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Need advice for first paranormal investigation...
In September, I am joining a group on a paranormal investigation, in an abandoned castle in the UK (already organised, with permission etc).

I've never done anything like this before, and wondered what essentials I might need to purchase/bring with me?

I don't mind spending money - within limits - but only on items that are really needed.

What about EMF meters - will that be useful? Should I bother bringing something to record EVPs? Or should I just bring myself and a camera?

Any advice would be welcome.
If you are going with a group, find out what equipment they will be bringing. My first investigation was with my team, and they had all the equipment..I brought myself and a notepad!

If you have a camera of course, bring it..and check this thread here for tips:

You can pick up a decent digital recorder for not too much money. Sony is probably the most affordable while still having clarity. Again, educate yourself on what different things can sound like on audio, because whispers, stomach growls, even pant legs can sound a lot more sinister if you don't know where it came from. So be observant as to what natural sounds are being made and make note of them.

Anything you have that needs batteries..take some extras. No, I don't think ghosts drain batteries..but that type of equipment, especially if it is on for an extended length of time will run out of battery power because a lot of it wasn't designed to be on for that long.

With EMF meters..again, check your group that you are going with to see what they are bringing. KII's will make everything and it's brother go off, so beware of those if anyone brings one. Something like a KII always needs a back up meter if it is going to be used because it is famous for false positives. Trifield Meter is probably the best one going now that teams are wanting to use because of its reliability...but it's not cheap. And again, educate yourself on all sources that can cause EMF spikes if anyone is going to be using an EMF meter.

Most importantly Fiona...common sense and a logical mind will be your best tool going in. Please keep us posted and let us know how it goes! There are a LOT of good threads here for information on investigating, so be sure and check them out as well for tips.

Good luck!! =)
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick

Thanks for that response, SG. I appreciate that.

I will email the group and check what they will be bringing. I don't want to spend money on something I can use for free. Having said that, if I enjoy this and it's something I do again, I will probably invest in buying items of my own eventually.

Can you recommend an affordable EMF - are they all the same, despite the price?

I could borrow a camcorder from my dad, but will it be able to record during the darker hours?

Thanks for your help, again. At the end of September, I'll let you know how it goes, and will perhaps add some pictures - even if there are no ghosts, the castle view will probably be lovely.
Heck, in a pinch, you can use a compass for a type of EMF meter..that's about as cheap as it gets! =) Here's a tutorial on how to use one from a guy who (I feel anyway) has done a good job of showing people how to use equipment.

Trifield would be the one I would recommend, and it is under $200...but for a one time investigation, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have other uses for it. As far as cheaper ones, I don't want to steer you wrong, so I'll let UNR or someone who has more tech savvy answer that one for you.
Oh on filming in the darker would have to look at your dad's videocamera to see if it has night vision on it. IR illuminators are helpful because they because they use light emitting diodes to conduct the light. They can range, from what I am seeing, anywhere from 40 to 90 U.S dollars (I think we're still $1.68 to your pound, but not sure)
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick

Thanks so much, SG. You're a star Smile

Thinking back on your first investigation, how did you find it?
Well, I didn't see anything that scared the bejeesus out of me or anything like that..honestly, what made it so rewarding was seeing my team in action. Melissa is a top notch leader and knows how to quickly delegate jobs to get things set up and taken down in a timely manner. All the members I was able to work with (we would go two at a time to different areas for time increments of around 20-30 minutes) were awesome and immediately looking to debunk anything seen or heard.

The home I was in was a very old mansion which had been finished in the late 1870's. The other thing I noticed was the incredible respect all members of my team showed, not only to our wonderful hosts but to the work and the craftsmanship it took to build homes back in those days.

We had a great time, but we were serious while investigating and it was the best first investigation I could have hoped for....and I really learned a lot. *including never start winding the DVR cable wire at the outlet..always start from the DVR itself. Otherwise you have a mess that takes three people to untangle. And yes I was the one who did it wrong! =)
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick

SG pretty much nailed everything here - but I do have one piece of advice when taking pictures: don't take just one. Some digital cameras have a 'burst' mode to take 3 or 5 or 10 pictures with a single click, but if yours doesn't - just take 3 or so as quickly as you can. Having multiple shots taken of the same place in a short time can help you weed out some of the more common false positives.
Have fun and good luck!
Excellent point Aesalon! Thank you for bringing it up!
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick

Excellent advice SG and Aesalon gave you. The most important thing is contact the team and see if they allow you to use your own equipment. Some teams want to keep all evidence so they would want yours off your equipment and send you a copy. Just dress quiet, soft clothes that don't make noise when your pant legs rub together, a soft sole shoe so your not clunking as you walk. No perfume

One thing I will add to the camera is to (if possible) take shots before the lights go off so you have something to compare the night shots. If your camera has night scene do not use it. This creates long exposures meant to be used on a tripod. Also when you take a picture say flash before each shot so as not to blind anyone. Also if you make a noise, bump into something, stomach growls announce it so its not later thought tobe paranormal.

Oops one more thing.... a good flash light or torch I think you call them, and a small back up.

Just enjoy it and have fun.
Belief bias occurs when we make illogical conclusions in order to confirm our preexisting beliefs. Belief perseverance refers to our tendency to maintain a belief even after the evidence we used to form the belief is contradicted.
NO COURDEROY PANTS!! (not only do I not care for them...they announce themselves with every step).

Please do enjoy yourself Fiona, and if I think of anything else, I'll add it later. I will say that the investigation itself for me anyway, was not boring in the slightest. Nothing spectacular happened, but in between times when we could talk a bit more freely..there were some seriously hilarious moments. I'm proud to be part of a field that (while it does have some fruit loops) also includes really smart, funny, and friendly people.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” ~Philip K. Dick


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