Monday, May 30, 2011

The Haunted USS Hornet

Memorial Day Tribute

Amidst the decommissioned vessels berthed at Alameda Navel Base there is an aircraft carrier that is considered the most haunted ship in the U.S. military. The USS Hornet was commissioned in 1943. It is one of the most highly decorated ships in U.S. Navel history.


Aircraft carriers are extremely dangerous places to work. The USS Hornet was no exception to this rule. During its 27 years of active service over 300 deaths occurred on and below its’ decks. Most are attributed to battles, but some are attributed to accidents that occurred. Sadly, all were violent in nature.

Some deaths occurred when snapping flight arrest cables decapitated men. Other sailors walked into spinning props or were sucked into their air intakes and blown off the deck by their exhaust. Some men committed suicide as a result of battle fatigue.

Crew and visitors alike have reported an amazing number of strange incidents, sightings, and sounds. Some of these include doors opening and closing themselves, tools that vanish and reappear, objects that move across floors or fall off shelves without reason. Many workers and visitors have seen spectral sailors moving throughout the ship as if following orders from another time. Toilets flush themselves, eerie presences are felt, and people have been grabbed or pushed when no one else is around.

In 1995 during fleet week six volunteers were staying aboard the USS Hornet. Being the only ones on board they were surprised to hear after they settled in for the night hatches opening and then slamming shut. A painter suspended 28 feet in mid air decided to stay late one night in order to finish the job. He heard flight crews shooting the breeze on the deck above when no one but him was near the ship.

A group of 200 people visited the ship for a presentation, most of them skeptics. Several of them saw an officer in khakis descend a ladder to the next deck, they followed him but they couldn’t find him, later they were told no one in uniform was aboard. Several people in this group reported feelings of uneasiness. Others reported that they felt a sense of approval as if the spirits were pleased the ship was being preserved.

One visitor to the ship, as it was being decommissioned, reported smelling a strong scent of tobacco near the forward elevator as he was being escorted, he looked back and saw a dark figure in WWll navy khakis smoking a pipe. The figure then disappeared. This witness told his escort what he had seen and he was informed that many had seen this same apparition in this location. This spirit is thought to be an air boss killed in the Battle of Midway.

Most who board the USS Hornet today get an overwhelming sense that they are not alone. This ship's tragic history is apparent even today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ghost Ship: Lady Lovibond

Whether the Lady Lovibond has been seen as a ghost ship or not is left to history to know. But regardless, this story is still compelling today. 

The Lady Lovibond was a three-masted schooner that was wrecked, on the Goodwin Sands, off the southeast coast of England near Kent on February 13, 1748. This date in 1748 was on a Friday—so it was Friday the 13th. Since it is said she appears every fifty years, as a ghost ship.



Captain Simon Reed (some accounts name him Peel) had just been wed, his ship the Lady Lovibond was on the River Thames on the 13th because Reed was taking a cruise to celebrate his marriage. The ship was heading  toward the English Channel on its way to Portugal. 

The crew was nervous because the captain’s new bride Annetta, her mother, and their wedding party were aboard. A long-standing superstition among seamen of the time was that to bring women aboard was bad luck.

The legend states the first mate John Rivers, a former suitor of Annetta, paced the deck above as the captain, his young bride and invited guests celebrated below. 

Rivers engulfed in a fit of jealous rage grabbed a club and crushed the skull of the seaman at the wheel. He then steered the Lady Lovibond onto the treacherous Goodwin Sands—which is quicksand—wrecking the ship and killing everyone aboard.

At the inquiry into the disaster Rivers’ mother testified that her son had vowed his revenge. 

At the time of the wreck it had been a clear, stormless night. So the inquiry finding no other reason then sabotage, recorded the wreck of the Lady Lovibond as a “misadventure.”

Fifty years later, the first phantom sighting of the Lady Lovibond occurred on February 13, 1798. There were two sightings on this the anniversary of the original disaster. 

