Ghost Hunting Course – Summary and Conclusion

This is the conclusion of Hallowfields’ Ghost Hunting for Beginners course.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

We’ve discussed the basics of ghost hunting.

You’ve learned how to find a haunted site near you. You’ve visited at least one haunted location, or will do so, soon.

You’ve learned about the many steps of a formal ghost investigation, as well as dangers to be aware of.

I hope you’ve also looked into options and opportunities near your home, or in places you’d like to visit.

Don’t rush into anything. Take your paranormal explorations one step at a time.

After about a dozen or so informal ghost hunts – and a perhaps a few more tours, events, or team investigations – you’ll have a much better sense of what you want to do next.

You may decide that ghost hunting is more fun to watch on your TV or in videos.

Most ghost hunters will agree: In real life, it’s not that exciting to stand in the dark for hours, with nothing happening.

At the other extreme, if you encounter something terrifying, you may wonder if ghost hunting is worth it.

Whichever path you choose now, it’s not a lifetime commitment. Interests and priorities change. Being part of a team may be fun now, but tedious later.

That’s normal.

Start by gaining expertise as a ghost hunter. Later, explore other areas related to ghost hunting.

After that, narrow your focus to what you most enjoy. It could become your specialty.


Related article: Making Money in Ghost Hunting


Your Certificate

I hope this course has been helpful. You can download your certificate (PDF) and add your name and date – on the honor system, of course – by clicking on this link: Hallowfields Certificate of Completion / Ghost Hunting for Beginners.

Also, I really enjoy talking with fellow ghost enthusiasts. So, I hope to meet you someday at a ghost hunting event.

Starting Your Own Ghost Hunting Team

This is the third part of the seventh lesson in your free course, Ghost Hunting for Beginners.

Starting a ghost hunting team

Start a ghost hunting teamTo build a good ghost hunting group, go on several ghost hunts with a few interested friends.

Do they work well together? Does anyone try to take charge?

It’s natural for people to want to help out. And, in this field, it’s normal for people to want to be in control. (After all, a lot of paranormal research involves creepy things we can’t control.)

But, be cautious if the chemistry between team members leads to conflicts, or one person dominates almost every conversation.

Likewise, pay attention if someone seems like a spectator, rather than an active part of the investigation.

Maybe they’re psychic and need a lot of quiet, personal space to observe the energy (and any ghosts) around them.

Or, maybe they’re uneasy about a fellow team member… or about haunted places, in general.

Watch for personal interactions, especially romantic ones. A couple that’s dating now may split up, later. That’s fine if they remain friends. If not, it can fracture any team.

In addition, check the list of local sex offenders.

I know how preposterous that sounds, but in 2009, we learned that a major ghost hunting personality had been arrested (and convicted) on sex-related charges… twice.

Most of us were shocked. The man had seemed like the most charming, honest “country boy,” ever.

I’m not sure if he’s still active in ghost hunting; many of us won’t go near him, or attend any event where he’s a speaker or a guest. I haven’t seen his name mentioned in recent years, so he may have moved on to fields with more gullible members.

Of course, watch for anyone who has to be right, always.

In ghost hunting, it’s easy to decide something was definitely a ghost, when it wasn’t.

It’s equally easy to brush off a genuine anomaly, and later realize – oops! – it may have been a ghost.

Either way, can your potential team members accept when they’re wrong? Arguments and hard feelings can result.

If someone remains sullen or adamant about a mistake, the issue is likely to explode, sooner or later. They probably don’t belong on your team.

But, allow people to get used to ghost hunting. At first, everything can seem overwhelming, confusing, and awkward.

In time, they may respond more gracefully to mistakes.

Frankly, even seasoned investigators are wrong about some phenomena, regularly. Sometimes, that’s awkward. Most of the time, we laugh at our blunders and try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

After several ghost hunts with a variety of people, consider balance.

Getting the right balance

What if you have four people with EMF meters, but no one who records EVP?

You could form a group that specializes in EMF. Or, you may add a team member who’s good with EVP.

What about gender or other factors? If your team is predominantly male, or one nationality, or most of them grew up together, will others feel uneasy?

Today, it’s easy to draw tribal lines after a misunderstanding. Keep all kinds of balance in mind.

When you’ve found a group of people with shared interests and a long-term interest in ghost hunting, discuss forming a formal team. If enough people are interested, schedule an organizational meeting.

It’s best to do this in person. If that’s not possible, try an online collaboration – a private forum, a hangout, a Facebook group, a Google Drive document, or something like Slack.

(Keep in mind that if you can’t find a common time for an in-person meeting, scheduling investigations may be even more challenging.)

First meeting

Cover the basics at this meeting. For example, discuss the types of locations you’ll investigate, and issues related to spirituality.

Decide the best investigation schedule. Discuss distance or expense limits. Talk about what you expect from members, and so on.

You might have something like a mission statement. In other words, why you’re involved in ghost hunting. Start with something general. The group can modify it later.

It’s okay to model your team after an existing group, or people you’ve seen on TV or YouTube.

Discuss the group’s structure.

Will there be one leader, or do you prefer co-leaders? Is that a permanent, rotating, or elected position?

Also, who speaks for the group when dealing with the media? (You’re likely to have more contact with the media than you expect. Plan ahead.)

Who does what?

Everyone should have specific responsibilities.

You could choose titles, so each person understands who focuses on what.  Or, you may decide that’s too formal or even silly.

With or without titles, everyone should feel important, but not overwhelmed by responsibilities.

Possible titles could include:

  • Lead ________ Investigator (EMF, EVP, cold spots, triggers, etc.)
  • Team Historian
  • Lead Photographer or Videographer
  • Safety & First Aid Specialist
  • Media or PR Contact Person
  • New Member Contact Person
  • Investigation Coordinator
  • ____________ Analyst (photos, EVP, etc.)
  • Webmaster

Also, identify anyone who prefers to be the base team.

Sometimes, base team members are interested in ghosts, but uneasy in dark locations.

Or, they have allergies or asthma that prevents them from investigating dusty or moldy sites, especially during hay fever season.

Of course, it helps if they’re tech-minded.

The base team – two or three people – may be in a separate, lit room or outside in a van. They’ll stay in contact with team members via walkie-talkies or phones, and perhaps monitors if those are in your budget.

They may supervise evidence analysis, too.

Don’t rush these decisions.  It’s okay to start with a limited structure (or nearly none at all). Then, modify your team as needed.

But, a few points should be addressed, early. One is your liabilities. The other is your new member policy.

Liabilities

Will you conduct private investigations? If so, ask an insurance expert about liability issues.

There are two sides to this.

Find out what to someone charges your team with damage after an investigation. For example, if a team member breaks something at a haunted hotel or museum.

Also, a private home with malicious or demonic activity, it’s far too easy to make things worse. So, what happens if they sue you?

This is especially important when a client or homeowner withholds important information from you. That happens more often than you might expect.

Some homeowners are quick to tell you their worst fears.

Others may be afraid that you will think it sounds crazy. Or – at the other extreme – you’ll be too frightened to help them.

Every investigation is unique. Be sure you’re covered if the site owner makes a claim against you.

Then there’s the safety of your team.

What happens if a team member (or guest) has an accident, or even causes one?

People can stumble or run into objects in low light conditions, especially in old buildings.

Outdoor settings present different problems.  For example, at cemeteries, you may encounter snakes, irregular depressions in unmarked graves, and broken pavement. (I think everyone on my team has fallen or twisted an ankle, at some time.)

Ghost hunting is scary enough.

A good insurance agent can prevent financial nightmares.

New members

In every group, team members come and go. A member might take a job in another area. Or, his school or work schedule changes. Now and then, personality conflicts emerge and one person leaves the team.

Your group may also expand its size and scope. If so, you’ll need new members to support growing demands and responsibilities.

Decide how and when to include new members and guests.

Also consider if founding members must approve new members, and if it should be unanimous.

Be professional

Even informal groups should aspire to professional standards. This is especially important if you’ll interact with the public or media.

Most groups choose a name. It should be completely different from any other group, especially in your area.

Your group may want team T-shirts or business cards. You might launch a website and a YouTube channel, or schedule events, lectures, and media appearances.

Unless you form a legal partnership, one individual owns the rights to the domain name, YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc.

Discuss this early, perhaps with an attorney who specializes in copyright law and intellectual property.

And then, put it in writing.


You’re nearly at the conclusion of your Ghost Hunting for Beginners course. I hope you’ve learned a few things, and have a lot to think about as you continue in this field.

Now it’s time for a brief summary, and your Certificate of Completion.

 

Joining a Ghost Hunting Team

This is the second part of lesson seven in Hallowfield’s free course, Ghost Hunting for Beginners.

It’s time to get out and investigate even more. This course has covered the basics. No doubt you’ve also learned from TV shows.

Real-life ghost hunting can be very different. It’s so varied, every investigation will be a unique challenge, and you’ll discover more about ghosts and ghost hunting.

If your area has a team of ghost hunters, you may want to join them.

Pros & cons of ghost hunting groups

Before joining – or starting – a ghost hunting team, consider your options.

Join a ghost hunting teamFirst, think about your likes and dislikes.

What are your priorities?

Is your schedule limited?

Do you need a team that’s local?  Or, are you willing to drive for an hour or more?

Do you want a group that’s mostly fun and social, or a team of skilled, steely-eyed professionals?

And so on.

In other words, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.

Maybe your ideal team already exists

Next, find ghost hunting groups in your area. Friends may have heard about local ghost hunters.

YouTube is another good resources; search for the words “ghost hunting” and your town or county name.

Still no luck? Look for groups mentioned in news reports from around Halloween.

Maybe you know someone in a ghost hunting group. Perhaps you’ve gone with them on a few investigations.

Don’t assume that you know all of the group’s policies, beliefs, and practices. You might be in for surprises.

When you contact a group that’s accepting new members, ask questions. Be clear about things like:

  • Research locations
  • Spiritual issues
  • Investigation schedules
  • Membership requirements
  • Social compatibility

Locations

What kinds of haunted sites interest you? For example, do you like (or hate) cemeteries?

Are you eager to investigate famous, local haunted houses? Or, do you prefer to explore new haunts?

