Phasmophobia – The Basics

Phasmophobia – The Basics 6 -
Phasmophobia – The Basics 6 -

Guide for Phasmophobia – The Basics

This covers many of the early game items, as well as including some tips and tricks along the way. This is by no means an all inclusive guide, or 100% accurate. It is a quick and dirty rundown of what I know about the game, have learned about the game, and what I’ve found works best for me.



This guide will cover early game items, their uses, how they work, and some very basic strategies on how to play. I will not be covering specific maps or ghost, or how to tackle them. This game is early access and is constantly evolving. I will attempt to keep this guide as up to date as possible, but some of the information in here may simply be inaccurate or dated. I monitor the discord, and will mark anything I’ve seen as dev confirmed with a ***. I also will not be covering all items, as I have only reached level 5. I just wanted something very basic for people just getting into the game as no other guides are out. Alright, lets get into it!

Gameplay Basics

Alright, so you just loaded onto your first map, what do you do.

The Truck

Take a look around the truck, get acquainted with your surroundings. You will notice a few things.

1. First off, you’re going to want to check the whiteboard. This is going to provide you some of the basic information that you are going to need for the hunt. The name of the ghost, if it reacts to people who are alone, or everyone, as well as 4 objectives. The first objective will always be the same, determine the ghost type at the location. The remaining 3 will be randomized ones, thing such as witness a paranormal ghost event, take a picture of a sink with dirty water, prevent a hunt with a crucifix. These are worth getting if at all possible, but don’t endanger yourself to do so.

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2. The EMF chart. Confusion here, this chart is not used for the EMF evidence (this has been updated to reflect “total activity” at the location. This is simply a reading of the total activity within the location). I have not exactly found any pattern in terms of certain paranormal events only occurring at or above certain levels. This is excluding The Hunt, which is covered in the next section.

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3. There is a map for the layout of the building. The square button is used to cycle the floors. Most important thing to note here is a green battery. This is where the locations power source is located. In the pictures below I have cycled the floors to show me the basement of Tanglewood (same house as the tutorial), which is where the power source is located. Followed by the actual switch you are looking for yourself.

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4. Sanity is an interesting mechanic in the game that I am still attempting to decipher. The general gist of it, is that the lower your sanity is, the more likely you are to be targeted and hunted by the ghost. Things such as standing in the dark, using the Ouija board, and witnessing ghost events will drain your sanity, and even faster so after the 5 minute timer has elapsed. The only way to increase your sanity as of right now, is to use sanity pills. As they are unlocked at level 5 though, they are not a beginner item and are not covered in detail in this guide. I’ve found sanity to be very inconsistent with it’s drain rate. I’ve gone inside a house, and not left it until the investigation was complete and still sat at 90%. Meanwhile, another member of the group might go in at 80%, drop a camera off, and go back outside and suddenly be at 50%. I have noticed that hunts become much more frequent at about 50% sanity.

5. Last thing I will point out is the CCTV screen and timer. The CCTV screen is used to watch any cameras you’ve placed, as well as any static cameras included within the map.

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The Ghost

Alright, now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the layout of the truck a bit and know what some of the functions are, now you might want to start thinking about the ghost. There are a few things to take into consideration. On the whiteboard it will note whether the ghost reacts to everyone, or people are alone. This is exactly as it sounds; to get heightened paranormal activity, or to get a response on the spirit box, you will either need to split your group up so that each person is alone in a room, or that everyone is together.

I will not be going over each individual ghost, but it also important to cover the strengths and weaknesses of the ghost. Use your journal to piece together evidence and figure out what it is you are dealing with. Some ghost, such as a Shade, may not give you any activity if you are constantly grouped up. Vise versa, an Oni will be going crazy if you are grouped up.

The Room

The room is an important game mechanic. When you played the tutorial, you will notice that it provides the location in which the ghost is. Such as “we’ve already tracked the ghost to the Utility Room”. This is true of all locations, the ghost will primarily haunt a single randomized room of the location. The ghost will stay in that room about 80% of the time*** only occasionally roaming out to adjacent rooms. I’ve personally never seen the ghost roam as far as 2 rooms away from theirs, only keeping to attached rooms. They may also haunt a hallway instead of a specific room from what I have seen.

