Vancouver paranormal investigator Don Meuchel offers tips for ghost-hunting season

Vancouver paranormal investigator Don Meuchel offers tips for ghost-hunting season
October 28, 2010
Eric Njus

If you're looking for something spooky this Halloween, who ya gonna call?

We called Don Meuchel, a Vancouver-based paranormal investigator who is called to reports of hauntings across the region. He and his team, Clark County Paranormal Investigators, respond to inquiries from people who see or hear things they can't explain.

In Vancouver, they investigated a home where a family of three reported they saw someone's disembodied bottom half running across the kitchen and disappearing. In Battle Ground, a woman told Meuchel she'd seen a man with no legs riding a bike on the Lewisville Highway.

In both cases, Meuchel said, the investigators couldn't confirm anything.

"No matter what we believe, if you cannot adequately document or get proof of it, we can't really say that it exists," Meuchel said.

But elsewhere, including a home in Oregon City and a Portland movie theater, they've brought in a psychic to clear out unruly spirits.

Before Meuchel went pro, he was an amateur, too, and even a skeptic early on. Here's his advice for wannabe ghost-hunters.

The equipment

You'll need three gadgets for your ghost-hunting.

First, bring a digital camera. If you see something, you'd better be able to prove it later.

You'll also need a voice recorder. Paranormal investigators often record what they call "electronic voice phenomena," voices and sounds that can only be heard on tape.

Finally, if you're out at night, bring a flashlight. Meuchel suggests one that's hand-powered; batteries tend to lose their juice in the presence of the paranormal.

The location

You can go ghost-hunting anywhere, but for newbies, Meuchel suggests a place that's known to be haunted.

If you don't have your own haunted hotspot in mind, Meuchel suggests Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland. He's visited several times, he said, and he's never failed to find some paranormal activity.

"I go there to test my equipment all the time," he said.

It's OK to go during the day, and Meuchel warns against going at night. Most cemeteries are closed, and that makes it trespassing -- not to mention creepy.

On the hunt

To be sure the voices you're hearing are ghostly, you'll want to keep noise to a minimum. Meuchel says it's best to go ghost-hunting in pairs, and to make sure you're far away from any other people.

When you've found a quiet spot, turn on your voice recorder and start asking questions like, "What's your name?" or "Does anyone feel like talking to me today?" Wait a few seconds in between questions and move around to different areas occasionally.

"You may look stupid, but if there's nobody else around, who's going to know?" Meuchel said.

Later, go back and listen to your recording. If you're lucky, you'll hear someone -- or something -- talking back.

Photos are good, too, but they're easy to misinterpret, Meuchel said. Amateur ghost-hunters will spot a fleck and swear it's a ghostly orb.

"Just let it go," he said. "It's dust. Nine out of 10 times it's dust."

To be sure your apparitions are the real deal, observe the five-second rule -- hold your breath for five seconds before you take the photo. And don't smoke.
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