Paranormal Investigation : Preparation, Method & Equipment
We like many of you want to believe but need to see it and do it for ourselves. Having read numerous articles on paranormal investigations and taken part in a few this has been written to prepare you for a paranormal investigation.
We were lucky to join Phil Whyman & Dead Haunted Nights team on our first investigation and had the baptism of fire learning on the job as you may say. This contains information gleaned from many reputable sources and they are duly credited.
Research & Interview
When investigating a haunted location as part of your preparation try to collate as much information as you can. This can be via research on the web, books and via interviewing people who are associated with the location or who have experienced something. My personal belief is mediums should never be briefed on the location, but the investigator should know as much as he or she can.
When researching a location make notes, get copies of the material or if on the web print it out so you can refer to it later. When interviewing again make notes or even better record the interview so again you can refer to it later.
Preparing for A Paranormal Investigation
When possible visit the location in the clear light of day. Knowledge of the layout is always beneficial. Draw or obtain a ground plan of the location, this will enable you to plan the vigil better by knowing in advance how to split up your group etc. Mark on the plan sources of drafts, natural sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), temperature readings in each room and area in case of natural cold spots and even mark up creaking doors and floorboards, this enables you to dismiss natural ocurrances from possible paranormal ones. This technique of preparation is known as Base Line Testing.
Paranormal Investigation Equipment
NotePad or Dictaphone
To record the events of the vigil. Make note of times you start each part of the investigation and anything that is picked up on. I would also recommend make a note of start and end times on your camcorder and start and end point of photographs from the counters This is useful later if two areas are similar you have a reference point to identify the time and exact location.
With the introduction of digital cameras there is much discussion of Orbs, something that couldn’t be caught on a film camera. To catch these orbs or other light anomolies and analyse them later use the highest mega-pixel setting on the camera. This allows you to be able to zoom in on anything caught on camera. Dust and water droplets, as well as flies and spiders can often be mistaken as such and it is only when you zoom in you find your orb or anomaly actually has legs or wings! ( See the Orb Zone Theory. )
Good advice is to use a camera that focuses and shoots as quickly as possible. Some cheaper models can be quite slow and you need to capture anything you see as quickly as possible.
On a recent investigation it was also found that the use of a polarising or UV filter that protects the lens of SLR cameras is not recommended
A night vision (Low LUX) camcorder can be used to record vigils in the dark and also to act to record personal feelings when solo. The cost of these has greatly reduced allowing the novice to be able to afford DVD or memory card based models.
These are now relatively cheap and are essential to obtain temperature changes quickly. More advance models are laser thermometers, they give you temperature of where you point the laser, thus are very use for taking fast readings of different areas without moving.
There is heavy research that suggests there is a connection between the paranormal activity and changes in electro magnetic fields. These fields are all around us and these are higher near electrical equipment, cables and power outlets. This is why when you carried out you baseline tests you recorded natural sources of EMFs. The EMF meter comes in various guises using LEDs and meters, some with fixed settings, the dearer models with differents ranges etc.. The criteria for such a meter is that it picks up changes between 2 to 6 mG, the recognised readings for paranormal activity.
Walkie Talkies and Remote Listening Devices (Baby Monitors)
These are two fold one they allow members of your group to communicate. Secondly they allow you to listen to anything that may be occurring in a room currently unoccupied.
These are two part devices that emit an infrared beam between each device, when the beam is broken an audible alarm sounds. These are useful to ensure no-one enters a locked off area. Another use is to detect if a spirit bases through the beam, Phil Whyman, a high respected paranormal investigator, however pointed out recently if a manifestation is transparent will it break the beam ?
Tape Recorder & MP3 Recorders.
These are used for recording possible EVPs. Electronic voice phenomena (EVP)’ are “spirit voices” that are said to manifest themselves on audio recordings. It is a widely used technique to set up a recording device when conducting a séance to see if anything is picked up that is not heard audibly.
The most important thing to remember when analysis your recordings is if you hear something be sure to get others opinions on what you have recorded. NEVER share your view on what you think you can make of the recording, i.e. create suggestion. If you all think you hear the same without conferring, then the result is positive.
What to Look For
These are often in the forms of noises (crying, growls, whispers etc) and knocks, smells, light anomolies and orbs and moving objects.
Sudden changes in temperature and ‘cold spots’ are good scentific evidence that something is abnormal.The feeling of being touched is probably one of the most alarming things, but for other members of the group and sceptics, there is obviously no evidence of this is purely relying of trust. However injuries (scratches and brusies) are not uncommon and provide more tangible evidence.
In the form of a haze or spirit form is the most positive evidence you can get. This can be transparent or solid in form, may not be complete or even on the same ground level as yourself.
Three Types Of Haunting
When investigating there are three types of haunting you may well encounter
These traditional hauntings involve the prescence or a sentient spirit.
These are where an imprint has been left behind and what you encounter is a ‘playback’ of an event that took place, more often than not of a violent or emotional event. The theory behind this is the because the event was traumatic the persons energy was ‘burned’ into the environment.
This type of haunting involves throwing objects, movement of larger objects and/or disturbing noises rather than actually being visible. (The word poltergeist is in fact German for noisy ghost.) Poltergeist activity is actually triggered, normally by one person who created the connection, and research has shown that often this is a child. Also the activity may stop as suddenly as it starts. It should be noted when investigating that this is regarded as the most dangerous type of haunting to be involved with and many feel it is connected with demonic forces. Caution should be taken if you attempt to communicate with it
Once you have conducted an investigation the investigator should always be rationional and open minded with his analysis; was there something there, what was it and why was it here. Here you see the importance of researching a location first.
Paul L. Griffiths, 2008