You’ve learned what happens at a typical paranormal investigation and some tips on how to handle any and all scenarios that may or may not occur. Before you go rushing off to that talked-about abandoned shack, let’s go into some things you should avoid doing and some common mistakes amateur paranormal investigators make.
Lower Your Expectations
Seriously, lower them. The chances of you catching any “real action” or any kind of paranormal activity on your first few hunts is highly unlikely. Everyone has to start somewhere. Even seasoned PIs who have been investigating for years have very little to show for all their hard work. This is not a fruitful job or hobby, whatever it is to you, so if you’re expecting immediate fame, glory, and riches (or any of that all), this is not the role for you. No hard feelings.
Read the Manual
Over and over. And then a few more times. Educate yourself on any and all equipment you plan on using. Even if you’ve assigned that piece of equipment to someone else, know how to use it anyway. Something may come up and that member of your team may miss a few investigations. In that case, you’ll need someone to fill in and that person may just have to be you. Don’t overestimate your knowledge of a piece of equipment or underestimate the complexity of how to use it. Even your standard flashlight and basic thermometer, review the manual. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
You are not allowed to trespass on private property under any circumstances. If you are not allowed to go into a certain building or investigate a plot of land, chances are there’s a good reason. That building may be condemned and scheduled to blow the following week. That area of land may be infested with snakes or poison ivy. Whatever the case, always ask permission from the owner or obtain the proper authorization from the city or local government. Don’t assume that old crotchety groundskeeper is forbidding you from the house because they’re protecting ghosts or some buried treasure. This isn’t an episode of Scooby-Doo, folks.
Two is Better than One
I promise. Even if you can’t stand people and work better alone. For your own safety, take a friend or two along. Plus you’ll have someone to compare observations with if, on the off chance, something does happen. You’ll have someone else’s word besides your own and, more importantly, a witness or a handful of witnesses that can back you up. It’s a lot harder for people to write you off as a liar when you have other sets of eyes that saw what you saw. You’ll thank me later.
You know what happens when people assume… So don’t do it. It’s easy to let feelings of fear, paranoia, or excitement convince you that the noise you heard wasn’t an animal scurrying across the roof or that the orb you saw was a spirit instead of a piece of something floating across your contact. Bringing people along will help you sort out what is real from what you perceive to be real. Make sure they’re logical thinkers, though. Don’t bring a group of dreamers to a ghost-hunt. You’ll all leave with your own crazy stories about the spirits you saw and what they told you. Be smart, think logically, think with your head not your heart, and so on.
Technology vs. Human Perception
Not quite the cage match we’ve been waiting for, but a conflict nonetheless. Technology will not always be 100% accurate just like human perception will, at times, be flawed. As a paranormal investigator, you have to find that delicate balance between not jumping to conclusions while also not dismissing everything observed as a natural-occurring event. Because there is no ghost-detecting technology, all the equipment can do is point you in the direction of where things might be occurring and point out what the supernatural occurrences seem to be. It cannot deem whether an area has spirits or not. You to combine facts reported by the equipment and your human observations in order to form your own educated conclusions about an area.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf (or Ghost)
We all know the story. We all know what happened to him. I’m not saying that if you do the same when the ghosts do come to drag your soul away no one will be there to help you. You’ll just be that jerk who assumed and got everyone all excited, or scared, for no reason. You’ll generate unwanted attention and frighten people. This can be avoided by not saying anything until the data has been thoroughly researched and you come to an educated, informed conclusion that states there may be a spirit.
Pass It On
If you’re investigating a home that is currently lived in and are there to prove or disprove the presence of ghosts because someone has asked you to be there, then, unless you’re a professional ghost-buster (you’re more than likely not), you need to recommend them to someone who can actually help. Take this kind of job seriously, as this is more than simply collecting data for your personal records. This is someone’s way of life and they want answers. Don’t mess with their feelings or lead them to believe there is a problem when there is none.
Don’t Ghost-Hunt and Tell
If you are lucky enough to have an encounter, the first thing you should do is not publish it on social media and tell all your friends and family. If you are participating in an investigation like the one in the previous example, it’s not fair to the people involved to publish what they might consider private information. Keep all information confidential unless they tell you otherwise.
An Exorcist You Are Not
Just because you’ve seen The Exorcist a million times, can quote it from memory, and have perfected the technique of exorcism demonstrated in the film does not mean you are an exorcist. Nor should you tell anyone you are. Don’t promise someone you can exorcise a demon or remove a ghost from their house when you can’t. The last thing they need is false hope and the last thing you need is to start messing around with things you can’t control and don’t know anything about. Exorcism is not child’s play and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Keep It Clean
It’s easy to get comfortable if you’re camping out at a location. You tend to get a little messy and accidents happen. That’s out of our control. But try your best, especially in a lived-in establishment, to keep everything neat and tidy. If something happens, say you spill something or knock over a full pitcher of Kool-Aid, never fear. If you’re in the Houston area, give Katy Carpet Cleaners a call. For an affordable price, they can remove the stain and leave the carpet looking better than before.