This topic can be a bit sensitive because I think everyone who wants to ghost hunt, should have the opportunity to do so. As a species, we are curious about the world around us and have always asked big philosophical questions about “what comes next?” These questions drive us to search for answers in a variety of ways and sometimes, ghost hunting falls into that category. How better to answer the question about whether or not our spirit continues after our body stops being of use then to actually talk to a ghost?
Every paranormal team is different and individuals who want to pursue ghost hunting or paranormal investigation should consider what they are hoping to get out of the experience before joining a team. Sometimes attending public ghosts hunts fulfills these needs and no formal group is needed at all. Others may join a group that travels to popular destinations to ghost hunt or a team that works locally conducting residential investigations. Individuals should talk to members of the team and get a feel for what works best for them and their expectations.
The teams I prefer to work with are founded on principles of honest and ethical investigation. When I lead a team, I am known to be a bit of a bitch and a tough task master. I have also heard my teammates say that they trust me and as a leader, that is pretty important. I have expectations for how we conduct an investigation and present evidence to the general public. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun but I do expect my investigators to work while they’re having that fun. So, what are my guidelines for selecting an investigator?
- Can they be respectful? My first rule is not to provoke. All people, living or dead, should be treated with respect. These locations are their home, not ours. We do not know what happened to these people and we cannot jump to conclusions. Even if the owner wants the “spirit” to leave, we will be respectful and work with practitioners who can help the spirit move on without ill intent.
- Can they take direction? In order to function efficiently, my team often goes into an investigation with a plan. This means that team members may be given tasks to complete before they start doing fun stuff like EVP sessions.
- Is the individual able to assess a situation for all possible environmental explanations before yelling out “Ghost!” to the rest of the team? It’s ok to get excited (scared even), but the ability to keep a level head while assessing the situation is critical to being able to debunk false positives.
- Is the individual willing to put in the effort to critically review all of their gathered evidence in a reasonable amount of time? This often includes pulling clips late in the process when another investigator thinks they have found something. This allows the team to compare and further analyze the data.
- Does this person feel comfortable with the entire team assessing their evidence for validity? Once again, I have been known to request all data from that time period to compare with the presented information to confirm that something “unexplained” is occurring. Being able to separate yourself from your evidence is important.
- Can the person laugh at themselves? While we are serious about paranormal investigation, we really don’t take ourselves that seriously. We all make errors, bump into walls, get chased by bats, or even get startled by loud noises. That’s part of learning. Shit happens, we laugh, learn, and then we move on.
- Is the individual a good “fit” for the team? Let’s be honest, not everyone gets along with everyone else. That’s ok. I really believe that there is a place for everyone.
Remember, these are just my guidelines for choosing paranormal investigators. Every team will be different. If you are looking for a team, see if they have public events and go. Events are a great way to talk to people, see how they handle themselves in a “paranormal” situation, and get a general feel for their personality. If you don’t want to join a group, don’t. Most of the major “haunted” locations now offer public investigations and you can purchase a ticket and join the fun without the drama of group rules, personalities, or matching black t-shirts.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!