Do you want to help frightened people living in haunted houses? Or, are you uneasy in private residences?

Ask which sites the group prefers to investigate. Also ask about sites the group definitely won’t visit, and why.

What about travel? If you need to stay within, say, 10 miles of your home or office, make that clear.

Do you have a car? If not, be sure most investigations can be reached using public transportation. Otherwise, ask if team members routinely offer lifts to sites.

Spiritual context

Most ghost hunting teams don’t discuss religion or make it part of their research. In fact, they avoid potential conflicts that could divide the group along religious and doctrinal lines.

Others are open about their spirituality. For example, most members might proudly belong to one particular church… and it might be the church you already attend.

Ask about this.

Go on several ghost hunts with any group you’re thinking of joining.

If your beliefs, practices, and attitudes are compatible with theirs, that’s great.

If not, keep looking.

Schedules

When are the team’s investigations and meetings? Do they fit your schedule?

For example, do they usually research at night or during the day? Do they meet on weeknights or weekends? How long are most investigations?

Does the group keep a strict schedule? If you value punctuality but the team tends to run late – or vice versa – that can present problems.

Is it okay if you arrive early and stay late, or vice versa? Does anyone else do that, so you’re never on your own?

Be sure you always have companions at haunted sites. Never investigate by yourself. (Bad people, living and dead, can prey on loners. Don’t be a victim!)

Requirements

What’s expected of team members? Are some investigations and meetings mandatory? How frequent are they?

Is there a training requirement? Who is teaching and what are their qualifications?

Must all team members closely follow the training advice? Or, are you free to use what works best for you?

Finances

Annual, quarterly, or monthly dues may be reasonable if they cover things like the group’s website or liability insurance.

If the group offers tours, plans events, or does private (paid) investigations, ask where the money goes and whether all members have access to the records.

Get everything in writing before you join.

If money is involved and anything seems odd, ask to see the group’s recent financial report. All members should have access to that, on request.

Social issues

Ghost hunting teams must get along. In fact, compatibility can be the make-or-break point for any group of ghost hunters.

An assertive or even boisterous ghost hunter may seem impressive at first.

After a few ghost hunts, their constant comments can become annoying.

That’s another reason to go on several ghost hunts before agreeing to join.

Are team members too chatty, or always silent, and are you okay with that?

Are you comfortable with how much time they’re in lights-out mode? Does anyone seem too clingy – or even “flirty” – in the dark?

Do any members treat individuals differently, based on race, gender, age, spiritual background, weight, disabilities, education, favorite TV shows, and so on?

Those issues can be subtle but significant.

Some ghost hunters think it’s okay to have a beer or two before an investigation. Some might smoke at the site. Now and then, someone might bring their small, fussy children to an investigation when they can’t find a babysitter.

If something makes you uneasy now, it may annoy you more, later. Address these issues before joining the group.

Or, if you’re already part of the team, raise the issue before it becomes… well, an issue.

The decision is yours

Spend time with the group before committing to membership. See what their interests and standards are, under pressure at investigations.

Here’s a worksheet that may be helpful: Joining a Ghost Hunting Group – Evaluation Worksheet.

If you find a good team, join. Ask how you can be helpful, especially during investigations.

Above all, be active! This field needs more enthusiastic, dedicated researchers.

But, if you can’t find a team to join, you may want to start your own.

… Or not.

If you do start one, all of the issues we’ve talked about… they’ll become your responsibility.

Think about that carefully.

Be realistic about your resources, especially how much time you have.

Being a team leader can require many hours of extra work, in addition to the time spent on investigations.

That’s covered in the next part of this lesson, Starting Your Own Ghost Hunting Team.

Ghost Hunting Teams and Going Pro

Ghost Hunting Teams and Going ProThis is the seventh and final lesson in your free course, Ghost Hunting for Beginners.

We’ve discussed the basics of ghost hunting.

You’ve learned how to find a haunted site near you. By now, you’re finding other people interested in ghost hunting.

In addition, I hope you’ve visited at least one haunted location, or will do so, soon.

You’ve learned about the many steps of a formal ghost investigation, as well as dangers to be aware of.

That’s a great start.

Now it’s time to get out and investigate as much as you can.

Every haunted site and every investigation is different. You’ll learn more with each ghost hunt, whether it’s a success or simply boring.

At some point, you may decide you’ve learned what you wanted to, and you’re ready to explore other hobbies.

Or, you may want to join a formal ghost hunting team, or even start one of your own.

In this lesson, we’ll talk about some possibilities.

This lesson is the longest, and parts of it may interest you more than others.

So, it’s broken into sections. All of them are important.

Ghost hunting options: Tours, Events, and Going Pro

Some people may focus on organized ghost tours and ghost hunting events. At those, you’re almost guaranteed an interesting – and perhaps spooky – experience.

They’re also fields you could consider for your own ghost-related business.

Tours

Tours can be a fine way to find local haunts. Some tours let you borrow their ghost hunting equipment, too. It’s a great way to test-drive difference devices.

If you enjoy the tour enough, ask about becoming one of their tour guides. It’s another way to explore ghost hunting, meet interesting people, and get paid at the same time.

I’ve been on many ghost tours and enjoyed all of them, for various reasons. But, some tours are better than others.

One way to choose a good, local ghost tour: Plan to be near a haunted site you’ll know the tour is likely to visit, at the time they’re likely to pause there.

When the tour shows up, stand back and listen, discreetly. Observe the guide and the reactions of the tour guests.

If it’s a good match for your interests, wait for a break in the tour, and ask the guide for a business card, or how to sign up for a tour.

Here’s a worksheet you can use to decide if a ghost tour seems worth your time (and money): Ghost Tours Evaluation Form.

If you enjoy ghost tours – or can’t find one with the features or locations you want – consider starting your own ghost tour. At the very least, your tour may be popular around Halloween.


Related article: Choosing the Right Ghost Tour


Ghost hunting events

Events are superb ways to gain access to sites usually closed to investigators.

Some events include workshops and presentations by professional ghost hunters.

Others feature “dealer rooms” where inventors and small businesses sell ghost hunting equipment. That’s where I see the most exciting ghost hunting tools. Often, they’re things the public won’t know about for months.

Mostly, I enjoy ghost hunting events because I can meet other ghost hunters – new and experienced – and swap insights. At every event, there’s always one moment (and usually more) when I say, “Wow, I didn’t know that!”

Events are where long-lasting friendships are formed, as well. They may be the best part of ghost hunting vigils and events.

For the best results, see my free handout, Getting the Most from Ghost Hunting Events.

(You may also enjoy my Evaluating Famous Haunts guide, and the related Evaluating Famous Haunts worksheet. Both are free, of course.)

Some friends – including eager amateurs – have organized their own ghost hunting events, inviting “big name” ghost hunters and paranormal researchers to speak and participate in related investigations.

As I’m writing this in 2020, events may require more planning than they used to, to accommodate health and safety concerns. With small enough groups, especially at outdoor locations including battlefields and haunted cemeteries, events are still an option.

Or, you may prefer to be part of regular investigations. If so, a ghost hunting group may be the best choice.

Now read the next part of this lesson: Joining a Ghost Hunting Team

Protection for Ghost Hunters

Ghost Hunting Preparations and ProtectionsWe’ve discussed some dangers of ghost hunting.

Next, let’s talk about protection and preparation.

It’s important to be ready for almost anything that can happen at a haunted site.

No matter how long you’re in this field, and how many sites you investigate, you’ll still encounter surprising things.

Some are startling.

Others are just annoying.

A few can seem scary at first. (Debunking them may help. The fear usually comes from multiple odd things happening at once. Analyze them, step-by-step.)

If you learn to accept the good with the bad, and focus on what’s most rewarding, you’ll be fine.

Always keep your goals and limits in mind.

That’s the framework of why you’re ghost hunting. And that’s why you decided those basics – your goals & limits – when you started this course.

Risks, hazards, and dangers

In previous lessons, I mentioned your personal safety at some haunted sites, and whether they’re used for drinking parties or even criminal activity.

It’s also why I recommend a daytime walk-through of each haunted site, so you’re aware of the physical hazards, like spiders, uneven walkways, evidence of rodents, decaying attic floors you could fall through, and so on.

But no matter how careful or skeptical you are, if you continue ghost hunting, you’re likely to encounter something that scares you.

It might be something mild, like a close call with a falling object (a structural issue or something thrown by a poltergeist).

You may encounter something chilling, like hearing your own name spoken in EVP.

If a warning or threat was part of that, you might decide ghost hunting isn’t for you. Fighting an angry entity that’s already dead…? A lot of people would agree with you that “enough is enough,” and walk away from this field.

Or, it may be something so terrifying, you struggle not to scream. It may be an experience that troubles you for many months or years that follow.

That’s rare. Really rare.

But it, too, is a risk if you pursue ghost hunting.

That’s why protection – and, for some, religious beliefs and practices – need to be considered.

Please take this lesson seriously, even if you think you’ll never need to rely on this kind of information. (And, for your sake, I hope you never do.)

What’s the big deal?

I’ve already explained that – as ghost hunters – our biggest concerns are physical hazards at haunted sites, and problems with the living (not the dead). That’s easily 99.9% of the headaches we’ll deal with in this field.

Here’s why I think the topic of demons must be emphasized in any course for new ghost hunters:

A single encounter with an actual ghost can be thrilling. It’s exhilarating. It’s mysterious and fascinating and… well, I could go on & on about how much I’ve enjoyed my research.

BUT…

A single encounter with a malicious entity can change your life, and not for the better. In fact, it can leave a physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual scars that you never recover from.

Though you’re never likely to encounter a demon or sinister malicious entity, I’m not sure you can fully protect yourself. Not 100%.

But you can be somewhat prepared and on your guard. That’s the purpose of this lesson.

It’s not to scare you. It’s not to disproportionately lead you to jump at shadows and think all ghosts are evil.

In fact, I believe most people – after a few ghost hunts – will get a sense of what a “typical” ghost is, if there is such a thing.

In general, you’ll understand the parameters. A ghost is a ghost. It isn’t a faerie. It isn’t Bigfoot. It isn’t an alien from another planet.

