Tools and techniques for psychic investigation

There are many many different techniques which are available for the psychic explorer to use in probing an area and communicating with any resident entities.  This list details some of the more common which are easy to practise and simple to gain workable results.

  • Dowsing

  • Remote Viewing and Skrying

  • Skrying using a Black Mirror

  • Analysing Dreams and Portents

  • Ouija Boards



Dowsing is particularly useful in that around 80% of people can dowse first time and with a little practice become able to determine more information than simply that something is buried or present, being able to elicit information such as depth or ask questions requiring a yes/no response from an apparent entity.  Some people even develop this ability to the point where the rods are not necessary in order to extract information and can simply feel a presence or sense its response. 

A pair of dowsing rods can be constructed quite simply from a pair of metal coat hangers.  Cut away the twisted section and straighten each before making a bend in each so that each forms an “L” shape.  Other rods can be constructed out of different materials (copper and bronze are both useful) or more traditionally these are made out of a split hazel branch.

Some dowsers believe that it is best to place the rods in a holder such as straw or pen casing as this makes the rods less prone to conscious manipulation, however this is unnecessary and tilting the hands is enough to move the rods even when they are encased in this way.  The rods work by subconscious movements on the part of the dowser and provided the rods can more freely in the hands of the dowser no extra equipment is required.  Using holders in this way makes the rods too prone to move and gives rise to false readings.

There is a myth that dowsing rods of this sort are only useful for divining water however this is not the case and with some experimentation it can be demonstrated that dowsing seems to work for anything which the dowser is concentrating on.  In fact dowsing is remarkably useful to a ghost hunter, allowing the investigator to find ghosts and communicate after a fashion. 

Whilst being intent on finding ghosts, scan the area with the rods until the crossing of the rods indicates a hotspot.  This will indicate the presence of a portal, which is a point where a ghost is capable of manifesting.  Occasionally it is possible to start a dialogue straight away however often the ghost is not on the line and it is necessary to wait until it is ready to appear, in which case a vigil is necessary.  Once there is a sense of presence (and it really does become very tangible) the dowsing rods generally move with a greater strength and the answers feel more certain.  At this point it is possible to enter into communication with the entity and you will find that it will respond to questions of a yes/no type by crossing the rods for yes. 

It is advisable to have a set of questions written down to ask when communicating because it is often difficult to think on ones feet when dowsing and talking to a ghost.  Also a set list prevents the rest of the group asking lots of unrelated questions in an uncontrolled manner.  Select one person to ask the questions and repeat the questions with a second dowser who has no knowledge of the results gained on the first session. This is necessary in order to be able to demonstrate that the entity is an external one and not the product of the dowser’s subconscious.

One curiosity often noticed is that ghosts seem to be either left handed or right handed in that they favour a particular rod crossing the other.  Different mixes of people who are left/right handed seem to produce the same handedness in the rods with particular entities.  This is interesting and implies that the ghost is an external phenomena rather than being the result of subconscious operation on the part of the dowser.

Once this handedness helped the author to identify an entity that was lying about its identity.  We once investigated a haunted building by Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire and had established contact with a ghost that we believed to be called Harriet[1].  One of the quirks of talking to her was that she was right handed in the manner described above.  We had a number of question and answer sessions with her before moving onto another part of the building where there was another portal we wanted to investigate.  We inspected this and a presence quickly became tangible and it seemed responsive and friendly at first.  We asked it if it was Harriet to which it replied in the positive.  However some things did not match and answers which we have previously got a “yes” to were becoming “no’s”.  We soon realised that the entity we were talking to was left handed and was stringing us along in order to get our attention.

Another advantage of the rods is that those people strongly influenced by Christian or scientific dogma sees them as almost acceptable.  As far as can be ascertained the dowsing rods have never been seen as “satanic” which is a label the more ignorant have placed on the unknown.  Furthermore whilst not fully accepted by dogmatic science, more ecumenical businesses have been in the habit of employing dowsers for decades in order to locate water, gold, oil or other commodities.


