Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Keep Great Logs - Make Advances in Ghost Hunting

I'll admit, ghost hunting is a bit of an adrenalin rush, so sometimes we venture in like Brian from TAPS and bounce around like puppies and get all thrilled, and everything is a ghost, every noise is a sign..., but the truth is there's a real responsiblity in ghost hunting.

You only get one chance to have phenomenon occur just like it did that one time it happened.

Keeping records is vitally important. It's important to designate someone in the group to be the secretary with a good watch so he/she can time and write out things that occur, but there's also the background you need on the site to make your records helpful not only to the field of ghost hunting but for your future encounters.

I've been keeping records looking for anything that ties haunted places together, or timing of phenomenon, good nights from bad nights... Here are some things that are worth noting before you take off to a site. Keep your records and refer to them often. Eventually, you can plot and graph these things and see trends. These trends will help not only in research amongst ghost hunters but also to postulate how we might be "guaranteed" a haunt in a certain location at a certain time.

1. Take note the night of the hunt the mental situations for all participants. It's probably not embarrassing--you all know each other quite well more than likely. Are any women menstruating? Hormones could create stronger emotions and more sensitivity. Has anyone been angry, upset, worried, anxious, grieving? These mental conditions can actually have an effect on the hunt and the results.

2. In AZ, I take note of where the HoHoKam water canals ran. A map is at: http://www.waterhistory.org/histories/hohokam2/ The faint blue lines show the waterways. There's no proof they correlate, but to take note of such things and see if there are connections is to find ways to outsmart a haunting by knowing what areas have "ideal conditions."

3. Railways: Once again, no real proof that hauntings occur near railways. It could be that civilization developed around railways and so there's more likely to be hauntings there, but it's worth taking note of. In AZ you can try this site:

4. Geomagnetic fields/solar x-rays/moon phase:
This is worth noting. I have noted correlations between geomagnetic activity especially and solar x-rays--solar storms. I'm skeptical about moon phase only because nothing changes about the moon during its phases other than how much of it you see and because it's shown no correlation in my studies.

5. Weather conditions: http://www.weather.com/
It isn't just whether it's rainy or foggy (could give you strange photographic phenomenon from mist and moisture or dust in the wind), but because things like barometric pressure may change in haunted sites. That feeling of pressure in your head could be a coming storm, it could also be arriving activity. They sell watches with barometers and thermometers in them at sporting stores for a reasonable price. It's worth a try. Once again, it's your data over time that will show you trends.

6. History of the building/land/genealogy: http://www.azgab.org/project_registry.htm
This is an absolute must. No exceptions. You need to know what might have been on that plot of land, what the house might have been used for, if anyone had died there, et cetera. Most city registrar offices are helpful. The one listed here is for AZ.

7. State preservation office: http://azstateparks.com/SHPO/index.html
Once again, does the place have historic relevance.

8. Latitude and longitude: http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/imageg.htm
Plug in the address and see what the numbers are. There's no reason to think this might have a strong bearing, but there are some held beliefs that certain longitudes and latitudes are cursed. Anyone with some time and ambition should consider taking note of the addresses of the most famous haunted sites in the world and plug them onto a map and see if there's anything that can predict a haunted area.

9. Bedrock geology map of AZ http://geology.about.com/library/bl/maps/blarizonamap.htm
This one is important because it's long been held a belief that bedrock can affect the haunting situation of places built in these locations. Certain things like water/granite/limestone/quartz are believed to be conducive to hauntings. Let's see if this is true. Start taking note.

There are lots of other options I probably have missed. My main interest is in trying to prove of disprove some of the long-held beliefs about what constitutes a haunted site and perhaps help us to move forward into predicting potentially haunted sites. Once we have "ingredients" for a "haunted soup" we can begin to actually predict a haunted site and then prove it based on the criteria it has met.

Once again, happy hunting! Oh, and let me know if you've thought of other things to take into consideration for logging in your records. I'm always curious what others are looking for.


