So you want to be a ghost hunter.
Ghost hunting is a thrilling pastime that can be both enlightening and rewarding, but it’s not for everyone. Ghost hunting is unnerving. Ghost hunting is tedious. Ghost hunting is a physical, mental and emotional marathon. You can’t just waltz into it thinking that all you need is a tan jumpsuit and a name like Peter Venkman (although a name like Peter Venkman will get you mad ghost cred.) You have to be passionate, logical, open-minded, and ballsy as hell. After all, it’s not like regular hunting where you can see what you’re after. With ghost hunting, you’re looking for something you can’t see. But that doesn’t mean that something can’t see you.
You can’t just show up at a haunted mansion and expect ghosts to appear You can’t just show up at a haunted mansion and expect ghosts to appear out of nowhere and shoot the shit with you. There is an art to ghost hunting. out of nowhere and shoot the shit with you. There is an art to ghost hunting. And rules. Here are some of them: And rules. There are always rules. Here are some of them:
1 2 3 4 5
NEVER GO ALONE Let me say that again. NEVER go alone. Not only is that just plain creepy, but ghost hunting can be dangerous. Should you get hurt during an investigation, you need someone else there who can suck the ghost poison out of your open wounds. Just kidding. Ghosts aren’t poisonous. Unless they possess you. Then I suppose that could be soul poisoning, in which case you’d have a bigger problem on your hands. But I digress. Just make sure you go with someone who can help you in case of an emergency. HAVE TWO OR MORE WITNESSES Let’s pretend that your little cousin comes to you and says that his dog can talk. You’d probably just smile, nod and send him to the nearest psychiatric hospital. But if your little cousin, your aunt and the 48-year-old pharmaceutical rep next door all tell you the same thing, you’re probably more apt to believe it. Or at least consider believing it. The more witnesses a piece of evidence has, the more viable and useful that evidence will be in your investigation. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK While investigating, chances are you’re going to wind up in a lot of creepy places. Seriously creepy places. Like I - murdered - my - family - and - killed - my - cellmate - in - this - insane asylum - and - now - I’m - gonna - get - you places. But when you’re in those places, don’t let ‘what if’ take over. As soon as you start to freak yourself out, it’s all over. Your state of mind is out of whack and the evidence you gather as well as the safety of your team will be compromised. BE ORGANIZED Know where your group members are at all times. If you lose track of them and you hear a loud thumping above you, you may think it’s paranormal when it’s actually just other members of your team having some sort of impromptu clogging competition. NO TRESPASSING Although it may seem like a good idea to take off and explore haunted places in the middle of the night without permission, it is not. Always make sure you have permission to be where you are. If you don’t, you can ruin your organization’s reputation as well as the reputation of ghost hunters everywhere. You could also be arrested. Or shot. Then you’ll be able to investigate, but you’ll have to do it as a ghost.
6 7 8 9
USE COMMON SENSE Seriously. I don’t even know why I have to say this. But I get the feeling I have to say this.
BE SKEPTICAL Remember that kid in middle school who believed everything you told him? Yeah, don’t be that guy. Always look for a logical explanation for something before you hop on the paranormal bandwagon. Also, I think that kid ate paste.
NO SMOKING Ghosts have been known to manifest themselves by taking the form of mist. Smoking on an investigation can contaminate photos and film with “mist” from your cigarette that can be misconstrued as an entity. Smoking will also give you cancer. Just sayin’.
TRUST YOUR FEELINGS Know your physical and mental limits. If your body is telling you to get out of somewhere, listen to it. Don’t try to be the hero and keep investigating. That’s how most horror movies begin. Or at least the really good, gory ones.
