Montana Ghost Hunter

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Game Cameras | Trail Cameras – What to get?

by on Sep.09, 2011, under Equipment

Game Camera used in paranormal investigationIt was a while back when I watched Ghost Adventures, and I saw Zack with a Moultrie I-40 Game Spy camera. I picked one of those up and used them on various investigations. It’s a great game trail camera. I get a few emails asking about what is a good game camera to get for paranormal investigations. I think when you’re ready to purchase a trail camera you need to ask yourself a few questions.

– What are my features? (video, IR, water proof, storage capacity, ease of use, built in viewer, sound, etc).
– What is my quality requirements? (megapixel for example)
– What is my budget?

Once you have these defined, you can start shopping and looking around. For some of you that aren’t familiar with game cameras at all, then I’ll break down some of the features needed.

You should have a camera that IR (infrared). It needs to shoot in the dark as well as in the daylight. Video is nice to have as well, but not necessarily required. Video will use more of you SD card, etc so you need to plan ahead with that. Some cameras actually shoot HD video and record sound. This will definitely use more memory and you’ll need to consider that for long investigations. I purchased the Moultrie Game Camera because it records time and temperature as well as lunar cycle. I like the temperature, especially during investigations people will discuss how cold the room has gotten. With the game camera in the same room, you can verify temperature drops.

I would also look at the megapixel of the images. You want good quality images when reviewing evidence. The higher the better, but also understand the higher the megapixel or MP, the higher the cost of the unit.

Now-a-days cameras are getting smaller and smaller, which is great. If you’re team is wanting to cover a large area or multiple rooms, a trail camera is a great asset to have in the investigators toolbox. You should expect to pay between $100 – $200 for a quality camera. Obviously you can pay much more and get deals below $100, so like I mentioned above, first get your requirements in budget in place. That will help with your decision.

If you’re looking to purchase a game camera, check out GameCamerasOnSale.com which is a great place for locating deals as well as seeing images and video in the blog. It’s a great way to see what type of footage a camera is capable of. Note – most of these will be images of wildlife, but you should be able to get an idea of what the camera can and can’t do.

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Let’s talk about EMF Detectors!

by on Feb.07, 2011, under Equipment

I’ve been getting a few emails about EMF detectors.. mainly what to buy, etc. I thought I’d talk about this today. I personally own two EMF detectors – KII Meter and the 7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter. I’ll talk a little about what I own, and the other detector that my Montana Ghost Hunting group member has.

K-II EMF Meter - K2 MeterKII Meter

Let’s first talk about the KII Meter. I purchased the KII for two purposes. The first purpose is to isolate and locate consistent (or non-consistent) spikes in the EMF field. I use it for base readings prior to an investigation.  The second purpose is to use the KII as a call-and-response tool for potential communication. Let’s talk about the good and bad here. The default KII has a momentary switch, meaning as soon as you let go of the switch the KII is off. You can address this by modifying the KII with a toggle switch, use a coin or another item to lock the button down. I personally think the KII is a great tool, and any investigation should have one in the equipment box. One thing to be weary about, when the unit is activated it will flicker – especially if you do not modify it. The other issue is that it is extremely sensitive to two-way radios and cell phones. The KII should be away from any communication device. It can also register ‘hits’ with vibration, so don’t shake it or bump a table if it’s laying on it. Knowing about false positives is important for good evidence.

I mentioned call-and-response. If you’ve modified your KII you can leave it on away from you and request that spirits interact or walk by the KII to possibly trigger a result. I personally have the KII out during EVP sessions, but have seen this behavior.. yet.

Technology Alternatives 7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter7021 Cell Sensor EMF Detection Meter

Actually, my son has this unit. It’s the cheapest EMF meter you can get. It does work. It’s not too sensitive but could be used for high spikes on EMF. It also has a sensor and trigger which could be used as EMF traps. On one investigation (not using my son’s but another team member) we were able to use this as a EMF trap while investigating another room. The EMF detector will have a audible tone when EMF spikes occur.