Captain James Westlake of the Edenbridge reported his ship almost collided with the Lady Lovibond. He stated by turning the wheel hard, at the last moment, he was able to avoid her. He reported hearing strange sounds of merriment coming from below deck as his ship passed.

The second ship that spotted her that night was a fishing vessel. The captain of this boat reported that they had seen the schooner go aground and break up. He reported when they went to rescue survivors the sands were empty and silent.

In 1848, fifty years later, the Lady Lovibond made her next appearance. Seaman ashore at Deal stated she appeared so real they sent out lifeboats to rescue any possible survivors. As these lifeboats drew near she appeared to just fade away.

In 1898 Captain Bull Prestwick spotted her. He stated she looked real despite the fact that she gave off an eerie green glow. 

In 1948 there were possible sightings but they were not recorded.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ghost Radar App

This Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Blackberry app (application) is one of the best apps out there for ghost hunters. 

I first put this app from Spud Pickles on my phone back in October. I was very skeptical at first but I have since become a believer. This app is similar to Bill Chappell’s PX Box but each of these items has their own unique features.

Ghost Radar puts the words on the screen and then saves them for future reference. The PX Box speaks the words individually in phrases or in short sentences but doesn’t have a screen so the words are not written or stored for user. 

The PX Box has a phonetic mode were you can listen to the words spoken phonetically. Note: the PX Box is not an app.

The Ghost Radar only puts words on individually but if you are in a haunted location you will find these words are often in response to a conversation the living are having or they are in direct response to a question you ask. T

he PX Box does the same thing. I have found that both the PX Box and the Ghost Radar app work so well--at haunted locations-- they are down right eerie. People feel they are just for fun--all I know is my group does have fun when we use them!

Note: Bill Chappell no longer sells the PX Box but on his site he does have the latest version of it—the Ovilus X. He only keeps the items he invents on the market for short periods of time and in limited numbers. You can find his inventions at:

Digital Dowsing  

Note: Bill Chappell always states he makes his products for entertainment purposes only. He also states they are "experimental' in nature. He does not ship his products outside of the United States.

His next best item is always intriguing. He is a retired Electrical Engineer who doesn’t believe in the paranormal but works with top investigators around the country, (e.g., the Ghost Adventures crew) to develop items that are some of the best tools out there. His inventions are expensive but worth the price.

Bill stated at a conference I attended in March of this year that the Spud Pickles’ Ghost Radar app is as good as anything on the market today. It sells for just 99 cents. You can find it here:  

Spudpickles 

Ghost Radar was developed to measure electromagnetic fields, vibrations, and sounds. In a recent survey 20,000 people who use Ghost Radar state it really works.
Ghost Radar
I have mentioned how my group has used our Ghost Radar apps and our PX Box during investigations in past posts. Use my “Search This Blog” Google window in the right hand column –put “Ghost Radar” or “PX Box” in the search window and posts where I have mentioned them will pop up.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Do Ghosts Communicate?

As I mentioned in another post some ghosts—Intelligent ones—go out of their way to get the attention of the living. 

Ghosts have habits and routines just like the living. After all they once were alive. But since we are talking about intelligent ghosts these habits can be highly unpredictable.

So you have just moved into a new house. Your realtor mentioned that the place has a reputation for being haunted. Which by the way—by law in many states is required. 

Your new neighbors sheepishly have asked if you have seen or noticed anything unusual. Your first reaction is, “Has everyone gone nuts?”

You happily settle into your new home and forget all this silliness. 

You start misplacing items; this is not like you; you can’t find the novel you are reading. The next day you find it, but how did it get in the hall closet when you put it by your bed? 

Burrrrr, even though it is early fall this new home of yours appears to very drafty. You are feeling cold chills so you start to avoid certain rooms because they are much colder than the rest of the house.

Your wife starts complaining about the lights flickering in the upstairs rooms. And there appears to be other electrical shorts. The coffee maker in the kitchen is turning on and off by itself. You pay an electrician to come check out what is going on. He finds nothing wrong.

Your kid brother is off to boot camp and he asks if you will give his black lab a good home. You agree knowing your children will love this new addition to the family. 

