We have set up what we consider a few basic tips for starting out in the paranormal field. Not everyone will agree with our points, and we do strongly suggest that each person review several introductory forums and gain their own experience in order to form their own opinions. We also encourage anyone who reads through the following to consider the information that we give you and apply it to your own beliefs; and to discover what methods work best for you.
Paranormal Introduction Outline
Summary: This is a list of basic information for those interested in becoming paranormal researchers but all are welcome.
Objective: At this end of this form, everyone should have an idea of how to begin a paranormal investigation.
Week 1 – Introduction to the Class, Definitions of Ghosts and Spirits, Types of Hauntings
Week 2 – Equipment and How to Use It
Week 3 - Steps to Conduct an Investigation, Safety Concerns, Case Examples, How to Debunk Activity
Week 4 – Continuation of Week 3
Week 5 – Reviewing Evidence, Filing Evidence
Week 6 – Understanding and Knowing When Evidence has been Faked
Week 7 – Interviewing and Working with Clients
Week 8 – Founding a Team, Getting Organized and Final Review
Have you ever watched Ghostbusters, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures or any other paranormal related movie or show on mainstream media? If so, forget everything you watched on those shows.
It is not that everything they do is wrong however; it is much easier to start at the beginning than to weed through the good and the bad. Remember that those paranormal teams are on TV and generally entertainment outweighs truth and fact. Plus, they edit out a lot of the work that follows the initial investigation. I sighted Ghostbusters on the list because some people do believe that a paranormal team can walk into a house and magically or scientifically make everything go away. In most cases, that is wishful thinking.
In this course, I will tend to lean toward the term “paranormal investigator” instead of “ghost hunter”. I find investigator to sound more welcoming and true to what we are doing. Hunter does not always carry a nice connotation with it; we are trying to communicate with the deceased and prove that they exist, not hunt them as one may an animal.
As for what a paranormal investigator does, we offer help to those who need it and/or fill our own desires and curiosities. Not every paranormal investigator sets out to help other people; many just want to know about the deceased, not the living. One of the better ways to describe what an investigator’s job is this: investigators are, in a sense, defense attorneys for the dead. We are there to counsel them, sympathize with them and let them know their options. We will then present their case to the judge (client/homeowner) but we are not their executioners.
Some paranormal investigators will also want to cleanse a home. That is one thing I never do. I will do sage cleansings in my own home but never a clients, the reason being that you do not have to live there so if your cleansing is not strong enough and does not work, you are not the one to bear the consequences. I always refer to the client’s own spiritual or religious practitioners or help them to find one to bless the house, if the case warrants it.
This is a field of many theories, ideas and everyone has their own opinion. However, this is one scientific field that is not 100% by any stretch of the imagination. Our “facts” are more along the lines of collective agreements as to how this works or what it is. There will always be those who disagree, in fact, you may also disagree with some of the terms and ideas. What this course is about is offering definitions to give a better sense of understanding; down the road you may form, or have already formed your own opinions. That is fine!
Let us discuss what paranormal groups really do and how to do it!
First we need to know:
What is a Ghost?
According to the dictionary, a ghost is defined as: “the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons”. Or, “a mere shadow or semblance; a trace”; “a spiritual being” or; “the principle of life; soul; spirit”.
Hans Holzer (who is sometimes coined as the “Father of Ghost Hunting” and famous for his investigation into the “Amityville Horror” defined ghosts as: “imprints left in the environment which could be “picked up” by sensitive people”.
Other definitions say that a ghost is either the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living. Depending on the culture or the individual, souls and spirits can be counted as two separate parts of an individual or as the same thing. The same can be said of animals; although there are many paranormal investigators and non-investigators who have encountered animal spirits, it does not change their opinion that animals can be ghosts but do not have souls.
The general consensus is that a ghost, is a “residual haunting” and it can not communicate with you.
Ghosts can be and have been called by various names such as: phantom, apparition and specter/spectra.
