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I show my age when I say things like this but mobile phones weren’t really a thing when I got started in ghost hunting. I didn’t have spirit box apps, ghost hunting apps or anywhere near the kind of ghost hunting tools available these days.
For the most part, I love the availability and custom-made tools we now have in the field. The problem is a lot of these spirit box apps are not doing what they claim to do. Hiding behind a disclaimer of ‘made for entertainment use only‘ they spit out random meaningless sound bytes and catch amateur ghost hunters out.
So I got my team together to discuss what ghost box apps we actually worth having on your phone and which ones to avoid.
What Is a Spirit Box App?
If you’re serious about communicating with the spirit realm then I’d suggest taking a moment to understand how spirit boxes work.
In short, most ghosts don’t seem to communicate with us through the naked ear (which is why these stories are so rare). And a spirit box creates white noise often by sweeping through local radio frequencies allowing a spirit to communicate.
The problem with these apps is many of them don’t actually do this. Many of them are just a sound bank with some flashing lights that randomly spit out some bits of audio from your mobile phone which some people will think is an actual ghost.
There are some apps which at least try to do a good job (and I’ll suggest the ones worth actually having) but the alternative is getting the actual hardware.
What is an Actual Ghost Box?
As paranormal investigations have become more popular we started to see purpose-built devices like the P-SB7T Spirit Box which is the kind of equipment these apps are based on (or at least claim to be based on).
A lot of items on my ghost hunting equipment list are, sadly, civilian equipment that we adapt or just use for our purposes. We used to physically break radios to get a ‘ghost box’ and now we have devices to intentionally do the job of skimming through radio frequencies (and other cool features).
Some have extra flashing lights or make weird noises for dramatic effect (for whatever reason) but, for the most part, it’s a radio with some extra features.
The reason why an actual box is going to be better than an app is simply it’s built to do the job. If you’re just getting started out then using one of the (actual) ghost hunting apps makes sense but if you’re taking your investigation seriously I do suggest getting equipment that is actually made for the job.
Best Spirit Communication App
Note: When I say best I mean the app which can actually help you find the existence of spirits and get intelligent answers to questions. This sometimes means some waiting around as it’s the apps faking it which will just spit out random audio files.
I’ve reviewed a bunch of the useless apps which come and go over time but if you want something good then I’d suggest Ghosttube SLS (probably the best spirit box app for android and iOS) or I’ve also covered some ghost hunting software for the PC.
Both of these options are free and actually have paranormal researchers behind them. Not just a developer who wants to sell you some flashing lights.
How to Use EVP Recorder Apps
I’ve covered a full EVP session in the Paranormal Academy and it’s not a whole lot different with an app but as a quick rundown:
- Location matters. You can try your house of course but you’ll have the best results in places with a history of ghosts or paranormal activity.
- Always begin a session by introducing yourself and the equipment. Explain how it works and curious spirits will begin trying to use it.
- Never treat ghosts around you with disrespect. You don’t know if there are bad spirits around and it’s always better to treat people with respect – alive or dead. Sometimes you might get threatening responses through a spirit box and your best response is to respond calmly or not at all. Don’t poke the bear.
- A spirit box will often create background noise as it does a channel sweep. Sometimes the voices you’ll get are clearer than others and you’ll learn to pick them up properly and filter out the feedback from radio channels.
The main thing to use a ghost box is learning to look for intelligent responses.
You’ll get random words and phrases here and there but to establish direct communication with a ghost – you want to see consistent responses to questions. It can take some effort and patience but that is when you’ve made actual useful contact and can follow up with meaningful questions.
Other Ghost Hunting Apps
There are other apps you can get for your phone and they face a lot of the same problems.
EMF Detector App
Much like spirit boxes, you’ll find a lot of these apps on there making claims that just don’t match reality. You can use an EMF reader for ghost hunting but… I’d be very careful with this.
Like many apps, you’ll find plenty making claims that just don’t match reality. They’ll flash and blink away but here’s the thing: some phones don’t have an EMF meter and the ones that do are limited to certain frequencies.
So even if you do get a valid EMF detecting app – you’re getting some pretty limited use for ghost hunting. It’s just not something I’d ever suggest bothering with.
Mel Meter App
I reviewed the Mel meter 8704r already and it’s a pretty unique piece of kit that you do see actual ghost hunters use. It’s kind of like an all-in-one device that doesn’t perform every task perfectly but it does everything to at least an acceptable level.
Unfortunately – the popularity of the device led to some spin-off apps. Claiming to be a 3-in-1 ghost tracking app, again it doesn’t actually do what it claims. Your phone doesn’t physically have the hardware required to do what it claims to do.
The owner of the Mel Meter doesn’t produce the app. It’s unrelated, entirely useless and should be avoided.
Spirit Story Box App
I covered the Spirit Story Box app as one of the first fake ghost hunting apps and this is an easy one to avoid. It doesn’t work. Doesn’t even do a good job at pretending to do what it claims.
You can switch your phone offline and in airplane mode – it’ll still “find” something in the electromagnetic field to which it doesn’t have access.
Necrophobic Spirit Box App
You might have seen a couple of paranormal investigation YouTubers using Necrophobic to do their ghost box recordings.
It works a little differently and while it is focused on spirit communication it uses pre-recorded audio files rather than skimming through radio stations to find audible sounds.
While it does mean you’re going to hear fewer fragments of sound and more actual voices – that doesn’t mean these voices are actually coming from a ghost or a spirit. I’ve only had a brief go with the Necrophobic app but I wasn’t able to verify anything coming from it with any other spirit box.
I’d probably say avoid this one as there’s no evidence that it’s actually doing anything but spitting out sounds from a built-in sound bank.
Ghost Camera App
If you’ve been around ghost hunting at all you’re going to have seen someone use an SLS camera. Using some old technology originally for gaming, these cameras try to find human-shaped patterns and can pick up these same patterns and movements even when the naked eye can’t.
The actual physical device is, unsurprisingly, going to be more effective than your phone camera but they’re also notoriously hard to find unless you build one yourself.
GhostTube SLS brings this to your phone and is one of the few apps I think are definitely worth your time. While it doesn’t replace an SLS camera for me, it makes an ideal tool to always have in your pocket.
Obsessed by ghost hunting and all things paranormal. Chris spends a lot of time (some would say too much time) investigating ghosts and spirits and documenting stories and paranormal communication. He teaches aspiring ghost hunters in the Paranormal Academy.