10 Beginner Ghost Hunting Tips for Successful Hunting

Updated July 22, 2021
Young woman looking through window.

If you've always been fascinated by haunted places and want to give ghost hunting a try, these tips for beginners can help you get started. Ghost hunting is often an exercise in patience; paranormal entities don't perform on command. However, these ghost hunting tips can increase your chances of having a quality ghostly experience.

Grab a Buddy

Perhaps the most critical tip for anyone planning to go ghost hunting is this: don't go alone. Having a trusted friend with you is not only safer, but going as a two-person team also gives you another human sensor to verify what you experience yourself. Choose someone you trust who you know won't distract you from the mission at hand, which is actually encountering a ghost.

Get Permission

If the place you plan to go ghost hunting is open to the public, then you can visit during regular business hours first to get a sense of the location. If you plan to do any photographing, audio recording, or filming, or if you'd like to conduct a private investigation, then ask permission from the property's owners. Never conduct a ghost hunt without written permission from the owners. If you don't have permission and attempt to enter properties after hours or investigate abandoned locations without permission, you are trespassing and can be held criminally liable.

Dress Comfortably

What you wear will affect the quality of your ghost hunting experience. Choose comfortable and quiet clothes suitable for weather and temperature conditions, such as comfy shoes with soft soles and clothing you can easily sit in. Avoid jangling jewelry or fabrics that make swishy sounds when you move. Since ghostly experiences can involve any of your five senses, you'll also want to avoid wearing anything with a strong aroma such as cologne or scented body lotion.

Go When There Are Fewer People

If you're going to a haunted place that's open to the public, try to be there when it won't be packed with people. For example, weekdays are typically better than weekends and holidays, and arriving right when the location opens is often best since you might even get the place to yourself for a bit. You can also contact the location, ask them when their least busy time is, and plan to go then.

Go Any Time of Day or Night

Ruins of a hospital during daytime

People often have a mistaken belief that nighttime is the best (or only) time of day you can experience ghosts. This idea comes from the fact that television shows typically show ghost hunting being done after dark. Darkness can add a spooky ambience to any ghost hunt, but it isn't the only option. If you truly want to experience paranormal activity, you should go at the time of day the activity most commonly occurs. For instance, if others report seeing an apparition first thing in the morning, that's when you should investigate.

Start Simple

Many people new to ghost hunting make the same mistake. They see some cool gadget on television, so they buy it and spend their entire investigation focused on that piece of equipment instead of using their five senses to observe what's happening around them. While there's nothing wrong with devices to take measurements and make recordings, it's important to understand that, regardless of how cool a gadget seems, you are your own best equipment. Sit quietly and observe with all five senses. If you do experience something, note the time and write it down on a pad of paper. Don't discuss what you've experienced with the person with you because the second you focus away from your observation, you are likely to miss any ongoing activity.

Be Quiet, and Be Aware

While there's certainly the possibility of an adrenaline rush if you actually encounter a ghost, the truth is that ghost hunting is a decidedly quiet activity. Why? Because the essence of ghost hunting is observing, which can mean sitting quietly for long periods and focusing your senses on everything around you. So choose a place, get comfy, and settle in. Quitely observe, noting what you see and hear. Try to stay in each place for at least 30 minutes, or longer if you are having experiences.

Record Audio

Audio recording is probably the least distracting way to try to capture evidence of a ghost. Use a simple audio recording app on your phone or a dedicated digital recorder. Each time you move to a new location during your ghost hunt, start a new audio recording file. At the beginning of each recording, state your name, who is with you, the date and time, and the location. Hold the audio recorder in your hand or better yet, set it on a level surface nearby and allow it to run while you sit quietly.

Introduce Yourself

In each new spot where you choose to observe, re-introduce yourself respectfully and explain your purpose. This can be a simple statement such as, "My name is Karen, and this is Mark. We are interested in your story and hope to communicate with you today. If you have anything you'd like us to know, please speak into this device and we may be able to hear you." You can also set boundaries or make respectful requests, such as "I prefer that you don't touch me, please."

Stay Calm

Regardless of what you experience, try to remain calm. If you begin to have an experience, one of the fastest ways to make it stop is to have an extreme reaction. As much as you can, remain calm and observe until the experience is finished. Allow yourself to be in the moment by paying attention to all five of your senses. As soon as your experience is over, note exactly what you observed either on your voice recorder or in a written document.

Ghost Hunting Tips for Beginners

Increase your chances of having a paranormal experience or capturing evidence of anomalous activity by being the best observer you can when you go ghost hunting. Start simply with minimal equipment and allow yourself to become familiar with how your body, mind, and senses respond during possible paranormal activity. Be quiet, still, observant, and open minded, and you just may have your own ghost story to tell.

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10 Beginner Ghost Hunting Tips for Successful Hunting