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Ghost Hunting for Beginners
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Ghost Hunting for Beginners
by Dieter Sarkoses

You’ve seen it on TV and now you want to set up your very own ghost hunting investigation team. But what do you need to make the whole thing a success? Well to save reinventing the wheel here’s a quick guide from Germany’s Dieter Sarkoses that will virtually guarantee a successful hunt. Dieter has had many years of practical experience.

 

Step 1. Assemble your team
Choosing the right open-minded people can make the difference between finding a ghost and just fooling around.

Step 2. Assemble your equipment
Today there are many types of equipment that take the guesswork out of ghost hunting.

Step 3. Choosing your location
Where is the best place to start?

Step 4. Getting your evidence
How to get conclusive proof that leaves sceptics and scientists scratching their heads.


Step 1. Assemble your team

You need to pick the right kind of people so here are your basic requirements;

Team leader
Someone’s got to make the important decisions and bring it altogether. As there are no real qualifications for this, not even an NVQ in ghost busting, you can nominate yourself.

Webmaster
You must have a website. No one is interested in boring science these days so get yourself a web address with the word ‘paranormal’ somewhere in it. Remember you are serious investigators of paranormal activity and people will need to be able to find you should they discover they have a ghost infestation.

Medium
This person will be an essential part of the team if you want to approach things scientifically. The medium’s role is to get ‘impressions’ and pick up the odd name or two. A good medium will also be able to pick up many different sorts of energy. Not just your basic 'energy' as in "This room has a lot of energy." but other more subtle forms e.g. male or female energies, residual energies, evil energies and, thankfully, loving energies. You may need to test possible applicants unless they already have a number of satisfied customers which will be proof enough. If you do test them see if they can come up with names of people that mean something to you, like a “David” or “Michael” maybe even a “John”. If for example they ask you if the name Martin means anything to you and he is a close friend, member of your family, perhaps a work colleague or someone you remember from your childhood then you’ll know you’re dealing with the genuine article.

Technician
You will need to have someone who is not only capable of using various ghost detecting instruments but preferably someone who doesn’t mind paying for them as well. An impressive array of gadgets will go a long way to back up your medium.

Camera operator
This might be a video camera or, more likely, a standard digital camera (choose one with the flash right near to the lens and these seem better at detecting orbs). If you use a camcorder it must be capable of night vision otherwise people will wonder why you bothered with it but more importantly it will look spookier. However be careful because although you may see the distinctive outline of a Cavalier or Roundhead, night vision can distort this so that it just looks like a shadow made by the curtains.

The Sceptic
Try to limit yourself to just the one. Whilst you are all obviously open-minded you need to balance this with someone who, despite the obvious evidence of paranormal activity, fumbles around trying to come up with ‘rational’ explanations. These can and should be easily dismissed. By way of example, your medium says she is getting the name Lawrence and you know Sir Lawrence Posenby-Smallpiece died here in 1832: Your sceptic may suggest the medium picked this up telepathically from the current owners or maybe just got lucky. This laughable clutching at straws is typical of sceptics but it’s something you just have to put up with. Even so don’t dismiss the telepathy argument as it has been scientifically proven by someone.

Uber believer
The antithesis of the sceptic. Basically you’re looking for someone gullible enough to buy into almost anything. If something accidentally falls or a floorboard creaks you want this guy to jump out of his skin. If you interview someone for this role and they suggest any kind of rational explanation is possible then I’m afraid he will be no good. That said, they don’t have to be as much a believer as Richard Felix, that’s going overboard.

Various hanger’s on
The rest of the team can be pretty much anyone you want as long as they are completely open-minded. In others words they are fully prepared to believe it if they get sufficient evidence (e.g. orbs, cold spots, etc.) You may be fortunate enough to find that certain people seem to attract poltergeist activity, i.e. when they’re around things fly in the air or light bulbs come out of their sockets and smash on the floor. To help generate this phenomena try to keep video cameras in another room as their presence can often inhibit this type of activity.

A dogPsychic dog
The Most Haunted Live team have found that dogs have a keen sense of psychic ability. A word of caution here, if you take along a dog make sure it looks the part. German Shepherds and Rotweilers are to be preferred. Even if your Chihauhau has demonstrated telepathy in the past you will not be taken seriously if you bring him along. However they do shiver a lot so might be able to detect cold spots.

