Thursday, July 14, 2011

How to Review Paranormal Evidence

This is the part of ghost investigations that television shows tend to gloss over.  Reviewing evidence takes time and can be tedious. But keep in mind that the efforts you put in after the investigation sometimes present an amazing and worthwhile reward. 

Over time, I have discovered a variety of ways to make this review process less painful.

First and foremost assign every member of your team tasks connected to the post investigation review. This is a firm expectation in my group, if I have an investigator that is not willing to help—they are asked to move on. 

Including everyone in this process-- allows us to complete the task faster and allows us to follow-through with our client in a timely fashion.

Spreading the work: each member listens to our digital voice recordings—this is not a simple task—because you often have to listen to sections several times before determining what is there. 

During investigations my group makes sure to turn digital voice recorders—we keep running for longer periods-- on and off periodically so that afterwards they are in smaller manageable sections when we listen to them.

Note: Invest in a good pair of headphones—they are worth it. I train all my members to use Audacity so they can put possible EVP clips on our group's list serve so everyone can listen and give their input when we meet later. 

With EVP’s I discourage my members from enhancing them beyond just turning up the volume.

I always send cameras, still and video, home with my investigators so each member can help review photographic evidence as well. We also share these photos on our list serve so that the entire group has the opportunity to have time to look at them and give their feedback at our follow-up meeting. 

When reviewing our DVR recordings, I and other team members often copy sections and pass them on for others to see. Then we all come together, as mentioned, in a post investigative meeting to discuss any evidence we may have captured. These group discussions are fun and interesting so my members come prepared to share.  

I train my members to keep a pad and pencil near them while they review recordings, photos, and videos, etc. 

With photos we try not to enlarge them or zoom in—this often causes anomalies that actually were not captured. With video evidence we watch it in original context. I train my members to listen and watch recordings and videos in several short sessions as opposed to all at once. 

Everyone takes notes, putting down the time etc. so they can go back and find specific sections to review easily. For a discussion of what we do and do not consider photographic evidence read my post entitled Ghost Photography.

When my group comes together we discuss if what one person sees or hears is what others see and hear. 

This process of debunking allows us to eliminate items that we cannot agree upon—every member at one point or another has needed to learn to let go of a piece of evidence that others debunk. 

At other times, this group process confirms that we have truly captured something interesting.

It takes teamwork and a lot of effort to determine if something is indeed paranormal. But like I mentioned above when evidence is found it makes all the time and effort worthwhile.

This process is especially useful if you have a large group of investigators. On the other hand with a smaller group it is easier to communicate before and after investigations.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

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