Past Investigations

Page authors

  • Mike Johnson
    May 30, 2012
  • Ghost Journeys
    April 12, 2012

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Investigation Guidelines

For your personal safety, comfort, and the integrity of the entire investigation, please consider the following Dos and Don'ts:
  1. Dress appropriate for the weather and location. Most locations are going to have stairs, uneven flooring, broken tiles and other hazards. This isn't a fashion show, dress comfortably. Sneakers are suggested. Avoid hard sole shoes, flip flops and high heel shoes. (Wear layers in cold weather. Wear lighter clothes during the summer.) Always be mindful of the weather before you leave for an investigation.
  2. Avoid wearing bright clothing or clothing with reflective or glow-in-the-dark surfaces. This also applies to shiny jewelry like watches and dangly earrings. These items reflect/refract camera flash from great distance and IR lighting from cameras that you can’t see with your own eyes. This can lead to false positives. Also, take note of what colors each group member is wearing for later when reviewing photos and video. Taking a group photo just before or after the investigation is a good way to accomplish this.
  3. Avoid loud clothing like windbreakers, corduroy, leather and squeaky shoes. Later when reviewing audio from the investigation, this can be misconstrued as EVP. 
  4. Try to avoid whispering as this too can be misinterpreted as EVP. 
  5. Keep talking to a minimum while investigating. In most abandoned locations sound travels very easily. When you do talk, speak clearly to avoid repeating yourself.
  6. Don't wear perfume or cologne during the investigation.
  7. Turn your cell phone off if you don't have an airplane mode option.
  8. Most locations are old and abandoned. Assume there will be dust, mold and possibly asbestos at any given location. Take the appropriate precautions with dust masks and respirators.
  9. Know your surroundings. The walk through prior to the investigation isn't always sexy, but it's vital to a sound investigation. If possible, perform the walk through in full day light. Take note of hazards that may not be obvious later in the dark like broken stairs or floorboards and low clearances. Note the location of open or broken windows which later during the investigation may be a source of cold drafts.
  10. Stay with your investigation partner or group. Never wander off alone. Safety is the obvious reason but it's also important to have someone who can validate your experiences. A partner can help you stay calm when things get hairy, avoiding a panic situation. If you find yourself growing uncomfortable in a particular area, speak up so the group can move to a different location. Don't allow your feelings to grow to a panic state ultimately causing you to take flight screaming.
  11. Arrive to the investigation rested, well nourished and hydrated. Growling stomachs, headaches and dizziness can be falsely attributed to paranormal activity. Avoid alcohol and drugs. 
  12. If at any point during the investigation you begin to feel sick or uncomfortable in a certain location, SPEAK UP!  This can be paranormal evidence or something else entirely.  Don’t be afraid of being embarrassed if you don’t feel comfortable staying in an area. Let the lead investigator know so we can move to another area that you feel more comfortable.
  13. If you are bringing equipment, make sure it's ready BEFORE the investigation: Camcorder batteries charged. Clear out old files on voice recorders and replace the battery. If you run a DVR system, keep your wires reeled to avoid wasting time untangling. Hit the ground running! You have a limited time to investigate. Use it wisely. 
  14. Know how to use your equipment BEFORE investigating. Familiarize yourself with the layout and functionality of your devices. Practice using them in the dark to avoid using your flashlight. Get some plastic bumper dots that you put on the bottom of vases so they don't scratch the furniture. You can use them to mark certain buttons.
  15. Bring extra batteries!
  16. Bring extra batteries!
  17. Shop smart - save money. Check K-mart for miniDV cassettes; Harbor Freight for mini LED flashlights, batteries and hard cases to tote your equipment.
  18. The most important tool you bring to the investigation is YOU! Use your own eyes and ears and don't become fixated on your equipment. Pay attention to scents and out of place odors. Some believe it's even possible to taste even though nothing is in your mouth, a form of clairvoyance called clairgustance. Also, speak up if you experience any common but not everyday symptoms like ringing in your ears. 
  19. Respect the location and leave a GOOD impression. Empty beverage containers, food wrappers and whatnot belong in the trash container, or at least all in one spot for easy removal. Leave the location in the same or better condition you found it.
  20. Finally, never trespass and always get permission from the property owner. Naturally your safety is the main concern but also consider how your selfish actions affect the study of paranormal investigating. The property owner may demolish a problem building rather than deal with the constant nuisance of trespassers. The paranormal investigation community may then lose a potential hot-spot for further study.
    Then there's always the chance of this happening too: