12 Ways To Contact The Dead
This article is more than five years old and was last updated in March 2020.
There are several reasons why you might want to communicate with a ghost. Perhaps you think your house is haunted and you'd like to get answers or help the spirit move on, you might want to try to contact a deceased loved one, or simply talk some spooks as part of a ghost hunt.
There are 12 common ways in which you can attempt to contact spirits, this page will guide you through them, starting with the cheapest and easiest, through to those which require specialist equipment.
1. Knock Once For No, Twice For Yes
The easiest and cheapest ways to try to contact is a spirit is using a very simple method, which has been used as part of séances since Victorian times. It simply involves encouraging them to tap once for "yes" and twice for "no." It's the easiest way to communicate with a spirit as it doesn't require the use of a ouija board or any other equipment.
The spirit is then asked a series of closed questioned and told that they can respond by tapping on a surface one time to answer "yes", or two taps to answer "no". It's important to only ask questions which can be answered with "yes" or "no" such as:
Did you die here?
Are you male?
Are you stuck in this place?
Don't assume that the spirits understand the principles of tapping, it's important to frequently remind any spirits present that they should knock in order to communicate as often spirits drift in and out of seances.
The first recorded case of rapping as a way of communicating with ghosts dates back to New York in the 1848. Two sisters, Kate, Margaret Fox were just 12 and 15-years-old when they moved with their family to a new house in an area that was known as Hydesville.
The events gave birth to modern spiritualism, when Kate and Margaret's older sister, Leah started to promote them as mediums, they became famous as well-known mediums and some of the first spiritualists to publicly display their skills.
2. Ghost Hunting Apps
Ghost hunting equipment can be expensive, but there are a selection of low cost and even free apps for your phone that claim to let you contact spirits.
These types of apps work as either random word generators, or by generating random sounds, the phonics that make up words. Supposedly spirits can affect the random nature of these apps to form the words they are trying to communicate.
The best way to use an app like this is in a quiet setting and you should try to encourage the spirits to provide you with answers to your questions, rather than just leaving the device to run of its own accord. Call out to the spirits and ask questions in order to elicit a response from them.
As spirits will only influence certain words rather than producing every word which comes out of the phone, so you should discredit any words which aren't relevant to your questions. Only intelligent answers are likely to be the result of spirit interaction.
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3. Candle Flame
This is another simple and cheap way to communicate with spirits. It is usually done in a quite and controlled environment. Simply place a lit candle on a flat surface, away from draughts. In this any spirits present can manipulate the flame.
You should again call out to the spirits and encourage them to answer your questions by making the flame increase or decrease in intensity. You can also ask the spirits to make the flame flicker or blow it out all together.
If you start to get a response to your request for interaction, then you can start to ask the spirit questions in similar way to the previous method. For example, call out "if you died hear, can you make the flame brighter?" or "blow the flame out if you mean us harm."
Scrying is another cheap and easy method of communication. Chance are you'll have a mirror somewhere in your home, so it shouldn't cost you anything, but if you want to up your game, you can get a special black scrying mirror.
The technique is similar to gazing into a crystal ball, but doesn't require you to be clairvoyant. All you need to do is sit or stand in front of the mirror. It's best to try this in low light, ideally with a candle placed between you and the mirror.
You then need to stare at your own face for as long as you can in the mirror. It's said that if a ghost is present they can affect what you see and the vision of your face will change or transform into theirs.
5. Charlie Charlie
Photo: © Yunshui
The game, also known as 'Charlie Pencil' and 'The Pencil Game' is said to be a supernatural game and works in a similar way to a Ouija board, but is much easier to set up. All you need is a piece of paper with the words "yes" and "no" written on it, and a couple of pencils.
You then need to place the pencils on the sheet and say "Charlie, Charlie can we play?" which is said to connect you with a demon who will then answer your questions. The pencil will mysteriously rotate left or right to indicate "yes" or "no".
Another fairly cheap method of communication is to use a compass. The belief within the paranormal community is that ghosts either emit an electromagnetic field or they disrupt the ambient field. A compass, which uses the Earth's natural magnetic field to point to north, can be influenced by fluctuations in the electromagnetic field, just look for erratic movements of the needle.
If you notice erratic movements of needle while the compass is still and on a flat surface, then you may have made contact. Like in the previous methods, you can use this movement to give you the answers to questions. You could either ask the spirits to make the compass spin clockwise for no and anti-clockwise for yes, or simply ask the spirit to move the needle to indicate a response. For example "move the needle if you are male."
Communicating with a spirit using a flashlight is another relatively inexpensive way to communicate with a ghost. All you'll need is a torch, but it needs to be a specific type. This method is usually practiced with two-cell Mini Maglites which take two AA batteries, ideally the older xenon incandescent type rather than the newer LED models.