Step 2. Assemble your equipment

A number of torches
You will need these because ghosts only appear at night and then only if the lights are switched off. This is important because even if you go around places that have perfectly good lighting you must not use mains electricity. Ghosts are much more likely to appear in conditions of poor visibility when your eyes are struggling to make out vague patterns in the shadows. It is a known fact that ghosts also appear when investigators are tired and highly suggestible. Under such conditions people are much more open-minded. The team’s sceptic will have other explanations but frankly these will probably be quite ridiculous, unless they’ve read the right sort of books or studied the works of Dr Rupert Sheldrake and Lyall Watson.

A tape recorder (for EVP)
Leave this running for as long as possible. What you are aiming for is to pick up “white noise”. White noise covers the entire sound spectrum and if you listen carefully enough you can usually pick up some kind of message. It is likely that this will be different from the messages picked up by your medium. So whist they get the name “ Lawrence” and something to do with a “chair”, a typical EVP message will be something like, “Get snail fly” or possibly, “Get male spy”. You have to be alert because very often dead spirits can talk backwards in German or Serbo-Croat making it difficult to come up with a definitive explanation. You may also have to slow down the recording or speed it up in order to decipher the message correctly.

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EMF detector
It is believed that spirits operate somewhere between radio waves and microwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Alternatively it may be that your team is suffering from a form of brain seizure brought on by EMF which is affecting their temporal lobes and causing them to have hallucinations. This usually only happens in conditions of darkness and heightened suggestibility.

Ghosts on EMF scale
Thermometer

If you suddenly feel cold, don’t be fooled, it has nothing to with drafts or north facing rooms, etc it is a dead spirit. If you find a cold spot you’ve definitely got a ghost but bear in mind that when your medium seems to be picking something up this won’t necessarily mean you’ll get a cold spot. Likewise if you get orbs floating around the room it may not actually turn cold. This is the strange thing about ghost hunting, whilst cold spots indicate ghosts, the presence of ghosts doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find a cold spot. This has lead some investigators to believe ghosts are sometimes warm. So if you get a lot of ghosts appearing together you might even get a warm spot.

Table for tipping
For consistent results a light, poorly designed table with castors and legs that are too near the centre to be of much practical use is what you need. If dead spirits can’t get a message directly to the medium they can make their presence known by making a table turn around – which is the spirit world’s way of saying nothing in particular. It is easy to determine if this is genuine poltergeist activity by keeping your hands touching the table. If you remove your hands and the table stops moving then that means the spirits are deliberately trying to prevent you from getting hard evidence, a sure sign of a playful spirit.

Ouija Board
Again if the medium’s spirit guide seems to be having trouble then this is the kit to use. Make sure everyone can see the letters clearly otherwise the ghosts can find it difficult. It’s also a good idea to make sure everyone agrees on the correct spelling of anyone you are trying to contact, otherwise they won’t know if the spirit is genuine or not. To make sure the spirits turn up take a leaf out of Yvette Fielding’s book and ask the following questions in a loud voice (it works the same way as when you shout at foreigners to help them understand English);

If there are any astral beings here please make yourself known. Move something, make a noise, touch someone… anything. We mean you no harm and we want to treat you with respect.”

Then if you actually get a response causing you to scream or panic make sure you get this on the video camera as this will provide further proof of paranormal activity. Don’t forget to repeat the above words indefinitely and at every location you ever visit.

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Step 3. Choosing your location

Early on you’ll probably be glad to get anywhere so just look on it as practice. Remember to look serious, you will always find phenomena of some kind if you really want to. However it might be worth finding the odd house that doesn’t have a ghost. This can prove difficult but if you do find one it will show you aren’t fooled by any stupid little squeak and conversely add credibility to the other locations.

Later, as your reputation for constantly finding ghosts grows, you’ll be able to move onto investigating public houses. This is a very clever move as all pub landlords require a ghost of some kind and you can call in the local press to cover the story. Remember if you do your own press release it is the law that all such stories start with the headline, “Ghostly goings on at….” And remember do not allow sceptics to speak to the press. For a start they won’t interested and secondly neither will their readers.