Dictionary definition: “the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul”; “the incorporeal part of humans”’ “the soul regarded as separating from the body at death”; “conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter”; or, “a supernatural, incorporeal being, especially one inhabiting a place, object, etc., or having a particular character: evil spirits”.
Hans Holzer defines spirits as, “intelligent beings who could interact with the living.
Spirit is a word that is also used to define demons and non-human entities. However, when referring to humans, one belief is that the spirit is the personality of the person. The definitions of spirit and soul have been overlapped; as well as the definitions of ghost and spirit.
There are paranormal investigators out there who view spirits and ghosts as one in the same and, there are those who definitely view each as a separate entity. I tend to let it to each individual to decide on this one.
Holzer also termed another type of being as “stay behinds”, which were those who “found themselves earth-bound after death.
Types of Hauntings:
Generally speaking, most people will go with the standard two types of haunting: residual and intelligent. I am going to branch out and classify other types of hauntings as well.
Residual: is a footprint or stamp in time. Residual hauntings will not answer your questions and do not know you are there. These types of hauntings can be: doors that open and shut, footprints, reenactments of war battles. How residual is believed to exist is because all humans put out energy. Sometimes, this energy can become trapped in time, for one way of putting it; especially when a lot of emotional energy is expelled from the person. Battles are a good example because there is so much emotional energy involved; it rips a whole in time causing a loop that will replay at certain times. These times can be once a day, month, year, it depends on the particular haunting.
Intelligent: they may or may not know that they are dead but, they can answer your questions and know that you are there. They may still think that it is the year 1899 but they are able to talk to you. In rare cases, intelligent can be aggressive. They were human once and have taken their memories and emotions with them to the grave. Depending on how they died or why they are still here can have an impact on how they will react to you. These types are rare so do not be overly concerned with them.
Demonic: self-explanatory. A demonic haunting is a haunting caused by a non-human entity (meaning that it was never human) that causes harmful or negative activity. These types can be violent and cause scratch marks and ill feelings. These are very dangerous to work with and some type of religious authority should be sent for immediately. Luckily, these types are extremely rare.
Angelic: the opposite of demonic; these are spirits who are our messengers and protectors.
Non-human entity: these are intelligent beings that are not of human or demonic origin. Types of these can include: nature spirits, guardian angels and shadow people.
Poltergeist: is activity that is usually centered on one particular person or family. Unlike other hauntings, this type can be caused by the person themselves from stress and emotional energy. The most common type of person to be affected by this type of haunting is teenage females.
Guardian Spirits: This is a term that I use; others may call them Guardian Angels, Free Spirits, etc. These are spirits who have crossed over and come back; usually to keep an eye on loved ones.
Why do Spirits Remain?
Each type of haunting is unique on to itself, the same can be said for why spirits remain on earth. For those who were human and have died:
Some have unfinished business to attend to, unfulfilled goals or are waiting on a loved one to pass away so they can make the journey together. Or the person was murdered and wants to see justice for their killer.
Then there are those who do not know that they are dead, which is primarily the case for those who died suddenly or tragically.
Others remain in order to say goodbye, these types of visitations occur mostly when people are asleep in the form of dreams. Sometimes, the person dreams of the deceased person before even knowing that that person is dead.
Consoling a loved one is another option, and these spirits will do what they can to make their presence known and prove that they are the deceased loved one. The most common way to do this is releasing familiar scents. However, smelling a familiar scent in a home can also have a scientific reason behind it, such as the smell is trapped in the house where the person spent a lot of time and released as the wood in the house expands during certain weather conditions.
Fear of what is on the other side. Think about people who died in prisons, like Eastern State Penitentiary, they may believe that they have more freedom remaining where they are instead of crossing over to be judged. Some may be afraid that the afterlife is not what they expected it to be.
Those who do not know that they are dead are the easiest ones to help cross over. Those who remain to consol a loved one and to say goodbye will generally, eventually leave on their own. Which leaves those with unfinished business; what the business is always depends on the person. In matters of property and the like, the spirit may remain around until they feel satisfied that their estate was handled correctly. In other instances, a spirit may wait centuries until they pass on.
