What are the qualities which make an ideal ghost hunter?

You need to be part detective, part investigative reporter, a scientist,

with a measure of the psychologist thrown in. 

- ‘Blurb’ from the back cover of the paperback edition of The Ghost Hunter’s Guide)




A traditional ‘ghost hunting kit’ is mostly comprised of ‘controls’ - measures put in place in and around a purportedly haunted site during an overnight investigation, helping to ensure that it is carried out under ‘controlled conditions’.

Underwood’s ghost-hunting kit, circa 1980.

“The first necessity is a bag, case or box in which to store the ghost hunting kit…”

“Several torches will be needed.”

“A hurricane lamp has its uses in some instances…”

“The ghost hunter and each of his companions must carry a watch, preferably with luminous or illuminated dials, and they should of course synchronise watches at the comencement of any ghost hunt…”

“Thermometers are always necessary which need to be checked at regular intervals...”

“The camera that the ghost hunter takes must be dictated by personal preference or financial considerations. ”

“The camera enthusiast will also include infrared films, filters, various automatic attachments and other refinements. Flash-bulbs where applicable…”

“Rough plans and sketches are often of great value for later assessment of the case, and here the loose paper and pencils come into use...”

Hannah Taggart; Notebook Page

Hannah Taggart;  Plan of Borley Rectory and Grounds

“Every ghost hunter worthy of the name will, however, invent simple gadgets; the bowl of mercury that detects tremors; spreading sugar that quickly reveals the presence of someone and possibly some ‘thing’ by the unmistakable crunch…”

Underwood (left) talking with a local resident during an investigation.

“It is always wise for the ghost hunter to have among his apparatus a few evocative articles...”

Underwood investigating a property in Bristol in the 90s.

“…a small bell, perhaps, a paper-knife or dagger, a bible, a crucifix; they provide interest for everyone present, help to keep sleep at bay and also help to retain the all-important sense of relaxation...”

“I have long ago lost count of the haunted houses I have visited, the cases of haunting that I have investigated, the ‘most haunted rooms’ in allegedly haunted houses that I have spend a night in…”

“…but I am convinced that the information I and other investigators slowly and carefully gather is very important, and one day we shall discover the cause and modus operandi of ghosts.”

“He or she should seek to discover and record as objecively as possible what people have experienced or believe they have experienced…”

“…and seek by experimentation to establish scientifically or demolish the reported phenomena.”

“My hope is that this book will help and encourage more people to become the best kind of ghost hunters.”

1986 LBC Radio interview with Underwood to coincide with the publication of The Ghost Hunter’s Guide (49 minutes)