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“Some people believe in ghosts, some people don’t, there are things in this world that we will never fully understand, we want answers” (Zak Bagans, Ghost Adventures). The paranormal field of investigating and ghost hunting is something that is very well known throughout the whole world, but why are so many people uninformed about what really is the paranormal? Is it because of religious beliefs, or is it because it’s something that’s not fully explained and feared by to an average person? What is ghost hunting/paranormal investigating and why are there television shows about people seeking out ghosts? Do they seek to believe, find scientific evidence of the beyond, or do they want to make nonbelievers on the paranormal into believers?
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“We seek answers through a scientific process of observation, theory, hypothesis, experimentation, and analysis. Traditional scientists seek answers through the known laws of the universe, while people like me seek the same truths by understanding the unknown phenomena around us. We are very alike in our goals, but approach the question from different ends of the spectrum” (Zak Bagans, Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of the Ghost Adventures Crew). Seeking answers to the unknown is a process of researching, investigating and reviewing evidence gathered from investigations. It takes time to gather all of this information about a location and doesn’t seem as easy as they make it seem on television. First, you must be prepared to go on your ghost hunting adventure, in order to do so, you must have the necessary supplies to get as much evidence as possible. A simple pen and paper are necessary to record any paranormal observations and are the cheapest part of the equipment list. A camera, a flashlight, and plenty of batteries for any electrical devices are the main tools you’ll need for a beginning investigation. You will also want to dress appropriately by wearing comfortable shoes or bringing a jacket and it’s also important to wear dark clothes so light reflections don’t bounce off of the light colors. According to Ghosts & Gravestones, a paranormal investigation website, “More advanced ghost hunters can purchase higher quality materials, such as video cameras, audio recorders or digital laser thermometers to locate sources of energy. This equipment can be pricey, beginners should test the waters with basic gear before investing lots of time and money.” Second, you’ll want to do research on past investigations or the haunted history on the location you are visiting. You’ll need to prepare yourself and learn more about the paranormal sightings in an area, and you’ll want to know when paranormal occurrences happen, though mostly at night, some paranormal activity can happen in daylight hours. Next, you never want to investigate by yourself in case of an emergency and you want to be safe and cautious, ghost investigations are not only much more fun with a group but they’re also safer. A safe way to investigate would be to take the time during the day when it’s light out to scope out the unknown of the location you’re investigating, it’s better to know where you’re going so you don’t trip and fall anytime during the investigation. Take precautions in secluded areas since the terrain might be unfamiliar and your site may be impaired in the dark. You never know what you’ll encounter, so bringing a friend or two is recommended. Lastly, always ask permission to investigate the different locations, “If you’re investigating a property that isn’t your own, always ask permission. It’s often best to have the property owner give written consent to avoid any legal troubles due to trespassing. If a property owner doesn’t want you to ghost hunt in a particular area, there’s probably a good reason! To be on the safe side, don’t forget your personal ID if you need identification at any point during your adventure” (Ghosts & Gravestones, p. 5).
Next, equipment for an investigation is something you’ll need to record evidence of you’re paranormal findings. Different types of equipment are used for finding different pieces of evidence. Audio recorders, cameras/video cameras, EMF meters, and thermometers are some of the simplest and the cheapest types of equipment you can use when investigating. More expensive pieces of equipment are things like the Ovilus, motion detectors, laser grids, ghost boxes, and the paranormal puck. Although not all of these are necessary to use, they’re recommended to get the best evidence when paranormal investigating. Audio recorders will help you capture EVP’s, EVP stands for electronic voice phenomenons, and they’re sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices that have been either unintentionally recorded or intentionally recorded. Video cameras allow you to either see where you’re going if you’re investigating in the dark, or they might also capture evidence that we wouldn’t be able to see with our own eyes or hear something that we couldn’t hear at the time of the investigation. An EMF meter is a scientific instrument for measuring electromagnetic fields. Most meters measure the electromagnetic radiation flux density or the change in an electromagnetic field over time, the same as a radio antenna, but with different detection characteristics. The Ovilus allows investigators to communicate with spirits and works by using measurements of temperature and electromagnetic fields. The readings are then combined and each combination of readings goes with a database of words, the Ovilus then “speaks” that word and allows the dead spirit to speak the words. The paranormal puck is similar to the Ovilus but has some more features to it, it monitors EMF, temperature, humidity, light levels, barometric pressure, movement, ionization/static levels and produces the legendary ITC sessions.