But a ghost isn’t demonic, either.

With experience, I think you’ll know if and when an entity is from the very dangerous end of the anomalous spectrum.

Protection and religion

In a frightening situation, it can help to feel protected by Deity, or something representing your spiritual beliefs.

Ghost hunters come from many backgrounds. Their religions may vary, but everyone I work with believes in the importance of goodness – perhaps grace or harm to none – as a foundation for all that we do.

We’re not at haunted sites to summon spirits of any kind. We don’t do rituals. We don’t lure, entice, taunt, bully, or “provoke.”

We’re there to observe “ghostly activity,” whatever that may be.

That’s our primary goal.

And then we do our best to understand what it is.

In most cases, we start by debunking the phenomena, whether it’s a weird noise, a phrase we heard (perhaps in EVP), a door that slammed, or a general “creepy feeling.”

Then, we look for other explanations, including the possibility of ghosts or other entities.

Many ghost hunters – including me – carry at least one symbol of protection.

This could be anything from a spiritual token to… well, even your “lucky socks.”

Generally, ghost hunters carry something small and unobtrusive. If your team members have mixed religious backgrounds, it’s best not to make your differences into an issue.

Don’t create distance and divisions within your team.

Avoid unintended insults and divisions

Early in my research, I saw a team splinter when a Pagan member repeatedly insisted, “New Age… rhymes with sewage,” as if that was funny.

Those who believe in angels – often labeled a New Age concept – were offended. I was among them.

Likewise, I’ve seen team members walk away, offended, when – before entering a haunted site – a Christian offered a blessing on everyone, aloud.

At least one team member was Jewish.

For your personal safety and the well-being of your team, avoid anything that raises divisions or harsh feelings between team members.

That’s not to make less of your personal beliefs; it’s about protection from entities that might use those divisions to make some members more vulnerable.

Really, divisions – cracks in the bonds among team members, and subtle wavers in your own confidence – seem to be an entry point for damage by malicious and demonic entities.


Recommended reading from my Hollow Hill website: Spiritual Protection for Ghost Hunters.


Spirituality based teams

Some ghost hunting teams share a specific spiritual background, belief system, or church membership.

For them, religious discretion isn’t the same issue it can be among other teams.

My advice is exactly what I tell everyone I work with: Stay true to your beliefs and practices. Do nothing – absolutely nothing – that feels uncomfortable or unethical to you.

Before and after investigations, use whatever protection is appropriate to your faith. Do this outside the site you’re investigating. (I’ll explain that next, with some warnings.)

Also, if you feel the need to, ask for protection during the investigation, too.

But no matter what your religion, if you feel threatened by an entity, or if there’s any chance you’re dealing with something demonic, leave the location immediately.

An important religious warning

In this course and elsewhere, I’ve warned people to stay far away from any site where demons may be present. That’s due to the apparent increase in malicious and demonic entities at some haunted locations.

What are demons?

The Oxford dictionary defines a demon as, “An evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell.”

In my opinion, the words “evil” and “tormentor” should be enough to convince investigators to avoid sites – and entities – connected with the word “demon.”

If there is any possibility that the ghost is actually a demon, leave the site immediately.

In some religious contexts, demons are evil outcasts from the kingdom of a benign God. They have chosen a path that includes causing harm to others.

Regardless of your spirituality or definition of “demon,” here’s something to note: If the entity is demonic or malicious, any Christian symbol can make things worse.

If an ordained priest or minister – trained and experienced in the field of exorcisms – brings a Bible, crucifix, holy water, or other Christian symbols to a demonic site, that’s part of his, her, or their calling.

However, any ghost hunter who enters a haunted site waving a cross or Bible – without extensive spiritual training related to demons – is putting himself, herself, or themselves and their teams at risk.

Lessons from recent history

If you think I’m exaggerating, please review past ghost hunting TV shows. You’ll see at least one star who – with the best of intentions – was led down a dark path when he tried to confront entities he was ill-equipped to deal with.

Several other high-profile stars have had lesser problems befall them.

None of them were “bad” people. Many (not all) had deeply religious, Christian roots.

Most recovered from their experiences. Some are still struggling. A few continue to face minor – but truly odd – challenges in their personal and professional lives.

I’ve deliberately left names out of this. Those who’ve been in the field for a while probably know exactly who I’m talking about, and the difficulties they’ve encountered.

Were their problems entirely due to ghost hunting and demonic activity? Possibly. There’s no way to be certain. I’ve just observed some abrupt decisions by friends in this field, and odd things that happened to them.

Maybe it’s all in my imagination, and the speculation of fellow professionals in “green room” settings.

But… is it worth taking a chance, in case we’re right?

What to do and not to do

Demon haunted - ZaffisHere’s my best, briefest advice. If you remember nothing else from this lesson, remember this:

If you find yourself in a setting where a demon may lurk, do not take out your Bible or other Christian symbol.

In fact, get out of there as fast as you can. And tell your teammates to do the same.

And then contact a local, mainstream priest or minister about what you’ve witnessed.

They’re far better trained and equipped to deal with demonic activity.

And that site may need clearing by someone qualified to deal with demons, before any other investigators find themselves in danger.


Related information at others’ sites:


Atheists and spiritual protection

Sometimes people insist they’re atheists, or don’t believe in spiritual protection.

In normal, day-to-day settings, I’m okay with that. Each of us has his, her, or their own spiritual path. Or perhaps none at all.

I’ll admit to having ministerial training, but part of that study included learning when someone is – or isn’t – ready to explore their faith (or lack of it).

I do my best to keep religion out of my conversations about paranormal research. My focus is a mix of science and historical research.

Those who know me well, and in real life, are familiar with my educational and spiritual background.

Whatever your beliefs – if any – here’s an important fact: Ghost hunters may encounter entities commonly labeled with terms that are centuries old and documented in records related to religion.

If you won’t take religion seriously, at least consider the stories in a historical context.

If you examine the descriptions of malicious and demonic entities, you’ll see a startling consistency to those reports. Often, they’re the same now as they were in 4000 BC.

To me, that suggests those entities are real, whatever labels you choose to use.

worried womanAlso keep this in mind: In frightening situations – and in a matter of minutes – people can change from calm, logical thinkers to emotional wrecks.

Even experienced ghost hunters can be surprised, startled, or experience bone-chilling fear.

You may not want to use the word “demon.” For all we know, some malicious entities may not be demons at all.

Aliens? Lizard people? Faeries? Cryptids in general?

In our research, the labels aren’t necessarily important.

We know that something evil and terrifying lurks at some “haunted” sites.

We also know that some of those entities respond to certain objects related to faith and/or protection.

It’s better to feel silly carrying a token of protection, and never need it, than to be in a nightmarish situation and wish you had something with you for comfort.

Prepare for terror, just in case

In other words, if anything might be a source of comfort for you, bring it with you.

This could be a swatch from your childhood “cuddle blanket.” It might be a religious medal. It might be a quartz crystal. Or, you might choose an MP3 of traditional hymns or even Broadway tunes.

It’s not so much what you carry, as your belief that it works. Inner confidence – in a Higher Power or in yourself – can be vital in a truly terrifying situation.

It’s essential to pay attention to your internal radar or “gut feeling.”

Almost every experienced ghost hunter can tell you about an investigator who stayed too long at a dangerously haunted site.

It happened to one of my team members. Worse, I didn’t take her concerns seriously, and had my own terrifying experience at the same site.

Was it demonic, or something else? I don’t know.

One this is certain: It was the scariest moment in my decades of paranormal research. I should have fled the site as soon as the anomalies were clearly not ghostly.

I hope I never experience anything like it again.

And I hope you don’t either.

Please, whether or not you take this lesson seriously, be prepared… just in case.


Next, explore the final lesson in this course: Ghost Hunting Teams and Going Pro.

Ghost Hunting Dangers

This is the fifth lesson in the free Ghost Hunting for Beginners course.

Ghost hunting can be dangerous. This is something to think about, early. Once again, consider your limits and how unsafe you’re willing to feel.

Ghost hunting dangers - for beginnersMost safety problems fall into four categories.

  • First, there are strictly physical hazards. They range from allergies to holes in the floor, and from uneven stairs to animal burrows at outdoor locations.
  • Problems with the living can intrude, too. Generally, your concerns will center on team member issues and annoying strangers.
  • Then, we’ll look at problems with ghosts. Most aren’t actually dangerous, but they can cause unintended harm.
  • Finally, we need to talk about truly dangerous entities… the ones that inflict intentional pain and spiritual assaults.

Physical hazards

Are you investigating a private, well-maintained site?

That might be a private residence, hotel, or a “haunted” building like a former prison or hospital that allows tours, vigils, and private ghost hunts.

If that’s where you’re investigating, you probably don’t have much to worry about. Most owners have liability insurance, and – to keep their premiums low – they usually maintain their sites very well. In some cases, especially if the site is open to the public, either local officials or an insurance representative may check for safety standards, regularly.

But if you’re investigating abandoned buildings, there’s a lot to worry about.

Outdoor locations

Ghost hunting outdoors - hazards and dangersOutdoors – especially at battlefields and cemeteries – poor maintenance and Mother Nature can place many hazards in your path. Sometimes literally.

A daytime, pre-investigation tour is vital. Of course, you’ll note the locations of “haunted” areas that most interest you.

More importantly, look for problems like uneven paths, broken pavement, and holes in the ground (especially if they’re partly concealed by tall grass or plants).

Also note low fences or dividers, and curbs or stairs that are easy to overlook.

Study local plants for poison ivy, poison oak, and so on. If team members have severe allergies or asthma, be watchful for ragweed and other plants with significant pollen.

Look just outside the walls or fences, in case you see evidence of graves, marked or unmarked. That’s especially true at cemeteries, but also some battlefields.

While you’re touring, also check for signs of past (and recent) parties or rituals, as well as evidence that homeless people sleep nearby. Any of those can present problems during your actual investigation.

I’m not sure I’d decide not to investigate that kind of site, but I’d be very wary. Frankly, we have enough safer options. Unless there was a compelling reason to plan a ghost hunt with what are – for me, anyway – major red flags, I’d cross it off my list.

