Across the Great Divide


“When Ghost Hunters Go shopping”


Ghost hunting is big business these days. It takes serious cash to attain a collection of data capturing and analysis tools to make your research a success, after all you have to get the latest and greatest gadgets if you’re going to troll around at night playing scientist. The trend is such that the owner of a new business in downtown Springfield, Ohio is cashing in on it, confident of long-term success. Darin Hough’s Ghost Hunting Source offers shoppers paranormal research equipment in a truly unique niche market.

Perhaps a bit morbidly, Hough explained, “As long as people are dying people are going to have an interest in it.” He’s not alone. Morticians, cemetery owners, and fraudulent psychics and mediums have been cashing in on the deaths of loved ones for centuries.

The truth of the matter is that there’s really no better time to open a store like this. It’s possibly the only place outside of the internet where you can buy an electromagnetic field detector, an infrared camera, and a dowsing rod at the same time and take them home the same day.

The questionable “science” of reality television fuels demand for these items as each group and show tries to patent and trademark the latest innovations in paranormal research.

Hough wanted to offer fellow investigators the chance to get their hands on the exact equipment as seen on these shows and play scientist. Sadly, there aren’t any proton packs, ecto containment units, or the latest edition of Tobin’s Spirit Guide available for purchase.

Ghost Hunting Source in an old industrial site known as the Robertson building and comes with the perfect coincidence- other tenants of the building have told Hough they think it’s haunted. And why shouldn’t they? Increased foot traffic means their stores will benefit as well.

Naturally, he’s hoping to conduct a ghost hunt there as part of the store’s grand opening party on Oct. 19 with Miami Valley Paranormal Services, a group which he founded 6 years ago.

Hough promises to instruct newbie ghost hunters on how to properly use what they buy.

“We’ve got something that’s very popular. It’s called the spirit box,” Hough said, picking up and turning on what is essentially a handheld radio, which retails between $59 and $79. “The theory is, maybe the spirit could use the white noise to speak through.”

Readers of Across the Great Divide have heard of these laughable devices before in “The Harsh Truth about Ghost Boxes”.

Still, this all amounts to big money. Last year alone he claims to have sold more than $220,000 in gear at his online storefront and shipped as far away as Australia and Russia.

Another gadget he’s peddling is something labeled E-POD-AMP, a $100 pod that features a series of lights that remain lit until static electricity is detected, and touted as ideal for trying to decipher why the hair on your arm is standing up. Sure, because we all know that static electricity isn’t a normal, everyday fact of physical life and only occurs when an apparition is around.

In addition to all of the high-tech gear available at the store- such as full-spectrum video cameras- Hough also carries low-tech, old-world tools including dowsing rods, tarot cards, and sage incense.

Interestingly enough, the one thing conspicuously missing from the shelves at Ghost Hunting Source is a Ouija board, the infamous board made and sold by Hasbro.

“It’s a personal thing,” Hough said. “I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with them.”

Hough is banking that his store “will turn skeptics into believers.”

I would love nothing more than concrete, scientific proof of paranormal activity- which I wholeheartedly believe in the possibility of- but the unfortunate truth is that the greed of capitalism is at its most successful when it prays on the ignorance and gullibility of the uninformed shopper.

There are a number of websites that sell paranormal and ghost hunting equipment and software. These sites offer very little in terms of real-time customer service to answer concerns and questions about the equipment offered and the correct usage of them.

It’s a big wheel of supply and demand as shows like Ghost Lab act more like hour-long infomercials pushing interest in the newest must-have gadgets. Fans see these cool toys with wide eyes and want to find them at any price so that they can play like the Big Boys on TV. This is why these programs only show those incidents wherein the devices “prove” activity and not the other 99 percent of the time when it acts erratically or not at all.

Even the money machine known as SyFy’s Ghost Hunters has jumped into the game. They highlight innovative and glitzy gadgets for an hour and then offer fans the opportunity to purchase their very own at the “Ghost Gear Store”, an online shopping site run by NBC Universal. My, how convenient.

Be smart and research these items fully before spending your hard-earned cash. Read reviews, tips, and usage techniques. Question the “science” behind their development and look for analytical data on their results. If you’re willing to open your wallet, be willing to open your mind as well. Before you walk into, or web surf, these stores keep the old adage in mind: “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Trust me, their checkout lanes are counting on it.


Sources: Dayton Daily News, WDTN News, SyFy’s Ghost Gear Store Image © Dayton Daily News

© 2013 R. Wolf Baldassarro/Deep Forest Productions