A lot of people who go ghost hunting want to communicate with ghosts and use spiritual communication techniques to communicate with spirits of deceased people.
Hands on spirit communication
Hands on spirit communication techniques include Ouija Boards, Glass Divination, Table Tipping and Dowsing rods/pendulums that the sitter will ask a spirit to move in response to questions.
It has been proven by various controlled studies that something called the Ideomotor response is what causes the planchette, glass, table, rod or pendulum to move seemingly of its own accord. Earlier tests also showed that people can be subconsciously influenced when given subtle clues which can lead them to move the object in question (glass, pendulum etc.) without actually realising it, in response to the subtle clues given.
If you are told an angry man haunts a building it’s likely the planchette will spell out messages from that angry man. This could be because the spirit of an angry man is making it do so, but we have no evidence to suggest this is possible. We do, however, have evidence to suggest that it is the participants who make the object move without always intending to.
Muscular movement can be independent of conscious desires or emotions. This basically means that people who have a desire for the glass, table, planchette, crystal, or dowsing rod to move could be causing the object to move through involuntary muscular movement without realising it. It is also difficult to rule out intentional influence upon the object in question by those wishing to trick the others involved.
Psychics and Mediums
Many people claim that they are able to communicate with the dead, predict the future and more. Quite often people claiming to have these paranormal abilities get involved in ghost hunts and use their alleged abilities to provide insight into hauntings. There is a lack of evidence that people who claim to have these abilities can do what they claim they can, and therefore it is unwise for ghost hunters to work with psychics and mediums. To do so also introduces a huge bias to your research.
It is often said that people claiming to be a psychic or a medium has either fooled themselves and genuinely believes they have paranormal abilities when they don’t, or that they are intentionally lying to people about having such abilities. Here are some techniques that psychic tricksters are known to use to deceive their audiences, though it is entirely possible to use some of the techniques outlined below without realising it.
Hot Reading sees the performer use previously gained information about the person they’re reading, but pretend they didn’t know the information already. Think of the fortune reader in The Wizard of Oz who sneaks a look at the photo in Dorothy’s basket before giving her a psychic reading…
Cold Reading sees the performer using generic statements about the person they’re reading that the majority of people could identify with.
Rainbow Ruses see the performer describe the person they’re reading using conflicting words. ‘outgoing and reserved’ which seems personal, but isn’t.
Shot Gunning sees the performer throwing out lots of generic information in the hope that someone in the audience will identify with it eventually.