Why Do Ghost Hunters Investigate in the Dark?

This week we’re tackling a big issue: Why do we investigate in the dark?

Many investigators will echo TAPS in the sense that they’ll say that if phenomena is happening during the day and not at night, they’ll investigate in the day. But why do we investigate in the dark? Why not the day? Many don’t have answers.

So I’m going to do quick points on both sides of the issue,  but it’s first important to differentiate between investigating in the dark and investigating at night. Think about that as we go.

Reasons to investigate in the dark number ONE: One of my first responses to this question was that if a spirit appears and is producing light, it’s easier to see in dim lighting the same way that a flashlight is easier to see in dimmer light.

This does of course apply more in the instances of “orbs” (balls of energy producing light–not the dust in your photos) and the odd instances of trick-of-the-eye-type “sparks.” Whereas the more traditional idea of “spirits” actually producing light is something I’ve never experienced and begins to seem a bit outdated. Most apparitions are either shadows or look just like you and I.

Reason number TWO! Barry Fitzgerald has shared with me a compelling reason suggesting that UV light might be harmful to spirits as they try to manifest. When you consider the EMF spectrum, the frequency of the waves increases as you move to the right on the spectrum. Because these waves are more frequent, they impact matter with much more violence and regularity, causing damage. This is why UV light gives us sunburns. This is why X-Rays will melt our brains, and why gamma radiation will forever be my greatest fear.

Barry operates under the idea that sunlight, in the same way that it harms our skin, may in fact scatter spirits as they delicately try to assemble themselves into something visible.

Consider, he suggests, how spirits in folklore seem drawn to the darkest parts of the room, perhaps not because they are the most frightening places, but because they’re the furthest from sunlight. Also consider the amount of shadow figures captured by various ghost programs and teams that–if legit–demonstrate the apparition often crouching and peeking out of the direct light.

Reason number THREE!

Many investigators will cite that they turn the lights–and all other power–off in order to lower the ambient EMF energy of an area to get more accurate readings.

This isn’t without controversy though. Many other investigators believe that lowering the ambient EMF reduces a kind of natural energy shield within a residence, allowing more stray EMF to travel through (seemingly randomly) that otherwise wouldn’t, and may contaminate an investigation.

Also, some investigators believe that you should keep the environment as close to the conditions in which the entity manifested in the first place for the most honest investigation. Which seems to make sense, doesn’t it?

Reason FOUR! Many investigators investigate at night because there’s just too many people around during the day. There’s too much noise, too much activity, and specifying what is anomalous and what is the living is challenging in many locations. I did this last summer, investigating a bed and breakfast during the day. Nightmare.

Final reason number FIVE! It’s more theatrical and entertaining. Though not necessarily good for objective investigation, if you’re going out there to have some fun and get spooked, lights off is the best way.

So, flip side? Why should we investigate in the light?

(PS, many of these reasons I’m stealing from Mr. Jeff Allen Danelek who wrote the book A Case for Ghosts and reps my home state of Colorado. Check him out here.)

Reason number ONE! Ghosts manifest during the day, don’t they? There’s a million ghost pictures from the daytime, right? So what’s the difference? And doesn’t that defeat Barry’s idea of UV harm?

They do appear in the day! The question of such appearances first becomes, are these spirits a different type of manifestation? Residual? Time slip? Interactive? If it’s residual, the spirit is only a kind of energetic echo, one that is potentially a different makeup than a manifesting interactive entity. Time slips too are a different constitution entirely, the theory being that we’re for a moment crossing over into a different time. So, perhaps what’s being seen is a manifestation not affected by UV the way others are. The way a character in a movie doesn’t get a sunburn if you watch it outside.

That said, go where the ghosts go. Absolutely investigate during the day.

Reason number TWO! It’s so much easier to freak yourself out in the dark. I do it myself every time. Mostly because of THIS CLIP.

Damn you, Slenderman.

