Congratulations on your new adventure and I hope you have found yourself a wonderful and supportive team. You probably received a ton of waiver information by now, if not, you may want to check with your team leads. Most teams have some standard rules that they will want you to know before attending your first investigation and if your team is anything like mine, it is a lot of reading so pace yourself. All of that aside, what should you expect during your first team investigation?
- What should you bring?
- Any equipment you have available.
- If you are staying on site, you will need your “camp” gear.
- Pen and paper for taking notes.
- A positive attitude.
- You are going to be asked a bunch of questions about yourself. Hopefully, most of the people on your first investigation will have either read your application or attended your interview but if not, expect to be asked the following questions.
- How did you get into the paranormal?
- What was your first paranormal experience?
- What is your favorite location so far?
- What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
- What do you do in your day job?
- You will have less equipment then everyone else and be relegated to the smallest surface available to set your stuff down. Just know that equipment hoarding is a beloved pastime in the paranormal field and before long you will be taking up tons of space too.
- You should walk the building with team members to get an idea of the layout and where equipment is to be placed. Sometimes a tour will be offered. Not everyone will want a tour because it takes a huge chunk of time out of set-up but don’t be afraid to say you want to learn about the building before setting up. Take a notebook on this walk so you can make notes about equipment placement and any history/paranormal experiences. (Note: On most teams, sensitives are not allowed to do the tour and will walk the building separately to get a feel for the location.)
- You won’t know what to do with yourself as everyone is unpacking and setting up equipment. The simple answer here is to ask someone if you can help. Carry some boxes, move some tables, or just hold a door. If they are setting up the DVR, ask how things work and have someone show you how the team runs cameras. If not the DVR, ask about some of the equipment you see being set-up. Be curious, you are new and learning.
- You will be asked who you want to work with or what you want to do. You may want to ask for a brief introduction and overview of how individual investigators work. If you are interested in tech, hang with the person doing baseline readings. If you are sensitive, take a walk with the group sensitive to understand how they prepare. If you like to fly by the seat of your pants and jump right in, there is a person doing just that.
- Know what you want to learn on day 1. You can’t learn everything but have an idea about what you want to get comfortable with first. This can be as simple as “I want to learn the investigation style of 2 people on the team.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be open minded. What you learned from public investigations and paranormal tv won’t 100% match what happens in a real investigation.
- There will be a ton of inside jokes and you will be very confused for a while. You will catch on.
- You will be picked on as there is a team acclimation process that usually requires a bit of hazing. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to sit in a dark room by yourself. Don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with and be confident enough to speak up for yourself.
- You will do something stupid and/or make a mistake. We all do it. Accept it now. If any team member tells you they haven’t done something dumb, they are lying. I have an entire blog post on the mistakes I have made in the past so don’t feel like you are alone.
- If you have any medical conditions that can cause you problems during the investigation, please let your team lead know so they can respond as necessary.
- Have fun. With any luck, this will be your team for a good long while and they will become family. You will likely have some interesting experiences with these people that you won’t be able to explain to anyone who wasn’t present at the time.
I hope this takes a little bit of the anxiety out of your first team investigation but if not, know that everyone on your team has been the “newbie”. We have all gone through the process to get where we are today and we have all made a lot of mistakes. The paranormal field is full of people learning through trial and error. Every investigation is a chance to learn and grow as a paranormal researcher. Once again, congratulations on making the team and good luck.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!