RESPECT THE DEAD During an investigation, you will be trying to interact directly with ghosts. As you try to make contact, remember to be respectful of them and their surroundings. Things suck enough for them as it is. They already had to die a horrible death and are probably stuck haunting some run down abandoned warehouse for eternity. Also, do you really want to piss off an invisible entity that has the power to knock over an entire bookshelf on you at any given moment? I mean, they’re fucking ghosts. If that’s not enough reason for you to want to be at least a little respectful, then think about this:
TIPS DON’T WHISPER It doesn’t matter if there’s a show called Ghost Whisperer. There should be no whispering involved when it comes to ghosts. Whispering can mess up the quality of your EVPs and can be mistaken for ghostly sounds. Always speak loudly and clearly while on an investigation. DON’T WEAR PERFUME OR COLOGNE At the risk of smelling like feet while ghost hunting, it’s best not to wear any kind of scent during an investigation. Many cases contain reports of people smelling perfumes and colognes of the deceased. To avoid confusing your own scent with that of a ghost, go au natural for the investigation. But, for the sake of your teammates, remember to shower at least. GRAVEYARDS DO NOT AUTOMATICALLY EQUAL GHOSTS Contrary to popular belief, graveyards are not the best places to look for ghosts. In fact, they may be some of the worst places to look. Someone is far more likely to haunt a place they had some sort of attachment to in life. Like their former residence. Or their local porn shop. CHECK OUT THE AREA IN DAYLIGHT FIRST Looking at an investigation site in daylight will make you aware of any dangerous obstacles you may face at night. Don’t wait until it’s dark to discover that there’s an open elevator shaft in the building you’re investigating. Unless you love the Tower of Terror ride at Disney World. Or death. KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT Gathering evidence on a ghost hunt requires the use of a range of equipment; everything from simple recording devices to fancy electromagnetic thingamajigs. Know exactly how to use your equipment properly to avoid mistaking false positives as real evidence. BRING YOUR ID In the event that you are questioned by security or police during an investigation, you need to have your ID on you. It’ll also help the coroners identify your body if the ghosts decide to revolt. But don’t worry. That hardly ever happens.
WHAT BRING Courage Extra batteries Audio recorder Camcorder with nightshot or infrared Flashlight First aid kit Notebook and pen Proper clothing for the weather EMF detector (optional) Thermal imaging detector (optional) K-II Meter (optional)
If you want to be taken seriously as a ghost hunter, you need to know the lingo. That way, even if you have no idea what you’re doing, at least you’ll sound like you do. APPARITION The projection or manifestation of a quasi-physical entity. DEMON Hostile and resentful entity, supposedly of non-human origin, which some believe to be “fallen (from grace) angels. Sometimes takes the form of Joan Rivers. ENTITY A disembodied “consciousness” commonly referred to as ghost, spirit or demon. EVP ‘Electronic Voice Phenomena.’ Disembodied “voices” and sounds imprinted on audio recording devices. Voices in your head do not count. EXORCISM Ceremonial expulsion of invading spiritual/demonic entities from a person or dwelling, present in virtually every worldly culture. FLOATING ORB Spherical image, usually translucent white, though sometimes of a reddish or bluish hue, which inexplicably registers on film and videotape, also known as “Globule.” GHOST The image of a person witnessed after his/her death, reflecting the appearance of the living, physical body yet less substantial. Also a really good movie starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. HAUNTING The manifestation of a ghostly presence, or presences, attached to a specific locale. Hauntings can be categorized into four distinct types: Intelligent (responsive), Poltergeist, Residual and Demonic. MATERIALIZATION A ghost appearing visually, suddenly or gradually, sometimes indistinct, sometimes seemingly quite solid. PARANORMAL The realm of occurances and phenomena removed from those to which people are accustomed and comprehend, and presently uncategorized by standard academia. POLTERGEIST German for “noisy ghost.” This is an extremely rare occurance wherein random objects are moved and sounds produced by an unseen force drawing attention to itself. The phenomenon always involves a specific individual. Only sometimes is that individual Craig T. Nelson. SPIRIT Existence apart from, or transcending, the purely physical; also, the life-force of an organism. A spirit commonly refers to a ghost.