The dog is well behaved and your brother has trained him well. But after a few days he starts barking at imaginary things and refuses to enter your son’s bedroom. 

Your wife is concerned because your nine-year old son starts telling her about his imaginary friend. You both had thought he had grown out of this stage.

You are having weird dreams. You are stressed out when you wake because you feel someone is trying to warn you of something, but you don’t remember any specifics. 

You approach your wife and ask if she has started smoking again? A faint smell of tobacco seems to follow you around the house.

Your wife is worried and admits to you that she has been hearing footsteps, faint voices, and even someone humming when she is the only one at home. 

You think you are losing your mind, as well, when you start hearing voices and loud noises that disappear as soon as you pursue them. Your daughter starts crawling into bed with you at night stating that a strange woman is touching her hair.

When you inquire your neighbor tells you that several former owners of your house had not lasted as long as you and your family. Most everyone else was tight lipped about why they decided to move out before they even sold the house. 

He tells you about the time he and his wife spotted several blue lights flashing in and out of the second floor windows of your home when it was empty and the windows were closed.

Ghosts communicate in a variety of ways. The examples above are just a few.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Occam’s Razor

Ghost hunters often keep this theory in mind when they are trying to determine if something they have seen or experienced is paranormal or not. 

Occam’s razor is a theory that puts forth this concept: “The simplest explanation is usually the best.” Another interpretation of this theory is: “The reason that makes the fewest assumptions is the right one.” 

Paranormal investigators sometimes get trapped into a vicious cycle of looking too far and wide in their efforts to prove something they have experienced is indeed paranormal. 

In contrast, the Occam Razor theory reminds us not to overlook obvious or common explanations.

A good rule of thumb is --if you have to repeatedly justify a piece of evidence it most likely is not paranormal in nature.

In the process of determining whether something is paranormal or not it is best to take one thing at a time and always look first for a logical explanation. 

If something slips off a shelf—your first question should not be did a ghost push it off? But rather, was the shelf bumped, did the shelf support give way slightly because of the vibrations of footsteps? Was the shelf support loose?

A good rule of thumb is to always: stop, think and be realistic.

To balance the above we also need to ask what is possible versus what is likely. In this way we do not rule out or miss something that could prove to be paranormal in nature. But again, pick the answer that needs the fewest assumptions.

Another good rule of thumb: paranormal evidence that will stand up to scrutiny cannot be attributed to countless other reasons.

Let’s look at the shelf example. Can we determine if the item slipped off the shelf because of paranormal activity? 

Many cynics of the paranormal would state that if there is a man made explanation for an event then it can’t possibly be paranormal. 

I actually agree with this theory up to a certain point. If the shelf support was loose, or when you walk across the room another item slips then you have your man made cause. 

At this juncture cynics would state—there you go. 

But what they never address after they make this conclusion is this: What if other things are occurring in the room besides things slipping off the shelf? What if they can’t all be attributed to man made causes? What then?

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Matrixing

Ghost investigators when reviewing evidence need to be aware of the pareidolia phenomenon or matrixing. 

The word “matrixing” was coined on the T.V. show Ghost Hunters

Matrixing is the way the human brain sometimes fools the eyes and ears into seeing or hearing something in a place you would least expect them. Matrixing occurs because our brains pick out random patterns and then arranges them so they are familiar.

Investigators need to be aware of this phenomenon so they don’t mistake it for genuine paranormal evidence. 

An example of matrixing is when a person takes a picture of a tree. When they look at the picture afterwards they spot amidst the branches a human face: they can clearly see: a nose, a mouth, and eyes etc. 

At this point it should be asked are the proportions of the facial features in keeping with a normal face? Does the face stand out from the rest of the background? If not matrixing may be occurring.

Some other examples of sight matrixing include faces in liquid, figures on walls, faces at windows, our brains also matrix shadows, and faces in mirrors. All of these could be the brain making sense of random patterns. 