For an example of this type of haunting, I sight the case of Adeline Baver, who was murdered, more than likely by someone she knew, while returning home after a party. The murder occurred in the 1800s, yet people still say that they see her spirit at the sight where she was murdered and where she was buried. They say she is waiting for justice for her unsolved murder.
There are many different types of equipment that paranormal investigators use when working on a case. Some items can be bought off of the internet; other tools are made by scientifically minded investigators. In this lesson, we will be going over mostly the pieces of equipment that are more common and easy to get. The ones that are hand built, are not always easy to find and we can never really know what all is out there for use. This will be a brief overview because your homework will be to look up people using these devices on YouTube to help you get a better understanding if you have never witnessed one of these devices in action previously.
These non-scientific tools are regarded with a great deal of skepticism; their movements can be easily faked by the person using them. However, there are those who prefer to use them and believe that they are accurate pieces of equipment.
In its history, long before it was used as a tool by paranormal investigators; dowsing rods were used as a type of divination (an attempt to gain insight into the unknown).
To locate water under the ground, buried metals and gemstones, oil, grave sites and, it is also believed that they were used to find places with high energy levels for the ancient Pagans to build their areas of worship. Example: Stonehenge
However, there is no scientific evidence that supports that dowsing rods can do any of the above.
What it looks like: traditionally, the rod was a forked, Y-shaped branch from a tree, some dowsers preferred some trees over others, particularly witch-hazel, willow or peach trees.
In modern times, dowsing rods are usually just two L shaped pieces of metal.
The dowsing rods are held out in front of you and they will swing and cross each other as you approach paranormal energy, allegedly speaking.
Pendulums are weighted items suspended from chains or string so that it can swing freely. Similar in use to dowsing rods, the idea is to hold the pendulum out and paranormal energy can make it swing. Some people who use pendulums believe that they can ask ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions using the force of the swing.
Scientifically speaking, the reason the pendulum swings is because of gravity. The time period with which the pendulum swings is based off the length of the chain.
This is a device used to record Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) s. The recorder picks up the voices of the deceased and spirits by use of waves and magnifies the voices so that we can hear them.
Any hand held digital recorder will do, though some are better than others. All you have to do is press record when you are ready to start investigating or communicating with the dead.
Just to note that the recorder not only magnifies the voices but everything around it. This means that when you are standing near water, cars, etc all that excess noise will be magnified, sometimes to the point of drowning out any possibly voices that one may have captured.
When listening to recorders, sometimes the voices come in what is called “white noise”; which is a static sound. It does not always happen, but chances are if you are hearing an electrical sound that is not generated from possible forces (household appliances, telephone lines) then you may have a spirit who is trying to communicate with you, even if you do not hear it.
We will get more into EVPs and how to review them in upcoming classes.
Or Electromagnetic Field Detector is a device used to detect a physical field in our world that is produced by moving electrically charged objects. It is believed by some investigators that spirits can be these objects.
An EMF detector will spike to higher levels recorded on the device when an electromagnetic field is close by. The issue is that, household devices and electrical wires can also produce spikes on an EMF detector.
If you were to hold one of these devices anywhere in your house, you may very well have some reading on it. As you move closer to a television or refrigerator, the detector will read a higher level of electricity. It may even spike into the red or danger field, when near these appliances. One will definitely spike when near a fuse box.
They tend to be slightly more accurate when in an area that does not have electricity. It is usually best to correlate your findings with the EMF to other evidence that you have gathered at the same time.
A spirit box is a modified portable radio that quickly goes through multiple radio stations at one time without pausing. In a matter of seconds, the device can cover several channels. These devices come in handy because they allow for real time communication with the dead, unlike digital recorders where you have to go back and review the evidence afterwards.