The Investigation

Alright, now that we’ve covered all of that, what do you actually do? Well, the aim of the game is to gather 3 pieces of evidence and that is used to determine the type of ghost you’re dealing with. As you enter in evidence on the last page of your journal, it will narrow down your choices under the ghost type to only ones that fit what you have entered, as shown below.
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To actually gather that evidence, you will need to use the tools you have been provided. I will go over each, followed by my personal strategy. If you’re not sure what an item is used for evidence, please refer to the sections below where I also cover them and any evidence that can be gathered with said item.

The Evidence

EMF Level 5
The EMF Reader has 5 levels on it. When it is brought near the spirit, it will light up and begin beeping. If you see a red light on it, or can see all 5 lights on, you can mark off EMF Level 5 in your journal.
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When the ghost interacts with a door or light switch, there is a chance they will leave behind fingerprints or a handprint. They can also leave these behind on windows. You will need a UV light to spot these.
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Ghost Writing
Leave the Ghost writing book in the ghost’s room and if you receive any kind of writing in it, you can mark that off as evidence.

Ghost Orbs
Ghost Orbs are seen on the video cameras that you place on the map. They will need to be in a room with the lights off and the night vision needs to be activated. They are impossible to miss, as they are a bright orb that flies across the screen.
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Freezing Temperatures
Freezing Temperatures is an easy piece of evidence to get. If you can spot your breath inside the house, you can mark off this piece of evidence. Please note, I have had this one bug frequently, to the point of not seeing my breath or getting freezing temperature readings on the thermometer when the ghost type did indeed include this evidence type.
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Spirit Box
F*ck this evidence. Requires you to be in the ghost room, with the lights off, and potentially alone (check that whiteboard.) Ask it questions such as where are you, how old are you, do you want us here, etc. If you get a response, mark it down. I give up after a minute or two of asking with no response. To top it off, much like freezing temperatures this one appears to work very infrequently for me, even when the ghost type includes it.

My Personal Strategy

Alright, onto how I do this. I play in VR and with 2 or 3 other friends most of the time. We start by prepping all our items near the front door of the building so that we don’t waste as much time running all the way back to the truck. From there, everyone equips an EMF reader, we throw on our brave boy pants, and get in there. All of us split up and start saying “*Ghost’s Name* can you give us a sign”. Listen for doors opening, items falling, humming, croaking, any kind of sound to help you hone in on where to go. In VR, you can also leave the spirit box active and on your belt to potentially get that early on. Once you enter a room and your EMF detector starts going off, you have likely found your room (keep in mind they only stay in their room 80% of the time. You may be in an adjacent room.) From there, one person should stay in this room with the spirit box and ask questions. Meanwhile, everyone else will run back out to the front door, and begin hauling in things such as the cameras, salt, UV light, candles, smudge sticks, ghost writing book, whatever you want. Once you get everything set up, from there you just gotta be patient. Start gathering evidence, narrow down what type of ghost it could be, and exploit it’s weakness from there. Also work on getting the secondary objectives. It’s pretty much that simple!

The Hunt

So, you’re setting up your cameras, book, etc. Suddenly, your heart pounds, all the lights begin to flicker, and your flashlight is malfunctioning. You need to react, and quick, the ghost has begun what’s known as the hunting phase. Do not run to an exit, the door will be closed and locked. You need to break line of sight with the ghost, and hide! Closets, lockers, bathrooms, you will have about 5 seconds before the ghost begins coming for you. Stay quiet as well, they can hear you through your mic! If you’re in multiplayer and someone is in the truck, they will notice the location activity will be spiked at 10 during the hunt. The hunt can last anywhere from a few seconds, to minutes from what I’ve seen. Wait it out, stay quiet, and pray.

The Video Camera

The Video Cameras act as a static item that you can place around the map. They are then viewed from the truck. You can use the mouse to cycle through any cameras you have placed, as well as any static cameras that are placed by default on the map itself. (Note, if the locations power is off, the map cameras will be disabled). These cameras are used to gather the Ghost Orb evidence. You will see bright orbs that fly by the camera. To see these orbs, you will need to place the camera in or near the room that the ghost is inhabiting, and ensure that the lights are off.

Cameras can also be placed on tripods if you so desire.

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The Still Camera

This guy is going to be your money maker in the start! You will only get 5 pictures on each, so here’s the things to take pictures of that I have discovered so far.

1. Bones on the Ground
2. Fingerprints on doors.
3. The ghost itself!!!
4. Dirty water in sinks.
5. The EMF reader spiking.
6. Writing in the ghost book.