This does not mean that when a paranormal investigator sees faces, figures, and shadows or captures them on film that it is always our brains matrixing—it just means that it should be considered first before conclusions are drawn.

Note: Be careful when enlarging photos to see an item more clearly—this is when matrixing often occurs. 

Also when you spot a figure in real time or in a photo. First ask, does it have a shape and color all it’s own or is it made up of the shapes and colors from the background objects around it? If the latter applies it could be matrixing.

Matrixing can also happen with items you hear. Your brain just like it does with your sight tries to make sense of the sound it is hearing. 

When using white noise, or a Franks Box, Shack Hack, etc. ghost investigators need to consider whether it is words being spoken or just matrixing. 

At this point it should be asked are the words heard related to the questions asked or the conversation that was held at the location. If not matrixing might be occurring.


Here is a photo we took at the Shaffer Hotel of one of the second floor hallways; it looks like a giant figure is looming over our DVR Camera tripod:


This is a classic example of matrizing. When we looked at another photo we took at the end of this hall we spotted the bottom of what was a long art piece on the wall with the chair below. Mystery solved:

Note--this photo just shows the bottom of the art piece.



Happy Ghost Hunting!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Mexico Legend: Fort Union's "The Death Waltz"

Fort Union Monument
Fort Union was a bustling frontier fort in the northeast corner of New Mexico for four decades. For many years it housed the only hospital west of the Mississippi River, it was a major supply depot for the west, and its soldiers defended the Santa Fe Trail against Indians and the rebel forces during the Civil War. 

It only lost prominence when the Santa Fe Railroad came in 1879, after this it’s usefulness faded slowly away.

When you visit the ruins of the fort today what greets you first is the wind. The fort sits on a grassy mesa top where the wind blows most days. Fort Union is the location for a ghost legend that is often retold.

Ruins of Officer's Row
When the captain’s sister-in-law Celia came to live at the fort she quickly became sought after for she was very beautiful. She loved to flirt. One lieutenant by the name of Johnny in particular became infatuated with her. 

He would fall into the depths of despair every time she flirted with another man. His friends tried to console him stating she was a fake and a flirt but he would not allow them to continue—refusing to hear them.

At an officer’s party Celia, to Johnny’s elation, agreed to dance with him. He could not believe his fortune as he whirled Celia around the dance floor in his arms. 

But before the music stopped the dance was interrupted by bad news—an Apache raid was in progress. Johnny was informed he would lead a troop of soldiers in defense. Celia clung to him begging him not to go. Overwhelmed by her response he proposed to her on the spot. She accepted and told him she would wait for him for she could not marry another. 

The dance continued after Johnny and his men left and Celia danced happily for the rest of the evening.

Within the week a small group of soldiers returned to the fort to report that the Apache’s had ambushed them and most had been lost. Johnny was not with these men. 

Celia upon hearing the news went into hysterics for the benefit of all present but within the week she was out and about flirting with every soldier who caught her eye.

A month later a young wealthy lieutenant arrived at the fort from the east. Celia immediately attached herself to him and before long she was planning a big fancy wedding. 

Mechanic's Corral
As the newly married couple danced together in celebration of their wedding a door banged open and a strong wind blew out all the candles in the room. A gruesome bloated corpse wearing an officers’ uniform entered the room, the soldier still bore the wounds caused by a hatchet blow to his head.

To Celia’s horror what remained of Johnny walked up to her and snatched her right out of her husbands arms. The music continued to play as Johnny whirled her endlessly around the dance floor. 

Frozen in horror a room full of people stood by helplessly. Celia shocked to her very core dropped lifelessly to the floor. Her new husband buried her at the fort and returned east never to return.

Some say the endless wind at the fort and the wail it brings with it is a sign that Johnny and Celia are still dancing.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Old Hag Syndrome

You wake up and you can’t move, you feel an immense amount of pressure on your chest that even makes it difficult to breath, and you sense or see someone is in the room with you. It can be a frightening experience. 

This syndrome happens to about 15% of people during their life, it happens, at most, once or twice a month.

