What Is The Estes Method?

Estes method

The world of paranormal investigation is always changing. With new ghost-hunting gadgets or techniques for spirit communication and research being constantly developed and refined, there are plenty of new methods that paranormal investigators can use to improve their chances of recording evidence of the beyond. Of course, these methods include the subject of our discussion – the Estes method.

If you’re embarking on a ghost hunting expedition and want to try the Estes method for yourself, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Firstly, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the paranormal equipment you need. Additionally, you’ll need to know what the best conditions for this experiment are, and how to perform Estes sessions correctly.

But don’t worry! We’ve got everything you need to know down below.

The Estes Method Explained

The Estes method is a ghost hunting technique used to communicate with spirits in a haunted location. Typically, paranormal investigators do this by way of sensory deprivation to block external noise and hone in on what the spirits may be trying to say.

The method was first developed by Karl Pfeiffer during an investigation at the infamous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado – hence the name! In fact, Estes began as a simple concept that has since evolved into a relatively common practice among new and seasoned ghost hunters.

In the method, one investigator wears a blindfold and stereo-isolation headphones (or noise-cancelling headphones) that are connected to a spirit box. These handy spirit boxes, also known as ghost boxes, quickly scan radio frequencies at a high speed. In turn, they effectively create white noise that spirits are said to manipulate in an effort to communicate.

While the ghost hunter is blindfolded, the rest of their investigative team or their partner asks the spirits questions. The goal is to eliminate potential interference so that the person listening to the spirit box can receive direct responses to the questions being asked. Then, they can relay the messages and assess whether the answers are relevant to the questions that were asked.

How To Use The Estes Method

Things you need for the experiment

Before you can get started, you’ll need to have all of your ghost hunting equipment with you, including:

  • A spirit box
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • A blindfold
  • Digital recorders (optional)
  • A quiet location with no external interference
  • At least two paranormal investigators

A step-by-step guide on using the method in your investigations

  1. Set up the environment: Even abandoned haunted houses can have a lot of external noise. Before you start your Estes session, it’s important to make sure the rest of your team is as quiet as possible (besides the person asking the questions, of course).
  2. Introduce yourself: Before every Estes session, it’s important to introduce yourself to the spirits and make your intentions known. You’ll need to say your name, tell them why you’re there, and show them the respect they deserve. It’s almost like starting a regular conversation!
  3. Prepare the receiver: The person who is listening to the spirit box is known as the receiver. To get them ready, you’ll need to make sure they’re blindfolded tightly to limit any visual input. This adds to the experience of sensory deprivation and helps them to focus only on what the spirits are saying. They should also be wearing the headphones that are connected to the spirit box.
  4. Start the session: Start the spirit box to create white noise through which the spirits can communicate. Then, another person should be positioned away from the receiver and begin to ask the spirits any questions they may have. The person listening to the spirit box will then say exactly what they hear.
  5. Record the session (optional): By recording the questions and responses with another recording device, you can easily review the session once you leave the location. You can also use a camera to record the session, although the audio may not be as clear.
  6. End the session: End the session by thanking the spirits for their time and cooperation. You can also use this time to make notes on any unusual occurrences during the session, such as equipment malfunctions, flickering lights, unexplained noises like bumps, and more.
  7. Review the session: After the session, go over any notes, evidence documentation, or recordings you have. That way, you can assess whether there were any relevant or direct responses to the questions that were asked.

Does The Estes Method Work?

Like most methods and techniques for investigating paranormal activity, the method has both supporters and sceptics. While some investigators claim to have had success with convincing responses during their sessions, there are others who are still sceptical about how well this method works.

Supporters of Estes typically argue that sensory deprivation, combined with the use of spirit boxes, creates unique yet optimal conditions for spirit communication. In these cases, they claim that the responses they got were also relevant and specific to the haunted houses and locations they were investigating, making it all the more compelling.

On the other hand, sceptics have expressed their concerns about potential biases, namely the confirmation bias. According to Britannica, confirmation bias is “people’s tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with their existing beliefs.”

In other words, people may believe that they are hearing answers from spirits when, in fact, they are perceiving meaningful patterns or words out of the noise of the spirit box. This is also known as audio pareidolia.

While there are two sides to this debate, there is no concrete evidence to support this method. Instead, it’s up to you to determine how you interpret the results you may get while conducting an Estes session.

What To Do If Estes Method Doesn’t Work

Like every other investigative technique, it’s important to remember that you may not get results every time you perform a session. Still, there are some ways to try to produce better results if it doesn’t work the first time. These include:

  1. Change locations: Some areas of a haunted location may be more active than others.
  2. Switch roles: Try to have someone else act as the receiver. You can usually switch the current receiver with the ‘sender’ (the person asking the questions) to see if it produces better results.
  3. Ask different questions: Try to change your questions to be more clear and concise. They should also be relevant to the location you’re investigating.
  4. Be patient: If you don’t get any results during your first session, don’t give up! Try it again at a different time or use the above techniques to streamline the process. However, patience is usually the key to a good investigation.


Can beginners use the Estes method?

Absolutely! Anyone can use the method in their investigations. The method is relatively simple and straightforward, making it a great way to dip your toes into the waters of ghost hunting. However, it’s important to be open-minded and patient while also maintaining a healthy dose of scepticism.

Is there scientific evidence supporting the Estes method?

There isn’t currently any scientific evidence to support the validity of Estes. Instead, like other paranormal investigative techniques, it relies on your personal accounts, experiences, and interpretations of the results you get.

Final Thoughts

Compared to the traditional use of a spirit box, the Estes method is a great way to get more effective answers to your questions during an investigation.

Using our step-by-step guide and your trusty ghost hunting equipment, you’ll be set up for success in your next ghost hunt. All you need to do is clear your mind, listen closely, and set up a direct line of communication with potential ghosts and ghouls in your chosen location.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!