It all starts when two people share the same experience. We were recently playing Phasmophobia, a realistic ghost hunting game. Players use standard equipment like EMFs, recorders, spirit boxes to analyze what spirit is haunting a particular location. If you figure it out, you get paid. If you don’t, you lose your equipment. If the ghost catches you, you die.

Whenever I ghost hunt in real life, I get really cold so I mentioned this to the group with the suggestion that maybe we are attracting real ghosts. It was a joke until other people in our group said they experience temperature drops as well. Turns out, that’s not uncommon to feel the temps drop when playing Phas. This leads me to wonder… are we attracting ghosts through sympathetic action?

There’s only one way to find out… go ghost hunting while playing a game about ghost hunting. I’m pulling out all the equipment and over the course of the next few weeks we’re going to see if we can get any kind of ghost action while playing Phasmophobia in our home. We’ll run tests on all the equipment before, during and after each game session.

We’ll aim for Monday sessions, and I’ll post the results here. In addition, I’ll be running polls and gathering anecdotal evidence to record what kind of other odd experiences (if any) people have while playing this game. We may come up with absolutely nothing, or we may be able to document some real activity. Either way, it will be interesting.

Anyone who plays Phasmophobia is welcome to jump in with us. Up to four people can play at one time. You can find and download the game here.

If you want to watch the events unfold live, I’ll be on AussieManPlay’s stream (aka Ryan, my husband). You can find him on Twitch here. How about you? Have you ever experienced sympathetic ghost activity while playing a game, watching a movie or reading?

Want to see what Phasmophobia looks like? Here’s a trailer. The game has changed a little since then (we have bodies now) but it gives you the idea.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020, find her at

  1. Question about this game, what are the controls like without VR? How much of the control involve the keyboard compared to just the mouse?

    1. I’ve actually never played this VR. I use the keyboard. WASD to move, C for in game chat (to communicate with spirits), V for radio, F to place, G to drop… I know the control guide is everywhere. I don’t think I really use my mouse much except to select menu items. I’ll pay attention tomorrow.

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