Investigating Ghosts

Investigating Ghosts – The Scientific Search for Spirits

Author: Benjamin Radford

Ghosts have fascinated and haunted us for millennia. They appear in our campfire tales, films, books, and television shows as well as in our dreams and nightmares. Despite widespread belief in spirits and the popularity of television ghost hunting shows, scientific evidence for them remains elusive. Investigating Ghosts is the first book to examine the history and techniques of ghost hunting from folkloric, scientific, and sociocultural perspectives.

No mere armchair scholar, Benjamin Radford’s book is based on nearly twenty years of first-hand, science-based investigations and research. Investigating Ghosts will entertain and educate skeptics and true believers alike, separating fact from fiction about this timeless mystery.

Topics include: 1) Guidelines for scientifically investigating ghost reports; 2) Analyzing photographic, audio, and video evidence; 3) Ghost hunting equipment: What works, what doesn’t, and why; 4) In-depth case studies of solved ghost investigations; and 5) Understanding the psychology of ghost experiences.

Buy at Amazon

Praise for Investigating Ghosts



Chapter 1: A Brief History of Ghost Investigation

 Chapter 2: Investigative Overview

Chapter 3: A Phenomenology of Ghosts 

Chapter 4: Applying Science to Ghost Investigations

Chapter 5: Ghost Hunting Equipment


Chapter 6: Ghosts on Film and Video

Chapter 7: Ghosts on Audio 

Chapter 8: Ghosts in Print

Chapter 9: Psychology of the Ghost Experience


Chapter 10: Film and Video Cases

Chapter 11: Fort George: Canada’s Most Haunted

Chapter 12: Sarah Ann: Fort George’s Ghost

Sneak Peek


This book is the result of about twenty years of personal research into ghosts and hauntings. It isn’t really about ghosts—since, as will become clear, we don’t know for certain that ghosts exist, or, if they do, anything about their nature. Instead, as the title suggests, it is specifically about the investigation of ghosts and explores the intriguing question of how to apply scientific analysis, logic, and critical thinking to such an elusive (yet paradoxically common) phenomena.

I attempt to cover all aspects of a scientific ghost investigation, from the psychology of the ghost experience to EVP, on-site investigation, and so on. Unlike the legions of self-published and self-described ghost hunters who populate bookshelves with anecdote masquerading as evidence and speculation presented as fact, I’ve consulted many of the world’s top experts on various aspects of the ghost phenomenon—as well as professional psychologists, folklorists, and other academics. This multidisciplinary approach provides much deeper insight into the topic, going far beyond the typical “here’s my spooky experience” books.

The reader might charitably ask what my qualifications are for writing this book; the answer is that—unlike most other authors of ghost hunting books—I don’t claim to be an expert on ghosts per se, since of course one cannot be an expert on a phenomenon not proven to exist. I am, however, a demonstrated expert on ghost folklore, investigation techniques, and other areas related to ghosts. This is a distinction I trust readers will recognize and appreciate.

I am a “serious” author, co-author, or editor of more than twenty books and a researcher and journalist for international science news organizations. I have an undergraduate university degree in psychology and a Masters degree in education, and my research has been published and cited in several peer-reviewed publications including medical and law journals. At the same time I am also a ghost investigator and have spent considerable time and effort trying to determine the best way to scientifically find out whether ghosts exist. My position straddling two worlds provides me with a unique perspective.

I am agnostic about whether ghosts exist or not; I have my doubts (based on the lack of scientific evidence to date) but remain open to the possibility. I firmly believe that you won’t know if you don’t look, and I have never mocked sincere ghost hunters for their efforts. I don’t think the topic is too silly to spend time on. Indeed, I have personally conducted in-depth, on-site investigations at dozens of haunted houses over the years, spending many long nights and cold hours researching, documenting, interviewing, and searching for evidence of ghosts. I’m not some pointy-headed academic sniffily dismissing ghost reports from a window in my lofty ivory tower; I’ve been there and done that. You may or may not agree with my conclusions, but you can’t say I didn’t try to understand and explain the phenomenon.

My goal with much of my research—and this book specifically—is to help bridge the gap between skeptics and believers, scientists and ghosthunters. You will find a variety of voices and perspectives in this book, from psychics to physicists, fervent believers to strident skeptics. My purpose is to help each side understand the other and hopefully increase the quality of ghost research.