Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them

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 can be ideal for this.

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

A person – usually a psychic or a medium – holds the cord, ribbon, or chain so the heavy object can swing freely.  Then, that person asks a question.  The movement of the pendulum determines the answer.

Most of my pendulums come from author and fellow ghost researcher, Sean Paradis‘ company.  (I think he’s closed his shop, but check with him, just in case.)

In my tests, the ones he makes have been the most responsive, and I own a variety of stones and colors. I use each for a different purpose, usually working with my “gut feeling” about which pendulum the spirit will respond to.

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.

Don’t Ask Spirits to Talk “Through You”

Some people are naturally gifted at pendulum use.  This seems to have no connection with whether they’re believers or skeptics.

Some people can use pendulums, but they internalize the energy.

They may actually ask the spirit to speak through them.

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.)

If you can’t remain completely separate 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

Next, you should try some baseline readings.  It’s important to verify these every time you use the pendulum.

Start with the pendulum entirely still.  Ask it 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.  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 ask, “Is this room (or battlefield, or cemetery) haunted?” or a similar question.

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.

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.

Pendulums – Do They Work for Ghost Hunters

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

Pendulum experiments and suggestionsIn it, you’ll learn why I changed my mind about whether pendulums work in ghost hunting. I also share the kinds of questions I use in my research.

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.

I’ve mentioned Sean’s pendulums before, because they’re so extraordinary.

They’ve made me rethink pendulum use in paranormal research.

My Pendulum History

During my teen years, my friends and I briefly used a pendulum to find out the initials of our future husbands.

For me, it was just a game.

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.

Why I Questioned Pendulums

So, about a dozen years ago, I conducted pendulum experiments at Gilson Road Cemetery.

I assembled a group of paranormal researchers 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 generally very primitive devices – hardware-style washers on strings, etc. – just to see if the results 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 resumed my disinterest in pendulums as a serious research tool.

Fun?  Yes.  Reliable?  No.

Lesley Marden Changed My Mind

Lesley Marden
Lesley Marden

Lesley Marden‘s 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.

I wish we’d been able to use them 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 – as many crystals seem to – beyond the person using it.

What really changed my mind 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, but – as I understand it – few (if any) bodies are buried there.

Something there is not right.

My camera – which had been working fine that morning – actually broke.  The lens opened just a tiny amount.  (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 that happened.)

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

So, since the camera wasn’t reliable, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I tested a few pendulums that Sean had given me.  My favorite was the lava rock pendulum, shown at right.

Then I tried Sean’s pyrite cube pendulum and a ruby pendulum, and a few others.

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

How I Use Pendulums

With each pendulum, I do the same thing: I hold the weighted part in my hand for just a second, in case that imprints it with a connection to me.

Then, I hold the pendulum from the small, 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 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 Mamed Fanny

At this sort-of cemetery, I was able to confirm – repeatedly – the identity of the energy (or spirit).  I had several names to work with, from the few 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. (If you want to try them, see my article, Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them. 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.