Ghost hunter

Track paranormal investigations with this specialized software.

Marvel Illusions specializes in software optimized for paranormal investigations. Their ParaTracker Ultimate is a modular package designed to give field investigators a comprehensive yet easy-to-use tool for recording, compiling, and analyzing paranormal investigations. It has searchable Documents and Research Notes databases for collecting data entered on a variety of preconfigured forms. It also packs an image, video, and sound recorder; witness statement module; and reporting and printing options, including PDF and Excel.

We've tested some unusual software, but a ghost-hunting utility sets a new standard. Or maybe "ghostbusting," since ParaTracker's job is to collect and manage evidence. It can't judge data's validity, just help the investigator manage it. The program has a unique layout, with a stylish icon-based control panel on an appropriately black background. Each icon--which control features with labels such as Contacts, Readings, Research Notes, and even Equipment--has a counter displaying the current total of entries, an unusual but useful and thoughtful touch. An Appointments tab makes it easy to keep track of contacts and schedules in the field, and an Important Links tab corrals your frequently accessed and reference Web sites. Many of the features have sample entries that do a better job of quickly explaining what to do than any documentation, though there's plenty of that, too. It does lots of cool things, like embedding Google Maps for individual investigations.

Though ParaTracker is clearly optimized toward a highly specific use, there's no reason it can't be used for other investigations and data, thanks to its flexible options. For those who actively investigate the unexplained, it's the apparition they've been waiting for, at least on their hard drives.

Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of ParaTracker Ultimate 3.0. The trial version is limited to 30 days.

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