For years people have mistaken this experience as a physical encounter with a ghost because when it happens you are fully awake, you can see, hear, smell and feel so it is understandable why it feels like someone or something is holding you down. In essence you are paralyzed. 

Today we know the real explanation for this phenomenon is called “sleep paralysis.”

Sleep paralysis happens when we come to quickly out of a deep sleep. In a deep sleep our bodies naturally put us into a state of paralysis so when we dream we don’t thrush about and hurt ourselves. 

During Old Hag Syndrome this is why people feel as if something is preventing them from moving—it is our bodies own paralysis mechanism still at work. 

Also when a person wakes to quickly from a deep sleep hallucinations can occur this explains the smaller percentage of people who report seeing spirits.

I watched a ghost show recently where they were interviewing a witness who used to work on an isolated lighthouse. 

His ghost story revolved around the fact that he would often in the evening be sitting on a comfortable couch watching television and would nod off-- then he would be startled by the sensation that something very strong was pinning him to the couch.

I would have questioned him further about his experiences before pronouncing them paranormal in nature.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Intelligent Hauntings

Intelligent hauntings are one of three kinds of hauntings that occur. They are by far the most rare. Residual hauntings occur much more often. 

An intelligent ghost or spirit is one that has passed on but can communicate with the living. There are many theories put forth to explain why intelligent hauntings occur.

Some speculate that ghosts who choose to remain among us do so because they are attached to someone or something. 

Another idea put forth is that they are confused and are not aware they are dead. 

Yet another idea is that they have some unfinished business they need to attend to before they can or will move on. In any case why ghosts linger remains a mystery.

Intelligent ghosts interact with the living unlike residual ghosts who are not aware of the living. 

In fact, intelligent ghosts go out of their way to get the attention of the living. People who experience this kind of haunting often state that the ghost was so persistent it was like dealing with a petulant child.

Intelligent ghosts tend to be assertive. But this does not mean they are dangerous. They just carry on with the personality they had in life, if they were nice they remain nice, if they were angry they remain angry etc.

Some signs that it could be an intelligent haunting are: 

Windows and doors being unlocked, lights going on and off, items being taken and then found later in an odd place, voices that join the conversation, strange cold spots. 

Make sure these items are not repetitive—if they are you might be dealing with a residual haunting instead.

Finally, ask yourself—Does the ghost notice you? Does it interact with you or respond to you? If your answer is yes you might be dealing with an intelligent haunting.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ghost Story: Milk Bottles


This is a ghost story that I told to many of my adult students over the years. It is a traditional American folktale.* The story of Milk Bottles always takes place in a small western town; the time frame it is placed within is either frontier or depression era. 

The man owned the town’s general store; times were tough so his customers were few and far between. So one day he became curious when a young woman entered his store holding two empty milk bottles. He knew everyone in the town and the surrounding area. He had never seen this woman.

She approached his counter and placed the two empty milk bottles down silently. He reached back and took two full ones off the shelf and placed them next to the empty ones. She picked them up and left his store with barely a nod of acknowledgement.

The next day she entered his store once more. Again she placed two empty milk bottles upon his counter, with two pennies. Times being tough, he didn’t point out to her that this was not enough money, instead he placed two full bottles on the counter. As he watched her leave the store his curiosity peaked.

That afternoon he inquired of various townsfolk if they knew who she was. To his surprise no one else had seen or heard of her. His neighbor that evening speculated that maybe she was a daughter of one of the travelers camped by the river north of the town. 

She cautioned that most of the townspeople had stayed away from the camp because it had been plagued by illness and several of its members had not survived. But she had heard the surviving members of the group had moved on recently.

The following morning the same young woman entered his store holding empty milk bottles. He replaced them with filled ones and tried to engage the woman in conversation. But she silently nodded and left the store. 

This time the man followed her, he watched as she walked down main street and then left town heading north toward the river.

He followed her along the river and into the town’s makeshift graveyard. Surprised, he spotted her disappear near a large wooden cross. 

