Now is the best time to become a ghost hunter. Here’s why, and how to make the most of it.
1. Reliable Research
After over a decade of popularity, amateur and professional ghost hunters have identified many genuinely haunted sites. They’ve also debunked places that aren’t really haunted.
By starting your investigations at sites with confirmed hauntings, you’ll have a richer, more chilling experience.
2. Previous Investigations Identified What Happens and Where
Before 2000 (or so), we’d stumble around a haunted site, hoping also to stumble onto ghostly anomalies.
At best, it was a coin flip.
Today, a quick Internet search may turn up reports by investigators and perhaps a few YouTube videos. You may learn exactly where and when to expect certain phenomena.
3. The Best Ghost Hunting Equipment
Ghost hunting’s recent popularity produced several great benefits. One of them was a surge of new, useful and experimental research tools. We have better EVP recorders, better devices triggered by EMF spikes, better digital thermometers, as well as tools to rule out normal (but odd) phenomena.
I still recommend “old school” ghost hunting techniques. Personal observation makes paranormal research thrilling.
But, to confirm an uneasy feeling or the raised hair on the back of your neck, today’s tools are superb.
What I use: It’s not impressive to look at, but I still use the Ghost Meter Pro. It may have been an “as seen on TV” product, but — from my experience — it really does work.)
I also use dowsing rods, but only to double-check my “gut feeling,” or narrow my research focus to a smaller area.
My main camera is an old-school Nikon Coolpix, because it uses standard AA batteries. In a dramatically haunted location that may drain batteries quickly, it’s easy to reload the camera from a supply of inexpensive batteries in my backpack. Or, someone can dash to the nearest convenience store to buy replacements.
4. Less Commercial Interest
For nearly a decade, too many restaurants, hotels, and tourist traps tried to claim a resident ghost.
Some really were (and still are) haunted, but only on certain days, or in response to specific modern triggers. Sleazy sites omitted those details.
Ghost hunters visited — and sometimes paid a hefty admission fee — but left disappointed.
Now that having a ghost isn’t a guaranteed commercial success, most less-haunted (and never-haunted) sites have improved their advertising.
Some sites still make false claims, but most know: that financial ship has sailed.
When you hear about a haunted site offering paid ghost tours and vigils, it’s usually haunted.
But, double-check reviews, and ask friends who’ve been there, anyway.
(Note: at the Myrtles, be sure to stay in the main building or its annex, not a wholly separate building. The closer you are to the haunted mirror in the main entrance, the better.)
5. Smaller Crowds
Now that ghost hunting isn’t as trendy, you’ll have more time (and usually more elbow room) to explore haunted sites when they’re open for investigations.
Between 2010 and early 2017, I stopped investigating most well-known haunted sites. It became too difficult to take photos when people were often in the way.
Focusing on what I was sensing, internally, was nearly impossible.
And then there were the distractions of others’ flash cameras, phone ringtones left on, and the myriad beeps and loud clicks of some EMF detectors.
Today, I’m far more comfortable scheduling visits to haunted locations… unless it’s Halloween or a Friday the 13th, of course.
6. Focused, High Quality Events
Starting around 2004, ghost hunting events became popular. Some were held in locations with history… but no ghosts. Or, to accommodate a large crowd, non-haunted areas were part of the event, wasting investigators’ time.
Today, events are usually smaller and more focused. They’re usually at sites with extraordinary ghostly anomalies, too.
When Barry Fitzgerald (of GHI) is a guest at an event, it’s likely to be interesting. Dustin Pari is another investigator whose integrity I trust. And, the Klinge brothers are still innovators in the field, who speak honestly about ghost hunting. All of them are worth listening to, at events.
That’s a very short list. I’m sure I could add another dozen links. But, they’re the people that come to mind, immediately, when I think about reliable ghost-related events.
7. Less “Me, Too”
Many people are so eager to believe in ghosts, they jump at shadows. They claim that something was surely a ghost, when it was merely startling or odd.
I’m wary when I hear reports of ghostly tropes, like “the hooded monk with the red eyes.”
When looking for places to investigate, those recommendations weren’t helpful. Worse, it was difficult to conduct research at an event where “Dude, run!” moments distracted everyone.
