Before they do any serious research at haunted sites, most ghost hunters take baseline readings.
That means they walk around the location and check it with ghost hunting equipment, especially EMF meters and digital thermometers. Investigators hope to establish normal levels for the site.
They’re also looking for any issues that could later be confused for something ghostly.
The EMF from a refrigerator can affect readings in the next room.
- An old-school “instant on” TV holds electrical charge long after it’s turned off.
- High carbon monoxide levels in any building can trigger headaches, nausea, and hallucinations.
- Iron bars inside cement walls can store magnetic energy, setting off EMF meters.
- Underground pipes and streams can affect dowsing rod readings.
Those are just a few things you’ll detect with a thorough baseline reading.
However, there’s another essential baseline reading: yourself.
Be aware of how you normally feel, and how you feel on the day of the investigation. That’s a personal “baseline” you’ll refer to if ghostly energy affects you, mentally, physically, or emotionally.
For example, let’s say you’ve had a difficult week at work. At home your roommate or partner has been cranky, and your dog chewed up your favorite shoes. Due to stress, you haven’t been sleeping well.
On Saturday morning, you try to sleep late. You know you’ll be up late during that night’s investigation. But, you’re woken when a neighbor’s child accidentally hits a baseball through your kitchen window. You leap from you bed, and then have an argument with the neighbor.
It’s not a good start to the day.
That night, during the investigation, you could blame your anxiety on a residual energy haunting. In fact, the “residual energy” is your own.
This is why it’s useful to know your usual, baseline emotional levels. And, it’s why I suggest double checking it the morning before a ghost hunt, and immediately before each investigation.
Do a Personal Baseline Check
There are two basic baseline checks. The first is your average mood and temperament.
Baseline check number one.
For at least three days in a row, pause when you first wake up. Even before you get out of bed – possibly before you even open your eyes – check with your emotions are like.
Are you happy, sad, or somewhere in between? Are you feeling calm, little anxious, or even the little eager?
What about your physical well-being? How’s your energy level? Did you have a restless night after watching a suspenseful TV show? Or, do you feel refreshed and ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound?
Consider every aspect of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. If possible jot a few notes about this, or, if it’s easier use an app on your phone to record a few thoughts.
Do this right away, even before getting out of bed. (If you wait until later, it’s easy to forget exactly how you felt. Accurate notes and observations are essential as parentheses.
If you don’t see a clear pattern within three days, keep checking each morning until you’re confident of your personal, average baseline. This gives you a good idea of how you feel on an average day.
It’s a reference point you’ll use on the day of the ghost hunt, and during the investigation.
Also be watchful for patterns of external triggers. They could be weather and seasonal changes, foods, or medications. You moods might change at different phases of the moon.
Know your normal moods, feelings, and energy levels.
Dreams Can Reveal More
Here’s an alternative method: Try to remember your most vivid dream of the night before.
At the conclusion of that dream, were you happy, sad, energetic, tired, bored, or excited?
How people feel in their dreams often reflect their personal baseline emotions.
Repeat these checks regularly, especially during and after major life changes.
On the day of the ghost investigation, check how you’re feeling at least twice more.
The morning before a ghost hunt, check your emotions when you first wake up. Keep it simple. Mostly, you’re comparing how you feel on that morning, against how your average morning is.
As usual, make a note of this. Jot it on a piece of paper for later reference, or record it in an audio file on your phone.
Right before the ghost hunt, pause for one more check. A momentary reflection — “How am I feeling?” — can be enough.
New ghost hunters should probably make a more formal check at that point.
Pause for a few minutes before you reach the investigation site. Are you especially anxious or eager? Your heightened sensitivity can affect the investigation.
It can even be an asset, as long as you’re aware of it.
One More Baseline Check
After the investigation, see how the ghost hunt affected you. Also consider whether you’re taking some of the sites energy home.
Don’t mistake that for a ghost following you. (That problem is extremely rare. Most ghost hunters will never experience that.)
After a ghost hunt, I often like to go to a coffee shop with my team members. We discuss what happened and casually review evidence. Sometimes, we exchange digital files. In general, we unwind from the stress of the evening.
Baselines are important. Do you have a pre-investigation checklist? It might be a list of tools to bring with you and equipment to double check. Add your baseline check to that list, as a reminder.