Spirit boxes will make a static radio noise, similar to what you would hear when on a radio station with no frequency and sometimes radio voices can be heard. The trick for how this device can work accurately is to listen for the voices that not only relate to the questions being asked or the area; but also the ones that can be heard overtop several stations. If a spirit were to say a sentence over the spirit box, that sentence will be said as the device skips through several stations. As long the sentence is coherent and goes together, that is proof that the voice speaking is not being caused by the radio stations.
This is another real time spirit communication device. Unlike the spirit box, it does not have the extra noise from radio stations because this one is programmed with the words inside of it and the spirit simply picks out the word it wants to say. This device is met with a lot of speculation because it is believed that the device may just say certain words without prompting.
Are carried by some paranormal investigators in order to record changes in temperature. When a spirit is near, the general area around the spirit and the investigator will become colder. Sometimes the cold lingers and sometimes it will be just a cold spot in a large room. One example of cold spots, is when the re-enactors were filming the movie Gettysburg , according to some of the people there at the time, they hit a large cold spot while filming Pickett’s Charge. It was a warm day when they filmed it and had no other explanation other than it might have been something paranormal. So generally, when faced with a cold spot, you can tell it without a thermometer but, if you want to be precise and scientific, then you can record the changes as a scientific example.
There are different types of cameras that investigators use: digital, Infrared, Ultraviolet and Thermal.
While Thermal and Ultraviolet can show spirits that are in a room that we cannot see by tracking heat and light signatures, these cameras are priced well beyond what most investigators and groups can afford.
A digital camera can be used, although it will not offer the same glamorized shots that the other, more expensive, cameras will show. Do not take that as a regular camera will not work; there are many instances of regular/everyday cameras catching: orbs, shadows, mist and full body apparitions.
We will get into debunking certain types of images later in the course. Remember that we will also be mentioning these items again as the course goes on and more tips and tricks for using them and reviewing the evidence. This is just your overview as to this is what this item is.
Lessons 3 and 4 go together for one lesson on how to conduct an investigation. So what is not covered this week will be gone over next week. This section does not cover founding a society or working with clients; this just about how to investigate.
To begin, I am going to post my 21 tips, tricks and rules for paranormal investigating.
1. Always take a cell phone and first aid kit with you; you never now when they might be needed.
2. Be aware of the time of year and plan accordingly. Remote locations should not be investigated during hunting season. Dress accordingly, keep in mind that locations near the water and on top of hills or cliffs will be chillier than other places. Locations will be more active as the time of year nears a particular event at the place. This also means that the area will probably be busy and crowded. Think about Gettysburg July 1st – 3rd, it is hard to even find a place to park, let alone a quiet area to use a digital recorder.
3. Nighttime is not the only time you can investigate. Your senses are more alert when your eyes cannot see, but the mind and sight can still play tricks on you in the dark. Ghosts can be seen and heard during the day. An infrared camera or full spectrum camera can help with catching something on film during the day as well. It is also safer to be out during the day when you can see what all is surrounding you, animal, human and terrain alike. Most of the locations on this list are not available to the public after dark anyway, and if you are caught you can be sighted for trespassing.
4. Do NOT trespass. Whether you are an individual or a paranormal group, trespassing never looks good on anyone’s record.
5. Do not go alone. This is not a matter of how brave you are; it is a matter of safety reasons. If you do want to wander into a certain area by yourself, just make sure that your partner(s) are close by.
6. There is no need to buy expensive equipment. It may give the impression that you are a professional but really want counts are how you act and speak. Taking a digital recorder, notebook and camera with you are really all that you need. The camera is more for documenting the location and taking pictures of where you were so you can partner the photographs up with the EVPs that are caught. Notebooks come in handy for tagging noises and marking down personal experiences. Plus, you can only carry so much equipment with you at one time. If you are loaded down with several expensive cameras you will leave out room for more necessary and useful items.
7. Be aware of your surroundings, you do not want to be so focused on your camera in EMF detector that you walk into the road or trip over a rock.
8. Research the history of where you are going. The more names, dates and events that you take with you, the more likely you are going to be able to strike up a conversation and relate to the dead.