Lutron 822-A Fully Digital EMF Meter (Wide Range, High Resolution)Lutron 822 Digital EMF

This is a great EMF Meter, and again, another device that should be in the equipment box. Unlike the KII it will give an exact measurement of EMF in the area. The KII provides a ‘range’ and will indicate that range via lights (0-1.3 milligaus will be one light).  But let’s say we want to know if the mG is .25, then you’ll need a unit like this. It is accurate and is very useful for getting precise base levels of a room prior to investigation. The draw backs of this unit, no visual indication besides the LCD display of change. Meaning, no visual lights, or audible sounds for spikes.

As you can see all of these detectors have pros and cons. There really isn’t a ‘best’ but I would recommend getting them all for your team or solo investigations. Personally, you can never have too many EMF meters. It’s a good entry level tool for beginning investigators and it’s always a bummer when you don’t have one in a location when you need it (ie: the other team member has it in the other room, etc).

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Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game Camera

by on Jan.28, 2011, under Equipment, Shows

Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game CameraI got a email the other day asking about some of the infrared photos on this site.. and what cameras were used to create them. I tried to email that visitor (but the email bounced) so if you’re out there, I thought I would make a quick post, since I have been asked that a few times on the blog.

First off, a lot of the infrared camera shots were from my custom modified IR camera. If you’re interested, check out my post on how I converted a digital camera to infrared. Some of those interesting shots were actually taken in the day and not at night. That is one reason for the crazy exposure. I have used the camera at night with a infrared illuminator for light source.

Now the other shots (and the original emailer asked what camera was used on Ghost Adventurers) were taken with a Moultrie Game SPi I-40 camera. This is a great game camera which can take shots triggered by motion or manually. It has a tripod mount as well as the ability to tie on poles/trees, etc. It has incredible battery life. I’ve had mine for two years now.. and I’m still 60% charged. The Moultrie Game Camera writes to SD card, so space is dependent on the size of card you use. You can also configure the quality which can increase or lower the number of photos per session. Again, I’ve never run into a issue here. It stores a ton.

The other great feature of the Moultrie Game Camera is that it records the date/time, temperature and moon cycle.  I like to use this information when there discussions of temperature drops, etc. Then I make note of the time and cross reference the photos to see if it matches the drop. Currently I have one, but would like 2 or 3 for investigations. It is nice to set them up statically as motion traps, but also to take random shots as a hand held unit. See the photo below:

Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Flash Game Camera

When taking shots by hand it’s important to stabilize the camera, since it’s similar to ‘night shot’ on point and shoot cameras, and ayou can get photo artifacts or tracers.. not good evidence.

If you guys are looking to pick up the Moultrie Game Camera it’s available for only $150 at Amazon at the time of this posting. I ‘ve seen the crew of Ghost Adventurers use this particular camera on investigations with interesting results.

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Finished the prototype of my paranormal geophone

by on Nov.16, 2010, under Equipment

I was excited to finish my version of the paranormal geophone. The first prototype used a smaller circuit board, which in turn added more wires to connect the LEDs. Not ideal. The second prototype used a larger circuit board where the LEDs were connected directly. This worked brilliantly, and created a very clean build.

The paranormal team I’m affiliated (TSI – Tortured Souls Investigation) had an investigation over the weekend, and this would be a great test for my geophones. Both worked well, both were quite sensitive and did the job. Nothing conclusive in relation with the geophone and the investigation though (overall it was a quiet night).

The geophone that I’ve put together have some cool features. Number one, they’re built in a aluminum enclosure, so they’re built to last. Number two, I used super bright LEDs that really light up when there is seismic activity. I also have the option of battery power or powered by adapter which is handy if batteries are drained. I’ve included the sensitivity knob which uses a high quality potentiometer with a cool looking ‘chicken head’ knob. Also LED power light so you know it’s on.. when it’s on.

I’ll have some photos up soon!

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New GeoPhone Project

by on Oct.31, 2010, under Equipment

So, I’ve been kicking around the idea of putting together a new GeoPhone.. that is cool and durable. The kits out there are good, but wanted some additional functionality, and the pre-built kits (assembled kits with enclosures), look pretty bad (ie: circuit board mounted on top of the unit). My first GeoPhone kit was fun and easy to put together, but in the field, it has to be handled with delicate hands (especially during storage, etc). Storing it carefully was a worry, but also the chance of someone stepping on it or kicking it was also something on my mind.

