The Problem With Calling Out On A Ghost Hunt

November 25, 2021 1:00 AM ‐ Ghost HuntingParanormal

This article is more than two years old and was last updated in February 2024.

Mouth Calling Out
If you've ever been on a ghost hunt or watched paranormal reality shows on television, then you'll probably be familiar with the idea of calling out, or asking out. This is when a paranormal investigator speaks aloud in an attempt to encourage any spirits that might be present to communicate with them. The classic ghost hunter's trope is, "hello, is anybody there?"

If you've attends a lot of public ghost hunting events, then you've probably heard a lot of different techniques when it comes to calling out. People are quick to tell you that there's no right or wrong when it comes to ghost hunting, but logic should tell you that some ways are better than others.

The most common mistake people make is calling out to the spooks at a location by saying "if there are any spirits here, can you give us a sign." The issue with this is that it's often said that spirits carry on about their daily lives without knowing they're dead, so they might not identify with the label "spirit".

It gets even worse, I've heard investigators call out "are there any imps, elementals or any other type of entity here." Should these entities exist, is it really likely that they'll answer to these names? It's possible they do, but there's no way we can be sure of that.

A better way to call out is to give whatever you are talking to the respect of treating them like a person. A better technique is to say something like...
"I'm speaking to anyone who can hear my voice, if we've left you out of our circle or you're outside of this room, then come towards us."
But this leads to another problem. How will they find their way? Most ghost hunts are carried out in the dark, as living people on a ghost hunt you'll know that when it's pitch black you can't see anything. There's no reason to assume that when someone dies they develop night vision as a ghost.

Some people believe that spirits see us as a glowing beacon of energy in the darkness and can be drawn towards us, but the truth is no one knows this for sure. So, it's better to hedge your bets and assume that whoever you are talking to can't see you in the dark and say something like...

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"It might seem a bit strange all of us stood here in the dark, if you can't see us then follow the sound of my voice and come towards us, we're all very friendly."
But of course, the chance that a spirit who doesn't realise they're deceased would be happy walking towards a group of strangers in the dark seems just as unlikely as a living human being comfortable enough to do the same.

To make them feel safer and more welcome, you might consider turning your torch on for a moment and scanning it around the room to show the spirit where you are, who you are and who is with you.

Often you'll find yourself surrounded by ghost hunting gadgets, many of which have lights on them, so you could also encourage whoever is nearby to come towards the lights around you.

Since we don't really know who we're dealing with and what being a ghost is like, it could be that they can see in the dark and that they're ready and waiting to interact with us when called, but surely by being clear and inclusive you increase your chances of getting a reaction.

People often also say things like "you have an advantage, you can see us, but we can't see you." We don't know this, by saying things that are factually inaccurate you risk confusing, alienating or driving away any potential spirits.

Although investigators sometimes seem to fail to grasp the logic of calling out, going on a ghost hunt does give you a chance to listen to others and learn from those who have got their paranormal patter down. Picking out the good phrases and those that work for you will help give you the confidence to call out during vigils at haunted locations.

Public events will also help you to pick up on a few golden rules that most ghost hunters stick to.

1. Encourage, Don't Demand

If spirits truly do exist, then it's unlikely that they're going to be happy existing in spirit form for no purpose other than to amuse you. So, don't make demands, instead politely ask them to show you a sign they are there.

2. Say Thanks

Direct responses from spirits are rare, therefore you should thank the spirits for their efforts if they do something that you've asked them to do. Give them encouragement and let them know that you appreciate their efforts.

3. Don't Use Jargon

Don't say things like "try to affect the KII-meter" or "can you make the lights flash on the REM-Pod?" If you mentioned a K-II or REM-Pod to the average person on the street they wouldn't know what you're talking about. Even if a ghost did understand what a EMF detector was, it's unlikely they'd actually understand how they can affect its circuitry.

Similarly, don't assume that spirits will know to tap twice for yes and once for no, you might need to teach them how to communicate in this way, make it clear what you are asking of them.

4. Don't Shut It Down

One common mistake is to say things like "give us a sign that you're here, then we'll leave you alone." To be true to your word, if the spirit does then give you a sign then you're going to have to pack up and end your investigation. Otherwise you'll have lied and the spirit is unlikely to trust you again or do as you ask.
Below are a list of example questions and phrases that you can use to try to encourage the spirits to communicate with you. You shouldn't copy these exactly, it is better to be yourself and talk in a natural and open way as you normally would.

  • If you can hear me, please tap on the floor.
  • Can you make a noise to let us know you are here with us?
  • If you're here can you show yourself to me?
  • How many of you are with us right now? Tap it out.
  • Can you make a noise?
  • Can you throw something?
  • Can you copy me? [then tap on a surface or whistle]
  • My name is XXX, can you tell me your name?
  • Tell us who you are, introduce yourself please.
  • If there's somebody here with us now, please can you walk towards us?
  • Are you happy for us to be here? Two taps for yes, one for no.
  • Can you come and talk to us?

Of course, if you establish a dialogue with a spirit then you can ask more in depth questions, perhaps to establish how the spirit died or to confirm their identity. Try to ask questions that no one in the room would know the answers to so you can rule out fakery or people subconsciously effecting the outcome.

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