Introductions: How to Talk to Ghosts

If someone were to come into your house with a group of noisy people, set up equipment in all your rooms and then promptly start to question you right and left, wouldn't you be put off? I can't imagine wanting to answer questions and follow their instructions. I'd be telling them to get the hell out of my house!

In an ideal situation, equipment is set up quietly and with as little speaking as possible. Leave the site and have some supper. Come back later. There is a resting period for disruption that is important. I've learned that after a recent hunt at BirdCage when the place had a public ghost hunt and then the minute the folks left, we set up our equipment to question the ghosts that had just endured a day of visitors and an evening of people sitting around a table asking questions.

There are better ways to coax any intelligence that might be in a location and it involves the general niceties that pay off amongst the living. Ideally, I would let one person at a time enter the site, walk from room to room, introducing himself/herself and talking about simple things like "I'm Ben. I'm a carpenter, raised in Missouri. I have a wife and two children. I like fishing and playing guitar." It helps to also say things that you would as a guest in anyone's home. "This is a beautiful building. You are very lucky to call this home. I love the high ceilings..." And so forth. Be certain that these investigators use their name often. We want any references on EVP to be directed at any member who seemed to strike a note with those unseen presences. It could be something as simple as being from their home state or having two daughters or having the name of a loved one.

Once each member has gone in alone, groups of 2 can enter, leaving the others outside and far from the building so their lights and voices do not carry. Mix up the team members throughout the night. Sometimes, Harry might be a favorite, but when he's with loudmouth Bill, no one wants to talk to him, so be sure Harry later on is with a new partner. You don't know until EVPs are reviewed, which person and which conversation and which combination was most receptive. We can learn a lot from doing this over and over again to find out if a member is more approachable or perhaps less so and what techniques were met with enthusiasm.

Go with the situation and trust your instincts. If you think you should just shoot the breeze and talk about fishing and the weather, do so. If you want to whistle a tune from their era, go right ahead. There is no need to call out "can you please give us a sign of our your presence?" Instead, act as if you are with a person you know is in the room. "Hey, if I knock this tune out, can you finish it for me?" (shave and a haircut...) Or, if they are from an earlier era, try a simple "If I knock, will you knock?"

I prefer to look around the room and address as if there is someone I know is in there with me. If you act like you can't see or hear them, it's very frustrating. Should your eyes rove over the room, at some point, you might be looking in a location that gives a glimmer of hope they are being seen, should what we're dealing with prove to be other worldly visitors. This approach, as well, will help us learn if we're dealing with intelligence or residual, or something all together new and unknown.

You can always thank them, let them know you're leaving and that you'd like to come back again if it is okay with them. This allows for one last reply.