked that can show there was no tampering done with the film. Also make sure you have a good 35mm camera one that does not leak light in as that will cause an orange glow to show up on your film being mistaken for ectoplasm.

So KRC you are correct on your listing of paranormal equipment. Many of the larger paranormal societies say the same thing. Many of the well known paranormal authors will agree with your listing of your equipment need for a successful paranormal investigation as do I.

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#7 Bobnoxious

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 09:03 PM

So you have one guy with digital equipment tip toeing through the haunted house, and another with equipment with tape and film for your screen play . Which one carries the laptop? :weeee:
Just teasing guys.
Actually could be an interesting twist to the plot of your story, old school seasoned investigators and new age "digital" generation investigators.
Oh this could be Hollywood! ;)
(Have your people call my people)

Well, the flick I'm working on that's actually getting made has a budget of $30,000 and I expect my horror screenplay (if it gets made) will be shot for around that, maybe a little more. I'm guessing Hollywood could buy lunch for a day with that. :P

No, this is very non-Hollywood. The characters have brains, no cheap shot scares, etc. Having seen a ridiculous number of horror movies, I'm doing my best to avoid all the usual cliches. One of the things that always bothers me about any kind of movie is when they are supposedly showing you how something is done, and anyone who actually does the activity in question can see the filmmakers did no research whatsoever. So thanks to everyone's help, hopefully no ghost researcher will be sitting in the theatre (or more likely watching the tape/DVD) and saying, "that's not what we do!"
"Future events such as these will affect you in the future." - Criswell, 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'

#8 krcguns

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 10:09 PM

Dennis, I do respect your work immensly but I do have to disagree with you on this one. Digital media is basically worthless for paranormal research. As cryptkeeperva pointed out, it is the hard evidence of negatives and tape that can be taken seriously. Even if you discount the physical problems that cause doubt with digital media, you still don't have serious, re-producable evidence like you do with film and tape. Of course there can be bad technique with any photography or even audio work but I feel that you have to remove as much doubt as possible and give yourself the most back up for your evidence as possible.

bobnoxious...I would guess that you are talking about the movie White Noise?. I thought that their knowledge of the subject was terrible even though I enjoyed the movie for entertainment value.

boombalu...The rookie that doesn't know any better carries the laptop. lol.
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#9 Camille

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 10:44 PM

I saw a ghost hunter use a strobe light once on a videotaped investigation.

Has anyone tried that?
"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite."Bertrand Russell"You're going to go to McDonald's... you'll order an Egg McMuffin and some coffee... WAIT! They're going to forget your extra salt! Remind them to give you salt, please!!"Ed Closser, Trivial Psychic

#10 cryptkeeperva

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Posted 02 March 2005 - 10:48 PM

Camille,

Actually yes, I have seen it done. The reasoning behind it is that entities are attracted to the flashing light. I am not sure of all the theories surrounding it. But I do know that it does work better than half the time.

I have seen phenomena occur when a strobe light is used more than when it is not.

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#11 Camille

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 02:29 AM

Cryptkeeper,

The reasoning I have heard for the use of strobe lights is not that the light attracts ghosts, but that it helps an investigator locate and pinpoint fast-moving anomalies.

For ex., if you place a moving fan in front of a strobe light, you can actually see the fan blades, as opposed to just a blur.
"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite."Bertrand Russell"You're going to go to McDonald's... you'll order an Egg McMuffin and some coffee... WAIT! They're going to forget your extra salt! Remind them to give you salt, please!!"Ed Closser, Trivial Psychic

#12 Bobnoxious

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 03:28 AM

bobnoxious...I would guess that you are talking about the movie White Noise?. I thought that their knowledge of the subject was terrible even though I enjoyed the movie for entertainment value.