Finally, use a flashlight – even during the day – if you’re in a partially wooded area. Look for spiderwebs, especially if you live in an area with poisonous and nocturnal spiders. Check for snakeskins, too, if poisonous or territorial snakes are native to your area.

Problems with the living

Now and then, a team member can become a problem.

Ghost hunting - problems with the livingAt the very least, the annoying person could be a distraction. Be prepared to tell them, firmly, “I’ll answer your questions after the investigation,” or whatever is appropriate.

If the problem persists, ask them to leave, and discuss the issue with them later.

(However, if that leaves you alone at the site, you should leave as well. Never stay at a haunted site by yourself.)

Less frequent, some people use the shelter of darkness as an excuse or a shield for inappropriate touching or aggression. I explain this in more detail in Ghost Investigations and Touching

Remember:

  • Mean, angry, and malicious spirits can slap or scratch investigators.
  • The living can mimic this to scare others or bring attention to themselves.
  • Inappropriate touching can be a risk in dark and low-light settings. Speak up if someone (or something) touches you.
  • If someone seems regularly in proximity to inappropriate touching or harm, watch that person and – short term – keep him/her/them away from others. That’s for everyone’s protection, while you study what’s actually happening and whether it’s paranormal, normal, or even criminal.

Speaking of criminals… Criminals may use deserted and unpopular sites for their own purposes, too. The more isolated the location – especially on the outskirts of towns or cities with drug or prostitution problems – the more alert you’ll need to be.

Check police records, crime blotters in local newspapers and websites, or – ahead of time – just call the police (not using their emergency number). Ask if the location is safe.

Note: it’s rarely a good idea to announce to the police that you’re going ghost hunting at a specific site. Unless you’re on close, friendly terms with the police or a particular officer, keep your questions as vague as possible.  Otherwise, they’re likely to be extra watchful, and some police are uneasy about ghost hunters. (Unfortunately, some have very good reasons to distrust us.)

And then there are the parties. (Yes, I’m sighing deeply as I write that. Parties are among the most annoying problems we regularly deal with.)

Whether it’s a battlefield, a cemetery, an abandoned school, or just a location “where weird stuff happens,” young adults may decide it’s a great place to party. The farther away from a main street (and prying eyes), the better.

My advice is to leave. Don’t confront them. Just leave.

Even if you were there before they arrived, that doesn’t grant you exclusive rights to the site. The same goes for them, but chances are: there are more of them than there are of you. And there’s a reason they’re partying in a location generally unobserved by adults. Usually, it’s so they can be as loud as they like, and party as hard as they like.

So, just leave. Perhaps schedule your next investigation at that site for a school night. In most cases, parties are scheduled for weekends.

Problems with ghosts

Problems with ghosts - ghost huntingThere’s a good reason I’ve use a somewhat silly illustration – someone in a sheet, pretending to be a ghost.

It’s because most actual ghosts aren’t troublesome.

Some don’t perceive us.

Others know we’re there, but they’re afraid or us or otherwise ignore us.

A few will – with encouragement – establish some sort of contact.

Some are eager to prove that they’re real, and establish a dialogue… or otherwise have fun with us.

Most aren’t malicious.

Three kinds of ghosts can cause problems.

Angry or territorial ghosts

Some ghosts don’t like visitors. They don’t want to be treated like they’re performers. They don’t like being bullied or taunted, under the guise of being “provoked.”

I agree. Some ghost hunters don’t seem to understand boundaries.

In most cases, you are intruding on a place where the ghost lived or died. He, she, or they have more of a right to be there than you do. And if they want to be left alone, perhaps you should respect that.

On the other hand, some ghosts are angry or territorial and – decades or centuries after they had a right to be there – they’re belligerent. They like to scare people, perhaps because they’re so scared of whatever they think awaits them in the afterlife.

Usually, they’re “all bark and no bite,” but don’t turn your investigation into something confrontational. Ignore angry ghosts and focus on evidence you’re collecting.

There is one exception: If you’re ghost hunting to help spirits “cross over” or “go to the light,” and so on, you may want to try to help an angry spirit.

Be mindful that you’re probably not the first to try this. I recommend setting a firm time limit on your efforts.

Some angry ghosts have learned to wheedle and sob to get sympathy and attention. They have no intention of leaving the site, if they even believe in an afterlife.

In the past, my teams have included ghost hunters who want to help possibly trapped spirits. They’re sort of a sub-team, and all are committed to what they’re doing.

We may work together and swap notes during part of the investigation. But, at a certain point, I may want to go home. (I’m an “early to bed, early to rise” person.) So, I’m comfortable leaving that part of the team at the site, to stay as late as they like, hoping to help spirits ready to cross over.

Prankster ghosts

Prankster ghosts and trigger objectsSome spirits, especially ghosts of children, visit their former homes or favorite places… and they like to play pranks.

One did that to me at the Myrtles Plantation. Near the foot of the main staircase, a ghost pushed me.

I don’t think the intent was to hurt me, though I did sprain my ankle as I fell.

Almost immediately, I felt an external sense of remorse, as if the ghost was really sorry for what she’d done.

Prankster ghosts are more likely to slam doors, respond to “trigger objects” like toys (especially lightweight objects, like beach balls).

I’m not sure where to draw the line between prankster ghosts and poltergeists. At this point, we don’t understand poltergeists, but – recently – I’ve been seeing some interesting theories in an unexpected area: quantum physics. (I’ll link to those reports when I see more credible evidence, but the gravity connection is intriguing.)

Poltergeists

The cover of the book, Poltergeist – Tales of the Supernatural, explains, “A poltergeist is a ghostly imp with certain unpleasant characteristics. Whereas the ordinary ghost is, usually, fairly quiet and discreet, the poltergeist is the reverse.”

That same book describes poltergeists as “mischievous, destructive, noisy, cruel, cunning, malicious, audacious, teasing, ill-disposed, spiteful, ruthless, and resourceful.”

Is that a little harsh? Maybe.

From my experience, poltergeists are mischievous and don’t seem to care if they cause harm to objects and sometimes people.

Unlike ghosts, poltergeists also seem to follow individuals, at least within a small range of where the poltergeist was discovered.

I’ve written about poltergeists in Poltergeists – what they are and famous stories, as well as Poltergeists – The Great Amherst Mystery, and briefly mention related activity in Eden Camp Ghosts – Where the Ghosts Make It Personal.

Are poltergeists ghosts… or something else? I’m not sure.

Most new ghost hunters are unlikely to encounter significant poltergeist activity. I’m mentioning it because this kind of activity seems halfway between “prankster ghosts” and malicious or demonic entities.

For now, file this away as a topic to research more, after you’ve been on more investigations.

NOT ghosts: demons and dangerous entities

Demons and malicious spirits are rare, but they’re also a genuine risk. They can injure you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

You’ll find far more specific details in the next lesson.

A few decades ago, demons weren’t a significant issue. Ghost hunters rarely even mentioned them.

Then, I’m not sure if something changed, or more people investigated more sites, and we learned more about spirits in the burrows, crevices, and hidden corners of “ghostly” sites.

While some disbelievers scoff at the idea of actual demons, experienced ghost hunters know that – at some sites – something evil lurks.

Worse, it can be dangerous beyond almost anything you’d encounter in everyday life. Usually, it wants to manipulate innocent people, or even destroy them.

Take no chances!

If you feel as if something – a visible or invisible entity – has made you a target, leave the site immediately.

Never think, “Worst case, it’s something ‘demonic’ and I’ll get an exorcism. That’ll fix everything.”

Exorcisms are rarely a simple answer to a demonic encounter. See my article at Hollow Hill, Do Exorcisms Work?

Frankly, many of us worry that we don’t know what all ‘demonic’ entities are.

I don’t mean to sound flippant, but they could be aliens. They might be something from the Unseelie Court. They might be a category of entities we don’t have a label for, yet.

Or, yes, they might actually be demons.

John Zaffis is the expert in that field.

I stay far away from anything demonic, malicious, and vicious.

I suggest that you do, too.

If your internal radar – or “gut feeling” – give you a deep sense of anxiety, pay attention to it. It is better to leave an investigation site and feel silly about it, than to put yourself at risk.

The investigator who died

Here’s my story: I don’t like to talk about this, but it happened to someone on my team. She was bright, funny, a mom, and a skeptic. 

Also, she was fit & healthy, and led an active life.

After a routine investigation, she decided to visit another haunted location on her way home. I’m still not sure why.

But, something there terrified her.

(She wasn’t easily startled. In fact, even during our most unsettling investigations, she was usually the last to leave. So, when she told me how troubled she was after her independent, late-night exploration, I was alarmed.)

A few days later, her sudden death was a shock to everyone who knew her.

We still don’t know if it was connected to something paranormal at the second site. We know that she literally ran from whatever-it-was… perhaps too late to escape its effects.

Don’t take chances.

That incident still lingers in my mind. But, it’s also an extreme that ghost hunters rarely encounter.

Don’t dismiss that as “it could never happen to me,” but keep in mind the relatively normal, weird things that we regularly encounter during investigations.


Here are a few of my related articles about demonic and malicious spirits. I write as little as I can about them, because they’re not ghosts, and I won’t go anywhere near a location that may have demonic activity.

(And really, you don’t want to know how many things went really, really wrong when I was revising this lesson and trying to post it at Hallowfields. Does that creep me out? Yes. But it also makes me even more determined to make sure I warn ghost hunters about this rarely encountered issue.)


With more experience, you’ll learn the internal and external signals to watch for. Meanwhile, be prepared for anything.

Yes, ghost hunting can be dangerous. That’s true of many hobbies and careers, from kayaking to mountain climbing, and from piloting a plane to building skyscrapers.

In general, ghost hunting’s biggest dangers are physical hazards at the sites we investigate. After that, the next biggest problem is the living, not ghosts or anything malicious.


The next lesson is about Protection for Ghost Hunters, and it delves more deeply into demons and spiritual issues.

(Even if you roll your eyes, sigh, or even laugh up your sleeve about this topic, keep it in mind if your investigations get weird.)

