Pendulums – Do They Work for Ghost Hunting? (Why I Changed My Mind.)

This article is from a 2012 investigation near southern New Hampshire (USA).

Pendulum experiments and suggestions for ghost huntingIt’s why I changed my mind about using pendulums for ghost hunting, and why I recommend them for some ghost hunters… maybe.

I’d decided that pendulums didn’t really work. Certainly not for ghost hunting, anyway.

This past weekend – en route the Mal’s Pals benefit where friend (and fellow ghost enthusiast) Kris Williams was speaking – Sean Paradis presented me with some of his latest pendulums.

That experience made me rethink pendulum use for ghost research.

My Pendulum History

During my teen years – like a lot of people – my friends and I briefly tried using a pendulum. We wanted to find out the initials of our future husbands.

I don’t recall the results. (Obviously, they weren’t accurate.)

For me, it was just a game.

And after that, I didn’t take most divination tools seriously.

But, in the 1990s, I noticed a few ghost hunters using pendulums.

They seemed to be successful.

I was astonished but – based on my past experience with pendulums – I still wasn’t convinced they were useful for ghost hunting.

So, about a dozen years ago, I conducted pendulum experiments at Gilson Road Cemetery. It’s one of the most haunted sites I’ve ever visited.

A Failed Pendulum Experiment?

I assembled a group of paranormal researchers and ghost hunters, and equipped them with clipboards, survey questions, and pendulums.

They surveyed each marked grave at the haunted cemetery, using yes/no questions and homemade pendulums.

These were very primitive pendulums – hardware-style washers on strings, etc. – just to see if results (the pendulums’ answers) were consistent.

They weren’t.  At each grave, about half the people received “no” answers, while the others all received “yes” answers.

After that, I firmly dismissed pendulums as serious ghost hunting equipment.

Fun?  Yes.

Reliable?  No.

Lesley Marden Changed My Mind

Lesley Marden
Lesley Marden

Then, Lesley Marden‘s pendulum research raised questions. I’ve been with her on many investigations.

Her results with a pendulum have been – and continue to be – remarkably consistent and helpful.

In addition, I started using Sean Paradis’ hand-crafted pendulums. They were responsive beyond anything I’d seen with other pendulums.

Looking back, I wish we’d been able to use real pendulums at Gilson Road cemetery. Would they have made a difference?

I don’t know… and that’s the problem: I didn’t consider the possibility that the pendulum might have its own energy – beyond the person using it.

What really changed my mind (in 2012) was a cemetery where Lesley, Sean, and I stopped for a brief investigation.

The Cemetery That’s Not a Cemetery

On our way to the Mal’s Pals event, we stopped at a site that can only be described as “a cemetery that’s not a cemetery.”

It looks like a cemetery, with typical stone walls around it, enclosing at least a dozen headstones.

But – as I understand it – few (if any) bodies are buried there.

Something there is not right.

Almost immediately, my camera – which had been working fine that morning – actually broke.  The lens opened just a tiny amount.  I couldn’t pry the lens open. Changing batteries didn’t help, either. (I took photos, anyway. They were disappointing.)

When we returned to the car, I tried my camera again.

It worked fine.

So, I took it back to the cemetery, and it seemed broken again.

That was among the most dramatic and unique equipment failures I’ve seen in many years in paranormal research.

(A dozen years earlier, a different camera had failed at Blood Cemetery. And then there was the sort-of related gas gauge incident. I have no idea why either of those problems happened.)

Lava Rock pendulum by Sean Paradis for Sleeping Meadows
Lava rock pendulum. Photo courtesy of Sean Paradis.

So, on that day in 2012, since the camera wasn’t reliable, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I tested a few pendulums that Sean had given me.

The answers were clear – and consistent – no matter which pendulum I tried.

When I asked a question I knew the answer to… the pendulum responded correctly.

When I asked a question about someone whose name was on a headstone in that cemetery…? The pendulum’s answers were consistent, not just with each other, but the independent results of Lesley and Sean.

I had to re-think my attitudes towards pendulums and ghost hunting.

Now, I won’t pretend I use pendulums during every ghost investigation. (I don’t.)

But pendulums are so convenient to toss into my ghost hunting kit – or I can use a necklace I’m wearing – I do use them now & then.

How I Use Pendulums

With each pendulum, I do the same thing: I hold the weighted part (the “weight-stone” or bob or fob) in my hand for just a second, in case that imprints it with a connection to me.

Then, I hold the pendulum from the handle-style bead, pin, or whatever’s at the end of the chain or cord.

I’m ready to run a baseline test.

I say, “Show me a ‘yes’.” I wait to see what the pendulum does.

Then I say, “Show me a ‘no’.”

Once again, I wait to see what happens.

(I have never seen a pendulum give the same response for both answers.)

For me, a “yes” is usually a vertical swing, and “no” is a horizontal swing.  Now and then, it’ll be a circular motion, with clockwise being one answer and anti-clockwise being the other.

I check this every time I use a pendulum in a new, haunted location.  I’m not sure how much the answer relies on my psychic energy, the pendulum itself, or the energy at the location.

I’d never want to mistake a response.  So, I make a fresh start with each pendulum and each site where I test them.

A Spirit Named Fanny

In 2012, at this sort-of cemetery, I was able to confirm – repeatedly – the identity of the energy (or spirit).

