Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them for Ghost Hunting

What is a pendulum?

In popular use, a pendulum usually refers to any weighted object that can swing back and forth.

You’ve probably seen pendulums (or pendula) on old clocks.  The pendulum is the round thing below the face of the clock, and the pendulum swings back and forth, rhythmically, keeping time.

If you pause the pendulum, the clock stops working.

In ghost hunting, a pendulum is usually a small, heavy object – like a stone, a crystal, or even a piece of metal – suspended from a cord, ribbon, or chain.

A necklace – one you regularly wear – can be ideal for this. (After all, when you’re investigating a haunted site, it’s smart to carry only the most essential, dedicated ghost hunting equipment.  A necklace is one less item to pack in your ghost research kit.)

Some pendulums are highly decorative.  Some of them have been blessed.  Each one is unique and will respond differently.

A person – perhaps a psychic or a medium – holds the cord, ribbon, or chain so the heavy object can swing freely.  Then, that person asks a question.

Or someone else in the room may ask the question. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

The movement of the pendulum determines the answer.

How to Use a Pendulum

The end of the string is held between the forefinger and thumb so that the object can swing freely.  You can pinch the cord or chain at the very top, with your hand at an angle so your fingers are out of the way.

Or, you can drape the cord or chain over the middle of your index finger, and keep it from slipping by applying gentle pressure from your thumb onto the cord or chain, against your finger.


Fiona Broome's adviceIf you’d just like to experiment with this, you can make your own pendulum by tying any heavy bead or small pendant to a string or cord.  The string should be about ten inches long.

You should be able to decide if pendulums work for you (they won’t work well for everyone) and if you like them.

The Best Way to Use a Pendulum

Some people are naturally gifted at pendulum use.

That seems to have no connection with whether they’re believers or skeptics.

When trying to communicate with a ghost, they just hold the pendulum at the top of the chain (or cord, or ribbon) and wait for the weighted end – the fob or bob or “weight-stone” – to move.

They’re waiting for something external to move it.

If the bob moves, great. If it doesn’t, maybe the site isn’t haunted. Or the ghost (or ghosts) have nothing to say.

Either way, the person holding the pendulum remains objective and somewhat mentally detached. To them, it’s like asking any stranger a question: Maybe the stranger replies. Maybe they don’t.

But… Don’t Ask Spirits to Talk “Through You”

Sometimes, a person might use a pendulum, but they internalize the energy.

That is, they ask the spirit to speak through them.

(For example, in a haunted setting, the person may ask the ghost to use the investigator’s hand to channel the energy to the pendulum.)

That’s not a good idea. In fact, it can be downright dangerous. (Basically, you’re asking for a spirit – good or evil – to take possession of your body. This can be just as risky as using a Ouija board.)

THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you can’t remain completely separate – mentally, spiritually, and emotionally – from the pendulum you’re using, stop immediately. 

Never allow outside energy to be channeled through your body to the pendulum.   (And, if you can’t tell the difference, don’t use a pendulum.  The risks are too great.)

If you decide that a pendulum is right for you, I recommend professionally crafted pendulums.  You’re likely to get better results.

However, try a homemade pendulum or two, before investing in a professional-grade pendulum.

Baseline Every Time

If you’re using a pendulum regularly – especially in haunted locations – start with some baseline readings.

It’s important to verify these every time you use the pendulum.

First, hold the pendulum entirely still.  (It’s okay to steady it with your other hand, and then release it.)

Then ask a question with a yes or no answer that you already know.

Note the way that the pendulum swings in response.  It may swing from side to side or from front to back.  Or, it may swing in a clockwise or counter-clockwise manner.

Now, ask another question with a different yes or no answer, that you already know. Compare the results.

Repeat this several times until a clear pattern is established.  (If no pattern emerges, you may need to use other divinatory tools.  Pendulums don’t work for everyone, and it has no bearing on the person’s psychic abilities.)

What to Ask in Haunted Places

In haunted sites, you can start by asking, “Is this room (or battlefield, or cemetery) haunted?” or a similar question.

However, if the ghosts think they’re still alive – or otherwise rejects the “haunted” idea – you may need to start with a question like, “Is a stranger present?” (Whether the ghost thinks you’re the “stranger” or they are, the answer should be yes.)

Then you can ask how many spirits are present, or how old the ghost his, and so on.

The more active the pendulum movement, the stronger the spiritual energy is at that site.

Even in the hands of a skeptic, I’ve seen a pendulum swing so wildly, the weight snapped off a new chain and flew across the room.

In other words, pendulums can be very powerful.

Free Pendulum Charts

I’ve created two different charts for use with your pendulum.  Visit my author website,, and go to the Free Downloads page.

Scroll down to the Misc Printable Charts section. Download the pendulum charts and print them. (They’re free PDFs.)

To use either chart, hold the string so that the tip of the pendulum is about two inches above the center “dot” at the bottom of the half-circle.  Then, ask your question.

One chart is designed for simple, yes/no questions.  You can draw this on a sheet of paper, and use it yourself.  The pendulum should favor one direction/answer more than any other.  If it doesn’t rephrase your question, or take a break and return to this later.

Pendulum chart - yes or noThe next kind of chart can be used to ask anything with numbers, such as the ghosts age when he or she left physical form. (Or, if the ghost believes that he or she is still alive, ask what year it is now.)

Pendulum Chart 2 - numbers - illustration

You can create your own charts on paper, providing many other kinds of answers, too.  They could include letters of the alphabet, people’s names, places, or things specific to the life of the ghost you’re contacting.

When the Pendulum Swings the Wrong Way

No matter which chart you use, if the pendulum swings towards you, off the chart, try rephrasing your question.  Or, the ghost may want you to answer the question for yourself, first, and then have spirit confirm it with a yes or a no.

