There's a lot of people out there that have a genuine interest in going on a ghost hunt. Some may enjoy paranormal beings, want to see or hear a ghost, or want to prove that their skeptisisim.
Whatever the reason, there's a protocol to follow and below is a list of guidelines that you should follow, even if you do not believe in ghost's.
1. First and foremost, you want to get written permission to search the premises. Verbal permission is ok, but it's always good to get a written contract to be on the site where paranormal activity has been reported.
2. Always carry identification. This is mainly common sense, but it's mainly for the reasons that if you're on a ghost hunt and are encountered by a local law official, they can verify with the site owners that you have permission to be on the site. Refer to the above written agreement with the owner.
3. Never go on a ghost hunt alone. Things could get dangerous, not just in a spiritual sense, but if you're investigating an old home, it could be a physical hazard. In this case, it's always good to have a cell phone with you. Remember also, the living comes first. Never put yourself or anyone else in danger.
4. Make sure that your equipment is always clean. This procedure will rule out some of the possibilities of a "false positive" and ruining your credentials when reporting the activities to the property owners.
5. Promote positive energy and always be respectful of the deceased. Spirits/ghosts are more likely to manifest themselves if you don't pose a threat to their nature.
6. Interview witnesses and try to get the full story. Be objective, try to find a natural cause to the events. Try to debunk the situation in a professional and respectful manner. Remember these folks want to know why their home has activity or strange happenings and are generally concerned about it, especially if they have children.
7. Cigarette's and alchohol do NOT belong on the site. Cigarette smoke is one of the main causes of a false positive and drinking will ruin credibility of something that you thought that you heard. Plus, it's not being respectful to the owners nor the spirits.
8. Always use fresh audio and video. This ensures a fresh and quality recording and keeps things from cross contamination.
9. Every person on the hunt should keep a log of everything they do, say, and hear. If Earl sneezes, he needs to write it down and what time he sneezed. That way, at the end of the hunt, each person can compare notes and Bobby can rule out what he heard at 11:49 pm as communication from the other side, because that's when Earl sneezed. If you must speak to your partner, do it as quietly as possible.
10. Never wear perfume, cologne or any distinct scent, because generally a spirit will let you know that it's there by using some sort of fragrance. From my personal experience, a pleasant scent generally means a pleasant spirit. A sudden foul odor usually has proven to be something that may pose a possible threat.
11. You don\'t have to have $20,000 worth of equipment. A $300 digital video recorder, $100 DVR (Digital Voice Recorder), and basic sound enhancement computer program will suffice. Keep plenty of batteries with you. In this case it's always good to shell out a few extra bucks instead of buying traditional use batteries. Anything that specifies use for digital camera\'s should do more than fine.
12. When recording EVP's (Electro Voice Phenomena) sit the DVR down on a level plane, this will rule out vibrations from an unsteady hand.
13. All members and clients should take a walkthrough and take plenty of pictures. Mainly of the area's where the hauntings seem to be taking place. This is a "Before and After" kind of thing.
14. Never come to a conclusion on-site. It\'s best to weigh in all the evidence and compare notes before coming to a conclusion. Never share any on site conclusions or personal opinion until all photo's, video's, and audio has been studied. If asked for an opinion, say, "We'll try to find out what\'s making this happen." Never say ghost or paranormal until the investigation has been completed.
The above tips are general guidelines for a traditional ghost hunt. Some ghost hunters may do things a little different, especially if they have found certain technique's to work better and more effectively than others. This is mainly to get you beginner's and novice's off the ground floor and safely on your way.
Tips for capturing EVP's
1. Speak clearly, never whisper.
2. Audibly note any sound heard.
3. Do NOT wear or carry noisy items. No jewelry or change.
4. As mentioned earlier in the hub, always carry plenty of batteries.
5. Always state time, date, and physical location of where you'll be recording.
6. Always record in short sessions. This way it will be easier to review.
7. Ask simple question's and allow 20 seconds for an answer.
8. Example questions to ask...
1. Anyone here that would like to answer some questions?
2. Are you male or female?
3. What is your name?
4. Are you married?
5. Can you make a noise for me/us?
6. Can we take a picture of you?
7. Do you want us to leave?
8. Do you know you're dead?
9. What year is it?
10. Why do you like it here?
11. Do you want to leave this place?
12. How did you die?
13. Would you like for us to pass a message along to someone?
These are just a few tips for catching a really good EVP. Remember, friendly spirits are more willing to communicate if you give off positive energy. Try to team up guy/girl and take turns answering question's. Sometimes spirits will most likely respond to one sex more than the other. Never yell or threaten a spirit, because even if they're friendly- they can become aggitated and could possibly pose harm. That's why it's better to ask short and simple questions and not long and thoughtful ones. Less is more. Ask three or four questions and leave. If they have more to say, they'll let you know.
Tips for photo/video
1. Avoid taking video or stills during any kind of weather condition's or where smoke is visible.
2. Hold your breath when taking stills on a cold night.
3. Hold the camera still. Movement will distort the photo.
4. Never take photo's of shiny or reflective things.
5. Learn and know what your equiptment can and cannot do. Test it out before going on a hunt.
6. Never take a photo or anything towards a light. It will create a glare and destroy any possible evidence you may or may not have.
Remember when going on a ghost hunt for the first time or even the
100th time that there are guidelines that you should follow.