Actually haven't seen that yet. The reviews I heard were mixed, so I figured that one could wait until it came out on DVD. I'm just referring to the general pracitice in movies of doing shoddy research on whatever topic and simply assuming the audiece is too dumb to realize they're being fed BS. Computer usage is one major example. From Roger Ebert's website, here's one of his glossary entries that shows what I mean:

In almost all movies involving the operation of computers, the user operates the machine by incongruent and frenetic banging on the keyboard, ignoring the mouse and system graphic interface elements. This results in instantaneous, nanosecond access and downloading of data. (See "Jurassic Park," "Disclosure.") CARLOS GREENE, Mexico City



In general, most movies just don't worry about the details. I don't believe in being anal retentive about it, but I think if you show things in a realistic way people will "buy into" the movie more. I think that's especially important when doing a movie that has fantastic elements to it. By the way, no actual ghosts in the script. While going somewhere to investigate ghost stories, my characters run into what could best be described as an urban legend come to life.
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#13 boombalu

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 04:58 AM

please keep us updated how your screen play and movie production are going. I am fascinated!!!! Will we be able to buy a copy?
Dont doubt your $30,000 dollar budget, remember Blair witch project, Roger & me, and other small budget movies, they had a new idea, and were in the right place at the right time, You can do this. Best wishes !

#14 flyingorb

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 08:44 AM

Of course I have great respect for your work too KRC, but that is not the issue.

Well, let's analyze this logically, just for fun.

The heart of the digital camera and camcorder is the "CCD" chip. Basically a digital camera (and camcorder) is a small computer that interprets the information from the chip and renders it into an image that can be stored on various media. Can this computer encounter processing errors? Can any computer sometimes malfunction LoL? Absolutely, I have seen some interesting "computer errors" that have shown a disembodied head of a (still living) fellow ghost hunter and malformed images, but they were easily identified as such; However, the bad rap one commonly reads about is a tendency of digitals to produce "false orbs", which is completely unfounded. A lack of information to the CCD does NOT create a round colored sphere, bad photographic technique does (in both types of cameras). I might add that I started out with a SLR 35mm and graduated to digital for near-infrared capability and cost/reliability considerations. Reliability?... yes, a negative is only as good as the person processing the film (I have some darkroom experience). Most film processors have great problems with dirty chemicals and exposure with the subcontractors that develop their film for them.

KRC, you referenced an image you obtained using a Sony camcorder in "Nightshot" mode. You are absolutely convinced that the images captured are paranormal in nature ((I think so too)). I also use a Sony for my investigative work, but you surely must realize that this camcorder uses CCD technology? Yes, this is the same technology used in DIGITAL CAMERAS!

Some digitals render the information onto a flashcard, or memory chip, or a CD, or a magnetic floppy, or as the Sony does- onto magnetic tape. The storage media is irrelevant as the source of the image all comes from digital technology.

If you cannot trust one, you cannot trust any - no matter on what media the information is saved.

As for a film negative "proving" anything, it doesn't. A photograph renders a three dimensional event into a two dimensional image. Doubt will always remain that a "paranormal" photograph has a mundane cause that is not evident in a given photo. I don't care how good a paranormal photo is; it will never prove life after death. Never has, never will.

Not trying to hijack your thread Bob, just trying to give you a feel for the differing opinions among the paranormal researchers themselves. Hope some of this background proves useful to you. :weeee:
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#15 krcguns

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Posted 03 March 2005 - 10:04 AM

Heck Dennis, it's ok, we will probably always disagree on this subject. Yes, I do realize what you discussed as the truth for sure. All of that aside though, I do feel that having a hard negative is much better than having nothing basically. I don't feel that a negative "proves" anything other than your picture isn't some manufactured piece of work. It can be taken to 10 different photo labs and re-produced over and over. That could very well prove that what is captured is actually what the picture is of and that there is no error in processing. That eliminates some of the doubt surrounding the evidence. One thing that I see on the site over and over is the scientific approach. To me it is much more scientific to have some tangible evidence that can be scrutinized as opposed to nothing more than some 1 and 0's on a memory chip that cannot be held to that level of scrutiny. I think that is what drives me on this subject more than the chip itself or any flaws in digital cameras or even digital audio devices for that matter. It all comes down to the best evidence possible.

By the way, yes, that video is most definitely paranormal. I watched it on the screen while being recorded along with another member and we could not see it with our eyes. It truly was my concrete evidence. His too for that matter.
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