After all, I had several names to work with, from the headstones nearby.

tree branches - dark skyThe entity was named Fanny.  That was abundantly clear from the pendulum response to that name, and only that name.

However, that’s when the information stopped.

No matter what question I asked – and we tried a lot of questions – the entity wasn’t responsive.

I think I tried about five or six different pendulums.  Each time, the response was nearly identical.

Was the entity someone named Fanny?  Yes.  That was a dramatic swing from a full stop.

Did she have something to say?  Yes, maybe… it was sort of a yes, but not entirely clear.

There was no response when I asked:

  • Whether she was frightened
  • If she was alive and well in her own time
  • Whether her body was actually nearby
  • If she had unfinished business, and so on.

(Those are questions I routinely ask in my research.)

Every time I went back to the initial question about her name, the “yes” was clear.

Nothing else evoked a clear response.

It was a mystery, and remains one.

My Conclusions

I’m always enthusiastic about mixing Sean’s low-tech research methods with sensitive, scientific tools.  They may lead us to better “what if?” questions.

So, I’ll keep experimenting with pendulums at haunted sites. (If you want to try them, see my article, Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them for Ghost Hunting. There, you’ll find a link to my free pendulum charts, too.)


Note: I may conduct more research at the “cemetery that’s not a cemetery” and the area around a nearby ball field. (Those are all the hints I’ll share.)

For now, if you know the location, I hope you won’t publicize it. If the site attracts too much attention, it may limit our ability to visit the site for undisturbed research.

The one thing I’m sure of is that “Fanny” has a secret, and – so far – she hasn’t been willing to share it with any of us.

Recommended Pendulums

Remember, you can make your own pendulum, or even use a necklace. You don’t need to spend a cent to see if pendulums interest you.

But, based on my Gilson Road experiment – and our far better results in 2012, with “real” pendulums – I recommend quality pendulums if you decide to make them part of your ghost hunting investigations.

Bennington Triangle – VT

Vermont’s Bennington Triangle has a fascinating history.  It’s a lovely place to hike, but it’s not without significant dangers. Like the Bermuda Triangle, people vanish without explanation in the Bennington Triangle.

Paranormal Triangles – Bermuda, Bridgewater, and Bennington

(As I type that, I wonder, “What is it about triangles and the letter B?”)

More about the Bennington Triangle, where people vanishThe “triangle” phenomena are interesting to study.  The most famous of these locations is, of course, the Bermuda Triangle.

However, the trouble with the Bermuda Triangle is (a) that location is huge and mostly over the water, and (b) it has been so frequently researched, there’s a massive amount of information to sift through to find any patterns… or any angle or explanation that’s been overlooked.

All we can say is: We don’t know why it’s so strange.

Another triangle, the Bridgewater Triangle (MA), offers some interesting quirks that haven’t been fully explored, but the area is densely populated. That’s both a plus (lots of eyewitnesses) and a minus (many locations are difficult to access or on private property).  In addition, sensational headlines and a lurid history sometime attract thrill-seekers and people who think it’s funny to terrify others.

We have enough challenges in paranormal research.  Frankly, we don’t need stupid people making our work more difficult.  Personally, I’m not impressed enough with the Bridgewater Triangle to explore it after dark.

The Bennington Triangle – Where People Vanish

The Bennington Triangle (VT) has remained under the radar for many people.

I’ve deliberately avoided saying much about it, because I believe that location may be very dangerous.

But, as ghost hunting is becoming less trendy, I’m more comfortable talking about it now.

Bennington’s relative isolation also makes it a less-accessible location for thrill seekers. That may be a very good thing.

Also, it’s not really a ghost hunters’ kind of site. A ghostly encounter might be possible, but that’s not the main reason paranormal researchers quietly study Bennington and vicinity.

More about Bennington’s Mysteries

For the original, most intriguing article about the Bennington Triangle,  view this archived link.

Wikipedia gives more geographic information, at Bennington Triangle.

The HauntingAlso check the Virtual Vermonter stories about the Bennington Triangle.

It was no surprise when I learned that author Shirley Jackson (author of “The Haunting of Hill House,” the basis of my favorite fiction-based ghost movie) chose to live there.  I’m not sure I would.

If real gateways to other dimensions exist, the Bennington Triangle is probably one of them.  I’m happy to do most of my Bennington Triangle research off-site.

The links I’ve listed are the tip of the iceberg.

Witnesses are Afraid of Something

The stories that come out of the Bennington Triangle… they’re not like any other stories I’ve heard in the New England area.

Some of them are terrifying. They make no sense.  Even stranger: The people who share their first-person Bennington and Glastenbury stories are as credible as any I’ve met.

These aren’t the kinds of people you can dismiss as over-imaginative, delusional, pathological liars, attention-seekers, or substance abusers.

Most of them seem uncomfortable describing their encounters.

Then, once they start sharing the details, it’s like they’re reliving the experience.  They get pale, break out in perspiration, and tremble a little.

Part-way into the story, they go silent, shrug, and say, “I’ve said enough.”  After that, you can’t get another word out of them… not about the Bennington Triangle, anyway.

At a later date, I may post more of my own research.  The deeper you look into this strange phenomenon, the weirder it gets.