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.

Equipment

The modern form of ghost hunting has everything to do with the equipment that you use.  Over the years technology has been adapted to allow the intrepid ghost hunter to interact with the environment in hopes that some proof could be obtained for the existence of life after death.  In the past such methods such as dowsing rods, which are still used today, and even flour on the floor were used to show that a ghost was present.  Today with the advent of certain technologies and the adaptation of them the guess work has been reduced and the measurement of ghosts has been increased.  Unfortunately, like any other science the equipment is only as good as the user but with continued use sometime in the future some solid and tangible piece of evidence may prove once and for all that ghosts do exist.

I figured I would begin my ghost hunt series with the equipment needed and a brief overview of why they are used.  Mind you none of this information has proved 100% successful but in time through technology and its implementation through trial and error we will succeed.  Every ghost hunting kit should include some basic materials that anyone can pick up at the corner market.  Notepads and sketch books with different colored marking pens to notate anything odd, paranormal, or to sketch the layout of a room for later reference are a must.  I have even gone so far as to make specialized hunting forms such as room grids and ghost hunt logs to record specific occurrences so there is no question as to what I am writing down and looking for.  The only reason we are out and doing all of this is to observe, record, and analyze.  Doing it right makes everything that much easier to analyze.  A tape measure, flashlight, extra batteries, chalk (to mark areas of interest); string, and even walkie talkies should also be present.  With these basics a kit will be complete.

One paranormal occurrence that can be recorded is EVP.  To record these on a ghost hunt you will need at least a cassette recorder with fresh unopened cassette tapes.  I carry a shoebox recorder to limit the amount of internal noise recorded on the tape; I also have a back-up mini recorder to leave in specific locations or to carry around.  Aside from cassette tapes I also use a digital voice activated recorder.  These come in handy since there is no internal noise and you can compare to your hard copy cassette for later analysis.  Digital and cassette recorders each have their perks but I believe that one by itself cannot get as much information as both together.

Video is also important to record visual anomalies.  The best camera to have is one that has night vision capability so that any night hunts you may be on there is no question as to what is recorded and allows for optimal night visibility.   Still shots can be obtained by digital camera which allows for greater range of image capturing and also for shear amount of pictures that can be taken.  The drawback is that there is no hard copy like a picture negative to show that the image was not tampered with.  So I also recommend having a 35mm camera or better yet a Polaroid on hand to show that there was something there on sight and not later digitally added.

The EMF meter or electromagnetic field meter has been adapted for use of picking up and disturbance in the EMF fields of any given area.  They come in handy so you can pinpoint the possible location of a spirit to allow for the taking of video and still shots and even recording of temperature with a digital infrared thermometer to compile a grouping of multiple readings for better results.  A low tech method of showing disturbances in an area is a simple compass which will spin out of control when an EMF disturbance is near.

I mentioned Flour and even string before and these can be used as low tech ways to make sure that there is no other presence in a given area while recording certain things.  For instance with flour on the floor you can see that a cat entered your area if one did so that audio recording s will be excluded in that given area.  This insures that no reading is read incorrectly. The modern method is infrared motion detectors which you can place all around an area to secure a certain location from intrusion.

This is just a broad range of equipment that you can use but in any situation use the materials and equipment that you know how to use and that you feel comfortable with.  If you do that your ghost hunt can only be informative and hopefully you can capture a ghost for the entire world to see.  In the future I will also break down specific ways to use and analyze all the equipment that I have listed here to make everything that much easier for you when you do attempt your first ghost hunt.

The Basic Ghost Hunting Kit:

  • Notebook/Sketchpad
  • Colored marking pens
  • Extra Batteries
  • Tape Measure
  • String
  • Chalk
  • 35mm Camera and extra film
  • Cassette Recorder and extra cassette tapes
  • Compass

Advanced Equipment

  • Digital Camera
  • Polaroid Camera
  • Digital Audio Recorder
  • Digital Infrared Thermometer
  • Video Camera w/ Night Shot and Extra Tapes
  • EMF Meter
  • Infrared Motion Detectors

Misc. Equipment

  • Dowsing Rods
  • Flour
  • Walkie Talkies
  • External Microphone
  • First Aid Kit