by Peter Underwood, Ghost Hunter


Steel and tape measures should be included and a ruler (the type used by paper makers and publishers for measuring paper bulk is particularly useful, as is a metal ruler); impact adhesive, an assortment of small screws, nails, tintacks, screw-eyes, a small hammer and screwdriver and bradawl, wire-clippers, a pair of small pliers, a plumbline, an assortment of adhesives, luminous paint and luminous card and paper, a pen-knife, several magnifying glasses (including a large quality specimen and a watchmaker’s loupe), a pair of plimsolls or overshoes, a spring-balance (for measuring the weight of any article moved by apparently paranormal means) and a strain gauge (for measuring the force necessary to close or open a door or drawer). All these articles will be found useful by the serious investigator, but he can prune the list to suit his pocket and add things that he feels he would like to have with him. The ghost hunter and each of his companions must carry a watch, preferably with luminous or illuminated dials, and they should of course synchronize watches at the commencement of any ghost hunt; in addition a stopwatch can be very useful on occasions. Various transparent envelopes and containers for the preservation of questionable and dubious matter are useful accessories.

A ghost hunter tests for traces of a ghost during a haunted house investigation
Photo © Peter Underwood

Simple gadgets can often be arranged at the scene of the haunting, and for this purpose such items as dry batteries, switches, small electric bells, bulbs and bulb-holders, together with plenty of appropriate wire, including a coil of thin and fragile cotton-covered wire, will be required. In addition a coil of heavy-duty electric cable and an assortment of electric plugs and adaptors should be added to the collection – and if possible a voltmeter for checking electrical power faults. A portable camping stove, kettle, unbreakable mugs, thermos flask, etc, can be welcome additions to the fast-growing ghost hunter’s kit.

Thermometers are always necessary, both the simple instruments, suitable for indoor and outdoor use, which need to be checked at regular intervals (the eighteen-inch or greenhouse models are especially useful for registering sudden fluctuations in temperature), and maximum-and-minimum thermometers. Such refinements as the self-registering thermograph are a great help, as are portable sound recorders, apparatus for measuring atmospheric pressure, the force of the wind and the humidity, and such instruments as metal-detectors, walkie-talkie sets, sound-scanners, magnetometers, and electric field measuring devices; but although such additions may add value to the scientific record of a haunting they also add considerable weight to the ghost hunter’s kit. Even more expensive equipment for ghost hunting would include sophisticated alarm and detection equipment, closed circuit television, video cameras, capacity change recorders, infra-red telescopes and voltmeters. One ghost hunter I knew used to take with him over five tons of equipment yet, perhaps surprisingly, his reports were of no more interest to the scientist or anyone else than those prepared meticulously by an amateur with the simplest ghost hunting apparatus.

Every ghost hunter worthy of the name will, however, invent simple gadgets for himself: the bowl of mercury that detects tremors; the spirit level mounted on wood or board that can be used to establish or disprove the apparent slight movement of, say, a stair tread; the sealed tin full of fine sand with a tiny hole in the base that leaves an almost invisible trail of silver sand if it is moved; the balanced rod connected to a bell or buzzer or bulb that reveals the movement of an object placed on one end of the rod; the flour-covered sheet of newspaper that reveals footsteps or other disturbances, or spread sugar that quickly reveals the presence of someone and possibly some 'thing’ by the unmistakable crunch, both substances often exposing (since they both cling) a ghost’s earthly ‘agent'! The list is endless and the setting-up of such simple yet ingenious ghost-catching gadgets helps to pass the long and quiet hours that form the main 'activity' of the ghost hunter. I will be most interested to hear from any reader who has succeeded in producing simple but practical and effective ghost hunting gadgets. A small paintbrush will enable you to arrange the flour or sugar or sand just where you want it and will also be useful to heighten any finger or palm prints for identification. No ghost hunting kit is complete without a large-scale map of the area to be visited, a compass, preferably a Lensatic compass, and a Milograph map measure. The Ordnance Survey, Southampton, will supply a copy of their large-scale catalogue and details of 1:1250 and 1:2500 scale maps they stock (not countrywide), and the 1:10000 scale maps which do cover the whole of Great Britain. Personally, during the course of investigating poltergeist cases and sometimes cases of contemporary haunting, I have found it useful to have with me a pack or two of Zener cards to test the possible ESP of the nexus of the poltergeist and other occupants of the house. I have also found routine and specially-written Intelligence and Word-Association Tests very interesting and often revealing. One or two small mirrors, both static and adjustable, placed in strategic positions in an occupied haunted house, have sometimes told me a great deal. I use a car wing-mirror that swivels in all directions.


It is always wise for the ghost hunter to have among his apparatus a few evocative articles: a small bell, perhaps, a paper-knife or dagger, a bible, a crucifix, a small toy, a photograph; for often the presence of such miscellanea will seem to promote apparent phenomena and in any case – as with Zener cards and the Word-Association Tests – they provide interest for everyone present, help to keep sleep at bay and also help to retain the all-important sense of relaxation and lack of the tension that can prohibit phenomena.

It will soon be acknowledged that ghost hunts in genuine haunted houses often follow a very similar pattern. After the initial enthusiasm and feeling of something approaching excitement, there follows a feeling of tension and watchfulness, especially if anything has happened that is not completely explained (the creaking of a floorboard, the hoot of an owl, the squeak of a mouse, the wind in an air-brick perhaps); this is often followed by a period of something approaching fear and a creeping coldness, exhaustion and finally the overwhelming need for sleep. It is necessary for the amateur ghost hunter to know what to expect on an all-night visit to a haunted house and to make plans accordingly.


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Mr. Peter Underwood

The above information is Extracted from Mr Peter Underwoods "The Ghost Hunters Guide" - reproduced with the kind permission of the author, Peter Underwood, with whom sole copyright remains the exclusive property thereof.

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