9. Tag all sneezes, coughs, whispers and noises. Do not just think you will remember it all later, because it will just lead to a greater disappoint when you think you have caught something on the digital recorder and it turns out that it was someone living creating the sound.
10. Bring trigger objects with you. Items that resemble something from the past can stir up activity. Just like mentioning certain names and events while doing an EVP session. Trigger objects can include: bullets, mini-balls, period style clothing, books, toys or even people. Bringing a female friend with you to an abandoned prison or a male friend to a place with high feminine energy can bring about activity.
11. When listening to EVPs after an investigation, pay attention to any static sounds or interference on the recorder. Usually the static is there for a reason and a spirit may be communicating through this noise. The interference is not always present during spirit communication but it is a good sign of a paranormal presence.
12. Do not video tape or record somebody without their permission. To do so in this state is illegal.
13. It is not a good idea to invite ghosts home with you, especially if you are not in tune to their energy.
14. Keep your investigating group small, the more people the more contamination. Just like a crime scene. People who are overly negative or constantly joking about things will not do your group any good. If people in your group are rude or childish, chances are the spirits are not going to want to talk to them.
15. Do not be upset if you do not catch anything. It happens, and it does not mean that you did not investigate properly. Give it time and eventually you will hit the right spot.
16. Do not take everything that other people in the paranormal field say as truth. The paranormal and supernatural are still, for the most part, unknown to us. There are few real facts, there really only theories.
17. It is best to review all your evidence and file it away as soon as the investigation is completed, or within a few days afterwards. This way most of the events are still fresh in your mind and it makes it easier to line up EVPs with locations.
18. Never feel that you are alone in your experiences, there are many of us out there who have experienced the paranormal too.
19. Remember that just because a haunted location may have an angry spirit does not mean that the spirit is demonic.
20. Trust your instincts and intuition.
21. Always be Respectful!
To begin, before you begin an investigation you need to decide on where you are going. A place does not have to be have documented accounts in order for it to be possibly haunted.
For indoor locations, you should have the owners permission; I do all investigation request via email so that I have it documented.
For outdoor locations, make sure that you are not trespassing.
The first few investigations that you do, I recommend public places: national or state parks, battlefields, conservation areas, hiking areas. Those types of places.
You should also always have someone with you. Ideally, it should be someone who is interested but who will also be respectful and useful. Don't take friends who will make it into a joke. Do take with you someone with whom you get along.
Jack may be an experienced investigator but if you think he is a jerk, those energies will not go along well for an investigation.
Jill, is interested but inexperienced. You may consider taking her. Everyone needs to gain experience at some point in time.
While extra hands are useful, if too many people go along, you will be stepping on each other's toes. Keep large groups for large areas, 4-8 people in pairs, and smaller groups for small areas, 2-6 in pairs or sets of 3 depending on the area.
Starting and Conducting the Investigation
Always, no matter where you go, make sure that the scene is safe enough for you and your fellow investigators. Keep in mind: natural hazards, the weather, the living, animals and any manmade hazards.
For these reasons, it is best not to investigate abandoned houses. Not only could the house be unsafe structurally, you don't know what humans or animals could be in there. There is also the chance of breathing in airborne contaminants. A few months ago a paranormal investigator passed away after breathing in contaminated air in an abandoned house. The Sara Harris Foundation was set up to prevent future incidents like that from occurring.
There are several components to the investigation: voice, video, eye witness.
It is up to you how much you want to know going into an investigation. Of course when dealing with clients/homeowners, you will want to know what activity happens and where it happens in order to help give them the best results.
It is also up to you how you want to handle the investigation. There is no right or wrong. You can walk through the area first, take pictures first. If you are outside, you will not went to set up your equipment however; if it is an indoor investigation and you have the equipment, you can stage it in certain high activity areas of the building.
When asking questions there are the general, "what is your name? How did you die? How old are you? What year did you die?" But then there are questions in regards to the location.
Gettysburg Battlefield, Pa: "what side did you fight on? What is your rank? Were you married?"
