Paranormal investigations have become very popular these days, mostly due to such popular TV shows as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. Ghost hunting can be a fun, educational, exciting, and sometimes scary way to explore the past and the present. But as in any other endeavour, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach the activity.
Get permission before you explore
It is unwise, unsafe, and often unlawful to enter abandoned buildings or cemeteries at night. Obviously, it would be rude to enter anyone else’s property to “ghost-hunt” without their explicit permission to do so. Always ask before you conduct a paranormal investigation.
Have the right attitude
It is not necessary to believe in ghosts or spirits to conduct a paranormal investigation properly, but it is necessary to keep an open mind. A certain amount of scepticism is good, and will keep you from interpreting every little creak or speck of dust as paranormal phenomena. However, if you are convinced that nothing is going to happen, your mind will automatically discount anything that does, and you will not experience anything. Acknowledge that unexplained things do happen, but debunk whatever you can. Open your mind, be practical and look for the answers. They’re there if you know where to start looking.
Have the right equipment
There are different schools of thought about this. Some people like to work with psychics and mediums and trust the judgement of their eyes, ears, and feelings above any other evidence. Feelings are very important, and so is personal observation, but these things are not provable or quantifiable. The most basic elements of paranormal investigation, are to document the surroundings in which the activity allegedly occurs. Record as much information on the location’s environment as possible, using audio-visual equipment and atmospheric sensors to record data and document the investigation. Use also, your own senses, intelligence and intuition.
Your brain, eyes and ears are your most important tools to utilise within a paranormal investigation.
Some equipment that might help catch something closer to evidence would be:
– Audio Recorder: For ‘EVPs’, or Electronic Voice Phenomena. Apparent spoken words which do not belong to anyone present on the scene. Having multiple recorders available during your paranormal investigation will allow you determine the location of sounds, and help rule out possible external sources of audio contamination.
– Cameras: Video and still. The more eyes and lenses on the scene the more chances there are of capturing movement or something that might further back-up the client’s claims. Using digital cameras and video records will make it easier to analyse and share later.
– EMF Meter: For measuring Electromagnetic Fields within the location. Some people believe these fields are present when there is paranormal activity in an area. They can also be used to rule out sources of electrical interference which may be responsible for claims of paranormal activity. Remember, these devices are by no means “ghost detectors”, they are simply a common aid on to help record information about the environment.
– Thermometer: To measure changes in temperature. Fluctuations and sudden temperature drops are often reported to occur when potentially paranormal events are taking place.
Do not take chances with things you do not understand
Read and learn about the paranormal investigation field before you enter it. No matter what you believe, do not taunt or tease or try to anger ghosts or spirits. Be very careful about using equipment and techniques to communicate with spirits if you aren’t fully knowledgeable on their workings and potentials. It is arrogant to assume that we know everything there is to know about negative energy, the afterlife, or any other area outside the normal, which is, after all, what ‘paranormal’ means.
Do not go alone
People have reportedly been harmed by poltergeist activity, although that is extremely rare. More commonly, people may be overwhelmed by emotion or fear and might suffer panic attacks or other emotional episodes during paranormal investigations. Aside from that, many investigation locations may be old or in poor repair and injury or falls can happen. So, unless you are fully experienced, familiar with your surroundings and have taken all necessary precautions, it is recommended you always have a partner and that you have someone trained in first-aid on your team.
Understand that on a paranormal investigation many times nothing at all is going to happen for hours, if at all. You may be interested in the paranormal based on what you have seen on television and documentaries, however remember that these are often heavily edited, in some cases even scripted, and overall designed as a form of entertainment, the reality can be much different.
Paranormal investigations involve sometimes long stretches of doing nothing but sitting quietly and observing. Only embark on this kind of activity if you feel that the possibility of catching something extraordinary is worth a lot of time and effort. Also be prepared to spend many, MANY hours reviewing all the video and audio footage taken at the investigation, as well as examining the hundreds of photos, notes, and sets of data gathered in that time.
A lot of the time, 30+ hours of review time can yield no results or evidence at all.
Study, Read, Watch and Learn
The more you know about paranormal history, other people’s experiences, the available equipment and various techniques, the more rewarding your experience will be. Network and collaborate with other reputable groups, locally and internationally. Every group has gathered information and experiences to share. So, spread the data around. Share and learn with others.
Remember, you don’t have to subscribe to any particular theory to investigate the paranormal; just accepting that we don’t know everything and things do happen outside the ordinary that are unexplainable is enough. And wanting to learn more about those things is a legitimate area of study.
Paranormal investigation is a fascinating field, and with the right attitude, can be rewarding on many levels. The key is attitude.
Keep your eyes, ears and mind open
Look and think outside today’s conventional mainstream science, whilst using what science has already given us. Work hard, know your field, be honest, respectful and responsible.
Be prepared for anything, everything… or, a lot of the time, nothing!