I started on my new GeoPhone project that has some additional functional features, and will be completely enclosed in a metal enclosure. I’m pretty excited about building this. Also, I’m not assembling it from a kit. In fact, I’m building the circuit board, etc. I already prototyped the circuit on a breadboard, and just finished my circuit board (acid etched and tinned).

Below is a shot of the circuit board.

MTGhostHunter.com GeoPhone Etched PCBI’ll be creating this with super bright LEDs and enclosed in a durable metal enclosure and using high quality electronic components and wiring. Pieces are slowly coming in, and I’ll be working on assembly in the next couple of weeks. I’ll post the next build segment, but if you or anyone is interested in one of these GeoPhones, please contact me, I’m planning on building a few.

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Ghost Hunting Software – The PLAN??

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Equipment

The Paranormal Log & Analysis NotebookSo bouncing around the interwebs, I came across something that sounds pretty cool. It’s a software for ghost hunting, called the PLAN (which stands for Paranormal Log & Analysis Notebook). Is anyone using this?? If so, I’d like to hear your thoughts (good/bad) on it. Seems like a interesting piece.

The basic jist of it is.. you use this to centrally store your evidence as well as your team info (ie: Member info, etc). Here is a listing of the key features:

Investigator’s Profile and  Statistics
Equipment Inventory/List
Email Members
Types of Activity
Import EVPs Recordings
Import Photos
Import “Your Own” Custom Logo
Cover  Letter Design
Customizable Look and Feel Settings
Password Protect

This seems pretty great. Just curious about exporting data, etc. Seems like it would be great to easily integrate it with a website, etc. But for only $24.95, it almost seems like a no brainer to try out the PLAN.

You can read more about it at their website here.

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Live Radio Ghost Hunts

by on Oct.13, 2010, under Investigations

Last year, I was lucky to be a part of TSI and their live radio ghost hunts. We did three ghost hunts in coordination with a local radio station here in Missoula. It was a blast, and I was looking forward to our hunts for 2010. But unfortunately, I heard that this will not be happening this year. Frankly, I was pretty surprised since last year’s was such a success.

So far, there are no future hunts scheduled, and there are no nerd-projects on the bench related to paranormal investigating.  I have a feeling things… need to change. Sometimes self-motivation leads to production. Anyone have any project ideas I should look into??

It’s cool that the EMF Pump Phase 2 article has received a few comments. Unfortunately, my EMF pump overheated and died. Might be the next project to build a more efficient pump, but I would like to look for something different.

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EMF Pump Phase 2 – Success!

by on Jan.30, 2010, under Equipment

My first attempt with the EMF Pump was a failure (in my eyes) but at least I was too far away from my logic. After posting that earlier post, Brad (founder of Spokane Paranormal) commented and offered to lend his hand! I was able to call him on the phone and roughed out a wiring diagram to wire two box fan motors in parallel. Nice that I had two laying around and was already playing with this concept, but I liked the idea of using just the fan coils (removing the shaft.. which luckily for me is really dangerous to mess around with).

At Entities-r-us.com, I found a post where Brad provided some results with using a EMF pump…

It has helped us alot in gathering evp evidence. On our first investigation using the emf pump we gathered 17 evp’s. On our next investigation we went to a place we have investigated many times. Our usual evidence yielded on average 4 evp’s. When we went back and used the emf pump we gathered 17 evp’s and 2 apparitions. It seems as though it gives them more energy. The evp’s were very clear and louder as well. Instead of gathering mostly class b evp’s, 14 of the were class a. One of them was so loud and clear you would swear that somebody had sat next to the recorder and just spoke into it. It was louder than any of the investigators throughout the whole night.

So here is my procedure, and again, I’ll add my standard disclaimer… I don’t take any responsibility for any death, injuries or loss of property. I’m just illustrating how I did this.

