The Investigation Part 2

Chautauqua Ghosts Investigations

Once you have your equipment in hand and location picked out it is time for you to begin your investigation.  Of course you have to have a plan of action.  Many people have very different ways of going about finding out if there is activity in the site and it all depends on what you have in mind and what results you want to achieve.  You can do all the research in advance and walk into the home armed with all the ammunition searching for specific places and occurrences.  However, I like to go in to an investigation a little blind.  It prevents me or my group from making inferences about already known information and creating scenarios to support those inferences.  

For example with EVP’s if you listen to it for the first time you have no idea what it says.  You can make the observation and translation without the preconceived idea of what it says.  I have played many in the past and the people listening have come up with very different translations.  However, if I tell them what I think it says prior to me playing it they often agree that is what they heard.  Sometimes the knowledge of what is before you taints the results.

This is not to say I go into the investigation without knowing everything that I can. I ask if the occurrences are regularly in the same place, if they are mild or intense, if the people experiencing them would consider themselves in danger.  These types of question do not taint my results but allow me to know what type of investigation I am going on.  If the activity is intense and I go into the hunt not knowing this I could be putting my team and I in jeopardy.  In cases where I need to know things that have occurred I prepare everyone on what they would be required to know but keep specifics from them.  This way I can control the activities but allow the other investigators to come to their own conclusions. In the past this has worked very well.

To show the proper methodology I will relate a specific ghost hunt that I went on by myself.  The problem with solo investigations is you do not have someone else to corroborate occurrences.  This risks evidence and compromises results so there should always be at least two on an investigation.  I am in no way saying these results are untainted but it allows me to show you what, when done properly, and investigator can come up with.

The home in question was a three bedroom one bath typical suburban residence.  The street was as unassuming as any other within a twenty block radius.  There was nothing foreboding or abnormal about the house itself or of the neighborhood around it.  The occupants in their early thirties held average jobs locally and had kids about the age of ten.  Again everything was average save for their complaints about a possible supernatural presence in the house.  I investigated the house in mid 2003 when the weather was mild and started the investigation during the day about 9am.  I knew something was going on in the house due to the complaint.  I also knew that there was some mild aggression with the manifestations and that the occurrences were semi regular but that the occupants felt they were in no immediate danger.  Other than that I did not know anything about the house or what had happened.  I asked them a few minor questions about the house so I knew where I was going and if I should expect anything from the structure itself.  With that completed I grabbed a 35mm camera, EMF meter, infra-red thermometer, and cassette recorder and did a broad sweep of the home.  Checking for any abnormal EMF readings or orbs, which I would discover later, and if I picked up anything on the audio. Starting downstairs and moving to the second floor yielded mild EMF readings.  In two of the upstairs bedrooms I got substantial readings on the EMF and felt a draft or cold spot with my infra-red thermometer in one room and the closet.  I did not pick anything up on the audio later but did pick up orb activity in the room with substantial EMF activity and cold spot prior to me entering.  The third bedroom and bathroom upstairs yielded no activity at all.

Finishing the sweep after about a half hour I came back downstairs and gave my results.  I had told them everything and they looked shocked.  What they then told me was that the specific locations I picked up the heightened readings on the EMF were where they too had experienced everything.  Cold spot and all were corroborated with what they told me.  I felt confident that what they continued to tell me was all true because they would interrupt each other with additional details, or correcting each other on missed details.  I also felt confident that what I picked up was accurate since I had no idea what had happened or even where.

I am in no way stating this is the best way to achieve accurate results.  It is up to each investigator and the group to make up what and how they want to do things.  First and foremost everything has to be done with respect to the location and to the spirits in question.  The investigator(s) at all times need to be safe from harm.  Thirdly, the results must be as accurate as possible.  The goal of the investigation is to gather proof of the other side, and to be able to present said evidence with as little error as possible.  If all of these simple rules are met than the ghost hunt will be a success.

What is an EVP?

EVP is a recognized source of proof that spirits walk among us. But what is it? In the simplest way I can say EVP is the dead talking to us. Scientifically, EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomenon has been picking up speed as a solid source for spirit confirmation over the years. How it works no one can say for sure so it cannot be duplicated repeatedly but these phenomenon keep happening time and again.

The intrepid ghost hunter enters a supposedly haunted site with their trusted digital recorder or cassette recorder and records their entire session. Not once throughout the whole hunt did they hear anything out of the ordinary but usually they do not expect to. It is when they get back to their homes and listen to the tapes when the real fun begins. On these tapes are voices, noises, and things unheard throughout their session. Sometimes there is no question what you hear, others you can strain your senses but still come up with nothing. The pitfall here is that not always can the sound be understood so we place the easiest translation on it. Interpretation is an issue but what is not an issue is that the sound was not there on site but is recorded from some source.

I heard a story once where a TV station sent a reporter to a supposed haunted site near Halloween to get a story on what had happened there previously. Now a museum the curator went from room to room explaining the story of the house and the haunting all the while the cameraman following them. Upon entering the billiard room they stopped for a bit and spoke of the history. It was not until the tape made it to the editing room did the real story begin. Over the voices of the reporter and the curator was the sound of clacking, which they started to think were billiard balls. Since it was Halloween and they wanted a good story they sent to tape to be studied by and expert on sound. What he came up with was that they were billiard balls but they sounded nothing like the sounds he created in his sound lab with actual billiard balls. He hit upon an idea that maybe since the billiard balls of today were made from a composite material maybe these balls on the tape were from when balls were made of ivory. Now outlawed these balls are no longer used. He was able to get a set somehow and recorded the sound. To his amazement the sounds matched up to what was on the tape and since those types of balls had not been used for 100 years there was no explanation of how the sound ended up on tape.

This by far is one of the best cases of EVP I have heard. In fact on a previous ghost hunt I have picked up EVP. I know while I was there the voice was not heard but on the tape it is clear. Is this proof that ghosts exist? Will anyone believe it without a doubt? It is, in the end, the search for that which we do not comprehend or fully understand and our own personal vindication, which counts. Take electricity for example. Back before there was even and understanding of electricity or the properties inherent in it the idea would have been laughed at. And I believe was laughed at. Yet now electricity runs our lives, our homes and lives exist around something that we cannot see. We cannot see its physical form but if we stick our hand in a light socket we will get shocked. It exists; we accept that it is there, yet ghosts and EVP are laughed at still. The truth is that the science of ghost hunting still does not possess the tool necessary to tangibly measure or detect a ghost. Until such time we have to rely on EVP to possibly get us those truths. Then and only then will it all make sense.

I have attached to this page an actual EVP from a ghost hunt that I performed at Guernsey Hollow Cemetery a few years back. A little back-story to the situation may show you what EVP can and usually does. Before we went on the ghost hunt my partner at the time, Jim, and I had decided that a little known story about a possible “burial” ground beyond the wrought iron fence would be explored a little more. Questions were being asked about if a spirit was there, and if so could they show a sign, we even asked where that spirit was if in fact it was around. During mid conversation recorded on tape something happened and a voice appears on the tape. What it actually is I am not sure but the tape was fresh from the wrapper and was not tampered with. My only guess was that something was trying to tell us to go on a little further for what we were seeking. However, I will let you decide. Listen and tell me is the voice from this world? Or from beyond the grave? Or is it nothing?