Picture the scene. I’m sat at home, complete with noise cancelling headphones, replaying every noise, bump, yawn, inane chat and muffled noise that I’d captured on my latest investigation. It will be a scene all too familiar to paranormal investigators. The tedium of listening back to an 8 hour investigation, hoping beyond hope that somewhere amongst all that noise I might actually have caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) or two. Sadly not on this occasion. You’d have thought a spirit would at least have said “Hey, how are ya?” to put me out of my misery of listening (for the second time) to the same conversation I might have had only the night before.
Just over a year ago, I joined a well known and well respected ghost hunting company as a team leader, exploring a range of haunted locations with paying members of the public. As thoroughly enjoyable as it was, taking upwards of 30 guests around a location, however big that location might be, you are always going to have issues with sound pollution as the guests excitedly join in with vigils; calling out and taking part in paranormal related activities such as group seances and ouija board sessions. For someone with an interest in the paranormal, I would endeavour to use a voice recorder and camcorder to capture as much evidence as possible in such circumstances. The problem, as you might imagine, is that people are, not to point too finer point on it, just so damned noisy. Of course there were times when groups of guests were sat in absolute silence but there was still the problem of noise from other group members in other parts of the building. On more than occasion I can remember thinking that I had captured a high-pitched female scream, only to discover, after playing back the audio, that I had in fact captured the sound of a glass moving quickly across a ouija board in another room.
I eventually decided to leave the group and embarked on my little paranormal journey, not with the support of other like-minded people around me, but on my own. Obviously, I didn’t take this decision lightly. It made sense to move on to joining a local paranormal group (of which there are many) or indeed to set up my own paranormal group (without paying guests this time) to research and explore a range of local haunted hotspots. Either option would have provided me with a number of positives. Not least, that the company of others would have meant that should a ghost have walked out in front of me, there’d be another set of eyes around to verify what I might have seen. There were other questions that made me wonder whether my decision to be alone was the right one:
What if something happened to you?
What if you came across people who wanted to steal your equipment?
Would you be man enough to go in there on your own? Or would you chicken out?
Then I considered why going it alone was in fact the right decision for me. The main reason was the fact that I could explore a haunted location how I wanted to. I wouldn’t have to answer to anyone else or have to use equipment which I had little or no faith in. Out went the EMF meter and the Spirit box for starters. At the very least, whilst sitting in silence, it would make the job of identifying natural sounds, and thereby debunking them as anything paranormal, so much easier.
But what about those other considerations? I made a rather swift decision that, whilst on my own, I wouldn’t attend any haunted location which might be in a substantial state of disrepair. No urban exploring in rotting mansions for me. The risk of significant injury was too great. Also, I have seen enough news reports of groups trespassing onto private property. Like all legitimate investigators, I would ensure that I had the permission of the property or land owner before exploring a particular haunted location.
I also pondered my own bravery, entering a location on my own. If I was being honest though, I’ve been to enough locations to know that despite their reputation, the vast majority of supposedly haunted locations have very little paranormal related activity that couldn’t be debunked.
I also made a conscious decision to visit haunted locations both during the day and during the night. There are many varied reasons why paranormal investigators should investigate during the day and night. A good selection of the main differences can be found here by Karl Pfeiffer: https://karlpfeiffer.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/why-do-ghost-hunters-investigate-in-the-dark/
The only factor that was left outstanding was the issue of having nobody else around to verify whether anything paranormal was going on at a particular location. I know enough not to trust my own senses, particularly with the visual deprivation that darkness brings and the pareidolia that quickly follows. Ever mistaken a dressing gown in your bedroom for a figure late at night? Same deal. I therefore decided that the best approach would be to employ a range of electronic recording devices to validate any experiences I might have. Along with voice recorders, trigger objects, camcorders and Go Pro cameras, I also pack a MEL meter for ambient temperature readouts and geophones for capturing any vibrations (A FLIR One thermal imaging camera is on my Christmas list).
Okay, I get it, you’re on your own, I hear you cry. What now? Well, I shall continue to document any and all experiences I have whilst visiting these supposed haunted sites. If that means I get nothing paranormal occurring, that’s what I shall write up. I’m not one for making links to the paranormal when there aren’t any. There’ll be no Youtube channel or ‘Merch’ site either! In the meantime, thank you for reading and I look forward to bringing you reports of various haunted sites very soon.