March 9, 2007
Rhetta Akamatsu
Associated Content


Paranormal investigations have become very popular these days, mostly due to such popular TV shows as "Ghost Hunters" and "Most Haunted." Ghost hunting can be a fun, educational, exciting, and sometimes scarey, way to explore the past and the present. But, as in any other endeavor, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach the activity.

Let me say right here that I am no expert in the field. "There are no experts in this field," one of the speakers at Ghostock 4 Paranormal Convention said earlier this month, "only people with more experience." I've been reading about, watching, and listening to those people with more experience, and I've picked up some how to hints I'd like to share.

* First, get permission before you explore.

It is unwise, unsafe, and often unlawful to enter abandoned buildings or cemeteries at night. Obviously, it would be rude to enter anyone else's property to "ghost-hunt" without their explicit permission to do so. Ask before you enter!

* Have the right attitude.

It is not necessary to believe in ghosts or spirits to conduct a paranormal investigation properly, but it is necessary to keep an open mind. A certain amount of skepticism is good, and will keep you from interpreting every little creak or speck of dust as paranormal phenomena. However, if you are convinced that nothing is going to happen, your mind will automatically discount anything that does, and you will not experience anything. Acknowledge that unexplained things do happen, but debunk whatever you can.

* Have the right equipment.

There are different schools of thought about this. Some people like to work with psychics and mediums, and trust the judgment of their eyes, ears, and feelings above any other evidence. I think that feelings are very important, and so is personal observation. But these things are not provable or quantifiable. Some equipment that might help catch something closer to evidence would be a tape recorder, for "EVPs", or Electronic Voice Phenomena, spoken words which do not belong to anyone present on the scene; cameras(both digital and regular film for best results); EMF readers, to measure electromagnetic fields (which some people believe are usually present when there is paranormal activity in an area,) and digital cameras to measure changes in temperature, which also seem to often occur when unusual events take place.

* Do not take chances with things you do not understand.

No matter what you believe, do not taunt or tease or try to anger ghosts or spirits. Be very careful about using ouija boards and other such gadgets to communicate with spirits. It is inexcusably arrogant to assume that we know everything there is to know about negative energy, the afterlife, or any other area outside the norm, which is, after all, what "paranormal" means.

* Don't go alone.

Yes, people have been harmed by poltergeist activity, although that is extremely rare. More commonly, people may be overwhelmed by emotion or fear and might suffer panic attacks or other emotional episodes. Aside from that, many investigation locations may be old or in poor repair and injury or falls can happen. So always have a partner.

* Be patient. Understand that many, many times nothing at all is going to happen for hours, if ever. Paranormal investigations involve sometimes long stretches of doing nothing but sitting quietly and observing. Only embark on this kind of activity if you feel that the possibility of catching something extraordinary is worth a lot of time and effort.

* Study. Read. Watch. Learn. The more you know about paranormal history, other people's experiences, and the latest equipment and techniques, the more rewarding your experience will be.

Remember, you don't have to subscribe to any particular theory to investigate the paranormal; just accepting that we don't know everything and things do happen outside the ordinary that are unexplainable is enough. And wanting to learn more about those things is a legitimate area of study.

Paranormal investigation is a fascinating field, and with the right attitude, can be rewarding on many levels. The key is attitude. Keep your mind open and be prepared for anything or nothing!

Elisa De La Torre says: 2009-03-20 22:57:25
I''m The Founder/Lead Investgator For A Los Angeles Based Paranormal Group Hollywood Paranormal Society I Do All The Basic Research And Reading That I Can But I Also Keep A Skeptical/Analytical Mind And Eye On Things.

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