I asked a few of my friends what they think I should write about and one person quickly responded “Jen’s secret investigation technique!” I laughed a little to myself because I worked with this individual years ago and he always talks about when we first met at an investigation in Tennessee. We were under the stage of a theater trying different communication methods. The story was that there was a male spirit that resided in the area who liked to interact with women. So, I decided to offer him something if he directly interacted with our team. My offer was to take off my shirt. Of course, this had the rest of the mostly male team begging the “spirit” to do anything. Unfortunately, for my teammates, nothing happened and my shirt stayed on.
Why did I do this? First, I didn’t think anything would happen so I was willing to offer something funny to entertain myself. Second, if there was a male spirit hanging out under the stage of a theater who liked the ladies, maybe I could offer him something that he actually wanted. This is often called “triggering” activity and is more often done through the use of objects that would have been familiar to a “spirit” in life. Side note: ladies, you don’t have to take off your shirt to entertain the “ghosts”.
When using trigger objects, it is best to think about who you may be wanting to encounter and what may be relevant to their situation. Offering cigarettes, alcohol, or a deck of cards is always a good start when you are in a bar. When looking for child “spirits”, you may bring toys, coloring books, or stories that you read. Whatever it is, make sure it is time period relevant. This means that you likely don’t want to use a cell phone to trigger a “spirit” from the 1800’s. (Unless you are dealing with Alexander Graham Bell in which case, he may be curious to see how his technology developed over time.)
Sometimes it is good to imagine yourself in that situation, what would make you interested to talk to someone? For me, it would likely be some whiskey and a slice of cheesecake and for my co-investigator, Dane, it would be a steaming hot cup of coffee. In these cases, you would pick your trigger object and offer it to the “spirit”. You can even go one step further and purchase a Haunted Trigger Object Proximity Sensor (HTO) which makes a device light up and alarm when anything interferes with the object. This device works with any metal object and you could even place non-metal objects in a tray to utilize the sensor.
Recently, my team visited a former poor farm. In doing my research, I came across a photo of one of the inhabitants that is thought to remain in the building. She was playing bingo and this gave me an idea. My small team set up the recreation room for bingo and started to play. We even set out cards and chips for anyone who wanted to join us, giving them a REMpod to trigger when to mark their cards. We played several games and had a surprising amount of REMpod activity. We then proceeded to invite anyone in the building who was interested to a ice cream social. Once again, we set everything up in the recreation room and had a good time enjoying our ice cream.
Ultimately, trigger objects and activities are just one more tool in your investigation tool belt. Be creative, think outside the box, and don’t be afraid to do something that seems a little silly. You never know what might work. Once again, don’t ever offer anything that you don’t feel comfortable following through with.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!