Paranormal investigations – or, as some like to call them, ghost hunts – are involved and precise processes. For those who have been in the field for a long time, this is pretty much a given. But for those who are new to this type of work, the full scope of what’s involved may not be immediately obvious or understood. For example, new investigators may not realize the hours of review involved after an investigation, or the fact that sometimes, after reviewing hours and hours of audio and/or video, there is nothing to be found.
With people new to paranormal investigations in mind, here – in no particular order – are ten tips I have found to be very helpful:
1. Whenever possible, do not investigate alone. Have at least one other person with you as a witness, as an extra set of eyes and ears, and in case something happens to you.
2. Don’t be in a rush to get all the fancy equipment you may have seen other, experienced investigators use. Most long-time investigators got started with a camera, a recorder (tape or digital), and a flashlight. Keep the K.I.S.S. method in mind…
3. Never start an investigation without first taking protective measures. Whether you pray, smudge, or whatever, make sure you do these rituals before you go into any location so you don’t end up with something glomming onto you that you don’t want to take home.
4. Before leaving a location, always thank the entity or entities (even if you have no immediate evidence of them) for being there. Then, tell them very firmly that they are not to follow you.
5. If you find yourself in a hostile situation (called a “hostile haunt”) and you feel like you’re out of your depth or you don’t know what to do, LEAVE THE LOCATION IMMEDIATELY and as calmly as possible, and return ONLY if you have experienced investigators to help you. If you don’t know what to do or how to do something and you remain in the location anyway, you are endangering yourself and whoever else is with you.
6. Never trespass! If you want to investigate a private residence or a business, talk to the owners FIRST and get their permission. If you are trespassing and you are caught, not only can you be fined and/or jailed, but you also create very bad publicity for your team. Remember that bad news travels fast; no one is going to call on you if they know you trespass on private property without permission.
7. When using tape or voice recorders, leave a gap of at least several seconds between questions. This allows for response time from the entity or entities you’re investigating.
8. If there is even a remote possibility that something you’ve caught on camera or recorder can be explained, do not present it as evidence. To do otherwise will remove your credibility, not to mention that it will open the door to people who seek to criticize you.
9. Always provide the home or business owner with a copy of all the audio and video recordings of the investigation. It is their home or business they have allowed you to enter, and they have a right to a copy of the complete investigation.
10. The safety of you and your team must always come first. The safety and wishes of your client are second.
Every team has their own way of doing things, but these tips have been a standard for virtually every paranormal investigation team worth their salt. Have fun, stay safe, and happy hunting.