If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been writing a lot about ghosts and paranormal legends here this week. That’s because we can’t wait until Halloween, and really, ghosts are a year-round thing around here. Don’t tell our sales people we told you this, but even our building is haunted.

So with Saturday being National Ghost Hunting Day, we figured we would share with you some easy ways for you to check out paranormal activity in your own home or elsewhere. Now, keep in mind, this won’t make you a full-fledged paranormal investigator; that takes serious research and training. But if you just want to try out your hand at a little ghost hunting, here are some quick tips:

Your Cell Phone is Your All-in-One Ghost Hunting Tool

Some of my fellow paranormal researchers will want to turn me into a ghost for saying this, but your phone is the best device to have with you on a ghost hunt. Most newer model cell phones have unbelievable cameras, and the audio recorders are almost professional grade. That means you can easily try to capture anomalous photos, videos, and attempt to capture some examples of EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon. You’ve probably seen it on the TV ghost shows—you turn on the recorder, ask questions, leaving space for ghosts to imprint their answers. Then, you go back and listen and see if you caught anything. The important thing to remember if you’re using your phone for ghost hunting is to put it in Airplane Mode; otherwise, signals coming in to the phone could give you false readings.

That Said, Don’t Download Apps Like “The Ghost Radar”

Seriously, a good deal of supposed “paranormal investigation” apps out there in the app stores are marked “for entertainment purposes only” for a good reason—they don’t actually detect ghosts. In fact, nothing can truly detect a ghost, because we don’t even know what a ghost really is. Instead, we’re just measuring environmental factors we think are possibly happening due to the presence of a spirit. However, if you are looking for a spirit communication app, I use the EchoVox app exclusively; however, it’s a bit pricey at $30, so you want to make sure you’re serious about investigating before you use it.

Never Trespass or Go Somewhere That’s Dangerous to Visit in the Dark

You’d think it goes without saying, but every October, the news reports are filled with stories of “paranormal investigators” sneaking into places where they shouldn’t be. There are plenty of places where you can investigate for ghosts WITH permission, and it’s also important to note that if you are going somewhere other than a privately-owned residence or business, you should notify the local police department of where you’ll be.

Don’t Go It Alone

Seriously. First of all, it’s dangerous to do this stuff on your own, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. You could get hurt, and I’m not talking about by some supernatural force. Plus, wouldn’t you want someone else there to verify what’s going on if something cool happens? That way, when you tell the story to others, there’s someone to back up your experience.

Ignore Any “Orbs”

You’ll probably take a ton of photographs, and if you’re wandering around an old cemetery (with permission) or a creepy basement, you’ll probably notice a lot of “orbs” in your photographs. Almost all of the time, orbs can be easily explained away as dust, moisture or bugs flying quickly by the camera as the flash goes off. The internet is full of supposed “ghost” photos that are nothing more than moths or raindrops, and nobody will really take your orb seriously as a result.

Research Means Reading Before You Run Out

Don’t just grab your gear and head for the woods; there are some great resources out there to learn how to become a paranormal investigator. Books like Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting are a great start, and there are also numerous websites as well. You need some background in what you’re doing before you do it, even if you think you’ve learned all you need to know by watching every episode of Ghost Hunters.

The Best Tool in Your Toolbox Is Yourself

Don’t get too wrapped up in whether or not you need all the gadgets you’ve seen on television. The best tool for paranormal research is your own body. Put yourself in a supposedly haunted place, and see how it makes you feel. See if the hair stands up on your arms, or if you get any kind of sensation of lightheadedness. Keep your eyes and ears open, but most importantly, keep your mind open as well.