Ghost-hunting: Tools of the Trade by Jonathan Stroud
Hello. Fancy yourself a paranormal investigator? Keen on stepping into haunted rooms at midnight and facing your darkest nightmares? I’m impressed. And frankly a little sceptical. Still, you’ll need to take the right equipment if you want to survive. Here’s the Lockwood & Co. cut-out-and-keep guide to the essential bits of kit every self-respecting ghost-hunter needs.
Since time immemorial iron’s been the metal of choice to keep wicked spirits at bay. That’s why horseshoes are traditionally hung above windows, and why a good length of iron chain has to be the first thing to go into your duffel bag. Lay it on the floor, and you’ve a protective circle to stand inside when a Phantasm comes calling. Or use it more assertively to hem your enemy in.
More flexible than the chains, and good for scattering over a wider area to make life uncomfortable for your spectral quarry.
Made of iron again, of course; plastic wouldn’t cut it in a variety of ways. Some swords go one better and have a silver tip. Use it for slicing through ectoplasm and warding off aggressive spirits. Also great just to have at your belt as you swagger about town, thus showing everyone your caste and status.
Silver nets/boxes etc
Silver’s another metal that since ancient times has been effective against unnatural things, including the restless dead. Pricier than iron, but excellent for sealing up the ‘Sources’ through which the ghosts access the living world.
Salt’s not quite as potent as iron and silver, but still good at driving a ghost away. Carry a handful of salt bombs (essentially plastic bags that break on impact) for chucking whenever necessary.
The weapon of last resort. Canisters which, when thrown, explode in a shower of hot salt, iron and magnesium – the bright white light is also harmful to spirits. Not to be used casually in confined areas.
For looking inside crypts, tombs, airing cupboards, etc.
For tracking unexpected drops in temperature – a sure sign of a coming manifestation.
For opening sarcophagi, coffin lids, breaking through fake walls.
Tea and biscuits
The final, crucial component of every psychic agent’s kit bag. The best way of staying calm in any haunted house is to crack open the chocolate digestives and get a brew on. Some agents go as far as to bring along a kettle; others rely on thermos flasks, though this practice is of course somewhat frowned upon by traditionalists.