An expert can provide ghost hunting tips for the best ways to approach an investigation. Helpful advice may inspire you to go on a first ghost hunt or refine your techniques and skills.
Join a Planned Group Paranormal Investigation
Not everyone knows where to start or how to embark on ghost hunting. Finding a haunted place to investigate requires research. A great way to start ghost hunting is to join a planned group investigation. The framework of an organized group paranormal investigation is a great introduction to the processes and protocols used. Even if you've watched TV shows featuring ghost hunters, a hands-on opportunity to learn from seasoned paranormal experts is priceless.
Often overnight ghost hunts provide opportunities to experiment with different ghost hunting techniques and equipment guided by an expert. Dwayne Claud, author, demonologist, and director of Western New York Paranormal reveals his first ghost hunt experience was the result of a website posting. A group of paranormal investigators were leading a ghost hunt at the Mansfield Reformatory in Ohio. He explains how the penitentiary, "was letting people stay overnight and hunt for ghosts."
If you decide to join a planned ghost hunt, you should do a little research prior to committing to participation. You'll want to research the group hosting the investigation as well as the designated haunted place. "I spoke with the organizers of the ghost hunts at great length," Dwayne says.
You should know who is leading the investigation and their level of expertise. For example, Dwayne Claud discusses how he spoke directly with the organizers of his first ghost hunt. Dwayne says, "They even shared information with me about another ghost hunt that they did in a different part of the state."
Research the haunted place, even when you participate in a group ghost hunt. The more familiar you are with the premises, history and details of reported hauntings, the better prepared you'll be to conduct a thorough investigation. Dwayne explains, "Our small group of adventurers went on the ghost hunt not knowing anything about what we were doing." This is often the case with most first-time ghost hunters. You can ease any discomfort of feeling out of your element with a small amount of research.
Get Permission and Be Safe
You want to always get permission to step onto private and most public premises. Don't assume a place is abandoned since you never know who may be overseeing the property. To venture onto property that isn't yours is trespassing.
- You want to have adequate equipment for areas and places you investigate.
- Wear appropriate clothing and footwear ensure you don't fall victim to the elements.
- Let someone know where you will be and what time you plan to return home.
- Prior to your investigation visit the site to verify cellphone reception. If reception is bad or non-existent take an alternative communication device, such as a 2-way radio or SAT phone.
Don't Overdo the Equipment
One of the keys to success in ghost hunting is being observant. If you're looking at equipment, you may just miss something that is happening righ tin front of you. Therefore, you don't need to invest in a lot of expensive ghost hunting equipment. While this type of technology can be a great aid, you may use a camera and recording device for your first few investigations. You can even simply rely on a pen, paper, and your five senses. However, Dwayne suggests being armed with the following:
- A minimum 6.0 mega pixel digital camera for taking pictures at the highest resolution.
- A good quality voice recorder can often pick up EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).
- Add a green filter to a led flashlight to save your vision at night.
If you do use equipment, there are a few things you can do to ensure your success.
- Learn everything you can about the equipment you'll be using before you use it.
- Test each piece of equipment prior to the investigation so you become proficient in using it.
- Limit your use of new equipment. This will prevent distraction and you possibly missing other types of paranormal activity.
If with careful observation, you think you see something, take a photo in the direction where you spot it. You might even take a series of photos either as a burst or in quick succession. If you're also doing audio recording at the time, always say aloud before you take a photo "camera" or something so it is identified on the recording.
Dwayne discusses his second investigation at Rolling Hills Asylum in Western New York where he used just a camera during the group investigation. He states, "I followed along snapping pictures, capturing some very interesting photographs I just couldn't explain." This proved a good first-timer technique for him. Experienced investigators examined his photos and proclaimed the images he'd captured were spirits.
It isn't enough to simply snap photos and turn on a recorder in the hopes of catching glimpses and soundbites of spirits. You want to be in the moment of your investigation. That requires paying attention to what is happening at the time of your investigation. Claud explains, "We went to Dresden Ohio, to a location known as Prospect Place. Let's just say that the things that I experienced there went far beyond what I ever really expected to happen." He adds, "It was an experience that many of us battled through for the next six months to a year."
Many people jump in feet first with high expectations that their ghost hunting experiences will be profound and immediate. This is rarely the case. If you're serious about being a paranormal investigator, you'll need heaps of patience. It's easy to get discouraged when you have several investigations that have no ghostly results. Dwayne reminds, "Spirits aren't always cooperative. The lesson learned is to get as much education and experience as you can and persevere."
Partner Up When Branching Out on Your Own
Once you feel confident in your ghost hunting skills, it's time to conduct your own paranormal investigations. Just as you employ a buddy system when swimming, you should do the same when it comes to ghost hunting. Never investigate by yourself. You never know what may happen and a partner can assist should you have an accident or worse come face-to-face with a hostile entity.
Conduct Yourself Appropriately
The best tip for conducting a paranormal investigation is to treat spirits the same way you would a living person. You wouldn't enter the person's home and try to antagonize them. You would be respectful and polite. When speaking and interacting with ghosts, you should use words such as please and thank you.
There are several things that paranormal investigators should never do. It's always important to remember that TV shows about ghost hunters have an entertainment factor. This includes things, such as yelling and calling spirits names to get a reaction. Dwayne reiterates the reaction may not be the one anticipated. He says, "I once watched a 300-pound man who was over six feet tall brought to his knees by a spirit strangling him just because the investigators wanted the spirit to prove it was there."
Beware of Demons
Another important reason not to enter an investigation with an aggressive approach is you don't know what type of spirit entities you'll encounter. There are demons just waiting for an opportunity to victimize, terrorize and even possess an unprotected person.
Dwayne wrote a book about his experiences with demons, Baptism by Fire featuring three cases of demonic encounters. He says, "It's a look into the world that lies in the darkness where demons are. It gives investigators some benchmarks of what to look for along with some evidence for them to consider." If that isn't enough to make you mindful of how you approach an investigation, Dwayne's final warning should, "They are nothing to mess with because they can destroy your life. I've seen it happen even to the strongest."
You should prepare and arm yourself prior to each ghost hunt according to your religion and belief system. Dwayne says, "If investigators go to enough locations, at some point they will run across a demonic entity." He gives a few helpful tips that include:
- If you know there is a demon at a location, or suspect one, don't go. Get in contact with someone who has experience.
- Say a prayer of protection before you go into such a location.
- Repeat a cleansing prayer before you leave a location.
- Always be alert and keep your faith in your back pocket. It is just as important as your scientific equipment.
Use Expert Ghost Hunting Tips
The more information you have from experts about ghost hunting, the better prepared you are to conduct a successful paranormal investigation. Preparation and research go hand-in-hand when planning each investigation.