  1. Dang Autumn-I thought I had a good one and didn't realize you covered it later down (water) I am so glad I read through twice and didnt post-in all of the paranormal and fortean literature I have read of -water is a very conspicuous component -I have seen varying opinions as to why -I guess the most often one is that house and other places with underground water and streams 'record' the things that happen in them better-again I have just seen this in a lot of literature-havent experienced it myself-the fortean times magazing had some great polt/ghost cases with water being a very big factor in the case-I was going to paraphase one of the cases for my blog-but as i am moving so very slow these days i will give you the magazine issue number and times-names of folks involved -hang on a sec will do it now so i dont forget-ok it was in fortean times issue 203 from december 2005 -it was a case from England and started in 1976 addy of haunting 3 church lane-it was a family of 3 -Joe and June Orchard and their son David-there might be info on the net about it-this isnt the best water case either-but it might take some time for me to find the other story-great article as always -and I hope you continue to write and post your fictional work! -altho I am one to talk(hypocrisy) -best to you as always!

  2. Devin;
    Thanks for the heads up on the Fortean Times. I definitely agree about the water issue. At Aspen Grove, where I grew up, the house's original name was "Springfield" Not only did we have a well that got water from under our house and that water fed our house, the two outbuildings, and the neighbor's house, but the house was surrounded by a stream called the Pohick Creek. Add to that, the land was littered with quartz. In fact, when our faithful dog, King, died, we erected about a 3' x 2' quartz stone for his headstone. The weird thing about that, is I kept hearing him bark in the boxwood maze and would chase around looking for him, even though I knew he was gone...ironically, he was buried there. Hmm... Lighthouses--another great example of water activating things--add in the fact that the lighthouse keeper kept the same routine the building over and over again, and there was a powerful light at the top of a circular building--and I think you have ideal residual conditions to lock a memory into a place. Exciting stuff. I'll be putting on a sample of my novel I'm editing now and about to put out in the market called "The Hunt: Ghosts." It will be a series about this team of friends/paranormal investigators. In other installments they'll look for Bigfoot, UFOs, et cetera. Thanks for the support. Hope you're feeling better.

  3. Hm. I'll have to write out my adventures with haunted railroad tracks. I know it's a cliché haunting spot, but sometimes things become cliché for a reason; the stories are often are true.

    In my experience growing up in California's gold country, there were a lot of reported sightings and activities at old mine shafts and tailings. I wondered if the presence of forgotten tunnels and mines running through the ground and under people's homes created any natural phenomenon, as opposed to supernatural phenomenon. Arizona has extensive mining history too. Any noted happenings near/over abandoned or defunct mining operations?

  4. Celyn;
    You're totally right. That's a big buzz in the ghost hunting world that geology and waterways can be a huge factor in potentially haunted places. AZ has Globe and Bisbee as two huge mining towns with tons of hauntings. The Vulture Mines had a lot of men trapped in there and it has loads of haunting activity too. I wonder if places like Yellowstone that are so active geologically have more hauntings? Now I want to investigate! Please write about spooky places. I love your descriptions, they're always so rich and palpable.

  5. Thank you! I did write out a bit about the train track phenomenon in my home town over on my blog. My sister is already giddy about it, as it mentions her.

    I'll have to look into Yellowstone hauntings. I know of a few, as a book was recently published by a local author on the topic. I would really like to go back and research the native tribes' views on the Yellowstone area; many of the geysers are known as "ghost dancers," and the vanished Sheepeater tribe were "banished" there by other tribes for their violent ways. (I'll have to look into the truth of this claim. Maybe the Sheepeaters made that story up so they'd have the warm winter grounds to themselves.) I wonder if the geothermals or the tribal reputation would attract more ghost legends.

  6. Celyn;
    You really seem tied to the land. I think that's going to be a feature in your future writings, poetry, and musings. I can't wait to buy your first book--I just know you'll get published. I can see it with beautiful photographs and lyrical descriptions. I think that Native Americans were much more tied to the land and its meaning and its power. They were aware of things like leylines, an ability that we have either forgotten or ignore. Sacred sites are built in ways and in places that draw the most power from the earth. Sometimes, when I see a spot with all the right elements for a haunting, I stop and sit there in silence for a time. My mind fills with so many images, it's like flipping through a Roladex. My head begins to hurt, my breathing feels tight, I feel as if I want to hibernate. Sedona does that to me. It takes me a full 24 hours to get past the horrible body feelings. Then, I come out of it super energized, mind extremely sharp, and a feeling of palpable strength and healing ability. It sounds mystical, but it's truly amazing. I'm sure in the west you've felt this too. I never felt that at any sites growing up in the east, or when visiting the midwest. The west seems to have a land that is perhaps geologically more new or conditions are ripe for transfer of energy in all kinds of ways.