Do Ghost Hunting Apps Really Work?

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With the “Information Age” came radical and progressive technological advancements.  For instance, computers no longer required an entire room.  Home computers no longer weigh 50 pounds and can be carried around either in the palm of your hand or backpack.  Video games and movie graphics are now more realistic and, you never have to stay at home waiting for an important telephone call.

However, these technological advancements do not stop here.  I have noticed them showing up on some of the ghost tours and ghost hunts I hand the honor to conduct as well.  They appear in the form of Apps, “Ghost Hunting Apps” to be more specific.  At first, I thought it was a novel idea to be able to just punch one button on your smart phone and “ta da” your smart phone is magically transformed into an operative investigative tool.  I did not put too much more thought into it farther than the end of the tour.  Then, I noticed more and more of our guests attending our ghost hunts and haunted walking tours with using these Apps on their handheld devices.  Now, this once novel idea moved into a totally new category.  I noticed that our guests were actually relying on these “Ghost Hunting Apps” more than their cameras, K2 meters, and digital recorders.  The most alarming thing I found was that they were absolutely convinced that these Apps were accurate for no other reason than the marketing hype.

While it’s no secret that I am not a big fan of Apps whether it be for a computer, smart-phone, or otherwise I am not some dinosaur with an aversion to technology. I do embrace some technology while abandoning others.  For me, the determining factor is twofold.  First, whether it is an App or piece of equipment, it needs to be reliable with a proven track record.  And, second, it must be user friendly.

So, I decided to perform a little experiment.  I actually downloaded a couple of these Apps on my smart phone and tested them at different locations along our tour route which are known to be “hot spots.”  The initial results were quite disappointing.  I received positive results at locations not known for paranormal activity and no results at known paranormal “hot spots.”  In an effort to be fair, I performed a second test.  This time results appeared to be more inline with data gathered prior to my little experiment using the “Ghost Hunting” Apps.  After performing two tests, and receiving contradictory results, I still did not feel comfortable rendering a conclusion as to whether or not these Apps actually worked in the field or not.  I felt that a third and final test was in order.  During this third test of these “Ghost Hunting” Apps, I received a better response but, this time I noticed something more sinister correlation.  The seemingly random and erratic responses were more inline with responses you would get using a “Magic 8 Ball.”  I found this to be most disappointing.  My final conclusion as to whether or not “Ghost Hunting” Apps actually work in the field and are a reliable scientific source for detecting actual paranormal activity is ABSOLUTELY NO.  However, I do have to give these Apps points for being a fantastic source of entertainment.     In performing my experiment, I was both entertained and amused by these gadgets.

As a paranormal investigator, I think I will stick with my old reliable equipment for now when performing investigations or field work. But, who knows, you may find me using an app of some kind sometime in the future once this technology has been perfected and becomes a reliable tool.

For now, I will let you be the judge.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

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So, You Want To Be A Ghost Hunter?

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Thanks to TV Shows on “Ghost Hunting” along with media coverage, it has created a heightened interest in ghost hunting which is fantastic.  For those who have either watched one or several of these types of shows or did a little research, I encourage you to do more if you are truly interested in this hobby rather than being morbidly curious.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  I said “hobby” and not profession.  Even the most seasoned and experienced Ghost Hunters have an outside job or are retired from an outside job while pursuing their ghost hunting interests.  It’s a rather rare occurrence for someone to make a profession out of it but, stranger things have happened.  For the serious amongst you, I highly recommend starting small to get your feet wet and see how you like it and go from there.  This way, if, you find out it’s not your “cup of tea”, you would not have much time or money invested in the hobby.

My first recommendation is to go on a ghost hunting tour.  The cost averages about the same as dinner for two and is quite fun.  You will usually be in a group setting with a tour guide leading the tour.   For people in the Houston, TX area, I highly recommend Haunted Houston Tours.  They have experienced tour guides and ghost hunters to answer questions and offer assistance for those new to this hobby.  You also have the opportunity to get hands on experience by renting equipment to be used on your ghost hunt.  You can find them at http:///www.hauntedhoustontours.com.  For those residing outside of the Houston area, you will have to check your locale for a ghost hunting tour.

Now what?  You attended your first ghost hunting tour and you absolutely loved it and want more.  I would start by trying to find a local paranormal or ghost hunting meet up group or an active paranormal investigative group.  This is not as easy as it sounds but, for the serious novice ghost hunter, persistence always pays off.  The benefits in knowledge and experience far outweighs the amount of time and research you put in trying to find one of these types of groups.

Once you have gained some experience and knowledge, don’t stop.  This is one of those types of hobbies where learning never ceases.  No matter how long you’ve been doing it, you will always learn something new or be faced with a situation that you have never experienced before.  Independent research is the proverbial “key” to this hobby.

One of the great pitfalls most newbies fall into is ghost hunting equipment.  The myth is that you need every single piece of equipment available to be a successful ghost hunter.  This false belief has poisoned the well for most causing them to abandon their new interest altogether.  Equipment is very expensive even if you are independently wealthy and is not necessary.  Personally, I only have a few pieces of equipment at my disposal (a digital camera, digital recorder, Ghost Box or Frank’s Boxdivining rods, and a pendulum) and I’ve been doing this for 32 years.  All of these pieces of equipment fit easily into my pockets or Day Travel Pack.  My absolute favorite pieces of equipment are my pendulum and divining rods.   You can read my article “Ghost Hunting On A Budget” for more information.  All in all, to be good at what you do, doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Now that you feel comfortable enough to branch out on your own, “Where do you go?”.  Fall back on your skills of research to find haunted locations locally.  Our Haunted Houston Tours’ office receives several calls a month asking for the location of haunted hot spots in the area.  This route almost always never pans out for the following reasons.  Reason No. 1:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts automatically draw the conclusion that you are not very serious and are very lazy when it comes to independent research.  Reason No. 2:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts are not about to reveal any information pertaining to their ongoing research or locations of interest.  Reason No. 3:  Serious ghost hunters and paranormal experts are unwilling to accept liability in the event you get injured or violate any local or state laws accessing a haunted location.  I know I’m being brutally honest here but, that’s just the way it is period.

