Monday, February 11, 2013

So You Want to be a Ghost Hunter

As people view the world of investigations, ghost stories, and psychics through the television, many aspire to become directly involved in the paranormal field. Before you jump into ghost hunting with preconceived notions, I'd like to offer some helpful advice:
Who ya gonna call?

An investigator's mindset: There is a certain mindset everyone should have when approaching the paranormal.
First, keep an open mind. This seems like the most obvious. If there are enough stories surrounding a location, there's probably something to it. 
You should always have a healthy dose of skepticism. It's important to think about all of the possibilities behind the suspected paranormal occurrences. Don't automatically jump to conclusions about the source of the activity. For example, there are many instances where a "cold spot" in the room is just the Air Conditioning vent overhead. 
Don't be hysterical. I see this way to often on television...mainly from Ghost Bro, Zak Bagans (especially when he sees an orb). Try your best not to be too nervous on an investigation. Just clear your mind, take deep breaths, or whatever else you do to de-stress. It may sound difficult at first, but it gets easy after a while. It's not good to let fear consume you since it inhibits your ability to think clearly and subjectively. Don't be too aggressive or cocky either. Very rarely should you ever provoke an entity. This reminds me of my first experience ghost hunting with a man who called certain spirits "pussies" and "bastards," commanding them to "show themselves." Please don't do that.  
Be prepared if it's not as exciting as you thought. There's going to be times when you don't catch anything at all. You could spend hours on an investigation taking pictures, getting baseline readings (EMF, Temp.), doing EVP sessions, and come away with nothing. Also keep in mind that evidence review is very time consuming. I'm not saying this to deter you, but it's the truth. When you do catch something good, however, it's very rewarding.

Basic supplies every novice should have:
  • Flashlight- Since ghost hunting is done at night, a flashlight is essential so you can see your instruments and surroundings. Make sure you have fresh batteries.
  • Camera- It doesn't have to be fancy; it just has to work. Again, make sure your batteries are charged.
  • Compass- This serves essentially the same role as EMF detectors without the cost. When there is a magnetic field disturbance, the needle will spin and do a dance.
  • Voice recorder- It doesn't have to be expensive. You can find these at most general stores like Walmart or Target. 
  • Notepad and Pen-If you hear any sounds, see anything, smell anything, feel anything, record the time and what it sounded/looked/smelled/felt like. 
  • Watch- Obviously to keep track of time.
Choosing a location:
First and foremost, make sure it is safe to be on location after dark. This means choosing a crime ridden area isn't the best idea. Also, many people get injured at abandoned properties because of splinters, rickety stairs, rotten floors, broken glass, etc. (one good reason to carry a first aid kit!)
Regardless of where you choose, always get permission to be there. Remember, most cemeteries are closed after dark.
For a first investigation, I would not recommend anything outside. Outside investigations are difficult because you are subject to the elements, noise and light interference, and distractions.
It would also be a good idea to limit yourself to somewhere small. If you're just starting out, it can get a little overwhelming to cover a lot of ground.  If you need help finding haunted locations in your area, [here's] a link to "The Shadowlands" index of haunted places.

Useful Tips:  
Familiarize yourself with different sounds. This also goes along with the whole "keeping a healthy dose of skepticism" thing. My group did an investigation at a state park where they swore they could hear a woman screaming in the distance. It turns out, it was frog mating season, and that frog's mating call sounded like a screaming lady. 
Carry a first aid kit. It's dark, and somebody could easily trip and fall. 
Say "Flash" before you take a picture, otherwise your teammates might be blinded. 
If you see/hear/smell something, be broad when you ask your teammates if they saw/heard/smelled anything instead of saying something like, "Did you hear that dog barking?" Keeping it vague protects from bias. 
Wear appropriate clothing. If it's going to be cold, wear a coat. Make sure to wear dark colors, because dark colors won't reflect much light. Also, make sure you don't wear any shiny or noisy clothing, shoes, or jewelry. Comfortable attire that doesn't get in the way will be your best choice.  
When you review evidence, get multiple opinions on what you find. 

With that, I wish you the best of luck! If you have any further questions, please comment down below.

On another note, watch Ghost Adventurer Zak Bagans get his ass groped by a ghost while simultaneously bringing shame upon the rest of the paranormal community.

2 comments:

  1. How on earth could you blog pass without me finding it. It's great!! Great post. I'm a paranormal junkie myself. I live in a haunted house and are a bit bothered by it. I had a medium here twice but she didn't succes of making anything about it. And she was very whimsy. I beleive that some places attract ghosts (easier to pass through) like some people.

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    1. Thank you! I'm flattered. It'd certainly be interesting to live in a haunted house.

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