He approached the grave to see where she might have gone. As he stood near the fresh mound he heard a baby’s cry. Concerned he realized the wail was coming from below where he was standing. Without hesitation he started digging. 

He opened the wooden lid of a coffin and discovered the young woman dead and holding a baby who was obviously still alive. The two milk bottles were placed near her side.

For years afterward the town told the story of how the young ghost mother whose baby had been wrongfully buried had kept her child alive until help arrived.

* Even though my version of this tale is from a traditional African American folktale told in America from the mid to late 1800's--the original version of this tale was first passed from one generation to the next in Northern Europe. It is a prime example of how folklore moves from country to country. 

Versions of the basic story of "a dead mother who returns" have been told in Germany, France, Scandinavia, and Lithuania--just to name a few. As with all folktales this story is often recreated to fit the culture it is told within. Even in America it changes from region to region.

This story actually originated in China in the 1100s and then was shared in Japan--where it is still told today.

Read my newer post about the Kosodate yurei here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can Ghosts Harm Humans?


John Bell moved his family to Red River, Tennessee (later named Adams) in the early 1800’s. After an incident where John Bell shot at an unidentified animal-- strange activity started to plague the Bell family that lasted for over four years.


The female entity involved was heard on a regular basis reciting everything from bible verses to making threats. It is said that there were over 100 witnesses to this entities activity, including Andrew Jackson a future president of the United States.

This female entity tormented the whole family but focused more on John Bell and his youngest daughter Betsy. This entity often hit, scratched, and slapped Betsy repeatedly. A neighbor that stayed with the Bells also experienced this physical abuse. This female entity literally drove John Bell to drink a poisoned liquid, the entity later told the family she gave him. At John's funeral all heard her laughter as they lowered his coffin into the grave.

The "Bell Witch" case above is an outlier. Most often when people are physically hurt because of a paranormal encounter it is because they are running away. They end up with injuries because of their reaction not because of physical contact with the entity.

There have been instances where investigators and others have been scratched by entities but like I stated in a former post these instances are rare. Note: I am not saying that entities do not make physical contact with the living, they do, myself and several of my investigators have been touched by ghosts, poked, patted, hair brushed etc. But this contact has not harmed us.
Unfortunately, ghosts can hurt people on an emotional level. This subject I will leave for another post. People who have never experienced a haunting often react with fear—I blame our pop culture for this—people often assume an entity is evil or harmful. With education many people revise their initial views and actually learn to communicate and live peacefully with ghosts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Do Cats See Ghosts?

I can’t answer this question but if you visit any pet forum about cats there is always at least one thread devoted to the belief by cat owners that their pets can see ghosts. 

Actually, this is a wide-held belief because of a very specific phenomenon or behavior that people observe their cats doing. This behavior involves cats staring intently at something their owners can’t see.

Along with this staring, cat owners also observe their cats: avoiding certain parts of the house, becoming scared and hiding, their hair standing on end, as well as their cats going into defensive mode—crouching and hissing etc. 

This phenomenon is always described as not normal behavior for their cats. They have just moved to a new home and their cat has never behaved this way before. Or their cat was just fine and then all of sudden something happened and their cat is no longer comfortable in the home.

There are even discussions about the fact that the owners themselves have observed ghosts or felt cold spots. One thing that is never mentioned on these forums is the fact that cats see things in a different way than humans. 

Our eyes are similar but cats see things in the dark five times better than humans. The reason for this being they evolved as nocturnal hunters.

Specifically how their vision is different from ours is very interesting especially when the question is asked, “Do cats see ghosts?” 

This better night vision allows them to see light at eight times dimmer than humans and their eyes adjust faster to changing light than humans. When a cats pupil contracts unlike humans their eyes move into a slit that allows them to see things better in daylight as well. 

They also have better depth and peripheral vision that allows them to see even slight motion even from the corner of their eyes.

With all this ability they might just see ghosts.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

What's not a Ghost?

Despite what is shown on television experienced ghost hunters know that 80% of homes, places etc. that are reported as being haunted are not. 

