Basic Tools Every Ghost Hunter Must Have

Basic Tools Every Ghost Hunter Must HaveGhost hunting tools can be useful in any haunted setting.

Some researchers confirm anomalies using cameras, EVP recorders, digital thermometers, compasses and EMF detectors, etc.

Others focus on psychic readings with Tarot cards or other divinatory tools.

Some people use dowsing rods and pendulums, which some claim are psychic tools, while other point to their scientific support.

But, the question remains:

What tools must every beginner have for ghost hunting?

Here’s my answer: Nothing!

You need no special tools, not even a camera. You also don’t need special training.


If you’re a beginner or simply curious about ghost hunting, you should be able to show up at a place that’s haunted and sense the ghosts.

The more often you go on ghost hunts, the more sensitive you’ll become to ghosts and the paranormal. It’s that simple.

What to Expect on a Ghost Hunt

On a successful ghost hunt, you may experience an eerie feeling, a chill, or hair lifting on the back of your arms.

Some people will hear things, which can range from noises that everyone hears – tapping, for example – or strange sounds that the individual hears psychically.

Others will receive strong impressions, or see something flicker, off to one side. Or, they may detect a perfume or an aroma.

Any of the five senses can be involved, or it may be just a ‘sixth sense’ encounter with the other side.

But, you should never feel that you must own or use a particular tool. If your budget won’t even stretch to include a disposable film camera, don’t worry about it. Just go and enjoy the ghost hunt.

Ghost Hunting is About Observing

For 90% of beginners, as well as many researchers with experience, ghost hunting is practically a spectator sport.

You’ll see what others are encountering, and you may (or may not) sense some ‘odd’ things, yourself. That’s all that basic ghost hunting is, really.

When you’re ready to add research tools – and you never have to – go slowly. Experiment.

Borrow others’ equipment for a few minutes on a ghost hunt, and see if it works for you.

Some people never seem to get anything interesting on film. Others produce zero results with EMF detectors.

No two researchers are the same. Don’t invest in equipment unless you’re sure that it’s useful for you.

Others won’t use any divinatory tools, even dowsing rods, because they feel ‘uncomfortable’, or the researchers’ religious beliefs prohibit those practices. Don’t worry that you’re missing out on anything if you avoid the Tarot, etc.

At this website, I try to inform researchers about what works (and what’s not reliable) in my research.

But, I try never to pressure ghost hunters into using particular tools –scientific or divinatory – for ghost hunting.

All You Need is an Interest in Ghosts

There are no tools and there is no training that you absolutely must have to be a successful ghost hunter.

Sure, courses can help shorten the trial-and-error phase.  Teachers can point out things that may not occur to you otherwise.

However, I want to make this very clear: You need no tools at all to be a successful ghost hunter.

Bradford College, MA – Tunnel Orbs

Bradford College – now Northpoint Bible College – has an eerie reputation.

From well-known ghosts in places like the college theatre and tunnels beneath the college, to the connection with Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, it’s a mysterious site.

It’s also private property, since Bradford College closed, and was sold to a new owner.

However, the legends remain. Those who’ve lived at Bradford, and those who’ve investigated its ghosts… we won’t forget what a strange, sometimes creepy place it was.

The following photos show one of the tunnels beneath what was then Bradford College, near Denworth Hall.

First photo, enhanced & annotated:
Bradford tunnel

First photo (original):
Bradford Tunnel - original photo
It was not especially damp in this tunnel, and there were no shiny surfaces to reflect the flash. Dust is a possibility, but the question is: Why do we have lots of orbs in some photos – but not in others –  when those photos were taken seconds apart from each other?

In the original photo, I can see at least ten orbs. I’ve indicated many of them in the smaller photo, above. Some are clearer than others.

This is not proof that Bradford College is haunted. Orbs are not necessarily ghosts.

However, unexplained orbs usually indicate a location where we’ll hear many ghost stories.

With or without orb photos, the intense first-person stories — including those of our investigators and the students we interviewed — suggest that Bradford College (no longer at that location) — is truly haunted.

This is one in a series of articles about the ghosts of Bradford College

Bradford College, MA, Ghosts – Start Here

Bradford College, Bradford, Massachusetts – 11 March 2000

Pre-visit preparations

Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much at Bradford. Many ghost stories at colleges like Bradford have scant foundations, and are actually stories traded among students as a way of bonding, being part of the community, and other psychological benefits.

