Earlier this month, I attended the last Unity Day event in Auburn, IL. Despite a couple of cancellations, I was pleased with the presentations. In particular, I found Paul Browning and his out of the box thinking about investigations extra interesting. I had to grab his book and see what more he had to share. Thinking Outside of the Box asks the investigator to put themselves in the place of the “spirit” and consider how they would respond in specific circumstances. Many of the techniques are very simple (ex. thinking about clothing choices, going into a location with audio running, and using hand signals). Much of Browning’s ideas center on keeping the “spirit” curious about your presence and not pushing them to hide from the team.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, this is a good basic book for thinking beyond equipment and using a more psychological approach to investigation.
Pros: It is very easy to read. The book is only 100 pages long and the chapters are short. The ideas are almost too simple but interesting enough to make you wonder “why didn’t I think of that?” I particularly like the idea of using “request signs” in spaces where you have stationary cameras placed for the duration of an investigation.
Cons: The original writing was published in 2009 so some of the tech comments are a bit dated as much of that technology has changed. There are a few ideas that likely will not work in repeatedly investigated locations as the “spirits” are regularly “hunted” and therefore harder to catch by surprise. I also find the chapter on “Garnering Attention” for you team unnecessary as social media and easy to build websites have made getting your name out much easier. (And in my opinion, too easy.)
Overall thoughts: I think this is a good book for getting someone to start considering aspects outside of technology for investigation. We get set on a series of techniques for every investigation and turn to them even when they don’t always produce good results. It is useful to have a variety of tools in our paranormal toolkit so we can get the best results in the limited time we have in a location.
You can get your own copy here.