Solo – adjective. ”Done by one person alone; unaccompanied.”
Vigil – noun. ”A period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.”
For many teams out there, I know that investigating alone is considered a bad thing to do and not recommended. As someone that has spent quite a few decades investigating independently, as well as in a team situation, I can see the points and concerns of both sides.
When investigating as a team; while I enjoy friendship and working alongside like-minded others, sometimes more is not always better. The more people in attendance at investigations, the more chance you have of contamination to your data collection. Video, audio, and recorded atmospheric material can all be ruined and considered invalid if there are others there with you. Each person is a potential contaminant.
From simple talking, breathing and the sounds of subtle body movements and gastro-internal motions, the atmosphere and session outcome can all be affected by having multiple people in the building. I’ve seen teams of around 20 members investigating a tiny two-bedroom house. I’ve listened to their EVPs and watched their video ”evidence”. Pretty much all can be attributed to nothing more than team members moving around, breathing, sighing, whispering, farting, and stomach gurgling. Every handheld (or head-mounted) torch will create shadow ”people”, as the various light sources move around, bouncing off team members onto walls.
Investigating alone means you have a better chance of ruling out all those annoying false positives during your session.
Depending on the location size, a team investigation situation can be quite counter-productive and a waste of valuable access time. There are many distractions and the space can become a little congested at times. Some will argue that the more eyes and ears you have attending an investigation, the better it’ll be for evidence gathering. In my opinion, (in some instances) even just one set of eyes and ears can still be too much. Sometimes less really can mean more.
If you are alone, and you move, fart, burp, or your stomach growls; you’ll hear it and you only have yourself to blame. The debunking becomes easy.
I know investigating a location alone is unthinkable to many. It does take a ”special” sort to want to put themselves into those kinds of positions, but going solo is something I think should be done if you really want to advance and grow as an investigator or researcher in this field. Face a few fears and push yourself a little outside of that comfort zone.
I have to say that, as a team leader, seeing members of my team putting their hands up and offering to do an overnight stay alone, fills me with great pride. Especially when I can tell they have quite a few reservations but are determined to follow through on the challenge. It shows great character growth and a real passion to follow the research head first; wherever it may lead. Even if it is into uncertain and even uncomfortable territory.
I will also state here that (hand on heart), I am extremely proud of everyone in my team, past, and present that has gone that step further. Pushed down a boundary or two to see what might be on the other side and stuck it through the night on a solo vigil.
For those that see investigating alone as a bad thing, I say maybe, just maybe you’re missing out on some potentially incredible personal experiences. If done safely, with common sense, intelligence, maturity and a heightened awareness of your surroundings, you may very well get quite a bit from your time. Not just in a potentially paranormal sense.
Here are a few tips if planning on doing a solo vigil.
- Check your surroundings during the daytime to get your bearings and scout out any possible safety hazards.
- There is no need to go ”lights out”. This is primarily for the TV shows to make the location appear scarier than it actually is. There is no evidence that paranormal activity becomes any greater or less with the lights on or off. There is nothing wrong with having the lights on if you think it makes you feel safer. Create the safest environment for yourself whilst there.
- Take food and water. Stay hydrated and nourished.
- Let husbands, wives, or partners know where you are staying and what time to expect you home.
- Take your phone. (plus power bank or charger)
- Avoid any complicated equipment set-ups for these sessions. Keep it simple and bring just the basics. ie – A video camera or two, camera, torch. audio recorder and an atmospheric measuring gadget or two if you have them. Spare batteries are important too.
- Suitable clothing and footwear for the situation. Comfort, warmth, and safety are important.
- Make sure you have permission to be in the building. The owners and/or security guards should be aware you are there.
- Be respectful. Not only of the building, the owners, and your environment but towards any possible spirits that might still reside in the building. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, respect is important and must be practiced in every investigation. Respect, responsibility, and honesty.
- Leave the building as you entered it. Clean up after yourself and remove any rubbish.