Remote viewing and Skrying

 Remote viewing is a term coined by the CIA as they attempted to develop methods of psychic warfare in the 1980s.  Like all psychic methods there seems to be a number of different methods by which this can be accomplished and tradition shows that remote viewing is not a new phenomena.  Older terms for the ability include skrying or travelling in the spirit vision.  This phenomenon is quite different from the out-of-body experience or astral projection phenomenon.  In the former the psychic receives impressions from a remote place however all bodily sensations are firmly rooted in the present.  With the out-of-body sensations it is as if the person has gone travelling to a distant place. 

Although the CIA did not use props for their skrying attempts other methods of skrying do use them, for example the traditional crystal ball or “shew” stone which was used very successfully in Elizabethan times by Edward Kelley who was the seer for Dr John Dee whilst he was receiving the Enochian or Angelic Calls[2].  A very simple to use tools is a black skrying mirror however even a drop of ink placed on the palm of the hand can produce results very easily.  A bit of inventiveness will easily produce more methods, as the main function of a tool such as this is to give the mind something to wrap itself round and present symbols and visions to the conscious self.


Skrying using a black mirror

To skry successfully it is first necessary to create a comfortable setting in which everyone can relax and sink into their mental world.  I would suggest that the LBRP banishing be done first, followed by the Middle pillar to clear any influences which are present and then to energise the skryer to facilitate any astral communication which might take place through the mirror.  After this, allow everyone to settle in the position that is best for him or her.  Dim the lights and if possible use candlelight, which creates an ambiguous flickering atmosphere that will give the mind further space to work with.

 Once everyone is comfortable, talk everyone into a deep state of alert relaxation.  Then hand the mirror around in turn asking people to look into the mirror and see what the mirror wants to show.  Advise them to shift their focus and look through the mirror rather than at their own reflections.  Tell them to allow the vision to blur and that over time new images will begin to form.  They will find that images will either appear in the mirror or will form in their own minds and the mirror will remain blank.  Either experience is valid.

 Ask the group to keep silent about what they might perceive and then to write down their perceptions straight away.  The group can compare notes afterwards and then common factors in everyone’s experiences can be extracted without the danger of psychic contamination.

Once finished, clear the area with the LBRP and ensure that everyone has grounded.


Analysing Dreams and portents

Dreams have long been seen as carriers of psychic information and if the intention to use a magical diary is kept to, dreams will soon begin coming through thick and fast.  The problem with dreams however is that many of them are simply the ramblings of the slumbering brain as it reorganises information gathered during the day.  As such a degree of discrimination is required in analysing dreams.  Parapsychologist Russell Targ[3] suggests the follow criteria be applied to a dream before it is seen as precognitive.

  •  The dream should be free of the previous days happenings.

  • It should contain unusual experiences not normally dreamt.

  • It should be clear and not be a wish fulfilment dream.

  • A rule of thumb is if the dream feels important it could well be.

 It is very hard to give advice on dream interpretation, because books which list particular means are generally very subjective and the best rule is probably to ask the dreamer what they think that dream meant, because the dream was constructed using the symbolic language that is individual to their particular personality.  However sometimes it is useful to delve into mythology to help interpret things as these tales do provide valuable insight into how different parts of the human mind interact and in many cases these interactions are what have been told over time as the acts of the heroes and gods in mythology [4][5].


The use of Ouija boards

Frankly these have a deservedly bad reputation and there are many horror stories surrounding experimentation with this tool.  As such they are not recommended.

 Using an ouija board is very different to ghost hunting or seeking out entities in other ways; generally because they work through the processes of making an invitation for the entity, giving it a doorway into our world.  Entities attracted in this way have been known to latch onto people, follow them home and generally be a nuisance.  For some unknown reason ouija boards seem to attract creatures which very much seem part of the spiritual low-life.

