Something y’all have heard me talk about before is ethical ghost hunting. Ethical ghost hunting is a way to interact with the spirits, a location, and the owners without causing issues for anyone involved. But there is more to it than just how to behave while on the investigation. Since there is so much that goes into a paranormal investigation, this will take several posts to cover everything. Most of the information in this post is for investigations that you choose to initiate. I will do a blog post later on about what to do when hired by someone to do an investigation.
Before the investigation
Before the investigation even starts, there is a lot you need to do. Before you do anything, you need to have the owner’s permission to investigate. If it is a cemetery, reach out to the church or city that is in charge of maintenance of the cemetery. If it is an abandoned area, you can contact the county’s tax assessor or recorder of deed’s office to find out the last known owner. Never go onto any property without permission, even if it looks abandoned. I recommend having a written copy of the permission from the owner in case the police are called to the location. The permission should include the date and times you are allowed on the property, the reason you are on the property, and what areas you are allowed to go to and what areas you are not allowed to go to, and the contact information for the owner. I do have a contract that I use for this purpose to help cover me in case someone thinks I am trespassing.
Also, when getting permission, get written permission for what information, evidence, etc. that can be revealed on social media. Most owners don’t want their personal information put online and request that they see the evidence before allowing anything to be posted on social media. Some evidence they may not feel comfortable with it being shared for others to see. Please understand that the owner has the right to refuse permission to post evidence and can even change their mind about having you or your team investigating their property. That includes after you have arrived and started setting up or started the investigation. As frustrating as it can be, please remain polite and do as the owner requests as soon as possible. Questioning their decision or arguing with them will just make it harder for you or other investigators to come back in the future.
Before you go to the location, it is helpful to do some research on the area and the people who lived there. It doesn’t have to be really in-depth research, but knowing the basic facts will help you with how you will need to run the investigation, especially if you do end up making contact with a spirit. With accurate information, you will hopefully be able to more quickly identify the ghosts that you are interacting with. It will also help you figure out what trigger objects you might want to bring with you to the location.
Once you have permission and have done some research, you’ll want to check your equipment, trigger items, and supplies. With your equipment, you’ll want to make sure everything is in working order, batteries are charged, and all previously recorded data has been erased from the device. The type of equipment you decided to take with you is up to you, but make sure it is working before going on the investigation. Battery drain is a common occurrence that happens during investigations. If can be evidence of something paranormal if you can show that all the equipment was correct charged or had fresh batteries before arriving at the location. While checking over the equipment, notate any scratches or blemishes on your equipment. This not only will alert you to any possible issues with the device but if something does mess with the equipment during the investigation, you will have physical proof.
I do recommend packing food and drinks to take with you on the investigation, but you do need to be mindful of what you take with you. Even if you are taking a break during the investigation, you may have equipment recording. So don’t take things that are going to cause a lot of noise such as chips, raw veggies, etc unless you are going to notate who was eating what, when they ate it and where it was. I have been on investigations where someone thought they had a gasp during an EVP session but it ended up being someone at the command area opening a soda. Another thing to keep in mind with snacks and drinks is making sure you bring things to clean up any mess you might make while there. Even if the investigation is at someone’s house, you shouldn’t rely on the owner to dispose of your trash. Bringing trash bags, napkins, and wipes to clean up the area will go a long with making the owner of the property more comfortable with having investigators at their location.
Before going to the investigation, make sure you have written directions and a map of the area printed out. Even in this day and age of cell phones and GPS, you would be surprised how often I have gone on investigations and I lose signal or the GPS sends me to some random location in the woods (just like what happened when I went to see the Brown Mountain Lights). Also before you leave for your location, make sure you leave the information of where you’re going, when you expect to be back, who is with you, and the contact information of the owner of the property. This may sound like overkill but having someone check to make sure you made it back alright is a good safety measure. Too many things can happen and the sooner someone can be alerted the better in case you can’t call for help.
While this post doesn’t cover absolutely everything I do and what I recommend the groups I am training to do, these are the main points of what to do before the investigation. I will have more posts coming soon talking about what to do during and after an investigation. In the meantime, if you have questions let me know either in the comments below or send me a quick message.
What do you do to get ready for an investigation? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.