Posts Tagged ‘ghost hunting’

With the Victorians’ fascination with death and mourning, ghosts blend in so well with Steampunk stories. When I think of ghost, I often think of a haunted Victorian mansion, lit by candlelight or flickering gas lights, secret passage ways draped with cobwebs, slits cut in the eyes of a potrait  where someone or something spies on the gents and ladies in the grand manor.


The first thing all ghost hunters do is try to find logical causes for reported paranormal activity.

  • Animals:

Look for small, furry, scurrying creatures. Sneaky varmints like mice are good at hiding. They cause strange noises and knock things down without being seen. Victorian London had a lot of mice and rats and such. Also ghostly noises in walls, attics, and basements are often caused by varmits of some type.

  • Houses:

Victorian homes had hardwood floors which cause house popping noises to often sound like phantom footsteps. Also air trapped in water pipes cause loud banging at random times. Doors opening or closing by themselves can be attributed to a house which has a good seal. Opening or closing an exterior door can create suction, so an interior door will move when the exterior door moves. Having two or more windows open can have the same effect on interior doors. Also if a gush of wind enters through one window and exits through another, the reduced air pressure may cause doors to open or close.

  • Food, Drink…Sunspot:

Cynical or logical Victorians often cited sunspot and strong drink as causes of ghost sightings.  In Dickens’ The Christmas Carol, Scrooge questioned if the ghostly vissage of Jacob Marley was caused by what he’d eaten earlier that day. “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are.”

Victorian Ghost

Victorian Ghost – Aetherfest

  • Modern:

Compass – The simplest piece, which fits in perfectly with Steampunk. During any type of paranormal activity, a compass will spin wildly.

KII Meters – read electromagnetic fields. If the meter spikes on these small, handheld devices, it reflects a change in the magnetic field, which along with other evidence can give proof to paranormal activity.

Mel Meters – measure both EMF and temperature. They allow paranormal investigators to record the temperature right where it’s at. After Gary Galka lost his oldest daughter Melisa, in a car accident, he created the Mel meter, named after her, to communicate with her after death as it helped his healing process. The model numbers in the Mel-8704 are the year of her birth and the year of her passing.

Recording Devices – to pick up EVP, electronic voice phenomena (White Noise). EVP began in the 1950’s when Fredrich Jurgenson, a bird watcher and retired opera singer, recorded bird calls near his home in  Switzerland on a reel to reel. When he listened to the tapes he heard voices on them, though no one else had been there. An ancient Viking burial ground happened to exist in the area he recorded at. After discovering this he continued EVP research and wrote the book, Voices From the Universe.

  • Victorian & Steampunk Alternatives:

Recording Devicesto pick up EVP prior to 1950:

Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville – invented the phonautograph in 1860 –Records Sound, but Doesn’t Reproduce It  – you’d have to fix that in your story.

Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph,  1877 when he made his first sound recordings on sheets of tinfoil. In 1888, he developed a solid wax cylinder record.

Victorian Ghost Hunting Gear:

Ectoplasm Kit – In the Victorian era, ectoplasm was defined as a substance exuded from a medium while in a trance. Ectoplasm formulated into the shape of the spirit the medium was in touch with at the time. Ghost hunters carried a collecting set and chemistry equipment to gather and test any ectoplasm.

Electroscope –  Electroscopes, which pick up static electricity have been around for centuries and could have been used in placce of an  EMF meter, which along with other evidence could prove paranormal activity.

Victorian Ghosts - Comicpalooza 2013

Victorian Ghosts – Comicpalooza 2013

Victorian alternatives to communicating with the dead:

Seances – Engrossed in spiritualism and Gothic novels, many Victorians, haunted by ghost, held table rapping séances

Ouija Board – a popular board game, patened in 1890 http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/WebOuija.html

Steampunk Ghost Hunting:

Steampunk Ghost Hunting Gear

Steampunk Ghostly Tales

And last but not least – GHOSTLY STEAMPUNK READS:

4105jhfVChL__The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
by Leanna Renee Hieber

There is no unusual machinery in the story so I would not call it steampunk but still if you like steampunk you will like it. It’s set in Victoria England in London and involves ghost and gods. The characters are strong and haunting. It is a strangley beautiful paranormal/romance that I loved and I highly recommend it.

untitledGhost by Gaslight – edited by Jack Dann & Nick Gevers

This collection of seventeen Steampunk ghost stories, one has mummies, is outstanding. The authors are representative of some of the best speculative fiction authors of our modern time. It offers quite a variety of superb steampunk ghost stores. There is something for everyone in this anthology and you will be sure to claim a few as your favorite steampunk short stories. I loved it.

