How to Capture Spooks on Your Smartphone: Tips From a Real-Life Ghost Hunter
Amy Bruni and Ashley Troub in Ghost Hunters
Sure, your grandparents used to make gravestone rubbings in the cemetery for a Halloween thrill, but that's so 1960s. Today, you could try making real contact with the dead — by making a Vine or Instagram video of a ghost. We asked paranormal investigator Amy Bruni from the show "Ghost Hunters" for tips on posting your own apparition on social apps.
Where's the Best Place to Find Ghosts?
Bruni says, "We seem to have the best results in old asylums. These were places of great suffering, and most every one we've visited has yielded amazing evidence — shadow figures on film, electronic voice phenomena [EVP], investigators being touched." And though most people think of ghosts coming out only at night, she says that's not the reason her team looks for them then. "We prefer to investigate at night because in the dark, all of our other senses are heightened — not to mention, since most everyone sleeps at night, it's the quietest time for us to investigate with minimal contamination from outside sources."
What Sort of Equipment Should Be Used?
No need for fancy equipment or "Ghostbusters"-type particle accelerators. Whatever you've got in your pocket will probably do. "Most every phone has the ability to record sound or voice memos. In a pinch, I've used that as a recorder on many occasions and caught EVP with it," says Bruni. "Audio evidence is so much more compelling than photographic evidence, because there are so many things that can affect a picture and create false positives."
Is That a Ghost or My Thumb?
A lot of photos of ghosts just look like smudges; Bruni says to be skeptical of anything you've caught on camera. "It's very evident when you've seen something that is paranormal. If you are questioning it at all, rule it out. Shadow figures, apparitions, light anomalies — they're not easy to mistake for anything else."
What Do I Do if I Actually Find a Ghost?
Do what you would do any day: Be friendly. "Remember, most ghosts seem to be people like us. Imagine how you would want to be talked to if a stranger approached you. Don't be scared or shy. You want them to feel comfortable with you, enough [so] that they'll talk and interact. They can sense your fear. The more comfortable you are, the more apt you are to get results."
Bruni continues, "If you think you might have a ghostly visitor, don't be afraid to start recording and ask some questions." Think of yourself like a journalist just interviewing a normal guy on the street; the guy's just a little more transparent than usual.
Being polite and inquisitive has held Amy in good stead throughout her work. "There's never been a place that was 'too scary' for me," she says. "This is what we do for a living and the more activity, the better. In our view, most likely, ghosts were people too — and we like to treat them with respect. Even if they're grumpy."
Bruni feels something (or someone) touch her during an investigation:
"Ghost Hunters" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.