Large disused buildings are an obvious choice but as some of the more disreputable ghost hunting teams have been known to make up an entirely false histories, you need to do your research carefully. For example if you mistakenly thought you were in an asylum and your medium picked up information about mental patients who never existed the world would immediately realise they were nothing but a cheap fake deliberately milking the gullibility of the public. You might end up tainted by associating with such scum.

The final step is to be allowed into a stately home. Now you’ve hit the big time, but once again caution is required. Remember to do your research carefully as some sceptics just think the whole thing is one big joke and may set a trap. Be very suspicious of names such as Kat Waterside who may well have been the secret mistress of the Third Earl of Malmesbury but nevertheless is also an anagram of “Derek is a twat”.  

Step 4. Getting your evidence  

It’s important to understand that you won’t always get absolute proof but if you’re lucky you will get things that you won’t be able to explain which should be good enough for most reasonably open-minded people. This is one reason why you limit yourself to a single sceptic. If there are more they might get over confident. With only one you can make them feel they’re just being picky.

Use the table
With any luck the table will move and dramatically fall over. If this isn’t proof that discarnate beings are in the building I don’t know what is. There is no known explanation for this with the possible exceptions of a) someone is pushing it deliberately (ridiculous) or b) it’s the ideomotor response (as if). If someone appears to be pushing the table deliberately it is probably the spirits making them do it. If you’re not sure you must check with your medium as they can ask their spirit guides for an impartial assessment. When we eliminate sceptical arguments and other rational explanations what is left must be paranormal.

Ouija Board
Get messages using the ouija board. If this doesn’t happen then the spirits are trying to wind you up which is pretty convincing proof in itself.

Camera
If you make sure you use the right digital camera you should see plenty of orbs floating around. Of course 82% of these will be just dust or flying insects but that leaves 18% that are genuine. Remember ghosts are not physical beings so getting a camera to record one is quite remarkable in itself. What is an orb? Well paranormal investigators believe they are the initial manifestation of a ghost, a sort of spirit embryo, although frogspawn might be more accurate. Alas none seem to grow beyond the fuzzy white dot stage, which if you think about it logically means they must turn invisible when they reach a certain size. It is quite obvious, except perhaps to the more pedantic sceptics that these orbs are trying hard to communicate as they are always near the camera lens and not hiding away shyly behind people or furniture.

Video camera
This is obviously good for keeping a precise record of the investigation. Very occasionally you’ll record things flying around the room, or at least flying past the camera lens which is the same thing.

The dog
This will bark at ghosts. The more fierce and aggressive they are the more psychically in tune they become.

Tape recorder
I’ve already given tips on how to use this but briefly, leave it running (i.e. recording) in an unoccupied room. You will probably get messages that seem meaningless at first but after listening to them for a week or so you should be able to interpret what’s actually being said. Tell people what you think it is before they listen as this will help confirm that you are correct. If you leave it up to them to decipher the words they may get it wrong. Remember this phenomenon has been proven by scientists and sceptics can offer no credible alternative explanation.

Thermometer
A difference of 2 degrees Celsius from the surrounding ambient temperature means a ghost is present. Make a note of the exact point and tell everyone else so that they can confirm it as well.

EMF detector
A very important piece of equipment as it shows you know what you’re doing. If someone claims they saw a ghost, quickly note if the EMF reading has shot up. If it has you need to make sure the person in question is not having a seizure in their temporal lobes. Feel the side of their heads to see it they are hotter than normal. Once you ascertained that their brains are acting normally then you have proof positive of paranormal activity. It might be worth contacting Nature with your findings but if you want proper peer review then you should contact the Society for Psychical Research. They have dead members who can easily verify your claims.

The medium
Usually they will only pick up people who have been dead a long time and nobody remembers. Don’t push them too hard on names as many spirits find details like their own names difficult to remember. On a more positive note they will often give an excellent description of say an old person but most importantly they can tell you with a great deal of precision what the ghost is feeling and whether they are happy or not. This is just the kind of information you need if you’re going to persuade the the scientific community.

One other thing is to make sure you have someone trained in first aid in case the medium becomes possessed. Whilst this can happen occasionally it is usually confined to mediums with very little intelligence.

Happy hunting.

Dieter Sarkoses

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