There may be more items to take pictures of, but this is all I have discovered so far. Some of these may not be accurate either, as they feel inconsistent on whether or not I am awarded money.

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The Ghost Writing Book

The Ghost Writing book is rather straight forward. Place it in the Ghost’s room and wait to see if you get anything. That’s about it, nothing else special to this item. Might be worth buying a second one to speed up the process.

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The EMF Reader

In my opinion this is the most important gear you have. You will use it at the start of a game to track down the ghost, and later in the game if you have a few extra’s purchased (Which I highly suggest) you can even use them to track the ghost’s movement around the location. The reader has 5 levels. When you’re near a spirit, the reader will begin to beep, as well as display a number of lights. If all 5 lights are on, you have another piece of evidence!

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The Flashlight

This is your savior. In VR, you can place an activated flashlight on your hip and it will still function. Get creative with this, lay it on railings or tables and illuminate an area hands free!

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The Spirit Box

My least favorite item by far. I hate this thing. Truly. First off, it seems to be a bit picky on if it will work or not (if it says no response detected, you’re not meeting the criteria). Pay attention to the whiteboard and see if the spirit responds to everyone, or people alone. Pray it’s everyone. You will need to turn on the spirit box in the Ghost’s room, with the lights out. Begin asking questions such as “where are you” or “how old are you”. I usually give it about a minute, and if I get no response I’ll just toss it on the ground while it is still on and not worry too much about it.

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The UV Flashlight/Glowstick

The UV flashlight can be used as an emergency flashlight if needed, but isn’t too terribly bright. It’s primary use is to shine on light switches, doors, and windows to see if you can spot a handprint. If you see it, check off fingerprints in the journal as evidence!

I’ll also include the Glowstick in this section, as it serves the same purpose. It will detect fingerprints nearby (you have to have it VERY close). Once activated, it will last forever, and makes for good emergency lighting, or just drop it for a light source. Be creative!

Both of these items also reveal footprints. I honestly do not know much about foot prints, but is an easy way to track exactly where the ghost is and walking. They are temporary though and disappear after a bit.

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The Smudge Stick

Use a lighter on smudge sticks inside the ghost room and you will halt it’s activity for a small amount of time. Or use it when you feel a little extra scared, and you’ll feel better! Edit: I have been informed that the smudge stick can also be burned during a hunt to stop the hunt. (This no longer stops hunts, it instead extends the amount of time you have to hide before the ghost begins hunting) It is believed that there is a distance limit on this however.

Update: While playing Mouse and Keyboard, as long as you have a lighter that is lit in your inventory, you can hold out the smudge stick and press F to light it! Amazing QoL change.

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The Candle

It’s a candle! Use a lighter on it to well…light it! Once lit, it will provide light in a small area, and can be used to light other candles or smudge sticks. Careful, the ghost can and will blow it out.

Update: While playing Mouse and Keyboard, as long as you have a lighter that is lit in your inventory, you can hold out the candle and press F to light it! Amazing QoL change.

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The Lighter

Another Essential item. You will need it to light candles and smudge sticks. Be careful when dropping or placing it, it can often times glitch out the physics and fly across the map!!

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The Thermometer

This Item is used to detect the temperature of a room. A sudden drop in temperature indicates the ghost is nearby. Can be useful in determining the Ghost’s room, or tracking them as they move about, but not required for the Freezing temperatures evidence. Seeing your own breath is enough for that.

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The Crucifix

The almighty Crucifix!!! Or…your downfall. This guy prevents the ghost from entering into it’s hunting mode. The catch, it must be near the ghost to function. If you’re holding one 2 rooms away, don’t expect it to work! To make the best use of it, drop it somewhere inside of the Ghost’s room (Dev confirmed that it has a 4m radius, so in larger rooms it might not cover everything***). Since it stays in there 80% of the time, it will likely prevent a hunt. If you’re already being hunted, it’s too late, God can’t help you now. Hide. HIDE!

Also, though I have not tested this, you can apparently use the crucifix to shunt the front door open and prevent it from locking during a hunt. Try at your own risk!

Try not to rely on this item too much. Just don’t.

Update: The crucifix now only has 2 uses before disappearing.

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The Salt

Salt is used to track the movements of the ghost. You will see a footprint appear in the salt as a ghost move’s past it. This is useful to see the outerbounds of where the ghost is roaming to, or to help confirm what room it is in. It also is useful against wraiths, who cannot be tracked via footprints.

