Every day, something a blogger says gives me an idea for a post. Thank you, Rorschach Redemption for making me want to post about EVPs which led me to think about something more all-encompassing—how the regular guy can hunt.
You want to do some ghost hunting but don't want to make the commitment or the hassle of joining a ghost hunting group? I actually recommend you avoid the ghost hunting groups. Most are not only completely clogged with eager participants, but there is invariably a platoon leader of the group with his own agenda and regulations, i.e. you must wear matching t-shirts, you must train for a year before becoming an investigator, you must put in cash for equipment, you must have his belief system, and more.
So, Mr. Joe Blow (or Mrs. Josephine Blow) at home decides he/she wants to hunt. What's the next step? Do not buy expensive equipment! Dollar for dollar, it is going to prove absolutely nothing. The only person you need to impress is you. Equipment is next to useless in giving proof, but what you should be hoping for is personal experiences you can evaluate yourself and be there 100% present without meters and gauges and camera lenses.
My first suggestion is to familiarize yourself with the lingo and the experience of other investigators by going onto ghost hunting sites and going to the library and checking out books on the subject. Now, this is not a science, as much as people like to wave around gadgets and take readings. It's kind of like trying to fell a giant in the dark by throwing pie tins, chairs, rulers, and anything else at hand until he finally drops. We may not know which implement sent him falling, but we know how much effort it takes to finally get a reaction.
Now that you've learned something, digest. Take all that info you read and absorb it within the filter of that famous “Trinity of Relevance” I designed: Context, belief system and explanatory style. If you are skeptical, review what you read knowing that these were people's interpretations and determinations and not your own. You must go forth and find your own. If you found someone's doctrines to hit a note with you, go forth with that methodology. It's one thing to learn about a subject and another to know about a subject. Let's move on to knowing...
The average person does actually have available to him or her options for ghost hunting. There are battlefields, open historic sites, ghost tours of cities and haunted hotels and B&Bs that make it possible for us to go on a tour or rent a room and have exposure to a site that is reputedly haunted.
To blow some minds, there is no reason why a ghost can't come to you, so also consider the option of staying home and calling on a loved one with some objects, some photos and some open and honest encouragement. As well, for those who have no issues with Ouija boards, there is no reason one cannot use this tool while doing an EVP session. People don't consider this very often because they get caught up in the visuals of Ouija, but there is no reason why, when calling upon a spirit for a response, you might get a verbal response, as well, or even instead of a written one.
It goes without saying—dust-dust-dust is what orbs are and sometimes pollen and droplets. Be careful of photographing against lots of glass and reflective surfaces and overhead lights with glass domes which will create some crazy shit. Remove your camera strap. Tie your hair back. Don't take photos while walking. Stop, wait a while, let dust settle before taking the shots. I can almost guarantee that of 1000 shots, you will get something genuinely unexplainable in maybe 1 shot. This is not currently an effective method. My take on photographing is that it's actually better to photograph the investigators than the room. Activity happens most often around them or perhaps even from them psychically. It's unorthodox, but taking shots of the walls and cabinets is a waste of time and viewing. If someone reports goosebumps, feeling heavy or lightheaded, get shots of them.
In a dream world, this would be done extremely controlled and in a room shielded from all other outside signals from satellites, cells and radios. The recording unit would have an external omnidirectional mic with a windscreen, the recording device would be where we can't disturb it. We would tag everything that happens. “Beginning recording March 16, 2011, Sharon speaking.” And, if anything happens, report it, “car went down the street,” “stomach growling,” “someone farted.” Later, when you listen to it, you can tell what you might be hearing. If you feel like tinkering with it, get a cheap digital hand held recorder at Best Buy or the like and sit down at a table in a quiet house—no fans, air-conditioning, TVs, and just try and have a little talk with the dead. Pull out some photos and look at them, talk to the person you miss, say you want to have a conversation. Give it a stab. Honestly, there is no reason a ghost can't come to you. People who tell you that you must go to the ghosts are like people saying “dogs are only at the dog park.”
Class A: Obviously language, everyone hears the same phrase (without prompting—get people to separately write down what they hear and then compare).
Class B: Sounds like language, but everyone hears something a bit different.
Class C: Sounds but not clearly language.
Some folks do videotape or run the nightvision IR on their camcorders to try and capture things. The fact is, it's very very hard to capture anything on these cameras. We see that on the ghost hunting shows and that's pretty accurate. But, you can capture doors opening, sheets being jostled, objects moving. If you're in a haunted hotel room, my advice would be this: In your sleeping state your are much more approachable for communication, as well, you are not active in the room and so things can get closer to you. Put your jewelry and coins on the table beside your bed for novelty sake. Put the camera on the bed to cover the table and you as you sleep and get a good night's sleep (if you can) and set your clock to wake you up to change tapes during the night. If you want to be even more meticulous (and a bit more creative about it like me), put a little piece of masking tape down here and then on the table and set the objects atop each piece of tape so you know if they moved and then sprinkle the area between them with powder to give you another level of detection if something disturbed the objects on the table.
Be open-minded, try new things. I have been known to hang up windchimes around a room and bells on doorknobs in case doors move. Some things happen without sound, but if you add something simple to it that makes sound, you will know when something occurs. Think McGuyver, be receptive, and skeptical, but also maintain that childlike wonder because it is that part of you that creates the new strides in the industry.
Oh, and it goes without saying, report back!