If you are adept with a pendulum, I recommend professional pendulums designed for ghost hunters and psychic mediums, such as those from Sean Paradis. (I’m not sure he’s still making pendulums, but his are still among the ones I trust the most.)

Homemade Pendulums or Purchased Pendulums?

If you’re shopping for a pendulum, try it in the store. See how it works for you.

Compare each with your homemade pendulum(s).

If you did just as well (or better) with your own, keep using it. There’s no reason to buy one, unless it seems more powerful or attractive.

I own several pendulums, and choose them intuitively for the location and the energy at it.

Sometimes, I like the conductivity of a copper pendulum. (Some people believe the metal helps spirits make contact with the pendulum.)

Other spirits seem attracted to pretty colors. So, a colorful pendulum with an “ooh, shiny!” attraction might get better results.

Whichever pendulum you use, it should be one that seems attractive to you, too.

You Can Ghost Hunt Without Tools

Some people achieve remarkable results with pendulums.

Others don’t.

Some have a knack for recording EVP, but never get great ghost photos. And vice versa.

It’s not a measure of how good you are at ghost hunting or communicating with spirits.

It’s more like singing or running… different people have different talents.  Someone who can play the violin may be perfectly awful at the piano.

However, one of the great things about pendulums, besides their simplicity, is: You can try this on your own without spending a cent.

And then, if pendulums work for you, decide which seem to work best. (I’ve linked to a couple of my favorites, below.)

But really, if a homemade pendulum works well for you, keep using it, at least until you know if it’s a tool you’ll use regularly

Recommended pendulums

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53 thoughts on “Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them for Ghost Hunting”

  1. At the start of each session I always say outloud, “I’d like to connect with my spirit guide,” .. does that help ensure that my spirit guide is the only one communicating with me at that time? I do not want to invite anything else in. Also, can sea salt really cleanse a pendulum?

    1. Dana, it might get the attention of your spirit guide, but it won’t necessarily prevent other entities from getting involved in the conversation.

      And yes, I believe sea salt can cleanse a pendulum under normal circumstances. However, if a malicious entity attaches itself to the pendulum, all bets are off. In that case, I’d bury the pendulum in a place where no one is likely to dig it up.

      1. I’ve used a pendulum with my mom a few years ago. We only did harmless questions like asking it to make it go in a circle, say yes, say no, and other stuff. I started seeing a malevolent spirit in the kitchen of my mom’s trailer with the lights flickering on and off. I remembered it from when I was in sixth grade, but it was only one of them. Before I used it again, I learned some protective spells to keep myself from being harmed. I started using less powerful pendulums and got back better results since then.

    2. I have use the pendulum, my mom just pass away a month ago. Does my chakra pendulum can help me communicate with my mom? And will my mom able to hear me and show her answer through my chakra pendulum?

      1. Hi, Ricki, and I’m so very sorry your mom passed away. That’s never easy to deal with.

        Whether your mom hear and reply to you is up to her. You don’t need a pendulum. (My late mother still sends messages to my family. It’s always something we see or hear in an unexpected context. And, along with it, there will be something that’s a reminder of my mother. I know how odd that sounds, but… well, my mother passed over five years ago. At this point, we can’t just say those odd moments are “just a coincidence.”)

        I think it’s important not to insist that she talk through the pendulum. Something else might work better for her. Maybe it’s numbers that show up in odd places. Or a word or phrase someone says by accident, pauses, and says, “Wow, that’s not what I meant to say.” Or something like that.

        Be patient. And be open to comforting messages from her.


        1. Thank you so much for that reply. I too lost my mom five years ago (my dad too, for that matter). I frequently feel her presence and “message” and feared that perhaps I was merely making up these occurrences. Your reply solidifies my sense that her presence remains real.

        2. Hi when I use my pendulum I always get a no answer for each of my questions and yes but I think I’m am being told what I want to hear today I got a yes answer for the same question I got a no from and when I get a yes answer it swings around and around and when I get a no answer it swings back and forth but the pendulum lies to me as well plus I get different answers for the same questions now I don’t know what to believe it says it’s going give sweet dreams and messages it doesn’t and what does it mean when my pendulum spins out of control yes means around and around maybe means side to side and no swings back and forth but I get different answers to the same questions I think I’m being told what I want to hear please help me ? So I can use my pendulum correctly

          1. If the pendulum is telling you lies, stop using it. Some people can rely on pendulums. Others open themselves to dangerous influences when they do so.

  2. I am quite new at all this and was using my pendulum and all seemed fine. Then the answers were getting messed up and I knew that I was too emotionally attached to the outcome. Then I wrote my questions on pieces of paper and flipped them over so I wouldn’t be emotionally attached to the answer at that point. But I received different answers that had previously been given. So I backed off. I would always ask to connect with God, my spirit guides and guardian / archangels for help. After reading a bit of what you wrote above, I’m not sure that I should be saying or doing that. I really just wanted a safe way to communicate with my spirit guide for help with life and my path as I’m not a medium. Any suggestions or advice would be so appreciated. Thank you Fiona.

    1. Kim, if your pendulum work isn’t resonating with what makes sense to you, that may not be your best tool for connecting with your guides, angels, and so on. See if you can get a reading from a professional, and ask her (or him) what the best way is for you to receive messages from the good and kind spirits you’re hoping to reach.

  3. 1. Qs.Hi after using the rudraksha mala for yes no questions is it ok to wear it back again . Normally i chant on it too.

    2. I came across info saying pendulums work on the right finger which hold the pendulum sending signals to our brain i am surprised to learn this is to do with spirits. …

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