If an ouija board is to be used it is important to remember to thoroughly banish after the session even if nothing appears to happen.  Also whilst using the board do not believe what the board says and use language in the most guarded way as an inadvertent invitation is very easy to make and some entities can be very quick in spotting ambiguous language and exploiting it for their own fun and profit [6].

 It is not the board itself that is dangerous, being only a piece of wood and a glass tumbler but the fact that it is being used as an uncontrolled device in invoking entities where there is no real ability to control what entities come through.  It would seem that the best advice would be to leave any form of invocation or evocation strictly well alone.  It is far safer to seek out entities such as ghosts on their own turf such as in a haunted house as they are generally bound to such a location and remain there.  Given that the information that can be obtained from a board is very suspect I can really see no value in their use.

If the above does not serve to make you approach these things with caution, here is my experience with the ouija board.

Several friends and myself had planned to get together to use the board.  We all had an idea of the entities that we wanted to call and talk to and thought that we knew enough to be able to deal with anything that should occur.  All of us are psychic to a degree and have experience in using ritual magic methods of protection and banishing. 

We cleared the area using the LBRP in order to ensure that there was nothing present before we started.  The building we were working in an old Georgian townhouse in Bloomsbury and has been used as a psychiatric practice so a ritual cleaning was necessary.   Once we had cleared the area the room felt psychically clean and we then used invoking pentagrams to call the spirits we wanted.  This worked to the extent that we managed to open a temporary doorway to their realm, however there was a sense of many more presences than the four we had called.  To one of us it felt like the room was full of people.  I (who was less psychic on that occasion) could certainly sense a large number of ghosts each one feeling like a column of electrical energy moving about the room.  We should have realised straight away that something was wrong but we carried on with the experiment.

We commenced asking questions and the first entity was called by MT and seemed to have been exactly who it said it was.  It answered questions with replies that were known only to MT and it “felt” like a nice person (This is a dangerously subjective assumption given the circumstances).

My turn came next and the entity came that said it was the one I wanted.  It told me some things that I knew and some I did not know but subsequently checked up on and found to be correct.  It also told me some things that I wanted to hear and other things that I did not want to hear at all.  It all sounded very interesting and I was getting frustrated that I was not getting enough information from the board as I had to piece each sentence together from a string of letters.  I asked it if it would visit me in my dreams and give more information then to which it replied yes as it presumably began rubbing its astral arms in glee.

We were all getting quite tired so we broke the circle and banished the entities.  There was a sense that they have all departed.  We then discussed what had happened and left.  I drove home alone feeling very tired and out of sorts and went to bed very early (about 11pm) for me.

I was awoken at around 2:00 by the sense of being paralysed and held down.  I have had similar sleep catalepsy experiences before, normally caused as a result of the brain switching off the body in order to prevent it acting out dreams.  This is perfectly normal and happens to everyone.  This time the experience was very unpleasant and I was very scared.  I managed to break the paralysis and found that although I could move I was still being held down as if something was holding my duvet over me.  I struggled and eventually managed to throw it off sensing it fade as I did.

Feeling very shaken I got up and turned on all the lights in my flat and performed a banishing.  After a few hours I calmed down and decided to try to get back to sleep.  I dozed off eventually and was awoken with the same experience again.  This happened once more a little later.  There was no more sleep for me that night.

Trying to work out what had happened I realised that the entity I had invited in had latched onto my aura and was making its presence known to me, although why I cannot say [7].  In attuning to myself I could feel it in my aura and no amount of banishing could clear it because I was trying to banish from the area not from myself.  In hindsight a change of attitude on my part would have probably worked and that a banishing on the aura would have done the trick, however I was a lot less experienced than I thought I was in those days.  The whole next day at work I could feel its presence around me and I felt pretty awful.  I was very tired (as one would expect) and very shaken.  I did manage to sort this out through the help of a psychic friend and have not been troubled by that ghost since.