These type of flashlight are turned on/off by twisting the head, this means that it can be twisted until it's on the verge of being switched on and flicks between the on and off state, just a light tap change make the light flash, turn on or turn off.
Ghost hunters believe that spirits are able to manipulate the torch, make and break the connection, and make the torch flash, making it the ideal way to communicate with spirits as tapping or flashing the torch requires less energy than knocking or more traditional forms of spiritual forms of communication.
You can then start calling out to the spirits, saying things like "if someone is here can you turn on/off the light?" Or, "can you make the light flash if you're male" and "can you turn the light off if you were murdered."
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8. Ouija Board
Ouija boards are another relatively low cost way to contact the dead, they can be purchased online for a fairly low price. Ouija boards, or spirit boards, have been a popular part of séances for hundred of years. But if you don't want to spend money on a ouija board, you can make your own by laying the letters of the alphabet out out on slips of paper on a table. You'll then need to place a glass in the middle of the table to act as your planchette.
Proper ouija boards are usually wooden, as well as having the letters of the alphabet marked on them, they also have the numbers zero to nine and the words "yes" and "no".
You can use a ouija board on your own but you may find it hard to get any response from the spirits, so it's best to find at least one other person to play with, ideally a total of three people.
Next you'll need to each place one finger on the glass or planchette, this is the pointer which will slide around the board. You should very gently rest your finger on the planchette, so gently in fact that it is barely touching the planchette.
You can then ask question and encourage any spirits that can you hear you to answer with either yes or no, or spell out answers to your questions.
In order to contact spirits using a pendulum, you need to allow the pendulum to hang while holding the other end between two fingers. Then using the techniques previously discussed, call out to the spirits and encourage them to interact with the pendulum.
You can suggest that the spirit tries moving the pendulum in order to answer your questions. Encourage it to swinging the pendulum back and forth to indicate "yes," or left to right to indicate "no." You can also ask for the pendulum to be moved in either a clockwise or anticlockwise motion.
If you don't have a pendulum you can try the human pendulum, but you'll need some friends to help. Pick one to stand in the middle of the room and ask them to close their eyes. You can then ask the spirits to push or move the person.
If there is a spirit present you'll find the person starts to sway. You can ask the spirits to make them sway left and right for yes, or back and forth for no.
It's a good idea to have someone stood in front and behind the human pendulum ready to catch them, as it's not uncommon for a spirit to get carried away and push a person over.
10. Dowsing Rods
Photo: © Thomas Pennant
Dowsing is a technique which is usually used to locate ground water, but can also be used to communicate with the dead. Paranormal investigators generally use a pair of simple L-shaped metal rods, one is held in each hand, with the short arm of the L held upright, and the long arm pointing forward.
You need to hold your arms as still as possible and ask the spirits questions. You could ask them to indicating an answer by moving the tips of the rods closer together, further apart or two point the rods in a specific direction.
Another common way to communicate with spirits is by attempting to capture Electronic Voice Phenomenon. You'll need some kind of audio recording equipment, this can be anything from an old cassette deck, reel-to-reel machine, pocket digital audio recorder, a laptop, or a mobile phone.
The idea is to start recording and call out to the spirits and encourage them to come forward, talk to you, and answer your questions. You then review the recording and listen for any responses to your question that weren't audible at the time, so be sure to leave plenty of time after each question to allow the spirit time to answer.
When reviewing the session you'll need to use headphones or transfer the audio on to a computer, this allows you to review the audio in greater detail and clarity. You can use free audio editing software like Audacity to boost the audio level and hear responses more clearly.
During an EVP session, you should try to stay as still as possible to avoid making any unnecessary noise and be patient and give the spirits plenty of time to make contact.
12. EMF Meter
An electromagnetic field meter, or EMF meter, is one of the most popular pieces of ghost hunting kit. They are simple to use, often consisting of nothing more than an on/off switch. They detect and alert you to fluctuations and spikes in electromagnetic flux. The device gives instant feedback via a digital display or LED indicators, usually five.
An EMF meter can be used to communicate with spirits during a séance. As with the previous methods of spirit communication, you should call out to spirits. When using an EMF meter you should encourage the spirits to come forward and try to trigger the lights on the EMF meter to show that they are present or to indicate an answer to a question.
EMF meters are susceptible to interference from many external factors, they can be triggered by things like mobile phones and walkie talkie, so this should be accounted for when investigating. Phones should be turned off and results discredited if a radio is being used. EMF meters are also prone to interference from things which might be beyond your control like radio transmissions, and interference from sources in neighbouring properties like baby monitors, and even fluorescent lights.
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