If a lamp is knocked across the room in the light, my reaction is going to be far more mild than a lamp’s sudden motion in the middle of a mostly-dark room. It’s easier to be objective about what is happening around you when you have the lights on.

Reason number THREE! If spirits are manifesting as something with mass rather than simply an energy conglomeration, they should reflect light, which would make them easier to see in the light.

Reason number FOUR!

Additionally, if spirits draw from energy to manifest, isn’t it better to leave sources of energy on around the investigation area? We see this happening with battery drain, why not with electric circuits inside an investigation area? Some investigators have tried using small “EM pumps” to encourage activity: why not just leave the lights on?

And finally, reason number FIVE!

It’s safer. How many investigators do you see running around in the dark in a decrepit location on television and in real life? Holes in the floors. Debris everywhere. Homeless people lounging about.

If it’s all the same, why not just poke around with the lights on?

But which do you prefer? Investigating with the lights on or off? Daytime or nighttime? Leave a comment in the comment section down below.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we dive into provoking, ORBS and photography, and as always, new ways of looking at ghost hunting that you may not have thought of before!

Karl Pfeiffer is a writer, ghost hunter, and blogger/vlogger. He won the first season of the pilot reality series Ghost Hunters Academy, and went on to work with the Ghost Hunters International team on the same network. Since then he’s lead the weekend ghost hunts at the Stanley Hotel, studied religion and writing at Colorado State University, and published his first novel, Hallowtide, in October of 2012. More can be found at www.KarlPfeiffer.com

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30 thoughts on “Why Do Ghost Hunters Investigate in the Dark?

  1. Patrick says:

    I know a lot of investigators don’t accept this kind of thing, but I feel it’s worth noting and pondering. The “spirit group” (I think that’s what they called themselves?) from The Scole Experiment informed the sitters that the energy from man made light sources (not sure if that includes IR, etc.) prevented them from manifesting well.

  2. ovei bardhan says:

    Great information. I think this information can help any ghost hunters for their investigation.

  3. programming says:

    Thanks for such informative article. I am seeking this topic for one month. This article must needed any ghost hunters for their investigation. Professional looks which i expected.

  4. uzair iqbal says:

    investigation in Darkness gives you the claimness & coolness.Means you heart & mind works syncronically

  5. biblomai says:

    I have read the all comments regarding your inquiry about Online poetry. Thanks for starting this conversation.

  6. vanraea says:

    I believe in Ghost.So Your video give me great information about ghost and I like to follow your information for hunting Ghost.I am so much surprised.

  7. Leanne Cimbalnik says:

    This is very interesting and I thought you were right in a couple of area’s. I think investigating during the day where and spirits can draw on the electric power. I have had my owe interaction with a ghost, of my Great Great Grandma after she passed, she came to me at the edge of my closet, wearing something different than what she was buried in, and told me she was okay, and it was alright. from than on I believe.

  8. I prefer night for reason number four – it’s just a lot easier to rule other stuff out while the rest of the world is sleeping. Also, when you’re in the dark, your other senses seem to be heightened, which I find helpful. Sweet blog, dude. 😉

    • karlpfeiffer says:

      Thanks Amy, Glad you liked it!

      • Gail Moirser says:

        Idk, I have them show up at all hours. I had a murder victim once asking for help. It took me a while to figure out how. But I got her taken care of. I know what happened, but I can’t go to the police with it.
        As for missing children…Sometimes I’m dead on. Other times , I’m so far off, it’s ridiculous. So, I don’t do that. I don’t need the EVP’s or temp monitors. Nor do I go on Ghost Hunts. My question is WHY are they here ? But then again, as in that time in a local cemetery, they were happily walking around at 2 in the afternoon ! Children played tag and when the caretaker for the cemetery drove in, they acknowledged that he was “ON TIME” ! These were full apparitions, btw.
        When I told my Bishop about it, she got hysterical and asked me :” Why are you talking to dead people ?!”
        It’s not my fault that they just show up , in broad daylight !