My blunder was in not thinking when I spoke to it and inadvertently inviting it into my reality using a dream as the doorway for it to enter our world.  I was lucky in that I got out of trouble quite quickly and managed to realise what was happening to get help.  It’s a particularly good illustration as why not to use these things as I had read up on them and thought I knew what was doing however was off the deep end without even being aware that I was, until it was too late.  Please believe me when I say you do not want to learn the hard way about ouija boards.


Conducting Vigils

When looking for entities it is often necessary to find a place where they are supposed to appear and conduct what is called a vigil.  This is when a number of investigators quietly wait for signs of a manifestation.  The exact number of people can vary however there should be at least two people in order to provide a second witness to an event.  Speaking personally more than about five people seem to make experiences less frequent and generally three people is the optimum for this type of activity.

 All that is required is for the people to sit quietly and wait for signs of activity.  In order to help people go into a psychic state if is often useful to dim the lights and the participants should be encouraged to relax both physically and mentally.  Ghosts are said to prefer the darkness, although pitch darkness is to be avoided because it is harder to remove the element of fraud.  However many encounters with ghosts occur under lit conditions so the darkness theory cannot be one hundred percent correct. Perhaps the truth of the matter is that people are more likely to encounter ghosts in the hours of darkness because there is less visual stimuli making it easier for psychicism to surface.

 Some people like to begin by talking to the ghost, asking it appear or to give signs of its presence.  Others favour a small prayer or visualisation. Another option is to simply to relax and keep an open but expectant mind, perhaps also performing the middle pillar exercise in order to switch on any psychic awareness prior to ghost hunting and flood the area with white light, giving the ghost something with which to manifest. 

 Talking through a vigil need not be barred, however it is necessary to remember that a quiet state of mind seems helpful in producing or becoming aware of psychic phenomena.  A calm attitude whilst speaking quietly where necessary seems the best approach whilst waiting and chatter is certainly to be avoided.  Also it is important to realise that other groups might be conducting vigils at different locations around the area and talking can disturb them.

 Once there is a sense of presence it is often helpful to talk quietly to the ghost.  Treat it with respect and politeness and ask it questions using whatever method is being used to communicate.  Remember that a full apparition can be rare to a non-clairvoyant although there are many subtle signs and feelings of certainty when a ghost is nearby.  Trusting your feelings is very good advice here, however be aware that extra sensory communication is filtered through the sub-conscious and so needs to be treated as suspect until backed up by a separate account or further research.

 One additional tip is to use a candle when engaging in this sort of activity.  Folklore (reference) suggests that a single candle flame flickers in the presence of a ghost and can be an indication that one is in the process of manifesting.  Ghosts seem to stick to one candle and even if several candles are lit only one will show signs of activity in this way.  Do follow common sense safety instructions however, use a storm glass and ask permission if lighting candles on other peoples property. 


1. This was picked up by one of the psychics present.

2. Dee, John and Casaubon, Meric (D.D.) [Ed].  True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr.John Dee and Some Spirits.  Magickal Childe Publishing.  1659, 1992

3. Targ Russell and Puthoff Harold.  Mind-reach: Scientists Look at Psychic Abilities (Studies in Consciousness).  Paladin Granada.  1977

4. Julian James has put forward the hypothesis that in the past the sub-conscious was different and that its workings are projected as a form of hallucination that was directly experienced by the participant.  Thus a person in classical times would really meet the Gods of their mythology.  Certainly the brain possesses the hardware to do this because hallucinations are common and are often reported and this makes his theory very credible.

5. Jaynes, Julian.  Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.  Houghton Muffin.  1990

6. An alternative explanation as to why they are not recommended is that the user(s) are simply communicating with their own subconscious.  Things go wrong when repressions etc (which can take the subjective form of entities) begin to surface and cause problems.

7. One theory is that it was trying to generate emotional energy to power itself by frightening me