The Have To Have's
Info provided by SPRIT:
More than a fashion statement, your utility belt prepares you for whatever you will encounter in mysterious settings. Nothing makes you slap your forehead and groan faster than being unprepared for a critical situation, and missing a good chance to clarify and record what you have witnessed. These are the items we won't be caught dead without:
So simple, it's easy to forget. Look for a flashlight that is shockproof as well as waterproof. We recommend Maglites for their brightness and reliability. A red filter to cover the lens is helpful in maintaining night vision. Be sure you load it with fresh batteries, and bring along spares. An extra bulb couldn't hurt, either. Reports abound of flashlights failing at critical times, and that's exactly when you'll want spare parts most. Multicell flashlights that use C or D sized batteries can serve as formidable bludgeons, if worst comes to worst.
If you do see a ghost, you'll probably wish you had a picture of it. We do not necessarily recommend an expensive camera for this purpose. Most importantly, go for simplicity. You won't want to have to fool with a complex camera if there is an enormous beast in front of you. Your brain will turn to mush and you'll do well to press the shutter release button. Remember that any external lights or illuminated controls can cause reflections and interfere with your photographs if you are obliged to shoot through glass or odd atmospheric conditions. Depending on the situation, you'll want the appropriate type of film. For nighttime photography, you'll want a fast film, 800 ASA or higher. Specialty camera shops can usually special order film up to 3200 ASA speed, and often keep 1200 ASA in stock. There's not much difference in price between them. Infrared film and the appropriate filter for its use can also be ordered, either through a camera shop or directly from Kodak. Don't forget about the flash. Although it greatly improves the potential quality of the photograph, you may be in a position in which you won't want to draw attention to yourself. If you're using infrared film, you'll probably want a filter for the flash as well.
They're very helpful for determining chronology when writing an investigative report later. Use it like a voice diary, recording the time and place and updating the situation. Some people report mysterious voices being picked up by tape recorders in haunted areas. Always use fresh tapes to ensure that any voices that show up on the tape were really recorded onsite. Any decent microcassette recorder is ideal for this application, as long as you take time to familiarize yourself with the sensitivity of the internal microphone beforehand. A shotgun or parabolic mike can be useful for picking up faint noises, or sweeping the area for sounds too quiet for the human ear to discern. Sound level meters are also gaining popularity amongst ghost hunters as they allow monitoring of sounds above or below the frequency range of the human ear.
If you're taking voice notes with a tape recorder, a watch is essential. An illuminated face is very convenient when in the dark. Digital watches are easier to read at a glance than analog watches.
Since the discovery of electromagnetic fluctuations when ghosts are present, all of the well-dressed ghost hunters are wearing them. Several commercial varieties are available on the Web, and we have plans for a homebrew ghost detector available elsewhere on our website.
Still fairly expensive, but really nice to have when someone thinks they can see something lurking in the darkness. Some investigators report spirits visible only through night vision equipment. Thermal imaging scopes are even more exotic, but would be great for investigations.
If you have one, it can replace the camera and the tape recorder (all three would be even better). Leave it on throughout the investigation, recording what everyone says and does. Attach it to a night vision scope or thermal imaging scope if you'll be in the dark, and if you're fortunate enough to have one, of course.
Hauntings are classically accompanied by one or more cold spots, either static or moving. Digital thermometers produce accurate readings more quickly than mercury thermometers. Infrared contact-free digital thermometers are available online, and are gathering quite a following among ghost hunters.
Sometimes you will find yourself following someone else's directions well past your own internal map. While that is usually no problem, on the one occasion when you find yourself hopelessly lost, there is nothing you wouldn't give for a road map. Take one with you to avoid that pain.
If you attract the notice of the police, you'll be required to produce it, and, in many areas, it is illegal to be without it in certain circumstances. Carrying your drivers license with you at all times could mean the difference between your getting a warning and getting charged with criminal trespass.
One last thing--try not to take anything you don't need, and keep everything within arm's reach whenever possible. You don't want to have to backtrack and search for dropped items, even if you are able to do so.