And those who deal with the paranormal!
People contact me frequently having EVPs, photos, videos and stories to tell about either their home, someone else's home or some location they think is haunted. There's a lot of things the TV shows on the subject do not explain for one reason or another and it's harder than you might think to get one of those teams to actually respond to your E-mails. So where do you go when you really need help and like they say,
"Who You Gonna' Call?"
Since the movies Poltergeist and Ghost Busters came out there has been a huge surge in those interested in the paranormal field of research. In the movie Poltergeist they actually did reveal a few factual things concerning equipment able to detect paranormal energy. The psychic medium that entered the house and told the others to hang back because they were jamming her frequencies is also based on fact. The movie was based on the Black Hope Horror story which is a true story. Another movie based closer to fact was produced by that same name and stars Patty Duke. If you are serious about understanding the paranormal I recommend you watch this movie.
While movies like Ghost Busters is 99% fiction there are a few other cases that are based on truth. The Haunting in Connecticut is based on a true story. The Devil in Connecticut is also based on a true story. A teenage girl playing with a Ouija board invited a demon who pretended to be the ghost of a dead soldier about her own age. When this girl gave that thing an open invitation to their home all hell broke lose! People were hurt. The police were called in. Furniture levitated. Rocks rained from the sky. This is one of the best documented cases of serious paranormal activity on record.
The Entity is based on a true story. Find the book or movie based on the original story and you will be shocked to see the things that can actually happen in a real seriously haunted / possessed house. Put in simple terms no one in their right mind would want to tangle with entities like these. Those who do don't do it for the money, they do it because they were called to deal with the shit that others won't.
What To Look For In A Paranormal Investigation Team
Just because a team is endorsed by a team we see on TV doesn't always mean they know what they are doing and it doesn't mean they can be trusted and I'll tell you why. The reason is some paranormal teams seek unearned credibility through the trusted teams we see on TV. At the last report I heard that TAPS no longer offers team member endorsements for this reason. They got smart and realized that teams wanted to join them for the sole reason to gain unearned credibility. Teams who are able to say they are TAPS members require no credentials! Require no other endorsements! Don't believe it! The first thing on my endorsement list is "don't tell me you are a TAPS member, that's the first strike against you." TAPS AKA Ghost Hunters earned their credentials the hard way. They go out and do the jobs. They are not "wannabe's" they are the real thing. No they are not the original or the best, but they are among those who others like to imitate. They aren't real friendly either unless you are paying them for coming to your event or unless they have you on one of their shows. There are much better professional investigators out there.
The "TAPS" affiliate members that I've met are rude lying snobs that give the real TAPS team a bad name. Don't make me go into details I would have to name names and that would not be polite or considerate to the real TAPS. If someone contacts me and asks and happens to name a team specifically I will tell them if I know these people or if I would recommend them. So far I'll say I don't know a single TAPS affiliate that I would recommend to anyone for a problem haunting.
With few exceptions there are several things that tell you if a paranormal team is serious. The larger teams of people more than 5 or 6 are in it for the group experience rather than to actually help someone with a problem dealing with the paranormal. These groups are people who like to gather, talk about scary things, visit with each other around their "campfire" and now and then they will go visit a haunted location. To put it simple they want to be like the teams they see on TV. They enjoy a good scare now and then. These people are imitators and at the first sign of real trouble they won't have a clue what to do and usually run for home base. Yes they might tell you if your house is haunted but you knew that before you called them. Yes they might capture some evidence of paranormal activity in your home, but you could have done that yourself. All you need is a night vision camera and a digital recorder.
Warning: I tell people common sense is the best rule. For as long as recorded time evil people will take advantage of any situation they possibly can to take things that don't belong to them as well as hurting people as they go. With all the hype about the paranormal there are so called teams all over the place and most of them don't have a clue. I did a search for paranormal teams in the state of Arkansas and got thousands of hits! How many of these teams are completely bogus I can't say but you can be sure there are some of them who only want to get into your home or business to see what you have that's worth stealing. If you don't know them don't let them through the door. Don't even tell them where you live until you can verify they really are who they say they are.
