Friday, October 30, 2020

So You Want to be a Ghost Hunter- Get Started

 After learning a friend's daughter was interested in becoming a paranormal investigator, I thought it might be beneficial for her and others (including adults) who might also have an interest in the subject to have a series of blog posts to read through and learn from. 

For starters, let me give you a little background about, well, my background, in paranormal investigation.  I began my interest in the paranormal at a young age. I remember (and have a photo of) sitting in the dark living room at age 4 with my cousin listening to our aunt tell us some ghost stories.  While many of the stories we were told at that age were made up, it wasn't long before we began hearing the true accounts of our family's experiences. In school, I checked out every available ghost book I could find.  By the time I was able to drive, my cousin and I ventured out to see what we might be able to experience.  In total, I've been investigating the paranormal for 29 years.  I also have experience in research, investigation and photography through higher education and work experience.  I started a paranormal investigation group back in the 90's, and while most of the group has dispersed, those of us who are diehards still make time for some investigation.  

The number one skill you want to work on before heading out is your ability to research.  Researching is a valuable tool to the paranormal investigator.  Perhaps there's an area that you've heard might be haunted.  You'll need to be able to try to look up some historical information to determine why the area might be a good place to investigate.  Even areas that have been investigated over and over and are typically accepted as a haunted location (like Gettysburg) should be researched a bit to learn about the specific stories and areas you would be traveling to.  Your research into an area can also give you clues on the best time for an investigation. If activity seems to be most prevalent at 7pm, you don't want to show up at 2pm and miss out on the fun.

History isn't the only thing you should look into.  It's always important in paranormal investigation to make sure you gather as much information on conditions as you can.  You should be keeping a journal or have some other way of recording the specifics of an investigation.  Here is a list of information you should gather for the day of your investigation:

  • Weather- You want to make sure that you record the current weather conditions for the day of your investigation.  It's important to know the temperature, precipitation percentage and even the pollen count in the area.  Weather is important for many reasons, some of which I'll go into detail about in another post in this series.  Basically, knowing the weather lets you know what to prepare for.  For example, cold temperatures can drain your batteries, so you want to be aware of that before hand so you don't automatically assume a ghost is killing your battery power.  Precipitation and pollen can create photos that people often assume are paranormal.  And in my experience, when there are some thunderstorms brewing, paranormal activity can sometimes increase- perhaps because spirits are able to draw from the energy in the atmosphere.
  • Moon Phase- You should also try to look up the current moon phase.  Changes in the moon have a lot of control over our earth. If they are able to control the tides, it isn't unreasonable to assume that they can control other things as well.  Many people believe that strange things happen during a full moon.  Make sure that you keep track of the moon phase on each investigation and try to determine if there is a pattern.  While a full moon is known for bringing on strange behaviors, it also has the ability to create quite a bit of light which can come into play during an outdoor investigation.  Similarly, the darkness of a New Moon can also play a significant role on your investigation.
  • Solar Weather- It's important to record what the solar weather was like during your investigation.  Basically, you want to know what the geomagnetic field of the earth is doing and if there are any solar flares.  Both of these things increase the available energy in the atmosphere and can sometimes cause some issues with your equipment (in times of strong/active solar weather).
All three of these things are easy to look up on the internet. or The Weather Channel app gives you access to up to the minute weather conditions and both the Moon Phase and Solar Weather information can be found on this blog on the right hand side.  

As part of your research, checking out a map of the location can also be helpful.  Google Maps is an excellent way of checking out what is in the area of your investigation. For an outdoor investigation, it is important to know where roads are, what buildings are in the area, bodies of water and anything that might have some type of light source associated with it (porch lights, parking lot lights, etc.).  You want to make sure that you are aware of anything that could be making noises (pumps from a water pumping station, a hidden roadway), creating lights that could created strange photos (buildings in the distance with lights, cars through the trees, parking lots) or producing fog or temperature changes (bodies of water).

Most important, you want to make sure that you have permission to 
be in the area you're investigating!  NO TRESPASSING!  Trespassing is not cool.  Being out at a location past the time it closes is not cool.  All you end up doing is making property owners angry and ultimately ruining things for other investigators.  So make sure you have permission to be on private property and follow the rules about closures on public land (for instance, Gettysburg National Battlefield is open 6:00am- 10:00pm April 1st-October 31st and 6:00am-7:00pm November 1st- March 31st there are hefty fines involved with being on the park grounds after hours).  Following local laws and ordinances is a must!

And last but certainly not least, make sure you go with at least another person to ghost hunt.  Having other people with you is beneficial for many reasons.  If you have some type of emergency (injury, broken down car, etc.) you have someone available to help you out.  It also gives you another witness to any phenomena you may experience.  

Now that you have researched a location and have a solid plan for your investigation, you're ready for your equipment. But that's in the next post. Stay tuned! 

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