Chickies Rock, Pa: "did you commit suicide? Were you a victim of the trolley accident?"
For an example EVP session,
Lets say I had the chance to go to the Tower of London in England, my questions would be:
"Are the two young princes still here? Who killed you? Was it your uncle Richard?"
"Are any of the wives of Henry VIII still here? What is your name? Is Anne Boleyn still here? Anne this is the chance to clear your name, did you have an affair with any of the men that you were accused with? Are you proud of your daughter Elizabeth?"
Give pauses after each question so the spirits have a chance to answer.
One trick I use during EVP sessions is to ask certain questions and then make comments on the location and the history. That is usually when I get the most EVPs.
As you investigate you will develop your own techniques and the what questions to ask will become easier for you
I will begin this weeks lessons with mentioning one more tip for EVP work.
Make sure that you tag every sound you hear from a living being: sneezes, coughs, footsteps, sounds in the distance.
The next major part of investigations is photography. Photographs are easy to debunk or discard in many cases so I went to give you tips on how to make sure your photos are legit. Videos and photos are a great way to document the scene and your surroundings. If you are lucky, you may catch something paranormal.
1. Pay attention to your surroundings: is it foggy out, raining, snowing, sunny? Any of these can add natural elements to your pictures that may be mistaken for something paranormal. Rain and snow can produce orbs, fog makes mist, and sunlight can add reflections to your pictures.
2. Take note of the temperature, if it is cold outside and you are taking your camera out of someplace warm, your lens can fog up. People who wear glasses have similar issues.
3. Take several pictures in a row, quickly. This will be beneficial when you go back through your footage. If you mist in one photo but not in one taken immediately afterwards in the same location, then it is time to consider and rule out any of the conditions listed in numbers 1 and 2. If everything is in the clear, you may have some evidence on your hands.
4. Compare all photos will other evidence, especially EVPs and temperature change. This will help support your findings; this is also a good time to mention, when doing EVPs, make note of your location to compare with your video evidence. This is easy to do if you also have a video camera going at the same time.
5. Remember my 21 tips from last week, don't let people smoke on investigations because it can mess up photographs.
On the Black Moon Paranormal Research Society Facebook fanpage we have posted several photographs of purposefully faked evidence to give you an idea of what it can look like.
We will be going over some of these parts in greater detail when we get to the lesson on evidence review.
As for other pieces of equipment, such as thermometers and emf detectors, if you have either of these tools with you, just be sure to document significant changes. Such as the thermometer reading that the temperature has dropped several degrees rapidly or energy spikes on the emf. It is best to use emf detectors in open spaces with little to no electricity to get reads that may be paranormal. Inside someone's house, it will let you know of high electromagnetic fields. Which can create what is known as a fear cage. Fear cages are high levels of emfs throughout a space that can cause a person to have feelings of paranoia. There is nothing paranormal about fear cages but it would be something that the property owner should look into for safety reasons.
Of course the best way to learn is to watch.
1. YouTube Ghost Detectives at the Selma Mansion. They are a good team and the legitimacy of the events of this video have been backed up by one of the board members of the preservation society in charge of the mansion. Hopefully the link helps.
It is a two part episode.
Investigations can take hours or days to complete. The more you do it, the better you will become at it.
Questions? Remember we are only going over the basics here, but you are welcome to ask me any questions. What types of equipment I do or do not use? Further explanation on more advanced tools?
As I said before, you will develop you own investigation style in time. For now, we must move on to the area that makes or breaks most paranormal investigators...reviewing the evidence.
What a lot of people don't realize, in part thanks to the wonders of television editing, is that the review process takes at least 3 times as long as the investigation. That is, it takes that long to properly review evidence. If you had a 3 hour investigation, figure 3 hours to review any visual that you have. That number doesn't include all the times where you pause and rewind the footage to take a second look at some things. The same goes for audio review. I would suggest not doing both at the same time, especially at the beginning, because while you are focusing on one task, you may be missing something with your other task.