A Thorough Ghost Investigation

This is the fourth lesson in the the free Ghost Hunting for Beginners course.

ghosts

It’s time to prepare for a serious ghost hunt, and then going on multiple investigations.

Thorough ghost investigationThis lesson may be challenging, and it’s likely to take you several weeks (or longer) to complete.

Have patience. Mastering this lesson – taking your time to become comfortable with each facet of ghost hunting – will make a big difference in your success in the future.

Don’t rush anything.

Start with simple sites, even predictable ones.

Then, as your confidence builds, try different kinds of haunts, and those with reports of more vivid activity.

Choose a convenient, perhaps familiar site

To start of this lesson, I recommend revisiting one of the sites you explored during the previous lesson, Your First Ghost Hunt.

During your investigations, be sure to remember the 3 Easy Mistakes Beginners Can Make.

Let’s start by listing the basics. You’re probably familiar with some of these points.

That’s good. During real, thorough, professional ghost investigations, some of these steps become very important.

Here are the basic steps of an investigation

The following are the steps I recommend for any thorough investigation. We’ve already discussed several of them.

In this lesson, I’ll cover a few points in detail.

Some require more explanation than I can cover in a simple article. I’ll provide resources for them, later.

Others are logical steps you’ve seen on most ghost hunting TV shows.

Here’s the usual sequence. Modify it to suit your goals, limits, resources, interests, and available research sites.

  1. Select your companions or team. (This was covered, briefly, in the second lesson: Your First Ghost Hunt.) Never go ghost hunting by yourself. Ever.
  2. Choose a location and investigation time. Double-check the address and when the site is open, etc. (Also covered in Your First Ghost Hunt. I’m especially enthusiastic about haunted cemeteries, due to convenience, safety, and how haunted many are. See How to Find a Haunted Cemetery.)
  3. Visit the location during the daytime, or arrive before dusk to get a sense of what’s where, and any dangers at the site.
  4. Baseline yourself so you know when an entity is affecting you.
  5. Select the tools (if any) best suited to the site, the weather, the ghost stories, and so on. Remember to have extra batteries for electronic tools.
  6. When everyone is ready for the investigation, pause for spiritual protection, if appropriate.
  7. Then, walk through the site as a group, noting anything important. That includes hazards, things that other teams have mentioned, local folklore, and anything that seems to get your attention (even if you’re not sure why).
  8. If you’ll be using digital equipment, run baseline checks, especially of EMF.
  9. Then, organize into teams of two or three, and investigate. Go slowly! Document what you find. Note time, place (GPS?), weather, emotional impact, and anything odd, even if it doesn’t seem ghostly at the time.
  10. Unless anomalies are happening at a steady pace, debunk as much as you can as you go along. Note your debunking efforts, too, so you don’t forget. (If you’re working in teams of three, two can debunk while the third keeps watch for anything new and anomalous. Or vice versa.)
  11. Leave if anything frightens you, or if you’re asked to leave by owners or police.
  12. Continue research until it’s time to leave. That could be when everyone is tired, when all “hot” areas have been investigated, or at a specific time you’d already agreed upon.
  13. Pause to thank the spirits, wish them comfort (or whatever seems appropriate), and renew your spiritual protection, as needed.
  14. Optional: Meet at a designated coffee shop or other location, to discuss what just happened (and what didn’t). You may start reviewing evidence then, exchange digital files, possible ghost photos, etc.
  15. Review your notes and evidence, on your own, and then with the group.
  16. Revisit the site – possibly during the daytime and after dark – to debunk evidence that needs a second look.
  17. Plan your next investigation.

With those routine steps in mind, let’s talk about a few details, starting with a baseline.

Baseline yourself

Baseline yourself worksheetDuring every investigation, it’s essential to separate how you feel from how the ghosts affect you.

Often, the first evidence of a haunting is subtle. It’s that little – perhaps illogical – shift in your emotions. Or a slight discomfort in your upper back. And so on.

After that, the evidence grows until you can’t ignore it. If you waited too long to recognize what’s going on, you could be at risk.

It’s best to be on your guard from the very start.

So, before every investigation, pause and consider how you feel at that moment.

  • How was your day, so far?
  • How’s your health (and allergies)?
  • Have you eaten recently?
  • Any chance that you’re a little dehydrated?
  • Did you dress appropriately for the weather and the location? Can you tell a paranormal chill from a normal breeze? Is your footwear suited to where you’ll be walking?

Always know how you feel upon arrival. That’s the best way to tell if – at the haunted site – a ghost is having an effect on you, physically or emotionally.

This kind of check becomes easy, even second nature, after a few dozen ghost hunts. But, at first, you may need to pause and assess how you feel and how well prepared you are for the investigation.

See my article, Baseline Yourself, for more information, links to free worksheets, and a helpful podcast.

Tools for Beginning Ghost Hunters

It’s not necessary to use any tools during a ghost hunt. If you’re a spiritual or religious person, I recommended carrying some symbol of spiritual protection, but even that is optional.

Also, many people like to shield themselves spiritually, before entering the haunted site.

  • You may say a prayer.
  • You might mentally ask a relative – someone who’s already crossed over – to be with you and protect you.
  • You might carry a quartz crystal, a religious medal, or rosary beads.
  • You could imagine yourself protected by a pink bubble of loving energy.
  • Or, you may prefer to think of yourself shielded by a vivid blue light shining down from the heavens above.

As a beginner, I recommend a simple prayer or comforting ritual – even something like stargazing while sipping cocoa – before beginning a ghost investigation.

At the very least, that kind of routine can clear your mind of lingering thoughts from earlier in the day. You’ll feel fresher and more focused as you start the investigation.

Whatever you use, make sure it aligns with your spirituality. If some of your companions want to use a circle to ask for protection, but – as a Christian – that troubles you, don’t join them. Instead, take a few minutes for personal prayer.

And vice versa: if your friends want to pray to Deity, out loud, but their references to Jesus Christ or God (in their religious context) make you uneasy, it’s okay to step to one side and use a silent meditation.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to use your preferred means of spiritual protection. Do not compromise on this. That’s important.

Not worried?

If spiritual protections seems silly, I still hope you’ll approach your first investigation with caution.

And I hope you never encounter anything truly terrifying or dangerous. Odds are, you will be frightened by something, at some point. But when that happens, I hope you’re prepared and remain safe.

  • Some sites are safer than others, in terms of physical issues like weak floorboards, spiders, bats, and rodents, and so on. Avoid bursting into a room, or running up a staircase that hasn’t been used in years. Attics, barns, and basements are especially risky, especially in terms of respiratory dangers.
  • Some sites do present spiritual dangers. You’re unlikely to stumble onto one of those during early investigations. Research each site, online, if you’re not sure.
  • At any point you feel frightened, leave the site immediately. Your internal warning system can be your best defense during investigations that become risky.

When I watch some ghost hunting teams on TV, I look at the risks they’re taking. I hope the worst dangers were staged (or at least exaggerated) during filming.

But when I see someone talking about demons, and staying at the site anyway, I shake my head. Either those researchers are remarkably stupid or foolhardy, or both.

I hope they never reap the consequences of their mistakes. And, if/when they do, I hope they recover fully and quickly.

Do not emulate what you see on TV. What they claim they’re doing…? It might be something staged, or stupidly suggested by a producers.

Above all, don’t go looking for “a good scare.”  You risk getting more than you expected, and putting yourself – and your companions – in danger.

The most important tools are your five or six senses.

Yes, I keep talking about your five senses, or six if you believe in that and feel gifted.

During your first several investigations, just observe.

Listen for strange noises and odd silences.

Watch for strange lights, shadows or figures. Pay special attention to dark corners and reflective surfaces. (Mirrors, windowpanes, and shiny surfaces can reflect ghostly images.)

All of your senses should be on alert. Some people hear ghosts. Some people see them. Many people report things like an odd chill, or breath on their faces, necks, or arms.

Other people sense changes in movement or energy.

Here’s an example.

An energy field at Gilson Road Cemetery

anomalous light at Gilson Rd Cemetery
This light (not visible at the time) is near the area with heavy energy.

At New Hampshire’s Gilson Road Cemetery, we discovered an unusual energy field. At the time, we said it felt like “wading through molasses.”

In later investigations, we felt it again. It was never as strong as that first time, but it’s something we’ve never forgotten.

The first time, it was a little alarming. I worried that, at some point, someone might be paralyzed by the energy field.

Fortunately, we kept wading. The energy field was about 20 or 30 feet across, and denser at the middle. When we escaped it, we felt a little drained, but that’s all.

To this day, I have no idea what it was. Maybe it was residual energy from violent deaths at that location, centuries ago.

Or perhaps it was connected with the unmarked graves and misplaced headstones at that cemetery.

During your investigations, notice what’s going on internally. Are you feeling excited, or a little drained of energy, or both? Are your emotions significantly different from earlier in the day? (This is when your baseline checks are important.)

Those observations are at the core of ghost hunting.

Normal, expected risks

Some haunted sites present physical risks. Abandoned or neglected buildings can have rotted floors, uneven stairs, dangerous mold and mildew, or even a rodent population.

(The latter – and hantavirus – is why many of us wear masks at messy haunted sites. An N95 – or a mask that filters nano particles – is recommended.)

creepy cemeteryOutdoors – especially in the dark -at poorly maintained battlefields and cemeteries, you may stumble onto unmarked graves (depressions the size and shape of buried coffins), exposed tree roots, and holes dug by rodents and snakes.

In wooded areas frequented by hunters (whether or not it’s hunting season), wear something reflective or brightly colored.

(Neon-colored vests are inexpensive. You can buy them at stores such as Target, sporting goods stores, and online retailers like Amazon.)

Never rely on your mobile phone for safety. In many haunted places, EMF levels can be high. Electrical devices – including phones, cameras, and other devices – can fail. Usually, the problem is the battery. Even freshly charged devices can go flat as soon as you enter haunted location.

The battery issue

Some say ghosts drain battery energy for their own use. I’m not ready to believe that. But, I’ve seen all electrics lose power – almost instantly – upon arriving at investigation sites.

Here’s a short video about what to do if you’re using a phone (or other electronics) for ghost hunting, and the batteries go flat.