In the end, I encourage people of all ages to pursue their interests wholeheartedly no matter what it is, as long as it’s legal and enjoyable.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

 

What Are People Thinking?

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Recently it has come to my attention of a Ghost Tour being offered in the U.S. that is counter intuitive and a potential danger to guests    taking that tour.  I’m not going to mention the name of the tour nor the city/state in which it is being offered for potential liability reasons.  The tour that I’m writing about is conducted by a Priest and is held at a location in which malevolent spirits are present.  Those attending his tour are then invited to allow themselves to be possessed by these malevolent/demonic spirits while on his tour.  He touts his tour as “extreme ghost hunting” and for those thrill seekers on his tour seeking that adrenaline rush of demonic spirit possession skating on the brink of no return, he says that this is what will put his tours over the top in the paranormal circles.

Now, I don’t know if it is just me or if anyone else thinks that this concept is insane.  In my 28 years experience as a Paranormal Researcher and Investigator I would not even consider placing anyone in this type of situation unless it is my own personal team consisting of well seasoned Paranormal Investigators.  Even then,  each team member would have the option of accepting or declining such an assignment.  I have learned as a professional that there are things that can mentally and physically injure you not to mention kill you.  Every investigation is different and brings a certain amount of risk with it.  This so-called Priest is not talking about seasoned Paranormal Investigators but, “Joe Average Citizen” who may or may not have had any personal experience with the paranormal other than just watching a couple of television shows.  Either way, in my professional opinion, he is placing innocent people in an unnecessary dangerous situation just for a thrill while assuring them it’s all in fun and is completely safe. As a Professional Paranormal Investigator and Researcher, I find this appalling.

I realize that everyone may or may not share in my opposition to this type of Ghost Tour which is fine by me.  All I have to say is be aware who you are dealing with, ask questions, and find out just what risks you may be taking before you choose to attend a Ghost Tour.

© J.F. Dietz 2013

 

 

When The Ghosts Keep Calling

ghost callingIt has come to my attention that many of you aren’t quite sure how to deal with ghosts who won’t leave you alone.  If, you are sensitive, this can become quite bothersome.  So, I have come up with a few suggestions on how you can deal with these ghosts so, you can get much needed rest.

You need to realize that people who are sensitive or can sense ghosts, whether by sight or by unending conversations in your head, you are like a neon sign to those in the spirit realm.  So, “like a moth to a flame”, these spirits will seek you out and target you.  Now that you are aware of what’s going on, how do you avoid this dilemma?

First, spirits like children, need boundaries or they will run amok and cause chaos.  This is up to you.  Be firm!  Designate an area, whether it is your personal space or a room in your home that is off-limits to spirit activity.  This takes some practice but, once you master this technique, you will have a sanctuary where you can get some peace and quiet.  Although, this is great, it works only if you co-exist with spirits in your home.

If, you enjoy Ghost Hunting or Paranormal Investigation, you will have to take a slightly different approach.  The first thing you need to know before engaging in this type of activity, you need to be “on top of your game” both mentally and physically.  If your not, not only do you place yourself in danger but, you place you’re hunting partner in danger as well.  If you still feel that you are being targeted by an overly aggressive spirit you will need to set boundaries.  Again, be firm!  Let the spirit know that that type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  Never back down and never show fear because this will only fuel the situation.  The same thing goes if an unwelcome spiritual entity tries to follow you home from a location.

Another technique that works well is called “shielding”.  Essentially, you imagine yourself inside a protective bubble, impregnable fortress, armor, or anything else you can imagine to protect yourself from anything a spirit may throw at you.

Finally, you may want to bring with you an object, which can be easily concealed, as a security blanket, protection, or something that gives you courage.  I know that this may sound silly to some but, it works if you have faith that it will work; if that makes sense.  As a professional Paranormal Investigator, I, personally, 1) prepare myself mentally, 2) shield, and 3) take my Rosary with me as a security blanket.  It works for me and hasn’t failed me yet.

© J.F. Dietz 2012

Paranormal Investigations and Ghost Tours “Oh My”…

Kasey on Tour 

Q.  What is the significance of conducting paranormal investigations and ghost tours at night?

The short answer to this question is “nothing at all except for dramatic effect”.  We are constantly surrounded by “spirits” or “ghosts” whether it is during the day or at night.  It’s just a “myth” that it has to be dark in order to take a ghost tour or conduct a paranormal investigation at a haunted location.  This so-called “myth” stems from Hollywood.  What the Producers and Directors of the popular ghost hunting television shows don’t tell viewers is their reasoning behind their choice of “setting”.  This is for the sole purpose of “dramatic effect”.  It’s common knowledge that people as a general rule fear the dark because it has an “unknown element”.  Unlike other animals, humans don’t have night vision.  We either can’t see or can’t see as well once nightfall sets in.  So, naturally, we fear the things lurking in the darkness.  Hollywood Producers and Directors know this as well and exploit this element of the unknown to their advantage to increase ratings.  Is this right, to play of people’s fears?  I would have to say “No” but, we, as viewers of these types of television shows get caught up in their net.

In a later article, I will go into more detail about why these television shows are so successful as well as, how they differ from the real world of ghosts and ghost hunting.  So, stay tuned in to see what’s coming.    

 © J.F. Dietz 2012