After last week, you were given several outside sources to read and review for photographic evidence. Let's begin with that this week.
I know that more than a handful of investigators are anti-orbs in photographs. I, personally, am not. In an age of digital cameras, water spots, are really non-existent. Once you prove that the "orb" in the photograph is not light reflecting off an object, or rain (just talking about camera photographs here, not videos), then what exactly is it? You cannot disprove that it is not something paranormal, but you can't exactly prove that it is paranormal. Unless, you happen to have some correlating footage such as the timing with other activity.
Here is a checklist to help you figure out whether or not an orb, mist or other anomally could be paranormal:
Were you inside, if so, was there a heavy amount of dust in the room?
Is it in other photographs you took around the same time?
Is there sunlight reflecting anywhere else in the photograph?
Is there any other logically explanation for what you see in the photograph?
If the answer to all these is no, you may have something paranormal.
When going through video evidence, a lot of the same type of circumstances apply for this review as they do for photographic reviews. However, in addition to that, you also need to keep an eye out for shadows that cross through sunlight; voices, whispers or other noises that you did not audibly hear when you were on location.
Keep an eye out for how things change, such as, does the background color of the video change at any certain point for no reason? Or does the video suddenly become blurry for no reason? Eventually you will develop the right kind of eye to notice these changes.
EVPS: When listening to the digital recorder for paranormal voices, the first step is to have a pen and paper handy. Right down the date, times and those involved with the investigation, the location. Hopefully you remember to tag all this beforehand, as well as where you are specifically at the location. Listen for anything that you did not hear while you were on location, EVPs can come at any point, after you ask a question or even while you are talking. Some spirits like to join in on other's conversations if they are talking about something of interest. I remember one time while at Gettysburg Battlefield, my friend and I were investigating Devils Den when we were discussing where we should head off to next. We decided to go to the Wheatfield, only to find out later that at this time on the digital recorder, we had a man telling us, "No, do not go there!" I always supposed that he knew what kind of carnage happened in the Wheatfield and did not want us to be witness to that, sometimes the time difference for us and them is non-existent.
My tip for listening, especially when it is your first few times, listen for a static or electric sound. More often than not, voices accompany that sound, which we call "White Noise". It is said that this is what spirits use when they communicate with us; however, I also have numerous EVPs with no static sounds involved. Sometimes the static noise is too loud and drowns out anybody else who is trying to talk.
Don't be upset if while you are reviewing evidence you cannot make out what the spirits are saying. This happens a lot, either you can't make it out or you may think it says one word, while someone else hears another.
When it comes to video, EVP, or photographic evidence, my advice is this, no matter how small or insignificant a find might be (an EVP that you can't make out because it is only whispers, a possible "orb" in a photograph) mark it down! You can always go back and check things later, I don't believe in throwing out any evidence because it may not seem as fantastic as catching a full body apparition or an entire sentence on your recorder.
After you go through all your evidence you need to make sure that it is all documented and filed correctly.
I always write up a hardcopy that list all personal experiences, EVPs, EMF spikes, Spirit Box communications, etc. That way, in case something happens to the sound clips, you still have them. With the hardcopy, add copies of photos and videos and the EVP sound bites, or even the entire digital recording. To upload the EVPs on to the computer, I use what is called Audacity, it is a free program that works very well.
We have gone over orbs and a few faked photographs already but now we are going to elaborate on that subject. Out of all the paranormal evidence that could be faked, photographs are the most prominent, which is why we are focusing on them.
I find that the best way to recognize fake evidence when it is shown to you, is to already know what purposefully faked evidence looks like. If we were in a classroom setting, this class would be a slideshow presentation however, since this is an online class, I am going to post two websites below with faked photographs on them. Review the pictures on these websites, study them and, by the time you are done, you should know how to spot fake or false evidence when you see it.
I find working with clients to be the hardest part of being a paranormal investigator, if this is the route you take with your knowledge and interest.
First, there are a few general guidelines that are to be followed by investigators.