The teams you see on paranormal TV shows are being paid a lot of money to do what they do. We call them professional paranormal investigators for a reason, because that's their job. While they do occasionally help someone with a problem location there are some teams that are better than others in dealing with the really serious cases. The Paranormal Research Society has a 30 min show each week and yet they may spend anywhere from 3 days to a full week on location. They have a shorter show and spend more time on a location to resolve a problem than any other team I know of. They frequently spend the night and sleep at a location. I do some of my best paranormal research while sleeping at a location because if something serious is there and comes near me I will go OBE and see what it is.
Dedicated To The Task
Those who are seriously dedicated to the task have certain things in common and most of us grew up in a haunted house. We were visited by ghosts every day and night. While trying to explain to someone else we were often laughed at and told we were imagining things, or worse. Coming face to "face" with a real ghost is kinda like standing within a few short steps of a low hovering UFO, it tends to change a person's life forever. Experiences like these set the path that person will follow in life. Yes, I've stood within a few steps of a hovering UFO and my story is on the UFO area of this site.
The reason the really good paranormal investigators work in small teams is this. They are called to do what they do and most people aren't. They are very serious about their work and most people aren't. They deal with things most will not want to deal with. Despite their spiritual protection they know every time they enter and deal with a really haunted location they are taking a chance it will affect them or someone near them in a negative way for the rest of their lives. They know that large teams of people are a risk hazard. They not only tend to contaminate a location but their lives and the lives of those near them are at risk and the team leader is responsible for that risk. Just like the commander of a team of soldiers is responsible for the safety of their team so is the leader of a paranormal team. If they are dealing with something really bad they want to be very careful who they take with them for more than one reason. You don't want anyone getting hurt. You don't want anyone attracting or aggravating the situation further.
He Knows What You Fear
Thank God most hauntings are just ghosts and ghosts are relatively harmless. It's the other things that cause an investigator to become concerned. You've heard the saying the devil knows what you are afraid of? There's a reason for it and that's because it's true. Spirits can sense fear and evil spirits will use that fear to manipulate people. While a spirit can cause you to feel hot or cold and can scratch you the worst things they do is frighten people into harming themselves. Working in total darkness near a banister or staircase where a person might fall is serious business. You don't want someone who may panic run and fall. Let's face it some of these places we investigate are not safe. I can't tell you how many times I've investigated a location and had to sign a release form that says if me or any member of my team is hurt on that location that we can't sew the owners for compensation.
I don't care how brave an investigator is there will be times that cause them to jump. I'm a sensitive and the more sensitive a person is to the energy of the paranormal the more they feel things. While it is true we can sense spirits quicker than all but a psychic medium we also feel and translate that energy in our own bodies. For example if a person died because they were shot that spirit may reveal that to us by making us feel the pain they felt when they were killed. If they died of a stomach illness we may get sick at our stomach's without any logical physical explanation. If they get a headache there's a chance the spirit we encountered died from a blow to the head or some other medical problem related to the head.
When a person is sensitive to the spirit world they are also susceptible to having a spirit put feelings and emotions into them that have no other logical physical explanation. Spirits can make you laugh, make you cry and can make you afraid when you might not normally see a reason for it. People who are afraid send out energy into the area around them that is read very quickly by the spirits around them. Spirits or entities who want you to leave will use that energy and fear against you.
People sometimes ask what's the scariest place I've ever been. Let me think, no one could even live in this house until we bought it and moved in and dealt with the problem. That qualifies for scary and we live here, no where to run and we were at that time inexperienced in dealing with the type of haunting that we had moved into. Another location I will mention is the Washoe Club in Virginia City, NV. I will say that when everyone walks off and leaves you upstairs in that place you know for a fact you are not alone. It's seriously creepy.
It's one thing to be creeped out by a location, it's another thing when people are prone to fear or paranoia there are spirits who will use that against them. When that happens people get hurt.
What's In It For You
At this point I would like to say if you are considering becoming a paranormal investigator ask yourself what you want to get out of this experience. If you think it would be fun then please by all means take one of the haunted tours that are offered in many of the major cities around the country. These locations are run by people who intend to show you a spooky good time while keeping you safe. The locations they pick are actually haunted! Visit the Queen Mary and go on the tour, I did and I had a good time. She's a historical monument to the haunted and despite the extra fun things that are setup to enhance your experience the guide will explain the history of some who were killed on board. Take your camera on night vision and yes you might get lucky and capture the image of a ghost. I can tell you that you will most certainly capture orbs.