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi my name is caleb I live in Georgia.i have a question.why do you have to turn off the lights on ghost hunters.

    • Anonymous says:

      whether is night or day has nothing in relation to whether your investigating in light or dark…maybe you forgot Edison invented a light bulb lol

  9. Anonymous says:

    rediculous! if you investigate in the dark most likely you’ll miss something that may happen becasue you cant see..hahhaha the reason GH investigates in the dark is for show theaterics…the show would look dumb if they are walking around in a well lit room…

  10. I appreciate with your concern. Today, i am going to visit haunted place at 5:00
    p.m. I will tl u what i vl observe?

  11. Anonymous says:

    why do the ghost hunters never come to New Mexico? there are a lot of ghost towns here just get a map and have at it, or is this some kind of debunker as well?

  12. A J says:

    I’ve always just believed the choice to work at night was because by limiting the sense of sight it enhances the other senses. Whether that is hearing, smell, touch or your more sensitive senses.

  13. Luke Dorrington says:

    I have only physically seen one full manifestation and that was late afternoon/early evening about 5pm it was bright daylight, and as for “producing light” from my experience it was more shadowed figure rather than light producing, that’s not to say that other manifestations are all the same just my own experiences

  14. Pegathee says:

    I think that if the sightings & noises are seen/heard during a certain time period & lighting situation, it makes sense to investigate them under the same circumstances. Also, if it’s a small child spirit there, does anyone try to help the child understand what’s happening to them & if he knows a way out from it, that they need to try to go there & leave this dimension?

  15. Angel says:

    I am doing some investigations and I feel that at night it is much easier to investigate when life seems to simmer down some..it still doesn’t mean you cannot have really low lighting that doesn’t reflect into your camera.. less outside noises…less interaction to distract any spirits and when doing the ghost box it is much easier to be able to hear define responses than it was when we used the ghost box in the day..there seemed to be more radio activity than spirit activity.. and when taking pictures getting more orbs in the camera…is easier when not using the flash in the day I was able to get more evidence because the flash was not getting in the way…but the same goes for the night time…the flash did come in handy…so having this argument with one of the people who sets up the investigations he is always doing it in the day..and never at night..I personally do not want to JUST ghost hunt..I want to help spirits that are stuck here..We are NOT a T.V show therefore we do not need to keep spirit here for the continuation of a show and place of investigation..It is bad enough we have so much negativity going on now why keep any spirit you can help find peace..

    • Luke Dorrington says:

      I feel we investigate in the dark mainly as it is much quieter the daily noise is gone and you can hear any quiet sounds that would have been missed otherwise, also in the dark our senses are heightened making it easier for us to feel presences, just my theory

  16. Anonymous says:

    So they want to see the light of the spirit yet they turn on night vision….

  17. Tracy says:

    I recently purchased a security camera because I got a new puppy and wanted to be able to check on her n speak to her while I was away as she has separation anxiety.
    Well, I have numerous ufo in my living room sometimes at least 1 a day and other times it’s like whatever it is is having a Party because they are flying all over!
    The camera is usually in Night vision when it happens.
    Some are perfect spheres others are zooming by — I’ve slowed my iPhone (to view) down n took still photos n to enlarge – they are transparent!
    What can I do the clarify what they are??

  18. […] I also made a conscious decision to visit haunted locations both during the day and during the night. There are many varied reasons why paranormal investigators should investigate during the day and night. A good selection of the main differences can be found here by Karl Pfeiffer: https://karlpfeiffer.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/why-do-ghost-hunters-investigate-in-the-dark/  […]

  19. Alexander Browne says:

    Why not in lowish lighting so as to have the best of both worlds? I can see how quieter nighttime is best. I’ve never done any proper investigations as I’m too much of a coward and don’t want a spirit attaching to me! 😀

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