The television industry demands shows be entertaining so it is understandable why they don’t show the real side of ghost hunting. 

But in the real world it is important for people interested in ghost hunting to know the real statistics and use a process of elimination before they pronounce a place haunted.

Ghost hunting teams need to be sure a place is really haunted, before they pronounce it as haunted. The worst disservice they can do to themselves and their clients is to make this kind of mistake. 

It can ruin the groups' reputation and sometimes harm the client.

My team addresses this issue by the following. We actually do not pronounce places haunted, we instead give the evidence, if any, we find to our clients and let them draw their own conclusions. 

This way allows them to decide for themselves based upon their beliefs and values as opposed to ours.

Keep in mind that just because something out of the ordinary is happening does not mean it is paranormal in nature. 

Remember only 20% or less of what is encountered is truly paranormal. Finally, keep it simple—what I mean by this is the simplest explanations are often the best.

Here are a few suggestions on how to follow a process of elimination so the wrong conclusions are not drawn. 

Take a Carpenter Level to investigations, so if something moves on its own you can determine if the floor, table etc. is level or sloped. 

If the item that moved is lightweight make sure there wasn’t a draft that moved it. Also make sure none of your team was in the room at the time. Sometimes things move because they are bumped.

When you hear things, such as, footsteps during an investigation try to duplicate them before you make up your mind. 

For instance, my group heard very loud banging noises as we listened to an EVP recording, these noises occurred throughout the twenty-five minute recording. But what surprised us was we did not hear these sounds during the session, in fact, it was a quiet, peaceful night—no wind etc. 

But before we made up our minds we went back and tried to duplicate the sounds, we couldn’t. This made what we picked up on the recording even more interesting.

It is best to always check a place out during the day before you do a night investigation. You can spot natural causes better in daylight. 

For example, one of our clients complained of lights turning back on after she had turned them off and locked her store for the night. 

We found an old switch and frayed cords were the cause. It was easier to spot this in the daylight. 

If you find or experience something during an investigation you feel is paranormal always return to the site you investigated so you can check for other causes.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dos and Don’ts of Ghost Hunting

Many paranormal web sites have good lists that discuss what paranormal investigators should do and not do on a ghost hunt. 

Always high on these lists are: do get permission from the owner of the property, don’t ghost hunt alone, do take a first aid kit, do wear soft soled shoes, don’t wear perfumes/cologne or use scented soaps, don’t drink alcoholic beverages before a ghost hunt—these recommendations are too numerous to list all here…

When preparing a list of dos and don’ts take these factors under consideration: which items you place on your list depends greatly upon what kind of investigation your group is doing. 

For instance, the dos and don’ts change if you are investigating outside as opposed to indoors. They change if you are investigating a large hotel as opposed to an individual residence. So your lists should be revised accordingly.

Below are some of my universal dos and don’ts. Let’s start with some don’ts that apply to all investigations:

Don’t ever discuss what evidence you may or may not have caught during or directly after the investigation with your client. 

The reason for this being you really don’t know if you captured anything until you have time to review the evidence carefully, use a process of elimination to rule out man made causes, compare notes with your team, and then determine if you caught anything you consider paranormal in nature.

Don’t walk into an investigation expecting paranormal activity will occur.

Don’t share your personal experiences with others on your team until they have had a chance to discover them for themselves.

Don’t ever act unprofessionally during an investigation. Keep in mind the impression you leave with the client can help your team get the next investigation. Word of mouth can make or break your reputation.

Don’t allow pets or children at an investigation whether they are yours or the clients.

Here are some of my dos that apply to all investigations:

Do keep a positive attitude when investigating. Some spirits can figure out if you are vulnerable and use it against you.

Do get plenty of rest before an investigation and eat a balanced meal.

Do help your fellow team members with all necessary tasks to guarantee the investigation is a success.

Do learn to use all of the equipment properly—before you attempt to use it on an investigation.

Do form a bond of trust with your team members. It is important that you know you can depend on each other.

Happy Ghost Hunting!