Be safe and Respectfull to everyone and especially the property owners as well! Happy Haunting and enjoy you investigations. 

Before you begin know the following Rules

1) Check out the area in daylight so you are familiar with the area.   Look for dangerous places and obstacles that you will not be able to see in the dark. 
Look for no trespassing signs.  Make sure you are not trespassing.  If you are on private property you are risking getting a ticket or arrested in some areas.  You can get permission from many owners and or caretakers.   We will often notify the local Police that we will be in a grave yard "taking pictures" so they are aware of our presence.  If you are asked to leave do so immediately, you will not win this argument and you make other investigators look bad if you make a scene. 
Make sure you bring you ID. (drivers license, etc.) so if you are questioned by the police you can prove who you are.

4) Never go alone.  This is just common sense.  If you get hurt, who will get help?

5) The best times are from 9pm to 6am, these are the psychic hours, but anytime can produce results.  Photos have historically been better in the dark but don't let that discourage you from taking them during the day.  
6) Find out all you can about the history of the locale.  Newspapers, town historians, WWW and books can be helpful finding folklore or hard facts about the site.  The books and web pages dealing with this type of info is enormous.

 Equipment you will need

* 35mm Camera - Nothing fancy with at least  400 speed film.  800 speed film is also good at night but you'll have to test your cameras flash strength to see which speed works best for you.    Even those single use 35mm cameras have gotten good results.  If you are more experienced photographer you may want to try infrared film.  I have seen results from Polaroids but I suggest you only use these along with a 35 mm camera so you can compare the results.  I have used Fuji film primarily but I have also used Kodak and a department store brands with similar results.  When you develop them you don't need to go to a camera shop, the local drug store or department store is fine.  Let them know you want all the pictures developed so that you get the pictures that they might think are bad ones.  These "bad ones" are normally your best misty photos.

* Digital Camera - Regardless of what you've heard digital cameras are great tools for ghost researchers.  Once upon a time they had their limitations and problems but that is no longer the case.  Not only do they allow you to see instantly if you have a positive photo,
it can also take photo's in limited infared light. 

Flashlight w/ spare batteries - a common sense item.  Remember to bring spare batteries for everything.  Due to spirit activity, batteries often run down very fast and you don't want to miss anything because of dead batteries.   I recommend using a red lens flash light to help preserve your night vision. 

First aid kit - just in case, it's very easy to trip in the dark and get cut. 

Notebook w/ pens and pencils - you need to write and log in everything  that happens.  If you don't then you really don't have much research information.   An example of this is one investigator gets a EMF reading that's high and never writes it down.  Another investigator takes a picture of the same area but is not aware of the reading and gets a anomalous image.  Without that EMF reading the picture may be good evidence, but with a report noting the reading, the picture greatly increases in evidence value.  Many investigators use a pocket tape recorder in stead and that is fine, just make sure you have spare batteries and tapes. 

* Jackets or weather appropriate clothes - if you are cold you are not at your best and your observation skill could suffer, pretty common sense. 

* Watch - so you can log in the times of events and your arrival and departure. 

Advanced and Optional 

Video camera  (optional tripod) - Video cameras are an important instrument for an investigation.  Unlike still cameras they provide us with constant visual and audio surveillance for review and observation.  The video cameras we use are equipped with infrared capability and this is the mode we use.   With video any phenomena occurring can be documented in its entirety.  This will show the length of time the phenomena occurs, what is happening, the conditions surrounding the phenomena, and possibly even the cause of the phenomena..   The Sony line of camcorders has an infrared night shot feature that enables you to video tape in complete darkness and see beyond what the human eye can see.    You can use these on tripods or walk around with them.   You should also invest in an infrared light extender which will help your camera see in the darkest places and make the quality of the video better. 

Tape recorder w/ external microphone and high grade tapes -  recorders or digital voice recorders are with out a doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment that you should have in you investigators toolbox.  audio recorders are used for many different purposes throughout an investigation.  Recorders are used for interviews, spontaneous thoughts,  your notes and EVP's.  You have to use a external microphone when recording EVPs (ghosts voices).  If you rely on the internal microphone you will also be recording the internal gears and motors and this will make your tape worthless.  Any sound you hear on the tape could not be used as evidence because of this, so use the external mic, they are pretty inexpensive.  The type of tape that is most often recommended is high bias tapes or metal tapes. 

Digital audio recorders - This recorder is small and easy to carry.  You can also use the voice activation feature so there is less audio to review.    I use this for my notes as well.  Most units record the time of the recording as well which is very useful.  When using audio recorders be sure to state the location, time of investigation, and investigators names.  When recording investigators names it would be wise to have each individual present state their own names, which will make it easier for distinction amongst voices heard on the tape during review.  Voice activation mode should be deactivated on tape recorders during use when electronic voice phenomena is trying to be achieved due to the fact that it usually cuts off beginnings of words, sentences, and phrases.   This is not necessary with digital recorders and they actual seem to work better in voice activation mode.   

