Five Forgotten Techniques For Budget Ghost Hunting

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Back in 1991 when I started my career as a ghost hunter, the gear that we use today wasn’t really available. Typically, it was big and bulky, very expensive and not easily obtainable by the public unless you worked in a related field. Take EMF detectors for example. My uncle, an electrician by trade, had one but it was a big box with metal probes that he hung around his neck. Oh, and it cost several hundred dollars. So, in order to hunt spooks, specters and ghosts, those of us in the old school had to experiment with things at our disposal. Today, I want to share five techniques we old schoolers used. Five techniques that wouldn’t put you in the poor house.

Water Bowl Ouija Board

The Ouija Board is something that doesn’t get a whole lot of good press in the paranormal community. You can pretty much expect people to turn tail and run, as they believe it will tear open an interdimensional rift between here and hell. Thankfully, there is an alternative to the dreaded talking board. All you need is a clear bowl, a cork and needle and two slips of paper.

Water bowl Ouija Board is a technique I’ve seen used several times, and I’ve used it myself. What you do is, you fill the bowl full of water, fit the needle into a cork and float it on the water. And then write yes or no on the papers and tape them to opposite sides. And then, start asking questions, it’s as simple as that.

The idea behind this is, if a spirit is present, it can guide the needle to the slips of paper with ease. I warn you though, make sure it’s used in a controlled environment free of wind, as this could give you a false positive. It’s a cool technique using everyday household items. And if you have all the elements in your house, it will not cost you a dime.


For centuries, people have been using compasses to guide their way over rough terrain or choppy waters. It’s an invaluable tool that uses the Earth’s natural magnetic field, an ancient GPS you might say, and believe it or not, it can be used to hunt ghosts as well.

A long lasting theory in the paranormal field concerning spirits is that they can somehow manipulate the EM field. Due to this, generations of paranormal investigators have used a compass as a communication tool with ghosts. I have used a compass for years and have watched as the needle spun inexplicably spun around. You can even ask the ghost to spin it one way for a yes answer and the opposite way for a no. So, before you drop a boat load of cash on a K2, or a pricey trifield, consider first buying a five dollar compass.

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Strips Of Fabric

Several years ago, I was on an investigation where the client said a cold spot was traveling around the room. Almost as if it was a person walking. So, with the client’s approval, I hung strips of fabric from the ceiling and was not disappointed. I watched as it appeared a person was walking through the fabric. I even got the spirit to stop on command. It was quite possibly one of the most fascinating events I’ve ever witnessed. But again, if you choose to use this technique, make sure it’s a controlled environment. Even the slightest breeze can make the fabric sway

Baby Powder

A much used technique in the old school is covering a floor with baby powder to pick up any footprints. I’ve seen phantom footsteps form, as well as capturing animal prints from rodents in attics and basements. If you use this, be sure to get the homeowner’s consent, and I cannot stress this enough, be sure to clean up after yourself.

Concierge Bell

Lastly, a fun tool to use on an investigation is a concierge bell as a communication device. Place the bell on a flat surface and, assuming a ghost is present, ask it to sound the bell, two dings for yes, one for no. Or whatever you choose. On an investigation, I watched in awe as the little button went down clanging the bell. It’s a fun way to make contact and has been used by investigators for years.

I know someone might read this and think, that’s foolish to use such primitive techniques. Well, first off, if you’re ghost hunting on a budget, they come in handy. Plus, you can use these techniques with the high tech gadgets we use today. Go ahead and experiment, because that’s what it’s all about!

If you found the content in this article to be of any value to your paranormal studies, please let us know in the comments below. Feel free to share this article with your friends as well because if you found it interesting, they might too.

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About Rick Hale 106 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at

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