You can’t trust every first-person “ghost story,” but — thanks to a declining number of thrill-seekers — recommendations are more reliable now.
8. Lower Prices
In many cases, haunted sites were able to charge far higher prices during the recent ghost hunting trend. I heard about $150 (and more) for two- or three-hour tours, with no value added. (That is, no food, no private rooms, and no genuine historians or professional ghost hunters on hand.)
Now, pricing is one extreme or the other.
Either the tour (or vigil) has lowered its prices to attract more visitors, or they have to charge very high fees since the site will otherwise be closed to the public.
For me, that’s a coin-flip.
- I’m not thrilled to be among a crowd who think it’s a big joke, and only signed up because the tour was cheap. But, if the tour is inexpensive and the few other guests are serious researchers, the experience can be great.
- On the other hand, I expect a lot from a high-priced tour or event. If it’s disappointing, I’m irked. But, since higher prices often deter thrill-seekers and jokers, if the site is truly haunted, it’s worth the money.
In general, you’ll find some great ghost hunting experiences at lower prices than, say, five years ago. But, be sure to research the location ahead of time, to confirm its ghosts.
9. Reduced Modern Residual Energy
Do you believe that past dramatic events leave ghostly residual energy at a location? I do.
But, this means that recent drama — including ghost hunters who encounter scary things (even if they’re jumping at shadows) — also leave an energy imprint.
Several respected ghost hunters — including John Sabol, who recorded EVP that was an imprint of a Ghost Hunters’ investigation (perhaps a “time echo“) — have described those newer layers of energy. So, modern investigations can make ghost research more difficult.
Usually, recent energy is light or shallow. It wears off quickly.
Deeply troubling drama in the past has left a far more indelible energy imprint. And, according to some researchers, those imprints can be re-energized by modern-day triggers.
So, I’m pleased to see smaller crowds and fewer investigations at haunted sites.
In the coming years, we’ll have less distracting, recent energy imprints at the most popular haunts.
10. Fake Claims Abandoned
Some sites may be genuinely haunted, but — during the recent wave of ghost hunting popularity — they (deliberately?) neglected to fix issues that only seemed like evidence of ghosts.
I’m reminded of the Lizzie Borden house, where researcher Thomas Spitalere found extremely high EMF readings near pipes (and perhaps wiring) at the top floor of that home.
Though I’m sure Lizzie Borden’s house is haunted, I didn’t overlook normal issues — like elevated EMF — that could merely make a place “feel” haunted.
When we reported this to the woman hosting our investigation, she seemed to shrug it off. At the time, people didn’t understand as much as we do now, about EMF at eerie locations.
Today, sites like that are better informed about those kinds of problems. Most of them make sure visitors’ experiences aren’t affected by normal (not paranormal) issues.
11. Higher Percentage of Serious Researchers
At any haunted location or event, you’ll meet new and experienced researchers. You can learn a lot from serious researchers, if you follow them around and — if it’s okay with them — ask questions.
Now, with fewer trend-followers among the site’s visitors, there’s a far better chance of meeting a serious researcher, and learning from him or her.
12. Better Ghost Tours
During the peak frenzy of ghost hunting, now and in the past, some businesses seized any excuse to outshine the competition.
Today’s ghost tours usually fall into one of two categories:
- Silly, theatrical performances that emphasize lurid events that may not have happened. (I’m reminded of the stories of New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion. The top floor that tour guides used to point to, and talk about a slave girl falling to her death…? That floor didn’t even exist when the LaLaurie family lived there.)
- Well-researched ghost tours given by guides who’ve studied the sites’ histories, and tell authentic tales based on actual events and hauntings.
If you’re looking for the latter, most can be identified by their advertising. Every tour is likely to indulge in a little hype, but the theatrical ones often highlight their “performances.”
If you want a genuine experience, look for a tour that stresses the area’s history. They’re easier to find than they were between 2003 and 2015.
13. Breakthroughs and Discoveries Continue
Ghost hunting has followed the Diffusion of Innovations Curve to its conclusion.
In most cases, we’re back at the beginning of that curve. People still involved in ghost hunting are among the innovators and “early adopters.”
It’s a good opportunity for serious ghost hunters. I hope you’ll be part of the new wave of research and discoveries in this field.
And, in addition, it’s fun again.