If you are thinking about joining a paranormal team you need to be careful. Some paranormal groups are incredibly moody and become hostile toward anyone who challenges their motives or experience. As I said before most of them are in it for the thrill and the fun it gives them to say they are a member of a paranormal team. These people are usually inexperienced, not really serious about what they are doing and they have only a vague understanding of their own limitations or what they might encounter. They all have rules they want you to follow and some of those rules will place limitations upon their members. I've been ask to investigate certain groups. I've read some of these forms and I can give you examples what you might expect.
Examples: You can't investigate any locations without the team leader's consent. You must come to all the meetings. You must come to all the investigations. If you break the rules you can be removed from the group. Some of these team leaders are control freaks who are not happy unless they think they own you. Some of these team leaders will intentionally pick the members pockets in club dues in order to buy the "needed" equipment for the group that you can be sure you won't take home with you once they kick you out. Once you become part of a team they will not only expect you to work for nothing they will expect you to donate your talents on demand without compensation. Since you signed the contract you can not seek any kind of compensation from them even if you get hurt while working on one of their investigations.
Follow The Rules Or Get The Axe
The team leaders of the worst groups out there like evil spirits will always do certain things and will always want everything their way. If anyone hints the team leader is not doing something right you can be sure that member will be axed soon after. Some of these people are faster than others at getting rid of people they consider trouble makers in their groups. Of the groups I've investigated there are members far more qualified than the leader but who gets axed? If you said the members who are more qualified you are correct. A team leader who can't take constructive criticism is not a team player and you can be sure they never intended to be.
Courses In Paranormal Investigating
The classes you hear about that charge $100-$300 for a course to certify you are riding the paranormal thrill wagon and they exist to take your money. If the leader of that group doesn't have someone like Chris Fleming or an equally qualified instructor don't throw your money away. You can learn as much from watching TV shows about the paranormal and it costs a LOT less. If you are more interested in meeting others like yourself then by all means go ahead and spend the money, take the course and see who shows up for class. They will let you use the equipment and teach you how to use it. If you pass the course they will give you a piece of paper saying you are officially a paranormal investigator. The paper has no real value but it makes the students feel like they have accomplished something. They will not teach you how to close a portal to the underworld or exorcise a demon out of a location, because most of them don't know how.
If you are truly serious about helping people with paranormal related problems there are experienced paranormal investigators who will teach you what you need to know for free. The trick is finding them. The next thing is those experienced people will want to know you are serious and not just another casually interested person looking for a thrill. Paranormal investigations can be a business or a hobby but those who do it right will often spend hours working a case then going through the data to find the evidence. You might as well know up front it can be exhausting work. Every case is different. Being able to visit a haunted location that isn't a case that needs resolved is the fun part of the job.
You say. "Your just trying to discourage me!" Yes I am! Because if you can get past all the things I've explained so far and still want to investigate the paranormal then just maybe you have what it takes.
You Still Want To Investigate The Paranormal But Not With A Group?
This is probably the best choice out of all the above. I recommend never investigate a haunted location alone. Like boating, you never know what might happen and your better off with someone than alone.
Do not bother with the manifesto or group rules. If you can't do it as friends then why do it? If you create a set of rules then everyone is expected to follow them. We know from historical example that rules are made to be broken. Broken rules tend to make some people angry. If you must have rules then be sure they are safety rules to help prevent anyone from being hurt. Rules to keep equipment in place and used properly is a good idea.
Find someone you trust to work with. Never hunt alone. My grandpa would say "a man working by himself is like a fly stuck in the mud. Two men working together can move a mountain." Do not choose a helper investigator who is paranoid or easily frightened. Anyway can be creeped out on an investigation but the more you deal with it and do it the easier it becomes. For someone who jumps and screams at every little thing it's another story. People who are prone to paranoia are frightened over nothing so that when something does happen they can panic and that can be dangerous not only for them but anyone with them.
Two people is all it takes to conduct a real paranormal investigation and if one of those is a sensitive or has some psychic medium abilities all the better. If you can get four people to work as a team all the better. Two people trying to do it all is a real task but 4 people working as a team can cover the bases depending on just how serious you intend to become. Six people can be made to work out quite well but anything over that is pushing the limitations and balance between having a good functional team or constantly contaminating a location. The other factor is the more people who are involved the greater the chances that someone will do something that affects or upsets the entire investigation.
