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Interested In Ghost Hunting? Don't Waste Your Time With These 12 Devices

Thanks to shows like Ghost Hunters, paranormal enthusiasts have been exposed to technology that supposedly finds evidence of spirits. However, there is a lot of fake ghost hunting gear on the market.

Many people want to know how to find ghosts. But in their quests for the unknown, they are sold equipment that is faulty, difficult to use, or intentionally deceptive. Debunking ghost tech is an important part of the process when searching for spirits. There may be ghosts out there, but you're probably not going to find them using the standard gadgets paranormal suppliers want you to buy.

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  • Ghost Boxes

    Ghost Boxes
    Photo: P-SB7 / Amazon

    What It Is:

    Also known as a spirit box, this device rapidly sweeps AM radio channels to interpret the white noise. Some paranormal investigators believe ghosts communicate via the white noise. The ghost boxes allegedly give investigators immediate answers.

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    Ghost boxes are known to promote belief in spirits rather than providing solid evidence. Many people want to believe the words they hear from the device are answers from the other world. However, the snippets of dialogue are usually from static-filled radio stations.

  • FLIR Thermal Imaging

    FLIR Thermal Imaging
    Photo: Lcamtuf / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    What It Is:

    FLIR (or forward looking infrared) imaging systems and infrared thermometers are devices designed to pick up variations in temperature. FLIR devices create maps of heat distribution; humans usually glow in pink-orange hues. The cameras and infrared thermometers can also pick up cold spots, which allegedly mark the presence of spirits.

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    To get clear results, FLIR cameras must typically be used at night. Although FLIR images look scientific and trustworthy, skeptics argue the results can be easily misinterpreted. Novice users may be especially susceptible to finding false positives.

  • Motion Sensors And Laser Grids

    Motion Sensors And Laser Grids
    Photo: GhostStop

    What It Is:

    Motion sensing devices and projected laser grids are usually recommended by ghost hunters when people claim to see shadows move through haunted buildings. The laser grid is commonly used because it creates a clear visual. The tool is mounted and pointed at a wall, projecting an array of green dots. If something passes in front of the grid, the lights will be blocked.

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    Motion sensors have a few flaws. People or animals can unwittingly cross through the light grid, producing false positives. And some paranormal enthusiasts believe different ghosts have different densities; allegedly, not every paranormal being would set of a motion sensor or light grid.

  • BooBuddy

    BooBuddy
    Photo: GhostStop

    What It Is:

    This tool is like a nanny cam for hunting ghosts. It looks like teddy bear, but the device has an EMF reader, motion and vibration sensors, and a temperature reader. The BooBuddy reacts when conditions in the room change. For example, when it gets colder, owners hear "Brr. It's cold in here."

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    The BooBuddy will sporadically ask questions like "Do you want to be my friend?" in an empty room. It's advertised as a trigger object, but there is no guarantee spirits will react to a child's toy. Moreover, the GhostStop item doesn't include a recording device of any kind. Ghost hunters need to have a separate camera or voice recorder if they want to leave the room.

  • Electromagnetic Field Readers

    Electromagnetic Field Readers
    Photo: Trifield / Amazon

    What It Is:

    An Electromagnetic Field (EMF) reader detects many kinds of power waves. Also known as a K-II meter, the small device has green and red LED lights to indicate the strength of a magnetic field. They're normally used to monitor dangerous levels of EMF radiation from power lines or appliances, but paranormal hobbyists embrace the tools as well. In fact, many EMF readers are marketed as ghost hunting tools.

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    Many EMF readers are unshielded; they can be easily activated by household objects. Cell phones and two-way radios might activate the devices, and even things like computer mouses and battery packs are triggers. EMF readers are sometimes erratic and easily manipulated.

  • Electronic Voice Phenomenon Recorders

    What It Is:

    Electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) recording has been fairly popular since the 1950's. By using a recording device, either a made-for-ghost-hunting EVP recorder or a simple voice memo recorder, ghost hunters can capture sounds made by paranormal beings.

    Why It Probably Doesn't Work:

    Some ghost hunters pretend to hear things that simply haven't been said. They might claim to hear clear words or verbalizations garbled beyond recognition. For many paranormal experts, translating and isolating EVPs means essentially "torturing that noise into some kind of meaning."