Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

The History of Ghost Hunting Equipment and How to Use Them

The History of Ghost Hunting Equipment and how to Use Them
By E. Beckstrom 9/8/2021

a group of people posing for a photo

Houston Ghost Tour Ghost Hunt of Old Town Spring 2021

Believe it or not, the act of ghost hunting or finding ghosts isn’t a new thing. It’s a practice rooted in our past, the earliest hunts recorded in the 19th century by the SPR or the Society for Physical Research. Formally created in 1882 they claim to be “the first society to conduct organized scholarly research into human experiences that challenge contemporary scientific models.”1 In fact you could call the 19th century the true spiritual revolution, due to the many technological leaps. Such as, the telegraph and radio. In our day and age most of our technology has advanced far far away from our original inventions back in the day, including what we’d use to hunt down ghosts. But we still love to look into our history. If you come on one of our ghost hunts, here are some of the tools you’ll be using and the history behind them. 

a clock that is on the phone

Photo from Amazon

Spirit Box

What’s a spirit box? A spirit, Ghost, or “Franks” box is a device that quickly jumps through AM radio channels, creating a white noise effect. That effect allows spirits or ghosts to communicate by altering energy to create words and phrases. It’s said that clear phrases and responses can be heard while sometimes even intelligent responses can be made out. The spirit box was created in 2002 by Frank Sumption thus the name “franks box.” Frank made a total of 180 boxes and distributed them to whoever he saw fit to “Hear the voice.” Today there are only 97 originals in existence. So how do you use a spirit box? It’s as easy as turning it on and allowing it to skip through the radio stations, you can play around with it and get used to how it sounds and feels. After a while you may hear little sounds and different words but don’t be discouraged if you can’t make out sentences or responses, seasoned ghost hunters will tell you it took lots and lots of tries before they were able to effectively communicate.

Houston Ghost Tour Ghost Hunt of Old Town Spring 2019

Dowsing Rods

What are dowsing rods? Dowsing rods are rods or sticks traditionally shaped in an L used to find anything from water, jewels, dead bodies, and in our case communicate with and find ghosts. The word Dowsing means  “a technique for searching for underground water, minerals, or anything invisible, by observing the motion of a pointer (traditionally a forked stick, now often paired bent wires) or the changes in direction of a pendulum, supposedly in response to unseen influences.” Your rods will react to the energy in the environment and the energy you’re giving off, allowing them to reflect and guide you to something or answer questions. So how do you use a dowsing rod? Hold one in each hand and take a deep breath, the best way to start is by asking permission (“May I start dowsing?”) and then asking questions you know the answer to. Get accustomed to how the rods feel and how they move/respond to questions. Then go find some ghosts! If you’re looking for a great quality set of dowsing rods, check out this awesome set from Paranormic.  It even comes with a beautiful pendulum set!

a hand holding a cellphone

EMF detector photo from

EMF Radars

What are EMF Radars? EMF Radars are most often used to find faults in electrical wiring and power lines. An EMF radar will find moving electrical charges and the magnetic field created by said charges. The cool thing is it can differentiate moving between stationary so it’ll avoid picking up things like the earth’s magnetic field. So how do you use an EMF Radar? Walk around and wait for the machine to read spikes in energy. Once you’ve been using the box for a while it may even respond to questions! But careful for false readings, the machine could pick up things like your cell phone so it’s wise to get accustomed to the box to make sure you’re using it to its maximum potential before asking questions. 

The best way to use these special machines and devices is just to get used to them and use repetition! Any lover of ghost hunting will tell you they weren’t perfectly communicating with ghosts their first second or even fifth time. That’s what our fabulous experienced guides are there for! Now that you know about some of the devices we use and the history behind them, why not come and try them out! Come book with one of our lovely paranormal investigators and find some ghosts for yourself.


Purchase paranormal equipment and learn even more about it at

a person posing for the camera
Article by Eva Beckstrom
September 8th, 2021

Eva is a Crew Member at Houston Ghost Tour, and enjoys researching and writing about the paranormal, ghosts, and history.