The Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation, originally named Laurel Grove, was built in 1796 by General David Bradford on 600 acres which were rumored to be an ancient Tunica Indian burial ground. Bradford lived there alone for several years, until pardoned by President John Adams for his role in the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion of 1799, when he had his wife Elizabeth and their five children join him at the plantation.

The Stanley Hotel

Freelan Oscar Stanley, a Northern and cofounder of the famed Stanley Motor Carriage Company, traveled from the East Cost to the wild Estes Valley in 1903, hoping to alleviate his symptoms of tuberculosis. The climate did indeed improve his health, and Mr. Stanley and his wife Flora relocated permanently.

Hotel Provincial

The land on which Hotel Provincial stands was a grant from the king of France, Louis XV, who gave it to Bienville Lieutenant Louis Boucher de Granpre in 1725. The land was bought by Chevalier Jean Lavillebeuvre, then purchased and developed by the Roque and Laurans families during the 1800s, before being sold to the French Market Ice Company in 1903.

Mansfield Reformatory

The history of the Ohio State Reformatory began in 1861, when the field where the reformatory would be built was used as a training camp for Civil War soldiers.

High Spirits Ghost Tour

Fifteen or so years ago, my burgeoning interest in the metaphysical inspired me to book a local ghost hunting tour with a buddy. The tour gathered at the Spaghetti Warehouse, known for its paranormal activity (history to follow) for the nighttime bus tour. The tour was focused on spiritual hotspots in and around downtown Houston.

Fairmont Banff Springs

The most infamous spirit at the hotel, and arguably tied for the most tragic, is the Ghost Bride, whose story dates back to the late 1920s. The young bride, dressed for her wedding day, was descending one of the hotel’s back staircases adorned by candlelight. It is said that she caught her heel in her hem and as she fell, breaking her neck on the marble stairs, her long dress caught fire off one of the candles. Within seconds, she was engulfed in flames, dead.

Crescent Hotel

“America’s Most Haunted Hotel” sits perched on the crest of West Mountain above the Victorian village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Construction was started in 1884 on the 78-room luxury resort hotel, strategically situated on twenty seven acres chosen for its majestic location overlooking the valley.

Villisca Axe House

Six members of the Moore family and two overnight guests were found bludgeoned to death in the Moore residence. All eight victims, which included six children, suffered severe head wounds from an axe. A lengthy investigation yielded several suspects, but the first trial ended in a hung jury and the second ended in an acquittal. The crime remains unsolved to this day.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, one thing is undebatable: the recent explosion of reality based paranormal/ghost hunting shows has made the subject almost impossible to ignore. No longer is it a niche subject that the weird couple across the street was into; it is an ever-expanding part of our daily pop culture. There are currently over 25 programs that air across several different cable networks which results in one, if not several, of these shows on literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With several more shows currently in production, the hunt for life after death will continue to fill up our daily programming. From popular shows such as Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Caught on Camera to some of the lesser known shows, they all have one thing in common — the equipment they use to hunt spirits.

In my opinion, one of the main things that make these shows so appealing is that anybody can hunt ghosts. All you need is a few bucks and a haunted location and you’re in business. Although old standbys such as Ouiji boards still have a place, the hunt for apparitions has become much more technical. Regardless of the size of your budget, there are a litany of devices that will enhance your experience. I’m going to touch on a few of the most prevalent and how they work.

EMF (ElectroMagnetic Frequency) Meter

Probably the most popular device because of its simplicity, price point and portability, the EMF meter is a ghost hunting staple. Simply push the button and the meter will light up if fluctuations in electromagnetic energy are detected. Many paranormal experts believe these disturbances indicate the presence of a spirit. These range in price from $15.00 to $250.00.

Spirit Box (aka Frank’s Box)

No ghost hunt is complete without this user-friendly accessory. A spirit box is a handheld device which rapidly scans radio frequencies, providing white noise through which spirits can communicate. Ask a question and wait for a reply. Initially nothing more than a modified radio with an auxiliary port for a speaker, current models possess many more bells and whistles such as built in speakers, infrared flashlights and temperature change detectors. You can pick one up for around $70.00.

EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) Recorder

Pretty much any of your modern digital recorders would work, although the ones specifically designed to hunt ghosts feature heightened sensitivity with external microphones. Simply hit “record” and ask questions; go back later to see if any replies were captured. Generally speaking, a quiet room is best for play back, as responses are usually whispers that can be hard to hear. Serious ghost hunters often employ voice enhancing software to amplify any voice phenomena.  You can find a nice one of these for around $200.00.

Camcorder

Pretty self-explanatory and likely already in your possession, you won’t make it on Paranormal Caught on Camera without video footage of your experience. However, a must-have feature for ghost hunting is night vision as nearly all ghost hunts happen in the dark. There are camcorders targeted specifically for ghost hunting that also boast infrared and full spectrum recording. Needless to say, the best camcorders are the ones that capture ghosts!

So there you have it: your basic ghost hunting starter kit which can be purchased at retailers such as GhostStop.com and Amazon. While these four essentials will get you started, there is much more advanced equipment available. Like everything else, you can spend as much or as little as you see fit. Remember, ghost hunting should be fun. While the right equipment certainly helps, you won’t have a successful paranormal experience without a lot of patience and a willing spirit!