All over the internet, you can find tips and tricks for someone who is new to ghost hunting. This is fantastic, don’t get me wrong. But what about for those of us who have been doing this for a while? This year, I realized it’s been over ten years since I started ghost hunting for more than just a ghost tour here and there. A few years later, I would start APS. There are things I have learned throughout the years. You could say these tips are for the advanced ghost hunter, so to speak. When I say advanced, I mean more than just doing ghost tours. You could be someone who has done more than five paranormal investigations at this point. You know how the routine goes.
5. Avoid Stacking Questions
We already know that during an EVP session, we should leave a 5-15 second pause in between questions so there is room for a response. But did you know that stacking questions can also inhibit your communication attempts? When I say stacking questions, I mean avoid asking multiple things in a single line of questioning. Here’s an example, “What’s your name? Who are you? Tell us about yourself.” Here, there are three different questions with three different possible questions. “What’s your name?” is fairly direct, so that’s a good question. “Who are you?” can be subjective with multiple answers like a profession, species, gender, name, family role, etc. “Tell us about yourself” is an open-ended question that could result in lots of talking. But when you ask all three of these questions in a single stream of speaking, the ghost may get confused or just shut down. Or, you might end up with an answer you don’t understand. Keep it simple!
4. Know How Your Equipment Works
If you’re able to invest some cash into equipment, that’s fantastic. When you receive your goodies, make a cup of tea and sit down with your manual and the internet. Sure, we can assume the blinking lights mean that a ghost is trying to communicate, but it could also mean temperature changes, electrical responses, and more. For example, if you bought one of those fancy teddy bears with the EMF and temperature readers, you might notice that it talks. I’ve met several who possess this tech and they constantly try to turn off the talking. However, the questions and statements that the bear is saying is a direct result in changes to the environment. That is your opportunity to use those statements as your cue for your line of questioning and interaction with the ghost. If you don’t know the ins and outs of your tech, then you are potentially missing out on engagement opportunities.
3. Learn the Basics of Photo, Video, & Audio
There is no doubt that photo and video are the very basics of data (otherwise known as evidence). I strongly recommend that anyone interested in paranormal investigating, or even just spirit communication, take a basic 101 class in photography and videography. You want to understand how these devices capture and interpret light. Knowing this, you’ll avoid the trap of thinking that dust or moisture is the Holy Grail of proof that ghosts exist. We’ve all seen the arguments on social media when someone posts a photo or video of an orb. Plus, if you know the mechanics of how the lens captures photos and video, then you can even tweak your equipment to better capture your environment. The same goes for basic audio and how sound waves work. Ignorance doesn’t mean that you’ve captured a ghost. It means that someone out there will know what you “captured” and call you out on it.
2. Keep It Human
What it all comes down to is that you’re trying to communicate with humans. Sure, you might capture the occasionally inhuman entity, if you believe they exist. But we’re all trying to communicate with conscious beings who have thoughts and feelings. Sticking equipment in their space and then expecting them to perform like trained monkeys takes the humanity out of paranormal investigating. Think about how you engage someone who you just met. You want to know about their past, their life, and how they’re feeling. These are incredibly personal questions to be asked by a stranger. You may find you might have to work harder to build some rapport with whoever is inhabiting the building. Would you like it if someone stuck a camera in your face and demanded communication? Probably not. They also want to know about YOU. If you’re trying to communicate with kids, and you’re a parent, or the cool aunt of uncle, use it to your advantage. Talk about yourself, have casual conversations, keep it human. Some of the most interesting audio data I have obtained come from conversations about myself and my team instead of the formal, “Give us a sign of your presence.”
1. Be Flexible
This can be a hard one, especially if you’re investigating a larger facility and you have a limited time. But at the same time, this isn’t speed dating where you can get the person’s contact info and follow-up after. So what do you do when you’re in a space, and you have like 30 minutes left in that area, and you’re getting nothing? Not only that, but you’re hearing a response down the hall? What do you do? In this case, you need to be flexible. There’s a chance that there is nothing happening in that room. For most of us investigating public locations, you’ve dropped some money for the experience. Go where the activity is and see what happens. If you have a group of more than 2, have someone go check out the activity down the hall to make sure it’s not a pipe or a rodent. If there’s something happening, go! On the other hand, what if you’ve been communicating with something for the last 45 minutes and time is almost up before you have to go someplace else? If your entire group is together…by all means, you should stay. Continue to talk to that entity and see what happens. If you’re in a large group where you’ve split up and you have to give someone else some time, try to make a transition. Introduce the new people to the entity and hope for the best. It also doesn’t hurt to invite the rest of your party to engage in the conversation with you. Sticking to a rigid schedule can have its benefits, but it can also be incredibly inhibiting when you’re trying to talk to someone. This can be linked to “Keeping it Human” where you need to have some wiggle room in the event there is active engagement and communication.