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A ghost in a summoning circle.
Screenshot by Dot Esports

How to escape a ghost hunt in Phasmophobia

It certainly won't be easy.

There are many tricky gameplay aspects players will need to master in Phasmophobia but one of the most difficult is learning how to survive during a ghost hunt. If you’ve ever been caught by those decrepit gray hands and heard the signature crackling sound that means the ghost has caught you, you’ll likely want to learn everything there is to know about how ghost hunts work and how you can evade being terminated.

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In each match, players are racing to deduce the correct ghost type as quickly as possible to avoid meeting an untimely demise during a hunt. This is quite a tricky process, so here’s everything you need to know about ghost hunts in Phasmophobia.

What is a hunt in Phasmophobia?

A hunt is a gameplay feature where players will need to fight for their lives against the ghost they are investigating.

When a hunt occurs:

  • The ghost will materialize and blink in and out of existence.
  • The ghost will actively chase the player or players down.
  • You will hear your heartbeat loudly whenever the ghost is within 10 meters of you.
  • All exit doors will be locked and remain locked until the hunt ends.
  • All equipment and lights will flash and malfunction.
  • The hunt will continue until a player has been killed by the ghost, the ghost’s hunting period has reached its maximum, or when there are no more players alive within the investigation area.
The player holding Tarot Cards in front of a D.O.T.S. Projector.
When a hunt is taking place, players have to strategically fight for their lives. Screenshot via Dot Esports

The duration of a regular hunt depends on the difficulty level and the size of the map players are on.

DifficultySmall MapMedium MapLarge Map
Amateur15 seconds30 seconds40 seconds
Intermediate20 seconds40 seconds50 seconds
Professional, Nightmare, or Insanity30 seconds50 seconds60 seconds

If players activated a cursed hunt instead of a regular one, the duration of the hunt is extended by 20 seconds. This will also apply to all hunts after the initial cursed hunt for the duration of the match.

How to escape a hunt in Phasmophobia

Once a hunt has begun, players only have four options for escape which are to hide, run, use the Monkey’s Paw to unlock all exits, or burn Smudge Sticks to temporarily stun the ghost.

  • Hiding is generally the best option when you are on a small map since it isn’t possible to continuously run away from the ghost. Be sure to turn off any electronic equipment you may have on you since the ghost will be attracted to it and is much more likely to catch you. Since Phasmophobia also recognizes the player’s voice, you’ll also want to keep quiet so it doesn’t hear you and track you down.
  • If you’re on a medium or big map, I’d recommend you just keep running to escape. Based on my experience, this is the most reliable way of escaping an active hunt on maps like the Prison, Sunny Meadows Mental Institution, or the Maple Lodge Campsite since they are so big that you can usually evade the ghost fairly easily during a hunt by simply sprinting away until the hunt expires. If you’re using this method, try to use your limited sprint strategically since you can only activate it in bursts.
  • Players who have the Monkey’s Paw will find it’s the most effective option overall for escaping during a hunt with absolute certainty. With this item in hand, players can wish to leave which will immediately unlock all exits while slightly obscuring their vision and slowing them down for a few seconds.
  • If a ghost is chasing you during a hunt and you have a Smudge Stick and Lighter on hand, you can temporarily deter it for six seconds. This isn’t much, but it may be all you need to get away safely or find a hiding spot.

Related: How to use the Summoning Circle in Phasmophobia

A materialized ghost standing in front of the player with a DOTS projector behind them.
Try to stay as far away from the ghost as possible during a hunt because if they catch you they’ll kill you. Screenshot via Dot Esports

How to escape a cursed hunt in Phasmophobia

Cursed hunts work exactly the same as regular hunts but are instead initiated by players using one of the seven Cursed Possessions. Using any of the Cursed Objects will result in a Cursed Hunt occurring and they cannot be prevented by any means once they have begun.

However, players can still use the exact same methods as in a regular hunt to attempt and escape a cursed hunt.

How to avoid hunts in Phasmophobia

Since escaping a hunt is difficult, players’ best bet for avoiding death is to avoid hunts altogether. It’s not possible to ensure you’ll avoid a hunt forever since players have limited equipment, but there are some steps players can take to keep themselves safe for long enough to deduce the ghost type and safely leave the premises.

  • The most reliable way to evade a hunt is to use a Crucifix. If you place one of two of these in the right area, you’ll essentially have a perfect barrier preventing the ghost from hunting until it has first broken each placed Crucifix twice. This means you can keep an eye on them to prepare yourself but you’ll likely be able to avoid hunts entirely as long as you have placed them correctly.
  • If you use Smudge Sticks before a hunt has begun, they will then block hunts for a specific period of time depending on the ghost type.
    • If the ghost is a Demon, hunts are blocked for 60 seconds.
    • If the ghost is a Spirit, hunts are prevented for 180 seconds.
    • If the ghost is any other type, hunts are blocked for 90 seconds.
  • Keeping your sanity high is a great way to decrease the likelihood of hunts occurring. Every ghost has its own specific sanity threshold at which point it will begin to try hunting, so take sanity pills if you need to and try to avoid sanity-decreasing activities if possible.

We gathered this information by playing Phasmophobia v0.8.1.7 on PC.

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Kacee Fay
Staff Writer at Dot Esports covering new releases and a wide array of topics including Minecraft, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Phasmophobia, general gaming, streaming, and more. She has been avidly writing and gaming her whole life and now spends her time combining the two. Kacee graduated from San Diego State University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Certificate in Creative Editing and Publishing. She then joined Dot Esports as a Freelance Writer in 2022 before transitioning to a Staff Writer in 2023. In her spare time, she enjoys buying more books than she can read, gaming alone or with friends, drinking too much tea, attending concerts, fangirling over movies and television, listening to music, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets, who are the most important parts of her world.