The number one guideline, is that we do not charge for investigations.
Two, the client should be interviewed before an investigation takes place, this is the benefit and safety of everyone involved.
Clients contact investigators for a number of reasons: they really want help, they enjoy paranormal shows and want to see such things re-enacted in their own home. Lastly, to put it frankly, sometimes it really is just in their imagination or something with a natural explanation.
From my standpoint, I always view activity as happening until proven otherwise. Some people choose to go the other way of they are wrong until it is found that there is activity in the house.
First thing is first, the interview,
For conducting interviews, at least one person on your paranormal investigation team should be responsible for interviewing witnesses to the paranormal activity at the location you are going to be investigating, particularly if it is a private residence. This can be done over the phone as well or at a chosen location. Whatever is convenient for you and, most importantly, for the client. If you want to conduct the interview where the activity is taking place, that can be alright too. The witness will be able to show you exactly where the event occurred and other pertinent information at the venue. Take photographs of the relevant locations.
Never push a witness to talk about an experience they do not wish to share. Also, do not influence the witness’s descriptions.
Allow the witness to remain anonymous, if they wish. NEVER give out a witness’s name if they wish to keep it concealed. Never share information or pictures from investigations without permission, preferably written permission.
We suggest searching Google for "paranormal investigation forms" in order to give yourself an idea of how to write one out.
Some clients can be very difficult to work with, they expect ghostbusters that will make everything go away. You can learn and practice cleansings, I prefer to allow more practiced or religious affiliated people to bless homes. That is a personal opinion.
What I tell clients is that we are there to help them answer questions as to who or what is on their property and, find out why they are there. I cannot and will not force them to leave, unless they are harming the family.
When it comes to the reveal, how you do this is up to you. It can be face to face or; you can send the sound clips, video clips and notes over email. The latter option also ensures that the client has a copy of the evidence.
Personally, I prefer the email method for interview and review just because it gives you documentation of everything. Remember documentation is extremely important! You don't want to end up with someone trying to sue you because the owners gave you permission, ex: to share a picture of their home from an investigation, but then later on changed their minds and tried to make you look bad.
For your housework for this week, I want you to review the sample interview I sent you and think about how you would handle your own interviews. Are there questions you would add? Additional details you would want to know? If you can figure some of these details out now, it will help guide your future endeavors in this field.
Forming your Own Team
The most important part of forming your own team is to find people that you can work with and, whose energies go well with yours. Even if the person is not that knowledgeable, they can learn.
This helps to keep things peaceful in the group. Drama and ego issues will dissolve a group faster than you can build one.
Before you form a full team and, after you decide that you want to have a team, you need to get the foundation started. Most teams are founded by one or two people; then you make up policies, procedures, rules and the guidelines for interviewing new members. Not everyone needs to interview people, some groups are just formed of trusted, good friends that don't have to be interviewed.
Throughout this course I have sent you rules for investigating plus a link to a website with legal documentation; so, you are already part way there in that aspect.
Other things to consider when looking to form your own group
What are your goals?
Write them down.
Do you want to provide services to others? Are you ready to do that? Can you capture evidence and, help clients? If you do not feel you have the necessary abilities to work with helping clients with what you find, then make a list of additional resources to help them. This list will also be helpful if you are dealing with extreme paranormal activity if you need extra assistance quickly.
Remember that after team safety, the client is the next most important person.
Again, keep in mind that documentation is extremely important!
Next, make sure you have the proper equipment. You do not need to have all the best and most expensive equipment at your disposal but, you shouldn't show up with nothing either. Which there are groups out that do not use equipment and instead rely on psychic ability only. I do not recommend this route, I have come in after groups have done that and, successfully cancelled out all their findings using science.
Once all that is covered, it comes down to picking a name, be original, and; getting that name out there. Think networking! Facebook is a great tool for networking. As for investigating and becoming known locally, it is a slow start. Begin with willing friends and family for investigations and passing the name and information along. Eventually your reputation will grow, just remember to ensure that it is a good one!