Ghost Hunting – When Batteries Fail

Ghost hunting equipment can fail in haunted settings. Here’s one way to continue your investigation anyway – Try “old school” ghost hunting methods. In this …

(URL: https://youtu.be/MBTulC6Gbqw)

Of course, you could just leave the site if you’re uneasy about how (and why) ghosts might be tampering with your camera, phone, or other gadgets.

Mostly, never assume that it’s okay to go alone to a deserted, haunted place. If you need to call for help, your phone may not work.

(The good news is: electronic equipment often starts working again – as if nothing had happened – when you leave the haunted site. I’ve seen flat batteries seem to recharge themselves, about 1/4 mile from our investigation.)

Continue until you’re comfortable, or at least more confident

I recommend repeated investigations at that location, until you start to feel comfortable with the process.

Then, use the resources mentioned in “Choose a place to investigate” (in the lesson, Your First Ghost Hunt) to find additional sites to investigate.

If you’re running out of haunts to explore, you can Use History to Find Haunted Places. That’s one of my favorite ways to discover ghostly sites that haven’t been over-investigated.

No two sites – and usually no two investigations – will be the same.

Also, no matter how many years you’re in this field, you’ll still encounter phenomena you didn’t expect.

Sometimes, you’ll be unprepared for it.

Never think you’ve seen, heard, or experienced everything ghosts and other entities can throw at you.

If you become complacent, you’re at risk.


When you’re ready for your next lesson…

Next, let’s discuss a topic that many ghost hunters shrug off… until something terrible happens.

Even if you’re still getting used to ghost hunting, the following lesson may be important.

I truly hope nothing bad or truly scary ever happens to you during or immediately after a ghost hunt. (Not sure if you should be scared? Read If A Ghost Hunt Frightens You.)

Mostly, I want you to be thoroughly prepared, just in case.

With that in mind, it’s time to learn about the biggest Ghost Hunting Dangers. That’s next in this course.

Ghost Hunting Tools & Talents

 

Ghost Hunting EquipmentThis is my third lesson in the Ghost Hunting for Beginners course.

So far, you’ve thought about why you’re interested in ghost hunting, and set some immediate goals and limits.

You’ve also tried a brief ghost hunt as a “dress rehearsal.”

That helped you preview what works well (and doesn’t) with your ghost hunting goals.

In an upcoming lesson, you’ll plan – and then go on – a more serious investigation.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about two things.

The first is ghost hunting equipment, since TV shows make it seem like tools are essential.

(Are they, really? It depends on your research focus.)

The other topic we’ll discuss is: your talents. Those can include things you’re naturally good at, especially observation skills.

And let’s not forget useful things you’ve learned from education, experience, or your career.

They can counter-balance (or a supplement) actual ghost hunting tools.

Ghost hunting equipment

If there’s just one thing I’d love students to learn from this course, it’s that – for a memorable ghost investigation at a truly haunted site – you don’t need anything more than your five (or six) senses.

Sure, it’s exciting to see an EMF meter light up for no reason. Or to hear some fleeting word or phrase from a ghost box.

But the moments that make the most lasting impression are those where you hear, see, sense, or feel something and you know it had to be a ghost.

That subjective experience can change your life as well as your belief in ghosts and haunted places.

Do I use ghost hunting tools…?

Of course, but I don’t investigate haunted sites to see lights flash on ghost hunting equipment.

And though I’m still startled when I hear weird noises from some device, it doesn’t impress me as it once did.

I believe most people become ghost hunters for the experience… the memorable moments when they’re almost certain they’ve encountered a ghost.

Research tools can be helpful, but they only confirm that something odd is going on.

For many people – including me – they’re not reliable stand-alone evidence of paranormal activity.

Further analysis – including debunking – is needed.

Popular investigation tools

Every month or two, new ghost hunting equipment becomes available. Some are major improvements on past tools. Others are just flashier, more gimmick-y devices.

These are some of the most popular tools:

  • Regular cameras and video equipment. Your phone is all you need to get started.
  • EMF meters. Even the “as seen on TV” ones can work well.
  • EVP recording devices. The voice recorder on your phone is probably good enough, for now.
  • Specialized flashlights.
  • Motion and vibration detectors. (So far, I’m not impressed.)
  • Real-time communication devices, such as the spirit box, Ovilus, Puck, Frank’s Box, and so on.
  • Dowsing rods, pendulums, and divination tools. (Ouija boards are not recommended.)
  • Specialized cameras designed to show energy forms as well as orbs and other anomalies. (If you want to understand those stick figures seen on TV shows, Polygon explained the basics, and the pre-assembled equipment is available from several resources.)
  • Yes/no (binary) tools such as purpose-built devices, and also loosened flashlights.
  • Ghost hunting apps for phones and handheld devices. (Yes, some ghost hunting phone apps seem to work well.)
shadow figure in ghost photo
We saw that shadow in real life, and – as it moved – it looked exactly like a normal person’s shadow. We saw his arms’ and legs’ shadows move like a living person. Then we watched him walk to the back door… and – without opening the door – vanish.

It’s exciting to confirm your perceptions with hard evidence.

It’s thrilling when an EMF spike occurs seconds after you felt a chill.

If a photo shows a strange shadow, it could be the same figure others have seen at that location.

Having a photo (or video) to show them? That makes the anomaly seem more believable. It’s a confirmation that, no, you weren’t “just imagining it.”

Also, a voice from a spirit box can be startling, especially when a word or phrase fits the haunting.

When ghost hunting turns scary, your equipment can serve a second purpose. That is, it can keep you from panicking.

Proof or distraction?

Putting your attention on something very real and physical can be a relief. It’s a temporary break.

Any investigation can seem overwhelming.

You’ll encounter things you can’t explain… phenomena and feelings you can’t control.

It can seem scary.

That’s when it’s comforting to step back into the “real” world of cameras and audio equipment, ghost apps, and EMF devices.

That sense of control can be essential. After all, if your ghost hunting tools seem to go haywire, you can turn them off. 

Anything that shifts your focus away from your fears can provide a healthy break.

You may be at risk

Ghosts can be very different from what you expected. It’s normal to feel vulnerable.

It’s okay to take a brief “time out.” Focus on your ghost hunting equipment. Check your readings for a few minutes.

But then get back to being alert. Engage all of your senses again, even if you’re frightened.

Ghost hunting tools can be a problem when:

  • You rely on them too much. If you’re wholly focused on your equipment, how is that different from watching ghost hunting on TV? (However, if your goal was to see ghost hunting equipment working in real life, that may be fine.)
  • They distract you from genuine risks. Never ignore a “gut feeling” that warns you of danger.
  • Tools interfere with research. For example, when your Ovilus or spirit box keeps talking, but someone nearby is recording EVP.
  • When ghosts (or other entities) use those tools to frighten you.

Keep that last point in mind. Many people believe that ghosts can interact with EMF meters, real-time communication tools, etc.

If that’s true, malicious spirits can also use your tools to scare you.

When a ghost tried to scare us

During one investigation in Salem, Massachusetts, several team members experienced waves of terror. At that point, I worried about their emotional well-being.

Next, another team member decided to act-out the victim’s abuse posture. (That’s never a good idea.)

Then, the Ovilus in my hand said my name, Fiona, aloud. That was truly odd. The name “Fiona” was not in the Ovilus word list.

Something was trying to scare us in very personal ways.

Right away, I turned off the Ovilus. We rushed through our investigation in that part of the site and moved to another area.

The rest of the site was haunted, but not in frightening ways.

Be prepared… just in case

Dark figureIt’s very unusual for a spirit to use your equipment to frighten you.

Out of hundreds of investigations, I’ve witnessed that fewer than a dozen times.

If a malicious entity or angry ghost targets you, get out of that area.

Pause for a minute or two.

Recover.

Then decide the safest course of action. When in doubt, leave the site altogether.

Whatever you decide, be sure to warn other teams about your experience.

Never put yourself (or others) at risk when you’re dealing with something you cannot see.

Ghost hunting tools and equipment – personal choices

When professional ghost hunters gather, we often discuss ghost hunting tools. Opinions vary, wildly.

I believe that some ghost hunters “tune in” to certain tools. They may see limited results with other kinds of equipment.

Few investigators are adept (or skilled) in every research area.

One ghost hunter may take great photos, but get nothing in EVP recordings.

Or, dowsing rods may respond, but not a pendulum.

I’ve seen an Ovilus talk almost non-stop to one person, and then go totally silent in the hands of someone else. And then resume talking when the Ovilus was returned to the first person.

Nobody knows why this happens.

Avoid personal comparisons

Someone else’s natural (or developed) knack for, say, EVP doesn’t mean you lack talent.

Every ghost hunter is unique.

Spirit contact may vary with different people and types of equipment. It may change with time, but also from one location to another.

With more experience, you’ll discover your natural aptitudes. (Me…? I’ve always been good with ghost photography, and not-so-great at EVP.)

Always remember, ghost hunting isn’t a competition. There is no trophy for Best Ghost Hunter, Ever.

Discover your ghost hunting talents

Every ghost hunter is unique. Start with an open mind. You may have talents you didn’t expect.

  • Some ghost hunters notice flickering lights and shadows. Others rarely see them.
  • Many researchers sense changes in temperature – especially cold spots. Others are more sensitive to hot spots, which can be far more dangerous.
  • Some investigators are receptive to sounds while others aren’t.
  • Some consistently photograph anomalies, and others don’t.
  • And so on.

Get a sense of how ghosts contact you, before you invest in any tools.

The most important lesson I can share with you is this: Learn to use your five (or six) senses.

Also, make sure you’re going to continue in ghost hunting. It’d be silly to buy a three-figure EVP recorder  or a four-figure thermal camera and – a month or two later – realize you don’t really enjoy visiting haunted places.

In fact, it’s best to explore your options as much as you can before buying anything.

I rarely rely on ghost hunting equipment

At least 90% of my work as a ghost hunter involves no equipment at all.

I sense temperature with my hands. I pause and listen carefully for noises. I note any visual anomalies, and then inspect that location more closely.

And so on.

Every investigator has different talents. Time – and multiple experiences at haunted sites – will help you understand what your strongest talents are.

