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Ghost hunting is a fringe pseudoscience wherein its few adherents visit and investigate locations that are reported to be haunted by ghosts. Typically, a ghost hunting team will attempt to collect "evidence" that they see as supportive of paranormal activity. Ghost hunters often use a variety of electronic devices: the EMF meter; digital thermometer; handheld and static digital video cameras, such as thermographic (or infrared) and night vision; digital audio recorder; and computer.
Traditional techniques such as conducting interviews and researching the history of a site are also employed. Some ghost hunters refer to themselves as a paranormal investigator. Ghost hunting has been heavily criticized for its total absence of scientific method; no scientific body has been able to confirm the existence of ghosts. Ghost hunting is considered a pseudoscience by a vast majority of educators, academics, science writers, and sceptics. In contrast, the concept of the ghost and narratives featuring ghosts are a topic of academic study in folkloristics.
Paranormal research dates back to the 19th century, with organisations such as the Society for Psychical Research investigating spiritual matters. Psychic researcher Harry Price published his Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter in 1936.
Ghost hunting was popularised in the 2000s by television series such as Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters, combined with the increasing availability of high-tech equipment. The Atlantic Paranormal Society reported a doubling in their membership in the late 2000s, attributing this to the television programs. Despite its lack of acceptance in academic circles, the popularity of ghost-hunting reality TV shows has influenced a number of individuals to take up the pursuit.
Still photography and video: using digital, night vision, infrared, and even disposable cameras.
- EMF meter: to detect possibly unexplained fluctuations in electromagnetic fields.
Tablet PC: to record data, audio, video and even environmental fluctuations such as electromagnetic fields.
Ambient temperature measurement: using thermographic cameras, thermal imaging cameras, infrared thermometers, and other infrared temperature sensors. It should be noted that all of these methods only measure surface temperature and not ambient temperature.
- Digital and analog audio recording: to capture any unexplained noises and electronic voice phenomena (EVPs), that may be interpreted as disembodied voices.
Compass: some ghost hunters use a compass to determine the location of paranormal spots, similar to EMFs.
Geiger counter: to measure fluctuations in radiation.
Infrared and/or ultrasonic motion sensors: to detect possible anomalous movement within a given area, or to assist in creating a controlled environment where any human movement is detected.
- Air quality monitoring equipment: to assess the levels of gases such as carbon monoxide, which are thought to contribute to reports of paranormal activity.
Infrasound monitoring equipment: to assess the level of sound vibrations.
Dowsing rods: usually constructed of brass and bent into an L-shape.
Psychics, mediums, or clairvoyants: trance mediums or "sensitive" individuals thought to have the ability to identify and make contact with spiritual entities.
Demonologists, exorcists, and clergy: individuals who may say prayers, give blessings, or perform rituals for the purpose of cleansing a location of alleged ghosts, demons, poltergeists, or "negative energy".
- Lights out: according to ghost hunting enthusiast websites, many ghost hunters prefer to conduct their investigations during "peak" evening hours (midnight to 4 a.m.).
- Ghost Box: an electronic device that some ghost hunters claim allows communication with spirits.
Interviews: collecting testimony and accounts about alleged hauntings.
Historical research: researching the history behind the site being investigated.
- A Ouija board to communicate with spirits.
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