ToLoveALondonGhost_200To Love A London Ghost by Maeve Alpin

When Queen Victoria orders Sexton Dukenfield, premiere phantom hunter, to track down England’s missing ghost he stumbles into Ceridwen, a phantom warrior woman of an ancient Celtic tribe. Not only does he find her intriguing as a piece of the puzzle of the missing spirits, but he’s also haunted by her sultry sensuality. Though they both burn with desire, it’s difficult to quench their fiery passion since Ceridwen is so translucent. Every time Sexton touches her, his hands pass through her misty body. On a mission through the bustling narrow streets of London, to a dreary match factory, and even to the Otherworld and back, to stop a genius scientist and his phantasm debilitater machine, the ghost and the ghost hunter also seek the secret to freeing the boundaries of life and death.

If you live in Houston Texas, I wanted to share that I will be at one of my favorite haunts this weekend, Space City Con. Friday night, 08/02/13, I’m presenting a Steampunk Ghost Hunting panel from 7pm – 8:30pm. Please drop by if you can.


Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 18 published books, including four Steampunk Romances. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Today we are joined by the fabulous Lord Baron Joseph C.R. Vourteque IV! He is here to enlighten us on just what he uses whilst hunting the supernatural—the steampunk way! So without further ado, I turn this post over to Joseph.

The Royal Ladies’ & Gentle-mens’ Experimental Madness Society’s

“Ghost Hunting Equipment”

So it was that two years ago I approached the good Rev. Cpt. Samuel Flint and suggested we start an outfit to study the super-strange and para-usual.  Being an esotiste and all around not particularly regular personage, I have always found the thought of life after one’s death to be a fascinating one.  As it turns out, the good Reverend Captain felt the same.

What follows are some photographs – and plates – of our inventions.  Do enjoy!

This is an Aether-Electro-Voice-Phenomena Recording Device.  We place it in a room for some time and allow it to record the ambient sounds in the environ.  Then we go back at a later date to listen and see if there is anything of particular interest.  It is said that on occasion the voices of the dead can be picked up utilising such a device.

The “Electro Magnetic Frequency” Detector reads fluctuations in the local “electro-magnetic frequencies”, dramatic fluctuations, while not near any electron or aether powered devices – is oft a sign that something of a para-usual nature is afoot.

The “Aether-Termo-Aura-Metre” is used to take ambient temperature of the environment’s “aural array”.  Through the use of a highly charged unit we are capable of taking the actual temperature of this elusive element in every day life.  While it is true that super-usual phenomena typically causes actual temperature to drop – such things can be blamed on any number of elements (an open window in another room for instance.)  Aura temperature can only be affected by the vibrations of a living – or potentially once living – being.  Thus the use of this instrument.

What follows is our other cursory items – while not as “flashy” or “fun” as the the above, they are an important and vital part of the “ghost hunting” experience.

If you found this of interest – and believe your locale to be a haunted one – please reach out to us at http://steampunkchicago.com/.  We are ALWAYS interested in opportunities for a good hunt.  The RL&GEMS also guarantees all studies to be honest and thorough, on top of that, we guarantee ALL of our equipment is in top working order. 

If you are interested in having us come to visit your haunted location, do know, we are local to the northern sector of the Fascist State of Illinois, the southern portion of the Wayward Republic of Wisconsin and nothern-eastern Indiana.  If you would like us to travel further we do need advance notice.  Lastly – DO see us at the World Steam Expo in Dearborn, Michigan this memorial day weekend AND at Tesla-Con in Madison, Wisconsin in November.
Lastly, lastly – thank you to Steamed! for this LOVELY opportunity!

Thank you so much for sharing Joseph! Your ghost hunting creations are amazing!! We will be sure to contact you if we fear a haunting! Until then we wish you happy hunting!

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