How Difficult Is It?
Doing the investigation is the easy part. Going through all the audio, video and pictures is the hard part. Depending on how many devices you have running during an investigation take that times the hours you spent recording, times that by at least 2 and you will have some idea how long it takes to do a simple general investigation. Honestly after you've done this two or three times you will reconsider just how badly you want to pursue this as a hobby. If you lug tons of equipment around like you see on the TV shows about this subject you will really want to think it over. After you've done a few investigations and been left alone to do all the reviewing of the evidence you will quickly decide there's a lot more to this than what first appears. When it becomes a difficult job it's no longer fun.
Consider this. If you take one camera and shoot 4 hours on one investigation you will spend at least another 4 hours watching that video and listening for EVPs and audio anomalies. I say as a rule watch it twice because it's easy to miss evidence. If you take two cameras and shoot 4 hours of video with each you will spend 8 hours watching each once and 16 hours watching them twice. This is an entire days work for one person! Half a days work if you have two people. Take 4 cameras and shoot the same 4 hours and double the time required to review the evidence. Now one day's work has turned into two days and remember your not being paid to do this and if you have another job or family then you must also consider these things into your time factor. Trust me, 8 hours of watching and listening to video non stop will turn your mind to mush! Your eyes will play tricks on you and go out of focus after awhile. It's not healthy and very bad for your eyes. It can cause mild to serious headaches.
A check list of your equipment is a good thing. There's nothing more disappointing than to drive several hours to a haunted location then find out you left some critical piece of equipment behind.
So when people tell me that investigating the paranormal is their passion I tell them "get a life people!" A smart person does not do this kind of thing for the fun of it on a regular bases. This is also why those who are serious about this kind of thing are either being paid for what they do or they were called to help people with this kind of problem and they get no pay. They do it because in some way they are paying back a debt to either to God or humanity in some way by helping others resolve these kinds of problems with haunted locations.
Best Advice So Far
If you know someone who does this kind of work because they were called to do it and this person is a friend of yours ask them if you can go with them to work a case so you can get a feeling for what it's like to do the real thing. I'm not talking about going with a paranormal club I'm talking about going with someone who has the calling to deal with these kinds of things. They will let you use the equipment and even show you how to use it. Most of it is very basic but to use it effectively you must have some understanding for how it works and what to do with it. I will explain the equipment on another page when I can.
Years of Experience!
People who are new to this and self taught are not generally a good choice. When people first start into these things it can take years to become acquainted to all the things a person might encounter on an investigation. When I say new or young and dealing with these things 20 years isn't enough. There are people who have 20 years of what they call experience of reading books and gaining a bit of head knowledge, it's a recipe for disaster. Under these conditions they believe because of all their hours of reading and hard work they actually have a practical working knowledge of what they might encounter in the world of the paranormal. Unless they have worked under someone who has 30 or 40 years of experience they don't know squat yet. Anyone who's spent 40 years of dealing with the paranormal know the mistakes a younger investigator can make and why.
Example: They read a book full of names of demons and what those demons do and think they know how to deal with it just because they have a name! They frequently make wild guesses based on their "head knowledge" as to who the demon is according to some description they read in a book.
Fact: Every evil entity can and will go by multiple names.
Fact: Even entities that prefer to work alone (real nasty ones) will choose to work in a team if it means getting rid of someone who's invaded their territory.
Fact: No demon will ever give up the name that would allow someone to bind it secure, without a fight.
Fact: Evil entities are deceptive lying things by nature. Like a bad dog they can read a person's scent and know more about them than they know about themselves. They are equipped by nature to trick an investigator.
I've cast demons out of people and out of locations and I've never met a demon I didn't have to fight to get their real name. I've never gotten a name from a demon that was ever found in a book about demonology! You don't always have to know their name to evict them from a location. Sometimes showing them you are in charge and commanding them to leave then standing your ground is enough. Normally they won't leave without a fight.
Take your 20 years of experience and set on it. You are just getting started into the serious part of paranormal investigating. The only exception to this rule is if you trained under someone who has at least 40 years of experience. We all make mistakes. We learn when we recognize we made a mistake and then work to correct it. We don't learn if we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. There's a lot of people out there who think they know how to deal with these things when they don't. If someone doesn't explain this to you you won't know either until you make a mistake that you must live with for the rest of your life.