Are you looking for a paranormal experience, not necessarily to enter the paranormal research industry? What you need is cheap and simple compared to the hunters. You actually have a better chance of encountering something if you carry just a few items and spend your time concentrating on your arena.
Rent a very haunted room at a haunted inn. Be sure you've done your research and heard what others have said, that the room is active. Don't go alone. Bring at least 1-3 other people so that there are plenty of witnesses and different personalities. Some people are simply "weird" magnets. And, some combinations of people are more attractive to activity.
You can always count on me to be brutally honest. I do not want to see people financing a bunch of wahoo's who think they have the hottest, latest, most important piece of ghost equipment.
Do not buy ghost apps for your phone, ghost boxes, anything that spits out random words or scans radio frequencies. It's entertaining but it has NOTHING to do with the paranormal. It is not worth it to buy EMF meters, unless you're looking for electrical issues. Do not worry about having night vision or even digital camcorders because your chances of capturing a visual are very low. If you are a betting person and you want the best odds--here's what you need:
1. Your senses. You need your full attention on your environment, its sounds, the movement of dark against traces of light, goosebumps, the feelings of being watched--all your senses working accurately and without distraction. Do not stare down at a meter that will not tell you if a ghost is there, but will only take you away from the task of having a paranormal experience.
2. Baby powder. Cheap. Simple. Low-tech. Sprinkle it onto a table top, place some light items, a ring, some coins, a pen, and you can even roll a piece of paper into a funnel and tape it closed, turn it upside down and place it atop the powder, but be certain that this does not move when the heater turns on and do not use the ceiling fan if you're doing this technique. I suggest you do this on a table as far away from where your group is sitting because that is a "safe" place in the room far enough away from you for mischief and also less likely any of you will forget and move something on the table. Sometimes, our senses aren't trained yet and we could miss the tiny scrape of something moving. If you put enough interesting things, including a folded dollar bill on the table, you might just find evidence something was there when you didn't hear it.
3. Jingly things--either a string with bells or a wind chime--place one each door of your room. An early warning device of doors opening and closing is a good thing. If you simply want to know if they opened while you slept, consider taping the doors when they are locked so if the tape unseals, you know.
4. Digital voice recorder. You can get these as low as like 34.99 for some models. Sometimes, when you are there, you will not have a damn thing happen to show itself, but if you have a voice recorder, there is every chance you might capture something you did not hear, something imprinted right onto the device. I would suggest that you go online and get the free program Audacity. It works quite well and makes it possible to see the sound wave forms and make alterations in the sound quality if necessary to hear it better.
Simple guidelines: Do not taunt. It's useless. Do talk amongst yourselves for a time to get the room "used" to you and make you more real and approachable. Include the other side in on your conversations like you would do a person at a party listening to your conversation. If you're renting a room, consider turning the light on in the bathroom and closing the door. When everyone is sitting around the room, anything moving within or in front of that slit of light coming out from underneath will be easier to see. Keep in mind too that you are likely to hear people in other rooms, outside, and in the hallway. As hard as it is, do not consider any voices, children screaming or footsteps from the hallway as paranormal, even if you swing the door open and don't see anyone. There is no way to tell, so you will have to just let that experience go.
I wish you luck and if you wish to add to your tools, I would tell you that it depends on whether you want to prove to others you experienced the paranormal or if you simply want to witness it, because witnessing it is free.
Well, I probably get asked the most by people wanting to ghost hunt, "what equipment do I need?" I'm so glad people ask. Why spend money on things that are not helpful or expensive and useless? Many in the industry (especially those who profit) will tell you what you NEED to hunt. You don't NEED a damn thing. You have yourself! The human body is still the best piece of equipment to detect ghostly activity.
First, I would ask you--what is your motive for hunting?
1. Do you want to have a paranormal encounter?
2. Do you want to prove to someone that their home is haunted?
If you answered yes to #1:
My suggestion is three things: Windchimes or a string with bells, baby powder, and a hand-held digital audio recorder (more on that below). You will never prove or impress anyone with any evidence you get. It can always be disputed and interpreted differently by different people with different motives and belief systems. The fact is that, if you run around with meters and cameras and are not sitting still, encountering your environment and noting changes, you will not have a paranormal encounter. To have an experience, I would suggest that you and at least one or two other witnesses, get a room in a haunted inn, a particularly haunted room. Consider hanging wind chimes on the doorknobs of closets and bathroom door and sprinkle some baby powder on your bedside table and place a few coins in it and see if they moved in the morning. Let yourselves settle down for the night and study the room in the dark. Why the dark? You can discern movement better when light is blocked and your pupils are fully dilated. If you buy one piece of equipment to capture something you might have missed, I would suggest a hand-held digital audio recorder. Olympus has some fairly cheap models you can pick up anywhere like Best Buy, et cetera. Go online and get the free program Audacity and use that to listen to the audio because then you are able to make adjustments if you need to and slow down, speed up, see the sound wave forms on the screen. It's very easy to use. The only reason I would say this equipment is good is because if you want to witness something paranormal, you may be there all evening and not have anything to knock you over the head and make you go "aha!" But, you can do an EVP session, still listening and looking around you, with no distractions and then go home later and listen to those recordings. In the instance of EVPs, they are another possible way to capture something that your senses did not. Then, you will have covered all the bases.