I suggest going on at least four or five serious, multi-hour investigations before investing in ghost hunting tools.

Test-drive ghost hunting equipment

No matter what I say about your five (or six) senses, I know that many aspiring ghost hunters want to own some ghost hunting tools.

Before spending a cent, please borrow ghost hunting equipment from other researchers. See what works well for you.

Yes, some researchers are unwilling to have anyone else touch their ghost hunting gear. They’re concerned that energy signatures linger after contact with another person.

I respect that. It may seem like the spiritual equivalent of someone borrowing your sweater and stretching it out-of-shape, so it never really fits right again.

But some people won’t mind showing you how certain devices work, and loaning them to you for ten or twenty minutes, or even a full investigation.

Some ghost hunting teams – and a few ghost tours – have ghost hunting equipment for this purpose: So they can loan it to visitors and potential future associates.

What to look for

First, test the kind of equipment that interests you the most. Always start with the simplest tools.  Dowsing rods are simple. An Ovilus can seem very complex. (During most investigations with my Ovilus III, I use just two tools on it. And usually just one.)

Remember that you can use your phone as a ghost hunting toolbox. Sometimes, phones – even older phones – can perform as well as specialized equipment.

Even better, you’re already comfortable with your phone. With a shorter learning curve, you might get impressive results, sooner.

Ghost photos

Flash cameras on recent phones can be far better than free-standing cameras from just a few years ago.

Most ghost photos are taken with a flash camera. You may also need a steady hand, depending on how dark the site is and if you can adjust the ISO on your phone/camera. (A tripod is too much trouble to set up and adjust. Exceptions are: if you’re recording video for an extended time, or leaving your camera set up with a motion detector to trigger it.)

If you want to take ghost photos, learn mistakes some beginners make, when they first take photos at haunted sites. Even pros can forget the basics, now and then.

EVP recordings

You can probably record voices (your own and ghosts’) with your phone. At home, download it to your computer and process it with EVP software. (Usually, you can find free software. Search online for “evp filtering software,” see what others recommend, and try a few. Often, regular audio software – like Audacity – can be enough.)

Ghost apps

I used to think ghost apps were fake. Then, one of them worked better than I’d ever expected. (You can read that brief story in my article about gifts for ghost hunters.)

A couple of years later, a ghost radar app on Sean Paradis‘ phone surprised me when it confirmed what a psychic (Lesley Marden) detected and what dowsing rods indicated, simultaneously.

So, whether they’re free or cost a small amount, don’t think those simple apps are just novelties. Some of them actually work.

Or perhaps they only work in the hands of gifted investigators. I’m not sure.

After you’ve tried a few ghost hunting tools, see what appeals to you the most.

Also consider what seems to work well for you. 

For example, does your phone record any EVP (ghostly voices)? If not, don’t waste your money on an expensive digital voice recorder and software. (You may want to try a cheap voice recorder first, if you’re not sure.)

Let these points – and your budget – determine which ghost hunting tools you want to use, if any.

Keep your goals in mind, and your limits. Unless your goals include doing “exactly what [some famous ghost hunter] does on TV,” start with as little equipment as you can.

Your own senses may impress you far more than any flashing lights or weird recordings.


For more about this topic, see my Hollow Hill article, Basic Tools Every Ghost Hunter Must Have

Also, back in 2009, I recorded a 16-minute podcast about this topic. Most of that advice is still valid. 

Hollow Hill: Ghost Hunting without Equipment

You can encounter real ghosts without expensive ghost hunting equipment.  In this 16-minute podcast, professional ghost hunter Fiona Broome explains how to use your five (or six) senses to find real ghosts and haunted places.She talks about the kinds of evidence you might see, and what to listen for.  Fiona


Next Lesson: A Thorough Ghost Investigation


Share your thoughts!

After considering the kinds of ghost hunting equipment you may want to try in the future, did you have any questions or insights?

Also, what talents (or even “superpowers”) might you have as a ghost hunter?

Leave a comment here.  Other students may benefit from – and appreciate – your insights.

Upon approval, your comments will appear below.  My schedule can be hectic, but I’ll reply to as many comments as I can.

If you’d prefer, you can email your comments to startup-supplies
@ fionabroome.com.  Though my schedule prevents me from replying to each email, personally, I do read all of them.

Your First Ghost Hunt

Your First Ghost HuntThis is the second lesson in your Ghost Hunting for Beginners course.


You may have been on ghost tours. (In fact, I recommend going on some ghost tours, first.)

You might have attended a few ghost hunting events, even investigations led by pros.

And, in the past, you and some friends may have explored a haunted house or haunted cemetery.

But, whether you’ve done any of those things – or not – what’s next may seem new to you.

In fact, the goal of your first ghost hunt is to become familiar with real investigation procedures. Don’t expect much. This is a “lite” version.

Think of it as a dress rehearsal. It’s a chance to make a few mistakes and refine your plans before you attempt a serious investigation

First, ask a friend or two to go with you

Never go ghost hunting alone. That’s more about the living than the dead.

Many “haunted” locations are used by criminals, drug dealers, and so on, as places to conduct business, unobserved. And some haunted sites are popular for parties – keggers, etc. At the very least, they’ll distract you.

Either way, never go ghost hunting alone.

It’s best to find a couple of friends who seem level-headed, are likely to remain serious even when they’re anxious (or even frightened), and share a general interest in ghosts and haunted places.

At the very least, ask someone you trust to accompany you, even if he, she, or they don’t share your ghost hunting enthusiasm.

Choose a place to investigate

Find a nearby location that is supposed to be haunted.

Not sure? Check back issues of local newspapers, from around Halloween. Often, they’ll describe local “ghost stories,” and some may be places you can visit.

The Shadowlands is the oldest and largest resource online, and it includes haunted sites from all over the world. Keep in mind that it’s only as accurate as the people who filed reports with the site, and some of those may have been trolls. Despite that, it’s a website I respect and consult, now and then.

Check my additional suggestions for 13 Ways to Find a Haunted House.

But, if nowhere nearby has a haunted reputation, I recommend any local, outdoor, historical site, such as a battlefield. (As I’m writing this in 2020, outdoor locations are safer for health reasons.)

Sometimes, historical markers are the best clues to haunted places. (If something dramatic happened at that location, ghosts – or residual energy – may have lingered.)

Ghost Hunting Haunted CemeteriesOr, visit any cemetery with graves from the 19th century or slightly older.

(If you decide you enjoy haunted cemeteries, I’ve written an entire book on this topic: Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries.)

Whatever the location, make sure it’s safe (and legal) to visit at dusk or later. Also, you may want to search online to see if others have posted information about their ghostly encounters there.

Safety first

Throughout this course, I’ll mention safety. That includes personal, spiritual, and legal safety.


Pro tip: Search online using phrases like “police” combined with the maybe-haunted location in quotation marks.  (Click here for an example, using the search term “police” + “blood cemetery.”)

You’re looking for three things:

  1. Reports that suggest the site has a crime problem. (Stay away.)
  2. Warnings that the police are especially likely to ask ghost hunters to leave. (Stay away.)
  3. OR… a site with a very weird history and the police are regularly called to investigate odd lights or sounds. (That might be a site to investigate.)

Ghost hunting can be risky. Your preparedness makes a difference. At each haunted site, you’ll learn a little more.

That’s true when you’re a beginner. It’s true when you’re a pro, too.

During every investigation, remain aware of your surroundings, and pay close attention to your internal radar.

Here’s one of the most important rules: Never stay at a haunted place after your “gut feeling” tells you to leave.

> It might be a sense of physical danger.

Perhaps, out of the corner of your eye, you noticed rotted floorboards in a dark corner, or you thought you saw a rat scamper away.

> It might be a sense that something truly evil lurks, just out of sight.

> Or, as you and your friends are entering a park or cemetery at 6:30 PM, you notice a sign saying the site is closed after 6 PM.

If something suggests danger to you, tell your companions. They may have a simple explanation that could put your mind at rest.

Or, they might agree that it’s a good idea to leave, and then go somewhere else.

No matter what they say, if you feel at risk, leave immediately.

Also, dress for comfort, not for style. Sturdy, closed footwear is essential. Check the weather report, too, so you’re caught in a downpour.

Your phone is the only equipment you’ll need

Don’t invest in any ghost hunting equipment, yet.

(Above all, don’t bring anything like a Ouija board with you.)

Usually, I recommend tools that are already on your phone, and free (or very inexpensive) to add.

For example, a flash camera is useful, and your phone probably includes one. (If you can set the ISO, I suggest 200 at the very least, and 400 if the site is extremely dark.)

You can probably use your phone to record videos as well as voices (EVP).

Some “ghost radar” apps actually work. A few are free. Try them, just for fun. Don’t expect much.

Your phone probably has a flashlight, too, but I recommend carrying a spare flashlight, just in case.

(I’ll talk about this in a later lesson. Short version: Don’t rely on any one tool that uses batteries. They can suddenly fail at truly haunted sites. Always have a backup.)

If you’re outdoors, you may want some bug spray and a first aid kit, just in case.

Indoors, a medical-style mask can prevent inhaling dangerous mold, mildew, and – at sites with rodents – hantavirus.

With that in mind, it’s time to go with – or meet – your friends at the haunted location.

When you arrive

Before you enter the haunted site, pause. Review how you’ve felt during the day. Happy? Anxious? Eager? Also think about any physical issues, such as a headache or a slightly upset stomach.

Now check how you feel at this moment, including your mood and any physical concerns.

In a future lesson, I’ll talk more about personal baseline checks. For now, it’s important to recognize if – at the haunted site – your mood shifts abruptly, or you suddenly feel different physically. Those can indicate an outside influence.

How a haunted site impacts you, personally, is a major part of ghost hunting. So, it’s helpful to recognize if that sudden headache was actually building up, all day. Or if you were in a good mood all day, but – at the haunted site – you abruptly feel angry.

After mentally noting how you feel upon arrival, it’s time for you and your friend (or friends) to enter the haunted site.

Once you’re there…

For your first ghost hunt, just walk around. Use your five (or six) senses. Watch for anything that looks odd. Listen carefully for unusual sounds. Take note of unexpected odors, as well as hot or cold spots.

