Phantological Investigation: A Quick Primer
For Halloween I’ve jotted down a few notes for those of you that are interested in “ghost hunting” and perhaps have never had the opportunity. First and most importantly, have fun and be safe.
The following is a quick and easy starters guide to investigations. As with any research there must be a followed method or procedure this is true as well in phantological investigations. The following tips and tricks should guarantee at least an enjoyable time.
Always wear the appropriate clothing for whatever weather circumstances you may encounter. Be sure that jewelry is not loose and is not apt to jingle or rattle. If possible try and have two watches available one winding and one digital.
Do not trespass. If an area is marked “no trespassing” it means no trespassing. If you must have access then contact the proper officials or property owners. If no one can be contacted notified the local authorities of your presence. Cemeteries are places of respect and sanctity treat them as such. Don’t litter or trampled flowers, also, do not smoke. Smoke can linger in the area for a long while and may skew the results of your investigation.
Having fun doesn’t mean being stupid. Having a positive mind-set will help your investigation, but don’t treat the experience as a joke try and limit needless discussion especially if trying to perform Electronic Voice Phenomena sessions and although it sounds like school, “no horseplay.”
The majority of your investigation should be information gathering and in-depth documentation of the situation(s) at hand. Many people believe that “Ghost hunting” is 99% field work (going to haunted houses, cemeteries and running around with a flashlight) and once they find out that there is paperwork to be done they become uninterested in ghosts and any related phenomena. Any “real” “ghost hunter” is well versed in various fields of research and enjoys genealogical/environmental/historical research as well as keeping copious amounts of well-understood and unbiased notes.
Make sure people know where you are going and make sure of the surrounding area’s safety. Always visit the location during the day before the investigation when you have time to note areas that may be hazardous, especially if you intend to research an abandon structure. Get a feel for the local neighborhood, there are some undesirable types that enjoy hanging out in cemeteries and abandon structures. Once again, Get permission to be where you are going to be. Do Not Trespass! If you cannot locate the owner of the site being investigated then contact the local Police and forewarn them of your plans.
Check the weather. Inclement weather such as rain, snow and fog can hinder your chance of accurate reports. Cold weather can also provide inaccurate findings due to breath clouds. If it’s cold enough to see your breath be sure not to snap photographs directly after you exhale, breathe out count to 7 and take a picture. This should allow sufficient time for the breath to settle; remember breath falls, smoke rises. Your best bet is to investigate when it is not cold enough to see your breath.
Limit the amount of people involved. The human brain can accurately and easily record seven pieces of information at one time but an optimal number of investigators in one area would be four, including yourself. You can easily keep track of who is where (and when) with four people acting as compass points, (North-South-East-West). The larger the number of people the better the possibility of an inaccurate interpretation of data from a certain area.