What is Ghost Hunting? 10 Things to Know Before You Go

What is ghost hunting? What kind of equipment do you need to go on a ghost hunt? And is it as dangerous as they say?

In this article, we will share everything you need to know about ghost hunting, including 10 must-know tips for preparing for your first ghost hunt.

What is Ghost Hunting?

Ghost hunting, also called paranormal investigation, is the process of investigating locations that are reportedly haunted by ghosts.

Most ghost hunters try to collect evidence of paranormal activity by taking photos or using equipment that may be able to detect the presence of spirits.

If you are not properly prepared, ghost hunting can be a dangerous activity.

Check out the tips below to avoid getting in trouble on your first ghost hunt!

10 Things to Know Before You Go on a Ghost Hunt

1. Never go alone

Always take a friend or two with you when you go ghost hunting. They can help if something goes wrong, as well as be the extra pair of eyes and ears you need to validate potential manifestations.

Ghost hunters joke that it’s not the ghosts they’re scared of, but the real people. Be cautious of entering “abandoned” spaces, which might be serving as encampments for people, or have security alarms in place.

2. Choose accessible locations

Find out exactly where the paranormal activity has been reported and check if it’s accessible to the public. Trespassing should be avoided, and it’s best to get written consent from the owner to avoid any legal trouble.

You should know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there (and back).

Always ask permission if you want to investigate a private property.

3. Check it out during the day

Check out the location you want to investigate during the day to get a feel for the area. Make sure you know exactly where the haunted hot spots are.

In addition, look for any places that could pose a problem during your ghost hunt. You may also consider drawing out a map with potential hazards, as well as nearby walkways and roads.

4. Prepare carefully

Do your research about the reported hauntings and the entities involved. Some investigators believe that certain entities have the ability to drain fully-charged devices, so make sure your equipment is fully charged and bring extra batteries in your bag.

Also, make sure your camera settings are correct to avoid tinkering with them during your ghost hunt.

Dress appropriately: wear your comfiest walking shoes and a warm jacket. Tie your hair back and consider wearing a headlamp to light your way.

5. Say a prayer for protection and guidance

If you encounter a real ghost, you may need a little extra help to make it through. Saying a prayer for protection and guidance never hurts.

Depending on your religious beliefs, you can also meditate or simply send out some positive thoughts to the universe before you go.

These are the words we usually use before heading out on our Paranormal Investigation and Haunted SF tours:

To the earth and those who lie beneath
To the paths we are about to walk and to those who tread them before us
To the homes we will enter and to whom they once housed
To this city and its echoes
Know we come in blessing and we wish you only peace

6. Don’t just charge in

You wouldn’t enter a strangers house and start a party, would you? The same rules of common courtesy apply in ghost hunting.

Don’t just start running around taking pictures left and right. The spirits you are investigating were once people too, so start your investigation calmly and carefully, with a measured and deliberate pacing.

7. Talk to the spirits

Introduce yourself to the spirits, let them know you mean no harm, and ask their permission to take pictures.

Invite the spirits to be in your photos. If they respond, thank them.

Explain what the tools are that you’re using. Ghosts from 100 years ago won’t recognize tools like a spirit box or EMF reader, so a simple explanation can help spirits feel more comfortable.

When you leave, thank them for having you–and ask them not to follow.

8. Follow your instincts

If you feel the need to take a photo of something, do it.

If it seems like something or someone wants to talk to you, tell them you are open to a conversation.

And if you feel an overwhelming urge to leave, take that as a serious warning that you should not be in that space.

9. Say another prayer, out loud

Before you leave the haunted location, say another prayer.

Thank the spirit world and ask that nothing and no one follows you home.

You may also do a quick cleansing ritual to make sure nothing paranormal “sticks” to any member of your group, by burning sage (to cleanse of any negative spirits/energy) and palo santo (to welcome in positive spirits/energy).

10. Leave the location as you found it

Respect both the dead and the living.

You can touch things, such as walls or tombstones, but don’t move them or alter the location in any way.

In addition to being disrespectful, messing with the scene can get you in trouble with the spirit realm.

It may increase the chances of something following you home to “return the favor.”

The Necessary Ghost Hunting Tools

You don’t need a lot of equipment to go on your first ghost hunting adventure. Since ghost hunting equipment can be pricey, we recommend that beginners test the waters with basic gear first.

The “basics” are:

However, if you want to upgrade your gear, here’s the next level:

Real Ghost Hunting in San Francisco

Want to go on a real ghost hunt?

You’ll use all of the above tools on our Paranormal Investigation Tour, which offers an immersive, hands-on ghost hunting experience.

Guided by a paranormal expert, you will learn how to use authentic ghost hunting tools while exploring the most mysterious and ghostly places in San Francisco.

Ready to meet some ghosts?

Book a tour now.