You may want to review 3 Easy Mistakes Beginners Can Make on Their First Ghost Hunt.

Something weird, strange, or unusual may happen. If it does, see if you can find a logical explanation.

More likely, nothing will happen during your first ghost hunt, even if the site is truly haunted.

Ghost hunting is like that. We may spend two hours for every ten minutes of “something weird” at a location.

Not sure what professionals pay attention to? Read Ghost Hunting – Look for What’s Weird, to get an idea.

Plan to spend at least 20 minutes at the site, but not more than an hour, unless it’s fun or a fascinating location.

(Remember, this is just a “dress rehearsal.” You’re getting used to the basics of choosing and spending time at haunted places.)

That’s all.

Afterwards, visit a coffee shop or some other comfortable location. Compare notes. Talk about your respective experiences at the site.

Then, plan your next ghost hunt

I recommend following these steps at least two or three times. (It’s okay to visit the same site repeatedly, if that’s convenient.)

See what happens. Decide if you like this. Try different times of day, different kinds of sites, and so on.

Recruit friends to join you, if you think you’ll continue.

Is this what you expected?

If you’re just ghost hunting out of curiosity, that’s okay.

No matter what your initial goals were, it’s fine to stop after two or three ghost hunts. That may be all you need to decide if ghost hunting is really for you.

Sometimes, I meet people on ghost hunts who… Well, I’m not sure why they’re there.

Often, they aren’t sure either.

Note: They often the same people who insist that the site wasn’t really haunted. Or, at the other extreme, they’re so open and vulnerable, a malicious spirit preys upon them.

The best way to achieve results as a ghost hunter is to know why you’re there and what you’re looking for.

Part of that is knowing the reputation of the haunted site. But also, remember your personal goals in ghost hunting.

Revisit your earlier goals and limits

After you’ve spent time at a haunted site or two, take another look at your ghost hunting goals. Do they still apply, or should you modify them?

Revisit your limits, especially in terms of what keeps ghost hunting interesting: time of day, weather, boredom, and how long you’d like to spend investigating each site.

If you’re still enthusiastic about ghost hunting, it’s probably time to consider ghost hunting tools and your related talents. That’s in the next lesson.

ghosts

Previous lesson: Ghost Hunting Basics || Next lesson: Ghost Hunting Tools & Talents

ghosts

Share your thoughts!

After test-driving a casual ghost hunt (or two or three), what did you learn?  What worked and what didn’t? Did this change your plans for your future investigations? What questions do you have now?

Leave a comment here.  Other students may benefit from – and appreciate – your insights.

Upon approval, your comments will appear below.  Also, my schedule can be hectic, but I’ll reply to as many comments as I can.

If you’d prefer, you can email your comments to lite-ghosthunt
@ fionabroome.com.  Though my schedule prevents me from replying to each email, personally, I do read all of them.

Ghost Hunting Basics

Ghost Hunting Basics for beginnersThis is the first lesson in the free Ghost Hunting for Beginners course. (Former title: Introduction to Ghost Hunting.)

I will show you, step by step, how to become a confident, successful ghost hunter.

Along the way, you’ll also learn some best practices that can make ghost hunting fun, fascinating, and safe.

Well… as safe as one can be, dealing with unknown spirits and eerie phenomena.

So, let’s get started.

Ghost hunters and paranormal investigators

It’s important to know terms used in this kind of research.

Ghosts – the word – usually means “spirits of the dead.” We use that term – whether we’re believers or skeptics – to refer to unexplained or weird phenomena at a site that seems haunted.

Using that word loosely keeps researchers on the same page. We’re not insisting that ghosts are real. We’re investigating odd things – often called “anomalies” – that suggest something unexplained is going on.

Our job is to find an explanation for those odd experiences, if we can.

Are ghosts real? Do spirits of the deceased visit or even linger in our world? That’s up to the individual researcher to decide.

As investigators, we use the word “ghost” as a reference to possible spirits of people who lived and died in this world, in the past.

  • The term “ghosts” does not include demons.
  • Likewise, ghosts aren’t non-human spirits that someone summoned or conjured.
  • Ghosts aren’t aliens.
  • Ghosts probably aren’t doppelgangers (an apparent duplicate of a living person).
  • Ghosts may or may not include poltergeists or shadow people.

Those other, non-ghost entities may exist, but – with the possible exception of poltergeists and shadow people – they aren’t part of ghost hunting. (They are part of paranormal research.)

Ghost hunters don’t actually “hunt” spirits. We hunt for evidence of ghosts, and things that can make a site seem haunted.

  • We find out why people think ghosts may linger at the location.
  • We look for our own evidence.
  • We debunk as much as we can.
  • Based on verified facts – and evidence we can’t debunk – we decide if ghosts are a possible or even likely, at that site.

So what’s a paranormal investigator?

Paranormal means outside (para) normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean ghosts, UFOs, cryptids like Bigfoot, faeries, and so on. It could be anything unexpected for the location.

Paranormal investigators are just looking for explanations of weird, strange, and abnormal phenomena.

A paranormal investigator follows steps similar to what a ghost hunter does.

  1. Find a report of something unusual or abnormal.
  2. Research that report to see if it’s credible.
  3. Investigate the story in real life, to debunk or confirm some or all of it.
  4. Either reach a conclusion about the report, or continue researching it (and similar reports) until an answer seems clear.

So, a skeptic can be a paranormal investigator. Even someone who’s adamantly opposed to the concept of ghosts or UFOs can be a paranormal investigator.

We’re all in this together… maybe

A ghost hunter is probably a paranormal investigator. A UFO seeker is probably a paranormal investigator. A demonologist might be a paranormal investigator.

Many police become paranormal investigators, at least on a case-by-case basis. They’re called because something odd (not normal) is going on, and they investigate it.

But a paranormal investigator might not be a ghost hunter.

It’s important to know the difference, and correct those who use incorrect terms for our research.

This isn’t a game. We’re not in ghost hunting for “a good scare.” And we do our best to remain objective about the evidence we find at each “haunted” site.

We’re looking for answers. We want to understand what’s going on at the investigation site. Those insights may provide answers to bigger questions about other “haunted” places… and what’s behind the activity there.

Your first step starts now

You’re eager to get out and visit a haunted site.

We’ll get to that in the next lesson.

Before your first ghost hunt, decide a few things. These will be an important foundation to your future success.

You can change your mind later, but – meanwhile – it’s a good idea to put your thoughts on paper (real or digital).

At the very least, those notes can be important reminders when you get deeper into paranormal research.

Goals and limits

Before you set foot in a haunted site, consider your ghost hunting goals and your limits.

  • Why are you interested in ghost hunting?
  • What do you hope to accomplish? (It may be more than one thing.)
  • What might cause you to decide not to continue ghost hunting?
  • How much time and money are you willing to spend, while you’re learning to investigate ghosts?

Your answers to those questions can be more important than you realize.

For example, you may want to revisit those notes after you’ve been on a few frightening (or boring) investigations.

Or, let’s say you get swept up in the initial thrill of ghost hunting. Everything you learn about paranormal research seems exciting, challenging, and fun.

You may need to remind yourself how much your involvement affects your relationships or even your budget.

So, the decisions you make now can be the make-or-break for you as a ghost hunter.

Start with this video.

Ghost Hunting – Goals and Limits

Ghost hunting can be an exciting, fascinating experience. To get the most from ghost hunting, it’s important to establish your goals and limits. In this vide…

(https://youtu.be/fjaLGUlyb0w)

When people don’t identify their ghost hunting goals and their limits, they can lose focus. They may continue ghost hunting long after it stops being interesting or fun. Or, hoping that “one more (expensive) tool” will make a difference, they spend more than they should.

So, ask yourself these questions. Consider your answers and what’s behind them.

Why ghost hunting…?

Are you looking for proof of ghosts? What kind of proof?

What would you need to encounter (or experience) to feel as if you found your answer?

Would you need to see something you’re certain has no explanation, except that it’s a ghost?

While you’re investigating, do you want to see baffling reactions on an EMF meter, or hear a clear voice in an EVP recording?

Or, do you just want a combination of little things that give you chills so you’re sure you encountered something unearthly?

Decide this ahead of time.

Is your interest more scientific or spiritual?

If you’re looking for scientific evidence, you’ll probably focus on measurable phenomena like cold spots and EMF (electromagnetic fields) surges.

If you’re deeply spiritual, are you looking for a personal connection with “the other side”? Is that to develop your psychic awareness, or to help spirits “cross over”?

Does ghost hunting seem like fun? If so, does it have to be fun, and what kind of fun? Interesting, or just “a good scare”?

basement lightNo matter what your goals are, ghost hunting isn’t what you see on TV.

To be honest, many ghost hunts are boring.

You’ll stand around for hours, usually in the dark, waiting for something to happen. (They edit that out of TV shows and movies.)

Often, nothing happens. That’s when paranormal research can seem like one of the least fun hobbies, ever.

Boredom isn’t just an annoying part of ghost hunting.

Boredom can be dangerous. (We’ll talk about that in a later lesson.)

Know your goals. Set your limits. Get ready for fun.

Decide what your goals are, and what your limits are. If you start with those in mind, you’ll enjoy ghost hunting far more.

In later issues, we’ll talk about related issues. For now, all you need is a general idea of why you’re interested in ghost hunting.

Need some suggestions? You may like my free Ghost Hunting Goals & Limits Worksheet and tips from my Ghost Hunting Goals & Limits – Worksheet Instructions.

You may also enjoy my 2017 article, 13 Reasons to Start Ghost Hunting Now, at HollowHill.com.

ghosts

Next lesson: Your First Ghost Hunt

Share your thoughts!

Do you have additional questions about this lesson? (I’m always interested in improving my courses.)

Also, what attracted you to ghost hunting? What goals do you have, and what limits are you setting from the start?

Other readers may benefit from your insights. Every viewpoint is important.

Upon approval, your comments will appear below.

If you’d prefer, you can email your comments to goals-limits @ fionabroome.com.  Though my schedule prevents me from replying to each email, personally, I do read all of them.