Every day it seems a new piece of equipment is released which is supposedly supposed to make a paranormal investigator’s life so much easier. 3 in 1, 4 in 1, 5 in 1 devices which are pretty much the same as what is already out there, but tweaked in some sort of way. Like fish to water, a lot of paranormal investigators flock to buy these new toys. I am no different, I do love a new toy to play with. At Black Rock House, my brother and I also like to make a point to get most pieces of equipment that is out there on the market and particularly on tv, so that when people come on our investigations, they can play with all the latest equipment and form their own opinion if they are rubbish or not. It could save them a few hundred dollars when they realise that not all of it lives up to the hype. We even jumped on the Ghostark bandwagon last year. Ours never arrived. Looking at the dodgy ones that other people received, we didn’t miss anything but lost a few hundred dollars instead.
As you will know from reading my posts, I never claim to be any sort of expert. A lot of you even have a lot more experience than I do. One thing I have learnt however over the last few years of me doing this seriously, is that you don’t need all of that fancy expensive stuff to conduct an investigation. It takes me back to year 11 business management class. When we weren’t wagging class (because we all hated this class) we had to listen to the teacher and his acronyms. He loved a good acronym. His favourite one was the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. Whilst I am not keen to admit that this is the one learning of the class I have actually applied in real life, this absolutely applies to paranormal investigation land.
When I first started out, I used to goto the same location every week with nothing more than a cheap $30 digital recorder and a converted IR camera that all up cost around $150, because that is all I could afford. I used to then take my recorder and SD card home and review my photos and my evps. I found it quite a lot of fun trying to debunk the photos and when I returned to a location I would try to recreate things. I’d sit and listen to hours of audio. In the process I learnt quite a lot about EVP and also photos (remember this is before I did my photography course). I felt this was a process that actually taught me in a way how to be a paranormal investigator. It made me think, it made me learn, it made recreate and it made me debunk. When I compare it to now with what we have at Black Rock House, we have every piece of equipment you can think of. From REM Pods to Mel Meters, a DVR system, ovulis, EMF meters, shadow detectors, vibration detectors and portable kinects …. the list goes on. It is nice to have this luxury, but it took years and thousands of dollars of our own money to build this kit. (I am not exaggerating. Some items alone can set you back several hundred dollars). I have also quickly learnt what is an asset and what was a waste of money.
There is so much equipment out there these days, but my advice for anyone that wants to investigate is don’t spend hundreds of dollars on equipment that you don’t need. Starting with an digital recorder is enough. If you can’t afford to buy a cheap evp recorder, you can even record on your smart phone. If you don’t have other equipment, you don’t have to worry about the phone signal interfering with it. It is enough to get you started. Another thing to keep in mind is that the evidence you collect is really just for you. It isn’t going to prove to the world there is an afterlife and if you put any of your evidence up on social media, be prepared for a lot of negative critique because if someone isn’t there, they find it difficult to believe (yes I am one of those people). Save your money and keep it simple. Let the bigger groups or tour companies that host investigations provide you with equipment if you go on an investigation with them. Yes if you are paying a paranormal group or tour company to attend an investigation, they should be providing equipment. Use their equipment and get a feel for what you like and don’t like. What do you think works and what do you think is a glorified flashy toy? Then you can start to build your collection based on what you like. Not everyone likes the same pieces of equipment and that is fine. If you are spending the money, get what you like – just make an educated decision first so you are not ripped off.
Even though we have this full kit of stuff, a lot of the time, we don’t use it all, because we don’t need to. We each have our goto pieces of equipment and we don’t necessarily always agree on the validity of a piece of equipment either. It comes down to personal preference. When you finally find your most loved goto piece of equipment, please just really learn how it works. Learn it inside out. Use it, use it and then use it some more. Use it in different settings and different times. Compare your results. Learn how it really works. That way you can properly interpret the data and it will help you to really understand if it was really worth all of those hundreds of dollars.
Paranormal investigating is a really expensive hobby. There is no way around it. Just be smart with your purchases. When in doubt remember, you can keep it simple and still be a paranormal investigator!
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