WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – Ghost hunting is a hobby where people will visit haunted locations, usually for a fee, to attempt to gather evidence of the supernatural. Rooted in theory, ghost hunting is probably not the most scientific or respected hobby, but it can be a lot of fun for people with a fascination with the paranormal.
Kalani Ghost Hunter, a paranormal investigator with 1.9 million followers on TikTok, does live ghost hunts several nights a week on social media. He said he understands the skepticism behind the ghost hunting hobby but that he tries to investigate as scientifically as possible—by looking for intelligent responses and investigating a place more than once.
“That’s where we get in trouble is, when something goes off, we’re like, ‘Oh, that’s paranormal activity,’ but there are a lot of different variables that go into whether it’s activity or something in the environment that is causing ghost hunting equipment] to go off,” said Kalani.
For Kalani, it’s more impressive if it seems like a piece of equipment is responding to questions or obeying commands. For example, if you ask a ghost to touch equipment and the equipment responds. Or, if you get clear answers to questions rather than a bunch of nonsense. A repetition of intelligent responses, across several nights is what Kalani said he’s looking for.
“Because then you can start kind of building out a log of what you’re getting here and why you are getting it here,” explained Kalani, “And it starts to give a little bit more rhyme to the reason compared to just putting equipment out and saying ‘make this go off’.”
Watch: Kalani Ghost Hunter explains what some of his equipment does
Also, Kalani said using the right equipment that is transparent and not manipulated is more important for getting genuine ghost activity than the price tag. In fact, for new ghost hunters, it could be as simple as going with your phone’s voice recorder app and a flashlight.
“People always ask me what’s the first thing to buy when you’re an investigator. You don’t really need any of this to go into these places and experience paranormal activity,” said Kalani, looking at his equipment laid out on a table, “This just gives you a visual cue that something could be around, but at the end of the day, your body, to me, is probably your best tool.”
“Everyone has had that hair standing up on the back of your neck feeling, and I feel like our bodies are a lot more attuned to the environment around us than we think,” Kalani went on, “And a lot of responses that we have to electromagnetic fields is that hair on the back of your neck, that feeling of heaviness, that uncomfortableness.”
A final word of caution from Kalani is to avoid ghost hunting phone apps because it’s hard to trust that the app is genuinely picking up activity or if it’s saying it is simply to make money.
“There’s so much manipulation that can go into those, and you’re better off just walking around with the audio recorder built into your phone because that’s not going to give you random words or draw figures or spit out nonsense,” said Kalani.