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Paranormal Investigating 101
You might not know it, but there is more to paranormal investigating than meets the eye. Below you will find my list of Dos and Don’ts for investigations. Each step is equally important for capturing those rare, credible pieces of evidence that we all live to display.
Before you attend an investigation, make certain you are well-rested, calm and self-assured. This is not to imply that you should be a know-it-all, but instead to keep your personal energy level functioning at alert/assertive. Negative energies tend to feed off the energies we transmit; fear, anger, hatred, etc. When you take deliberate action to control the energy you emit, you are less likely to cause a negative feeding frenzy. Your group will also remain calm and you will likely walk away with credible, authentic evaluations of your investigation.
Imagine yourself meandering around your home, tending to your own business, whatever that might be. Perhaps you are paying bills, cleaning the bathroom, making beds, or just lazing around on a sunny day reading a good book. Suddenly, without warning, without even knocking on the door, in barges a group of strangers, loaded down with cameras, thermometers, microphones, and other bags of equipment that you know does NOT belong in your home! The strangers completely ignore you as they go about setting up their equipment, all the while joking around and making enough noise to raise the dead. By now, you are probably past feeling intimidated and startled and have moved right on into angry and insistent that they stop what they are doing immediately and leave your home! Still, they persist, paying no attention to you, until you hear them begin speaking at you with the demand, “Give us a sign of your presence.”
How would you react in this situation?
I relay this example to you to encourage you to be most mindful of your hosts when on an investigation. When you enter the space, keep in mind it does not belong to you. You are a visitor/intruder in someone else’s home. Make every effort to calmly and respectfully announce your arrival and your intentions. “Hello…we are (speak the name of your group and your purpose). Ask their permission: “If you will allow us, we would simply like to snap a few photos and speak with you for a few moments.” Give them time to digest your request. Before you begin snapping photos, announce again, “If you wish to have your photo taken, please step in front of the fireplace (or wherever you wish them to appear). Invite them to speak to you into your microphone. After giving them time to move into place, ask your questions. Ask one question at a time. Give them time to respond before asking your next question. Explain to them what you are doing with your equipment each step of the way. If you have a thermal imaging camera, you might invite them to step in front of you. If you are using digital thermometers, invite them to lower the temperature of the room around you so that it can be recorded. I don’t know about you, but I might be mildly annoyed with the intrusion, but I might also be much more willing to cooperate if I know they only want photos and conversation, and then they will be on their way.
Lastly, always thank them for their willingness to allow you to visit with them and apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused them. If you are polite and thankful, not only will you gain the respect of the physical beings around you, but also the disembodied. No kind act goes without some form of appreciation.
Get to know your camera and how it operates. Before you even begin live investigations, use your camera to take pictures of dust, rain, snow (if available), and your camera strap, which should already be removed before you begin taking photos to minimize the “skeptic factor.” Keep the collection of photos handy in a notebook so when “orbs” show up in your photos, you can point to your collection and compare how your camera shoots dust, etc., compared to an actual collection of energy.
Make certain all your equipment is properly and fully charged before you leave for your investigation. ALWAYS TAKE SPARE BATTERIES AND BATTERY PACKS. Beyond taking spare batteries, DO NOT carry the batteries with you on your investigation. Leave them with the Command Center or in a location away from where you will be actively investigating, even if that place is the trunk of your car. The reason is this: While on an investigation in Nevada, my sister had fully charged both her video camera battery and the spare. She kept the spare in her pocket in case her camera suddenly went dead during the investigation. It did. Since we were near the end of the investigation, she didn’t replace the battery until we returned home, where she found the spare battery had been drained, as well.
Only use external microphones on your recording devices, when available. The motor on the hand-held voice recorders creates a loud hum when the internal microphone is used, making it difficult to hear the subtle voices which could otherwise be heard on a clearer recording. Always use a brand new tape; never re-record over an old one. The previous voices can sometimes be heard and may be confused as paranormal.
Keep all your equipment and the carrying cases neatly organized and labeled. This makes for smooth packing and unpacking, as well as helps your team maintain a professional appearance.
Wearing name badges not only adds credibility to your group or organization, but makes it easy for patrol officers to identify you and your organization. Take care to only wear pin-on or clip-on tags as it can be easy for wind to blow your name tag up and into view of the camera or video recorder.
Before tromping off, cameras in hand, make sure you have carefully researched your target and been granted permission to perform your investigation. It’s not worth going to jail for the night just to get a good photo or voice recording.
Pay attention to the weather reports. If rain or strong winds are in the forecast, reschedule your investigation. Even indoor investigations can be tainted by strong winds or rain.
Always pair up. Never investigate an area alone. Not only is the spook factor more intense, but you will likely be in the dark and your probability to trip over something and get hurt increases, too. If you are alone, who will help you? Additionally, if you are investigating inside someone’s home, you never want to be alone, in case the homeowner reports anything missing from the home after your team leaves. There really is safety in numbers.
After completing your investigation, and you have efficiently removed all equipment from the site and packed it neatly away (because you knew where each piece of equipment belonged, because you labeled everything properly), thank your hosts (with or without a body). For your physical hosts, let them know, if you have not gone over your findings already, that you will return at a specific date and time to review your findings. Your unseen hosts will likely hear this conversation as well, and won’t be spooked at your return.
If you have anything to add to this article or have any comments, we certainly welcome them.
Written by Lori Nelson
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