* EMF Detector -  The Electromagnetic Field Detector, also known as an EMF, is the modern day ghost researcher's tracking device, a very important piece of equipment.  With this instrument it is possible to locate and track energy sources.   It will detect fluctuations in electromagnetic fields and low strength moving EMF fields that have no source.  It is a common theory that spirits disrupt this field in such a way that you can tell one is present by higher than normal readings with this meter.  Before using the EMF as a ghost research tool on an investigation be sure to walk around the area and take initial readings around energy sources such as light poles or electrical outlets to be sure of the readings you receive while scanning the area during the investigation.  Most units when purchased come with a manual describing most household and major appliances and their corresponding electromagnetic reading.   When using the EMF as a tracking device look for fluctuations of 2.0 to 7.0, this usually indicates spirit presence.  Anything higher or lower is normally has a natural source.   

Cellular phone - if you have one it can come in handy in case of an emergency. 

A Compass - it's a useful instrument to an investigator due to its compact size and low cost price.  When used on an investigation this will indicate spirit presence when the needle cannot come to a precise heading or spins/moves erratically.    This works on the same principle as a EMF meter. 

Candles & matches - batteries often run low during hunts so you may run out of them and still need a light source.  Another good idea is a camping lantern that runs on lamp oil.   Be careful using the candles around motion detectors, they will set them off. 

* Motion Detectors - these can be used to sense movements by often unseen forces or spirits.  You can get battery operated ones for about 20 dollars and they are great for inside but I have seen them used successfully outdoors as well, just watch the placement.  You don't want a tree branch setting it off. 

Thermometer or Thermal Scanner - Thermometers are an instrument that is also very useful   There are two types used regular digital thermometers and infrared non contact thermometers.  When used on an investigation this will aid as a detection system for spirit presence.  Rapid temperature drop of 10 degrees of more could indicate spirit presence.   I recommend using the infrared non contact thermometers but cause they react in less than a second to a temperature drop and you can scan a large area quickly. 

Hand Held Radios  -   Or Walkie Talkies are very useful in a large outdoor area and a building with groups spread out in various rooms.  They could be great in emergency situations or just to rotate groups.  Be sure to be aware they could interfere with your EVP recording though. 



Here's a condensed version the most popular procedures for conducting outdoor ghost hunts: 

1. Have everyone meet near the location and decide who will work each piece of equipment and divide into teams if necessary.  Pick a person or leader that will talk to anyone who comes in contact with the group (i.e. Police, Reporters, etc.)  

2. Enter the site and either privately or as a group ask for blessing or protection for the duration of the hunt.  You can use this time to put yourself in a positive frame of mind.  It does not have to be a religious thing so everyone can do this in some way.  I do encourage everyone to take the 10 seconds this takes and do this.  What can it hurt?  It's better to be safe than sorry.  Many experienced groups believe that there are evil spirits in many areas such as cemeteries and by saying a 10 second prayer or making sure you are in a positive frame of mind you can safely go about your business without worrying about them.  An experienced demonologist will tell you that by doing this in the name of God or whatever good deity you worship, you will keep any non human spirits at bay since they have to leave you alone when told so in this manner.   I use the prayer for protection found at the bottom of this page.

3.  Walk around the area to get a feel for the surroundings and allow the spirits to get a feel for you.   Do this for about 20 minutes.  Log in your start time and weather conditions
 and any other relevant information.   You can also begin to set up any stationary equipment like camera on tripods or motion detectors.  Make note of any areas that may cause you to get false readings or false positive pictures. 

4.  Now go out there and get some pictures and recordings.  Be sure to note anything unusual that happens especially meter and temperature readings, visual sightings and strange sounds.  Also make notes of any feelings or emotions you feel that may be odd or out of place.  You can compare notes after the hunt and look for similarities in readings and feeling in certain areas or at certain times. 

5.  Whether you stake out a spot or you walk around try to give everyone the opportunity to try everything and be everywhere.  This keeps every one fresh and at attention.  Rotate a few times during the investigation. 

6.  When you are done have everyone meet in one spot and ask the human spirits here not to follow you home and to remain here.  Tell the others they must remain here in the name of God (or other good deities).  Again this takes 4 seconds, it's simple and it can save you some problems down the road.  If we are wrong about these prayers at the beginning and end of the hunt and they are not necessary then you wasted 14 seconds of your time.  If we are right about them, you saved yourself from allot of problems and grief.