Ghost Apps: Just How Useful Are They?
The field of paranormal investigation has seen some amazing advances in equipment over the last few years. Not so long ago, an investigator’s tool kit might contain nothing more than an analog tape recorder, a camera, a notebook and some pens.
Now, however, watch any paranormal investigation show and you’ll see people using thermal cameras, laser light grids, and gadgets with names like Ovilus, Boo Buddy, and REM Pod. These products do amazing things but they aren’t always practical. For one thing, they can be a bit costly. The average K2 meter, a very common device in most tool kits, can run you anywhere from $50.00 – $90.00, depending on where you get it. Also, some equipment can be cumbersome. When you’re heading out to investigate a remote location, you may not always want to be schlepping weighty and delicate electronic equipment with you.
However, in the last few years there have been some great advances in phone applications that just might serve some of your ghost-hunting needs.
Recently, I was lucky enough to exchange a few emails with Tim Weisberg. Tim has been involved in paranormal research for over ten years. He’s authored several books on the subject and currently hosts a popular radio-show called Spooky Southcoast. He has served as associate producer for some of Destination America’s most popular paranormal programs and is a co-founder of Legend Trips, where he organizes events that have raised over $30,000 for the preservation of the haunted and historic locations they visit.
We discussed some of his favorite and not-so-favorite applications.
What do you think of the idea of using phone apps?
“I love the idea of utilizing apps on an investigation–we all have smartphones with us, they’re right in our pocket and we can utilize them at any time. But we also have to use them responsibly. We have to know enough to research the app, the developer and why it was created. And we MUST ONLY use them when our phones or devices are in ‘airplane mode’ to avoid any stray signals creating false positives. “
As an amateur investigator I’ve been fooling around with a couple of free apps. Right now I’m using Steve Hultay’s Live Ghost Box, and Ghost Radar Classic by Spud Pickles. I’ve had some success with the Live Ghost Box, but have found the Ghost Radar to be a bit unreliable. Any thoughts on them?
“I have, I’ve used both of them. Steve Hultay has been doing a lot of great work in the ghost box/app field for years and he and his wife are always available to answer questions about them, too. I also like when an app developer is completely open and up-front about what goes into the app itself.
Ghost Radar, on the other hand, makes me leery. First off, I’ve never had activity coincide with when it was ‘detecting’ a ghost nearby. A very knowledgeable source told me that many of these apps work off GPS…so when they see you’re using it at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, it knows to start pinging more supposed ghosts and spitting out words like ‘ax’ and ‘murder.’”
“There’s nothing in the realm of free apps that has impressed me yet. Big Beard Studios has a few good free apps, but I’ve stopped using them in favor of EchoVox, which is a pay app.”
What about pay apps? Which do you find most useful?
“The one I’d most definitely recommend is EchoVox. Danny “Big Beard” Roberge has created something really special that I have had amazing results with. It’s basically banks of random phonetic sounds that spirits reach out and turn into full words and sentences. And now he’s shaken up the ghost box game overall with the creation of the EchoVox-X app, which does the same thing only with banks of streaming internet radio serving as the inputs, so it’s like having four ghost boxes running at the same time, with on-board recording built in and customized selection of which stations to include. “
“Well, as you can tell, I love EchoVox. I’ve also been impressed with Steve’s apps as well. I’ve tried a lot of the others here and there, but the ones that are “for entertainment purposes only,” I try to avoid. A lot of people love the Ghost Hunting Tools app, but I’m not a particular fan. I have suspicions it works a lot like the ones that just use GPS to give you what you want to hear.”
Looking to try any of the apps Tim mentioned?
Steve Hultay’s original Ghost Box is now available for free download on GooglePlay. His more recent apps will cost you between .99 cents and $7.00.
You can find Danny Roberge’s apps by searching Big Beard Studios on Google Play. There are one or two free apps, and the rest will run you anywhere from $6.99 to around $30.00.
While I don’t think it’s a good idea to rely solely on phone apps if more traditional equipment is available, I do think they make a great addition to any investigation. Particularly in tight places where more delicate equipment could be damaged or difficult to place. And for investigators with limited resources, the apps Tim recommends won’t break your budget.