Now, let’s find out how to know if your location is haunted or not. Depending on how you investigate, either to find out if the location haunted, or if it’s already been confirmed haunted and you’re just looking for paranormal evidence, you’ll need to look for some of the different signs of a haunting. First, you’ll need to find out if there’s any mysterious sounds, sights or movement. “…a lot of the classic signs that people run into are mysterious noises that seem to come from places they can’t locate, a lot of bumping and scratching on walls, seeing full-bodied apparitions, and things moving from place to place when you’ve not touched them” (Markarian, p. 1). What you might not know, is that sometimes what you call a haunting may not actually be a real haunting, but actually, you’re mind subconsciously conjuring something that’s not there. Ghost hunter Greg Newkirk has been called to locations where the causes of these “hauntings” have actually been mold or carbon monoxide poisoning which caused people to hallucinate. Other things like physical and emotional disorientation, personality changes, and feeling watched are all different signs of paranormal hauntings. Next, what should you do if your house is haunted? Possibly talking to the spirits in your home and let it know what your intentions are being there. It probably sounds weird to talk to ghosts, but when you tell them your intentions or reasons for why you’re there, then they’ll know why you’re actually there and not intruding in their space. It’s just like talking to a real person and giving a reason to that person why you’re near them or in their space. “Generally, most people who come to find out that their house is haunted can live peacefully with whatever spirits are there. If it’s something that really, genuinely bothers you, say something as simple as ‘You need to leave’” (Markarian, p. 9). To back up telling a spirit to leave, make it serious and possibly in the name of whatever it is you believe in most strongly. For some people, it’s their belief in god or a god, and for others, it’s their own power inside themselves, and putting energy into your statement makes it more effective. Finally, if you try to use sage, which is most commonly used in powerful burning rituals, is used to cleanse a space or environment from negative energy. “Sage is great but in my opinion, it’s a little overrated because it’s harsh. It’s so cleansing it almost creates a vacuum. It’s like dusting your whole house and then leaving your doors and windows open in a sandstorm. If you’re going to sage and clear your house, then come in with something holy or something magical so you fill it back up with [your] intent” (Markarian, p.9).
The three different types of hauntings are intelligent, residual, and intentional. The most classic haunting, an intelligent haunting, these spirits seem to interact very intelligently with people and know of your presence in the area of which they live. They’ll respond intelligently with answering directly to questions you give them if you’re investigating and using the right equipment. Then, the other common one people run into a lot is a residual haunting which is a spirit that is stuck in a loop and plays a certain event of their life over and over, and the spirit doesn’t ever really acknowledge that people live in the house, and is sometimes stuck in a loop because a traumatizing event happened on a particular date. Lastly, an intentional haunting is actually more about the living people who believe in spirits than ghosts themselves. This type of spirit comes from people who have put so much energy and intention into the belief that their house or object is haunted that they’ve ended up manifesting. For example, think of children who hear of urban legends and then go and routinely visit the place of the supposed haunting, they feed the story to others to the point where they actually open the place up to the paranormal activity. Poltergeists’ are another type of ghost that’s out there in the world. They’re one of the most popular terms in media and movies, and most people have heard when it comes to ghosts or spirits. The word poltergeist actually means noisy ghost because it is said to have the ability to move things, make noise, and manipulate the physical environment. An aspect of the poltergeist is that they usually start out slowly and mildly with either moving things around or making noises, then begins to intensify with time, and while many times poltergeist activity is harmless and ends fast, they have been known to actually become dangerous. “While many of us had heard the term before, a poltergeist is actually one of the rarest forms of hauntings and to many, the most terrifying. Loud knocking sounds, lights turning on and off, doors slamming, even fires breaking out mysteriously have all been attributed to this type of a spiritual disturbance” (Ghosts & Gravestones, Types of Ghosts, p 3). Next, on the list of different spirits are orbs. Orbs are white or blue, transparent or translucent balls of light that hover around in the air. They’re also the most photographed types of an anomaly and their circular shape makes it easier for them to move around. It’s also believed that orbs are the soul of a human or even an animal that has died and is traveling around from one place to another.
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Now that you’ve learned how to investigate a possible haunted location, you’re ready to paranormal investigate anywhere you believe is haunted or seek further evidence that you already know is haunted. You’ll be able to fully understand the science behind the different equipment, why the location is haunted, the different types of ghosts and reasons as to why ghosts and spirits stay or are stuck in that certain location. “Some people believe in ghosts, some people don’t, there are things in this world that we will never fully understand, we want answers” (Zak Bagans, Ghost Adventures).
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