If you're new to the world of ghost hunting and paranormal investigation, some helpful tips can get you started. Ghost hunting isn't quite what you see on television, so beginners to the field of paranormal investigation would do well to follow some general guidelines.
Tip 1: Clarify Your Goal
The first step is to be clear about your goals. Do you want to go and experience possible paranormal activity, or do you want to dig more deeply and attempt to understand it? Before you begin, decide what your goals are, because those goals will inform your approach.
If you just want to appease your curiosity, then you'll most likely want to go "ghost hunting." This approach doesn't require any specialized equipment. Instead, you'll choose a haunted location, go, and see what you experience.
If, however, you wish to delve deeper and try to understand what is happening in a reportedly haunted location, then you will be investigating the paranormal. With this approach, you may go for longer periods and may use technical equipment to take measurements. You'll also likely sit for long periods observing, and you will want to record all the data you obtain meticulously.
Tip 2: Find a Location
There are many ways you can determine a location to find paranormal activity. Research to find locations with a haunted reputation in your area.
Tip 3: Ask Permission
If the place you plan to go ghost hunting is open to the public, then you can visit during regular business hours first to get a sense of the location. If you plan to do any photographing, audio recording, or filming, or if you'd like to conduct a private investigation, then you need to ask permission from the property's owners. Never conduct a ghost hunt or paranormal investigation without written permission from the owners. If you don't have permission and attempt to enter properties after hours or investigate abandoned properties without permission, you are trespassing and can be held criminally liable.
Tip 4: Don't Go Alone
Always take at least one other person with you when you ghost hunt or investigate. This ensures that you'll have back-up if anything goes wrong, such as an injury or illness, or if any other issues arise. Additionally, a second set of eyes and ears also allows you to have confirmation of any paranormal experiences that occur.
Tip 5: No Gadgets Necessary
Many people new to ghost hunting make the same mistake. They see some cool gadget on television, so they buy it and spend their entire investigation focused on that piece of equipment instead of observing what's happening around them with their five senses. While there's nothing wrong with devices to take measurements and make recordings, it's important to understand that, regardless of how cool a gadget seems, you are your own best equipment. Sit quietly and observe with all five senses. If you do experience something, note the time and write it down on a pad of paper. Don't discuss what you've experienced with the person with you because the second you focus away from your observation, you are likely to miss any ongoing activity.
Tip 6: Nighttime Isn't a Must
People often have a mistaken belief that nighttime is the best (or only) time of day you can experience evidence of ghosts. This idea comes from the fact that television shows typically show ghost hunting being done after dark. Darkness can add a spooky ambience to any ghost hunt, but it isn't the only option. If you truly want to experience paranormal activity, you should go at the time of day the activity is most commonly reported as occurring. For instance, if others report seeing an apparition first thing in the morning, that's when you should investigate.
Tip 7: Think Critically
While you should always have an open mind during ghost hunting or paranormal investigation, it's also important to apply critical thinking. If you do have experiences, test to see what physical factors could have caused those experiences. For example, if an object moves, is there a draft or could footsteps in another part of the building cause vibration that makes something nearby move? Be open to paranormal explanations, but first rule out logical, natural world explanations.
Tip 8: Keep a Record
If you're merely ghost hunting, you don't have to keep a record, though it can be fun to go back and review audio recordings, video, or photographs to look for anomalies. If you're investigating, diligent record keeping is a must. The most basic form of record-keeping is to have everyone involved carry a pad and a pen and record any anomalous activity, noting the time it occurred. More sophisticated record-keeping might include also carrying an audio recorder to listen later for any electronic voice phenomena or a point of view video camera (such as a GoPro) to record what you're seeing as you see it.
Tip 9: Understand Your Equipment
If you do choose to try out some of the latest paranormal investigation gadgets, make sure you know how to use them before you go. Read the user manual and research to understand what the equipment measures and what those measurements mean. You should also be aware of the limitations of your equipment and master the basics of how to use it.
Tip 10: Review Evidence Thoroughly
If you do use recording devices or paranormal equipment, review it thoroughly after your investigation. Choose a spot where you won't be disturbed and turn off your phone.
- Review any video twice; once just listening to audio and once just watching the video.
- Time stamp everything and compare the time stamps for any evidence you find with personal logs.
- Always review audio with headphones. Do it in short periods of five to 10 minutes at a time to give your ears frequent breaks.
Ghost Hunting for Beginners
Increase your chances of having a paranormal experience or capturing evidence of anomalous activity by being the best observer you can when you go ghost hunting. Start simply with minimal equipment, develop protocols that work for you, and allow yourself to become familiar with how your body, mind, and senses respond during possible paranormal activity. Be quiet, still, observant, and open minded, and you just may encounter evidence of a haunting.