Samantha Farley, of Bradford College, has written an excellent study about this, The Ghostly Legends of Bradford College. Her thoughtful report sparked this visit to Bradford College.

On the morning of March 11th, I’d received a new quartz pendulum in the mail, and decided to try it as part of this ghost hunt. I wasn’t expecting much at the college, so this investigation seemed a benign site for testing the new pendulum.

Before the investigation, my very skeptical son (called “James” in most of my articles) and I tested the pendulum.

We worked independently, so our results wouldn’t influence each other. We asked questions about Bradford’s various legends and locations. We soon realized that very specific questions were necessary to get any results at all.

It’s as if Bradford — or something at it — didn’t want to reveal anything. Not at first, anyway.

We repeated our questions, sometimes several times, to see if our results would be consistent. Usually, they were.

Greenleaf House – pendulum didn’t move when asked if it was haunted.

Tupelo East – very little pendulum movement.

Tupelo West – enthusiastic circling, indicating positive hauntings.

“The Tunnels” – referring to a network of underground tunnels, connecting several of the older buildings.

When I asked about the tunnels, the pendulum remained still. When James tried a variety of questions, the pendulum finally indicated that there was “something weird” there.

Denworth Theatre, upstairs – no response.

  • This may be because I misunderstood the name in conversation, thinking it was “Danforth” when it was Denworth. I’d asked the pendulum if Danforth Hall was haunted.

Denworth Theatre, downstairs – delayed response, in the affirmative.

Academy – consistently even, positive response.

Based upon this, I decided that we’d start with Academy, the site of “Amy and the priest” stories, and then check the tunnels. Then we’d explore Denworth, particularly the downstairs, and finally the Tupelos. If time permitted, we’d check Greenleaf House, just in case the pendulum was wrong.

I was wholly skeptical of encountering anything notable on this casual ghost hunt. I’ve witnessed hauntings at colleges in the past. They’ve always received far more publicity than the manifestations warranted.

I packed two cameras plus extra film, a notepad, the pendulum, and my EMF meter. We left for Bradford College, to meet other ghost hunters at the campus at 3 p.m.

Next, read about our first investigations at Bradford College – Academy, first and second floors

Bradford College, MA, Ghosts – 7. Tupelo West

Bradford College, Bradford, Massachusetts – 11 March 2000

Tupelo West, and the conclusion of the ghost hunt

At this point, I was on auto-pilot, but didn’t realize it. The encounter at Denworth Theatre had taken a lot out of me.

We entered Tupelo West, but it felt entirely clear of spectral energy. However, I was fairly numb as I recovered from Denworth.

The hauntings at Tupelo West were supposed to be strongest in the basement, but we couldn’t find any way to get downstairs. The elevators only went up from the first floor. Along the wall of the stairway, we could see down to the basement, but the stairs leading down were behind a locked maintenance door.

We asked a few students, but no one knew any other way to the basement.


Unlike the Academy building, the students in this dorm seemed entirely disinterested in ghosts and didn’t show us haunted rooms.

We stood around and chatted for a few minutes. I was still unwinding from the Denworth experience, and mostly babbling to release the energy.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, I knew that I would not be able to perceive lesser manifestations for quite awhile, and I certainly didn’t want to encounter anything so dramatic as the theatre ghost.

And, the students seemed annoyed with us. They weren’t rude, but they were clearly eager for us to leave.

It also occurred to me that there was a lot of snow piling up on the ground, it was getting dark outside, and I had a half hour drive on messy roads back to my house. Also, I still felt green with nausea after the Denworth encounter. I wanted to go home.


We left Tupelo West, and walked past Tupelo Pond. A couple of us noticed a startling, sickly-sweet odor–stronger than what we’d noticed earlier–but we were too tired to investigate. We picked up the identification items which we’d left at the campus security office, and drove home through sleet and snow.

Ann joined James and me at our house, with some of her Gilson photos, and we chatted about the Bradford events. I learned more about Ann’s experiences and James’, which confirmed things that I’d noticed, but hadn’t mentioned.

On one hand, I’d like to go back to Bradford College and re-examine some of the settings where we’d encountered residual energy and the ghost at Denworth. On the other hand, I’m not certain why I’d want to do this. It’s not the happiest of hauntings.


My summary of the experience: The Academy building has the widest range of manifestations, all of which seem to be residual energy. Some of it is disturbing, but mostly it’s fairly harmless.

