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Before You Improvise Yourself a Ghost Hunter
Article by special contributor Shane Smith
You think you have what it takes to be a ghost hunter? First question you should ask yourself is: am I ready to deal with what I am about to experience? Second question should be something like: what happens if I bring this problem home with me? How will it affect me and my family? Third question should be: can I control my fear and my emotions? Fourth question: what do I do if the person reporting this paranormal activity is not mentally stable? What is my plan for this investigation and have all my questions been answered satisfactorily to even warrant an investigation. Do you have the answers to these questions and many more just like them? Ịf you don't know the answers or can not answer these questions truthfully, please stay home. You will not be doing anyone any good and you can put yourself and those around you into greater danger, not just from the spirit realm, but from the physical one as well.
For example you are investigating an older abandoned home that is supposedly haunted, it is dark and you and a friend have split off from the rest of the group to investigate on your own. You suddenly hear a noise or feel something touch you, you take off running leaving your friend behind, who by the way has the flash light and you accidentally bump into another friend who happened to be standing next to a hole and cause them to fall through that hole in the floor and they end up breaking a bone or worse. What happened, why did you run? You thought you were ready you and you had seen how it was done on T.V... Did you know that sometimes when doing an investigation of older abandoned homes that spider webs can cause it to feel as if someone is touching us or pulling our hair or that in the dark the sound of the wind blowing through cracked boards can sound like a deathly moan? Not to mention that it is illegal to be there without the owner's permission, did you remember to get that?
Now what of the spirit realm? Do you know how to protect yourself from going from the one doing the investigation to the one who needs an investigator or possibly a priest to perform an exorcism? While evil or demonic hauntings are a rarity, they do occur. What is your plan of action in helping this family remove this unwanted being from their home if it is proven to be true? Oh, so you are going to tell it to leave and be gone in the name of the lord, maybe throw some holy water around. Guess what? It now likes you; you are now going to be its best friend. Why? Because you are not a qualified exorcist and lack the knowledge and experience required to perform this. Okay so you try to smudge the home in a hope that this will work, but oops you forgot a step or you really do not believe this is going to work, no biggie right? Wrong, now all you have managed to do is make the demon or evil spirit mad and one of two things is going to happen. One, the family you were trying to help is now going to suffer worse than before, or two you will get the impression that it has worked, that is until you get home and discover your new best friend is throwing your stuff all over the place. Still ready to be a Ghost hunter?
Ghost hunting is not what you see in the movies and not always what you see on T.V... The program Ghost Hunters is the closest thing to what I have experienced in the field. There are times when you can spend all night in a place that is supposed to have a ghost or paranormal activity and not see or hear a thing, let alone capture anything on camera or audio tape. While we are at it, let's explore items you will need at a minimum to perform a professional investigation.
One is a good quality voice recorder with external Microphone; now while you can sometimes find these cheap remember you get what you pay for. The next thing you will need is an EMF detector or Electro Magnetic Field detector; do you know how to use this piece of equipment? Do you know how to begin an investigation with this equipment? Can you even guess the cost of this piece of equipment? Third thing you will require is a good no touch thermometer, these are not cheap by any means. The fourth thing is a camera, while any camera will do, do you know which are better for full form apparitions and which are better for orbs and mist? How about a video camera, one with good night shot capabilities should do the trick. The sixth thing you will need is of course your flashlight, can't leave home without it. Oh and let us not forget about batteries, you will need lots and lots of them as it seems that spirits just love to drain them just before that critical moment when you are about to capture them on film or audio. Now what else are there, oh yeah, computers, software, support hardware, money, lots of money and last but not least time.
Do you really have the time and energy it is going to take to perform a professional investigation, or are you going to tell the people you are investigating for that you will get back to them with the results and then don't, because you just couldn't find the time or you were just too tired and never seemed to have the energy to go through all the evidence, or lack of it, that you gathered during your investigation. How about the old "I will get to it tomorrow" routine, well tomorrow never comes does it?
Bet you even thought, "Hey I could make some money doing this", you'd be wrong. Reputable investigators and groups do not charge for their services, some will accept donations for the cost of travel and a few other expenses that occur, but other than that, nope, nada, isn't going to happen. Still want to be a Ghost hunter?
Maybe you are just planning on doing this as a hobby; hey you don't have to investigate for anyone. Well you would be right, but where are you going to investigate? A cemetery, an abandoned home or building would do nicely. Guess what? you need the owner's permission as mentioned earlier to investigate these places and without it, you are trespassing and can find yourself standing before a judge trying to explain to him that you were just there looking for a ghost. Plus, most cemeteries I know are off limits to the public at night any way due to the vandalism that often takes place there. How would you like to be charged with that, because just before you got there someone busted a bunch of headstones and guess who the police found in the cemetery after dark?
Say your friend Billy's house is haunted. Okay let's explore that route, shall we? First off you are going to be doing a biased investigation because this is your friend and we all want to believe and help our friends. Second, is this Billy's house or his parents? Let's assume it's his parent's home. Do they know what you are there to do? Okay they do, now where do you begin, oh that's right with the questionnaire... questionnaire? What questionnaire? No one mentioned anything about one of those. Any good investigator knows to properly perform a thorough investigation, you will need a questionnaire, with such questions as: Has anyone in your family suffered from mental illness or been diagnosed with brain injuries? Is anyone in your household currently taking any prescription medicines or "other" drugs at this time? You didn't know the questions would be so personal? Sorry, they have to be, to be sure that what you are dealing with is truly paranormal and not being caused by drugs or mental illness. Still think you are ready to be a ghost hunter?
I do not write this in an attempt to dissuade anyone from becoming a paranormal investigator; I just want those that are thinking about it to understand what they are getting into. Are they truly ready for the task before them, do they know what to do if they are dealing with someone or something that can cause them harm? Do they know where to find the proper help that may be needed during the investigation, such as priest, psychologist, and anyone else who may be of assistance? It is always best to have these people already available just in case. Do they know the monetary value of what the equipment they will need to perform a valid investigation, not to mention the time required to perform the investigation? Last but not least, do they have the proper training or experience to be performing these investigations? If not they should find a paranormal group in their area that would be willing to accept them on a trial basis and learn from those that have been in the field a while.
This was not written as an all inclusive guide to being a ghost hunter, but as general knowledge writing. I do not claim to be an expert in any field of the paranormal, I don't think anyone can. But I have experienced paranormal activity and studied the paranormal off and on for the last 26 years. I have done many investigations on my own and with a group. Most turned out to be nothing, but the few that couldn't be explained more than made up for it.
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