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The Ouija Board

Honestly I am not too familiar with the mechanics of this guy yet. It has a chance to spawn in the house, usually in closets or the basement. From there, you activate it (it will glow) and ask it questions. So far, I have got two questions to work: How old are you? and; Where are you? If you ask where are you, the ghost will give you the location of it’s room. I’m unsure if it’s indicative of no answer, or an invalid question, but I’ve also had it flicker the lights in the room and then the Ouija board deactivates. Will research into this item more. Also drains sanity as you use it, unless the ghost type is a demon.

Tips and Tricks

This will be a slightly unorganized section where I throw things in as I think of them.

1. Be smart with camera placement. You can gather up to 4 pieces of evidence from the truck with a single camera! Place the camera in the ghost room. Try to place it facing a door. Use a UV light or a glowstick to illuminate the door so you can see fingerprints. Next to the door, lean an EMF reader and a ghost writing book up against the wall. This will allow you to see, all from one camera, fingerprints, EMF reading, ghost writing, and ghost orbs. I have not tested it yet, but you may even be able to drop an activated thermometer in front of the camera and get a reading for freezing temperatures. (Edit: The thermometer next to a camera also works. This allows for a whopping 5 pieces of evidence from a single camera!!!). Just be creative!

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2. Lay salt in doorways, not in hallways.

3. Prep your items next to the locations door for quicker access.

4. EMF readers can be used as an alternative method to tracking the ghost. If you have several, you can lay them on the floor much like salt. When it beeps, you know the ghost is there.

5. Candles and flashlights do not count as light sources for things such as the Spirit Box, Mare, Jinn, or cameras***.

6. I would avoid tripods if you are playing mouse and keyboard. You cannot place them nearly as accurately or as well as you can in VR. Which leads me into number…

7. This game is best experienced in VR. I play in VR 95% of the time, for more reasons than just the scare factor alone (the game is scary by itself, 1000x moreso in VR.) In VR, you are able to hold 4 items vs 3 (2 on your belt, and 2 in your hands). In VR, you can more easily manipulate objects to lean them how you’d like, or place candles and other items more precisely. Lighting things with the lighter is also 10x easier in VR.


Q: Do you have to pack up items at the end of the round? or can you leave them and they will still appear? (Asked by FSA.INCOGNITION)
A: No you do not have to pick up your items at the end of a round to retrieve them. The idea is that you come back during the day when it is safe to pick them back up. You will lose any additional items brought with you if you die however. This includes multiplayer, even if the remainder of your team survives.

Q: Do you have to talk in game to speak to the ghost or can you just speak into your mic? (Asked by Filthyman79)
A: Yes, if you play mouse and keyboard you will need to use the push to talk button to communicate with the ghost. I believe it is V by default. You can also test to ensure it is working under options in the main menu. If you play VR, your mic will be hot and you can talk like normal.

Q: How do u light the smudge stick/candle with mouse and keyboard (Asked by dmccoy4491)
A: You will need to drop the smudge stick onto the ground using the G button. From there, equip the lighter, look at the smudge stick, as press F. The Dev of the game put out a change log today that this will be getting changed in an upcoming update, where you simply right click while you’re holding the smudge stick and have a lighter in your inventory and that will light it. It also is bugged where you cannot light it in some rooms apparently.
See the item descriptions, this has been changed.

Q: Can VR and non VR Players play together?
A: Yes!


I plan to refine this guide as the game furthers development, as well as expand on it, fix grammatical errors, and keep it up to date as I learn more about the game. I figured, as there are no other guides out, this would be a quick and dirty run down for brand new players. If you have questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer you as well as update the guide. Feel free to join the Official Discord server as well. A lot of the info for this guide came from there as well, and is a great source of information!

Plans for the future once I learn more about the game:
1. Include individual guides for the locations.
2. Include tips for determining what Ghost you are hunting.
3. More screenshots and gifs. (RNG has not been nice to me for gathering several items so far)
4. Video Tutorial?
5. Changelog section for both changes to the guide, and game.
6. Add the remainder of the items.

Happy Hunting!



  • Added Sanity Mechanic description.
  • Added FAQ Section
  • Added Changelog Section
  • Added snippet section on Ouija boards


  • Updated Crucifix and Smudge Stick items.


  • Updated Crucifix and Smudge Stick items again.


  • Updated Smudge sticks and Candles


By DaAinGame

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