Denworth is profoundly haunted by at least one ghost. No doubt, there is residual energy there as well, but it is vastly overshadowed by the ghost of a young girl and her doll.

The girl in Denworth is usually playful, according to first-person accounts. However, she becomes enraged if anyone talks about her on campus.

I’d forgotten that, and that may explain the troubled ghost that we encountered. We had been talking about her from the moment we perceived spectral energy.

There may be other, lesser ghosts on campus. From the range of reports, there probably are.

However, the Denworth ghost is easily the most significant spirit at the college.

This is from a series of articles about Bradford College’s ghosts

Bradford College, MA, Ghosts – 6. Tupelo Pond

On the path to Tupelo West, passing by Tupelo Pond

I was still nauseous as we walked through the rapidly-falling snowflakes towards Tupelo West.

Since I had not expected any serious manifestations, I had completely forgotten that the ghost hated to be talked about on campus. Jane, whom we met at Tupelo West, reminded me of the ghost’s aversion to gossip. I can only repeat that I had not expected any serious manifestations, and took the ghost hunt far too lightly until it was too late.

As we walked to Tupelo West, I tried to recover my self-control, and also get my stomach to settle. I was only slightly aware of the surroundings.


Moments before we left for Bradford, something odd had happened at my home. I didn’t realize that it was a warning of what was ahead.

Alan had arrived at our house and we chatted for a few moments as we prepared to leave for Bradford.

I was in the living room and noticed a stench like rotting potatoes. I knew that there were no potatoes in the kitchen. It occurred to me that the smell might be coming from a philodendron I’d repotted in a closed container. I’d liberally filled the bottom with charcoal and gravel, so there was no reason for the odor. However, it was the only explanation for this truly awful smell.

I took the pot out to the kitchen, to see if I could banish the stench. I figured to repot the plant when we returned home.

I expected the putrid odor came from an over-watered plant with no drainage. Instead, the soil was bone dry.

I thought, “Okay, maybe it’s dry on top, and there’s stagnant water in the bottom.” So I put the pot in the kitchen sink, turned on the water, and braced myself for an awful odor.

Nothing happened. Even saturated with water, the soil and the plant smelled fine.

Back in the living room, I could still smell the potato odor, but it seemed to be fading quickly.

I didn’t think about it again, until we were on our way past Tupelo Pond.


When we were walking, I was not aware that we were next to the legendary Tupelo Pond. For some reason, I’d envisioned some large, reservoir-type pond, with some cat-o-nine-tails surrounding it, creating a vast pastoral scene.

The pond is quite small. The odor around it, as I walked past it, was stomach-turning, made worse by my literal “gut reaction” to the ghost at the theatre building.

It was the exact same putrid odor I’d sensed in my house, before we left for Bradford. I describe it as “rotting potatoes,” but others referred to it as stagnant swampwater, marsh smell, and so on.

I didn’t remember this earlier incident until after we’d returned home and discussed the Bradford ghosts.

We concluded our ghost hunt at Tupelo West

Bradford College, MA, Ghosts – 5. Denworth Hall

Bradford College, Bradford, Massachusetts – 11 March 2000

Denworth Hall and Theatre

(Note: It took two tries to write this, the morning after our visit to Bradford. Somehow, my computer saved the later Tupelo Pond page over the Denworth page. This never, ever happens. I’m reluctant to say this bizarre error confirms that the ghost in Denworth does not like to be talked about… but I’ll mention it anyway.)

We approached Denworth Hall from the underground tunnels. The Denworth Theatre doors were well-locked, in preparation for the performance that night. We did, however, have access to the stairwell.

I was still fairly certain that the Denworth Theatre ghost stories were colorful only because the people who told them were involved in theatrics. Theatre ghosts are nearly always dramatic, but rarely mean or tragic. Mostly, they’re flamboyant and sometimes humorous.

I didn’t expect any significant encounters, and I was barely interested in getting into the theatre when the doors seemed to be locked. I was eager to get to Tupelo West.

One of our investigators, Ann, found an unlocked entrance. I shrugged and figured, “why not,” as I followed the group.


A short series of stairs led from the landing to a brief, very dark corridor with an unlocked door to the costume room. It was dismal out, there were no windows in this corridor, the floor was dark brown, and there was no reason for the hall to be light. However, there was no reason for it to be as dark and murky as it looked, either.

Ann backed away from the costume room and out of the short corridor, looking deathly pale. She said that she couldn’t go in there.

