After a decade of investigating the paranormal, I have two firm rules. Be respectful to the dead and don’t investigate your own home. You might ask, what is wrong with setting up a surveillance camera or leaving out a voice recorder when you notice weird stuff happening in your home? It isn’t so much this initial curiosity that is the problem, it’s the potential for obsessive habits to develop that is concerning. People in these situations often develop increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and paranoia.
I have been on multiple residential investigations in which the client has been investigating their home. Some have even gone as far as to purchase expensive ghost hunting equipment and leave it set up all night, every night. Then they spend hours reviewing evidence and pondering “strange” things they capture. When we finally get to their house, the client has a lot of video or photographic evidence to share. They also have a potentially harmful obsession.
The client quickly becomes fixated on every small noise, movement, or “odd” occurrence. All dust becomes suspect and random cold chills are signs of activity. They stop debunking and invest themselves 100% in the idea of the haunting. At this point, it doesn’t matter what a paranormal team says, the client is going to reject all data that debunks activity. Our brains are amazing machines and that is usually a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, it also has the power to allow us to “see” things that are not there. Yes, I am saying that someone can make themself experience auditory and visual hallucinations. In addition, there are reports of people creating “spirits” that can be perceived by others. This has been referred to as thought forms or egregores. Essentially, even if there was no haunting to begin with there may be one now.
Another potential problem is when the client’s house is actually haunted and the obsessive nature of the watching encourages the activity. We often talk about how “spirits” can attach to people but people can also become attached to “spirits”. The experience of being “haunted” becomes an important part of the person’s life and they struggle to see themselves without this special part of themselves. Many caution that this is the time when “spirits” can become their most powerful. If the person does invite a paranormal team into their home, they are often uncomfortable with the idea of removing the “spirit”. Often they want further documentation and information about what is causing the haunting. They may say they want the activity to stop but when efforts are made to cleanse the space, the client may make small errors in the process or not fully commit to the action. Therefore, the haunting continues.
The reason this is more likely to happen in your home than in haunted places you visit around the country is mainly due to access. You have 24/7 access to your home and if you want to monitor it, you can monitor it constantly. We rarely have any prolonged access to haunted locations. Even if we work at one of these places, we don’t have access or even permission to conduct an investigation every day. It is this day-in, day-out focus on activity in one location that causes the problem.
So, what should you do if you think your house is haunted? Get a notebook and take notes when something happens. Note the date, time, temperature, and write down the specific experience. Include information about who experienced the event and anything that seems relevant. Heck, feel free to add some non-relevant information like “I had a splitting headache and took 2 tylenol an hour before this happened” or “I ate a super spicy burrito 20 minutes before the occurrence.” Then put the notebook away. Only write in the notebook when something happens. Reach out to a paranormal team and give them your notebook of experiences. This likely won’t be a list of dust orbs or photos with red circles (AKA pareidolia). You will be giving the team useful data about when activity occurs, who is present, and what the specific situation may be. Then the team can do a thorough and unbiased investigation of your home. Be open to debunking and be willing to hear ways to deal with what is happening in your home.
I know this isn’t the fun answer but it is the answer that produces the best overall outcome. Even if you are an amazing investigator with years of experience, it is safest to let someone else evaluate the situation so you can be certain the situation is resolved with the best possible conclusion. At least if you are an investigator, you know who to trust in your home. The general public does not have that luxury so please take advantage of it. If you are not an investigator, ask the team visiting your home lots of questions beforehand and always set the expectation for them to be professional and courteous.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!