I used two Lakewood box fans, the kind you find at Walmart, etc. Oddly, my two fans were purchased at two different times, so the motors were different. I completely took apart the fans and released the motor from both of them. After taking apart the motor housing or cage, I removed the shaft which spins the fan.

In my case, I wanted to stick with the electronics assembly of the first motor, but I need to tie in the second motor. After the switch, I connected the same color wires to the first motor and combined the ground (black). The other colors represent speed stages with red being the high speed setting. The switch is a 3 way selector switch with off, 1, 2 and 3 speeds.

Brad instructed me to use a 3″ 110 VAC case fan (Radio Shack part #273-242) to help cool the coils. With out the fan mechanism the coils get HOT and will eventually shut down with out some cooling. This fan will be used to exhaust heat away my enclosure. Brad uses a Playstation 2 shell for an enclosure, which I really like that idea, but I wasn’t quite sure where to pick one up quickly (I needed this to be done for an upcoming investigation) so I opted to use a small tool box ($5 at Walmart).

After wiring everything and testing if both coils worked and no fires occurred I began to think about mounting the coils and electronics. Below is a photo of my coils with everything wired up, including the fan with temporary test leads.

I used my dremel tool to cut the brackets that held the motor originally in the box fan and reattached the motors to my pieces. From there, I ran to Ace Hardware and started buying all sorts of spacers, socket heads and locking nuts. I used spacers to raise the coil mounts about a 1/4″ off of the bottom of my enclosure. I also bought a square U-Bolt to sit between my coils. I would use this bar to zip tie some of my wires to keep things tidy and away from the hot coils. I decided to mount the fan to the top of the lid and used a forsenor (spelling) bit to cut the large vent holes at the top. Thinking about additional venting I added some smaller holds to both sides of the enclosure.

For the potentiometer switch I made a template based off of the original fan housing (basically two notch cuts above and below a circle cut). My switch popped into that just like how it did in the original box fan chassis. I bought a little cooler knobby and attached it with a set screw.

Here is a photo of the EMF pump opened.

Here is a shot from above with the EMF closed.

Here is a better view of the front showing the knob to fire the unit up.

Again, I would like to thank Brad from Spokane Paranormal for helping with this build! I really do appreciate it, and I’m excited to start using this on upcoming investigations with Tortured Souls Investigations.

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EVP/Voice using Ghost Box on latest investigation

by on Jan.26, 2010, under Evidence, Investigations

So Tortured Souls Investigations out of Missoula Montana was able to investigate a legendary house with a interesting and disturbing history. We came into this location with incredibly high hopes. The house was beautifully restored and was surprised that there has been very little activity since the owners purchased and restored the house a few years ago. One of the things they did was create a small ‘spirit house’ to give a home to the potentially restless spirits there. Maybe it worked.

This night we thought we would give my Shack Hack Ghost Box another try. I’m still really on the fence with this device and technique, but I wanted to stay open with it. We did happen to hear a voice that caught our attention. Please view the video below:

The flashing light in the video is a IR strobe beacon I created. Basically, it’s a bike light. I removed the white LEDs and replaced them with IR LEDs.

To see additional footage (some orbs were captured with a video camera), please check out the Tortured Souls Investigation’s YouTube Channel.

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EMF Pump Phase 1 – Failure?

by on Jan.26, 2010, under Equipment

So, working on my EMF Pump, I’m feeling like I need to state that Phase 1 might be a failure. I had high hopes, and I’m concerned on what it can do, and I’m concerned on safety if I continue. Any brainiacs out there that might be able to lend a hand.. or at least a ear?

My strategy is to use coils from fans. One coil (electric motor) will spin a magnet in another coil above it. Issues, I’m running into…

– EMF field generated is strong but distance is really shallow
– Electric motor gets real hot
– My magnets are not providing enough to create a decent field. I’m able to generate about a 1/4 volt of juice

I’m thinking about removing the drives entirely and just power the coils with AC current (110). Here comes the safety issue. Will this fry me? If so, what’s the best way of going about this, and will this generate enough EMF?

I’ll probably buy some larger rare earth magnets and continue with my first plan to see if I can increase the EMF field. I also noticed that applying the second coil actually decreased my EMF read out.

Help please.

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