I was still under the illusion that the Denworth ghost was seriously overrated.

I strode into the corridor, encountering no negative energy until I reached the door to the costume room. As I reached for the doorknob to support me, I was hit with a wave of sadness and revulsion.

Like Ann, I backed out of the corridor. However, the corridor was suddenly lighter, as it should have been in that setting. Ann tried entering that area again, and reported that it was fine now.

The others explored the costume room. I could not go back in there.

Instead, I checked the bathroom on the other side of the corridor. It was as if its threshold shut out the energy just outside its door. The bathroom seemed clear, cheerful, and fine.

I later found out that the bathroom is a relatively recent addition to that area.


Then I waited in the stairwell, on a landing, while most of the group explored adjacent areas. My attention was drawn up the stairs when I heard a softly whispered song, or the start of one.

Looking up past the next landing, I saw the shadow of a girl on the wall. It was faint, but this was not a psychic vision. It existed in reality, for anyone to see if they knew what to look for, and where. I half-expected to see a young teen stroll down the stairs, caught exploring the otherwise-locked theatre.

As I watched, the outline became more defined. I began to see a girl’s figure on the actual stairway, stepping from the third step down to the second. This seemed like a psychic vision, but she may have been seen by others.

At first, I saw a fleeting flash of something that was rust-colored. It could be her clothing, or her hair. Watching her was like seeing a transporter problem on Star Trek. I was reminded of the episode where Barclay is in a malfunctioning transporter, and something wormlike was trying to gnaw on his arm. The image was misty as in that episode.

This psychic vision (?) “blinked” in and out, and I caught merely split-second images. The girl seemed to be wearing a drop-waisted dress, with a full skirt that’s a little longer than modern-day clothing. It was like a homemade dress from the Flapper Era. I saw a grey dress, but it could have been a white dress in the shadows, or a black dress that was barely materialized in the vision… or another color altogether. It did not seem to be a print fabric.

The girl had long hair, fairly straight. I don’t know the color. It was not pale like the coloring of the girl in the Academy building.


Her form did not get clearer past that point, but her voice did. She was singing a song that started “Hush, Little Baby.” Her voice was lovely, with perfect pitch and a quality that suggested that she’d had singing lessons. It had a soft edge to it, which reminded me of Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” but this was a more throaty and clear voice, without any attempt at babylike cuteness.

As she continued to sing, I realized that I’d never heard this part of the song before, but it seemed to segue into an old favorite, which I’ve always called the “Mockingbird Song.” I’ve just never known how that song starts. I think that’s what I was hearing, in Denworth.

At that point, the stairwell seemed to spin wildly around me. I was overwhelmed as an energy surge hit, and I could see that the girl was singing to a doll. It was a large doll, and I think it was wearing a floral dress with a ruby or maroon collar. It was the size of a newborn baby, perhaps the smallest “Saucy Walker” doll of the early 1950’s.

I was struck by the tragedy of it. I was far too close to this girl, psychically. I knew that she had been driven mad by some horrific events linked to the theatre. Nobody that mature (probably 18 years old, or so) sings that seriously to a doll.

Ann speculated that the girl was raped and then lost the baby. I honestly can’t tell what happened. The girl was mad, that’s all I know.


After a few minutes, Alan took my EMF meter, and he and James went up the stairs to where I’d seen the ghost. I could see the ghost linger for a moment, then dash up the stairs as her nerve failed her.

Alan apparently got some significant EMF readings in that area, but some (not all) could be attributed to a fuse box (?) at the top of the stairs.

We discussed what we experienced for a few more minutes, and then solemnly left the theatre building.


We exited through the tunnels, which seemed tame by comparison, now. I felt terribly nauseated by the encounter with the ghost, and knew she was in a frustrated rage because she thought we were deserting her. I had the strong psychic impression that the ghost didn’t want us to leave, but I also knew that we’d not accomplish anything by staying with her.

Ann said that she could hear the girl crying, “Wait! Wait! Don’t leave!” as we walked through the tunnels. Ann said that the girl’s voice echoed in the tunnels.

It was pretty awful.

Samantha asked if there was anything we could do, to help the ghost. I replied that you can help a ghost that is rational but confused. It’s unlikely that anyone can help a ghost that is as far over-the-edge as the ghost in Denworth.

In my opinion, the simplest conclusion would be to tear that building down. Perhaps then the ghost will be released from whatever compels her to remain there.

Next page: An odd but uneventful walk past Tupelo Pond