Paranormal Investigation Protocol
Go on an investigation alone.
Vandalize, trespass or take anything from a location.
Whisper during EVP session (it will later be misidentified as an EVP).
Negatively provoke spirits/ghosts to respond to your questions or perform on demand. (Living people do not like this and neither do the dead!)
Respect the spirits, your fellow investigators and the property you are investigating.
Use a ouija board or conduct a séance without a professional psychic-medium present.
Smoke in the area where you are taking photos—cigarette/cigar smoke can appear as “ghostly mist” or “ectoplasm” in photographs.
Wear perfume or heavy deodorants—remember, ghosts can manifest via olfactory as well as auditory & visual senses.
Litter—In fact, if you see trash lying around, be respectful and throw it away properly.
Run—This is how people get hurt!
Take anything from the location—whether it’s public or private property.
Drink alcohol or do drugs before or during an investigation.
Obey all laws & regulations!
Ask permission to investigate on private property. (Being willing to sign a liability waiver may help secure permission.)
Let someone know where you will be and approximate time of return.
Go on an investigation with at least two people, but no more than six, if possible.
Turn off all cell phones.
Remember you are representing ALL paranormal investigators—don’t give the field a bad name by being disrespectful, obnoxious or defiant.
Be as quiet as possible during EVP sessions—this includes NO walking, rustling around or whispering (if you need to talk, do so in a normal tone).
Take extra, extra batteries. (Ghosts have been known to drain them.)
If using a tape recorder and/or film camera–bring extra tapes, film, etc. (Be prepared if an evidence-gathering opportunity presents itself.)
Take along water & snacks. (NO munching while EVP gathering attempts are in session!)
Take a flashlight—and a spare flashlight (as usual, extra batteries, too).
Dress comfortably and take a jacket or coat in case the temperature drops after dark.
Announce loudly “Flash!” before taking a photo (if it’s dark)—otherwise, you may temporarily blind your fellow investigators.
Make note of non-supernatural noises when attempting EVP. For instance, “Bill clearing his throat” or “Jane coughing”—these sounds can be misconstrued as EVP later on when you’ve forgotten these occurrences took place.
Do a walk-through before the investigation to orient the team with the layout of the building or area.
If you are on an outside investigation:
Arrive during daylight hours so you can get the “lay of the land” and note any animal holes, rocks or branches that could become obstacles in the dark.
Also, make note of any homes that are in the area and be careful not to shine flashlights towards them—not only is it disrespectful, but you may get a visit by the local police.
If you are investigating a public historical location:
Never intimidate tourists or other investigating groups into leaving because you want to attempt EVP—these locations are for the PUBLIC’S enjoyment, NOT just for ghost hunting.
Do not take anything from these sites.
Do not hunt or dig for relics—if you find something that may be historical (such as an old bullet or mini ball at Gettysburg), inform a guide or official.
Obey all rules & regulations—if the location closes at 9:00 p.m.; be out by 9:00 p.m.
If investigating on private property:
Always secure permission to investigate on private property!
If the property owner is afraid of you getting hurt on his/her property, offer to sign a waiver. (Supplied under Forms section) Make sure each person in your group signs a waiver.
Let the property owner know how many people will be in your group, the date and time of your arrival and estimated time of departure from their property.
Leave the property in better condition than when you arrived, if possible. (Pick up trash, stack sticks/branches, etc.) You are more likely to get future investigation permission.
Always thank the person after the investigation.
Share any evidence you captured during your investigation with the property owner.
Always ask permission to investigate on private property!
Obey all laws and regulations on public property.
Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places Many historical buildings are open to the public for a small tour fee or donation.
Battlefields, Old Jailhouses/Prisons, Colonial Furnaces, Aged Schoolhouses, Defunct Insane Asylums, Orphanages and Amusement Parks, Many historical societies and museums are housed in old buildings
Public & State Parks
These are often isolated areas with rich (and sometimes eerie) history
Places of Historical Tragedies
Please be sensitive! More recent tragedy emotions are too raw–only investigate or gather information on more historical events, ones that occurred at least fifty years prior.
Most libraries have local and state history sections.
Word of Mouth
You never know where a lead might come from. Make sure everyone you come in contact with knows about your interest in the paranormal—your family, co-workers, friends and acquaintances.
Local Libraries, State Archives, Internet Subscriptions (For a minimal fee, usually per month, & easily searchable) Don’t forget to check newspapers that were written in the month of October, particularly close to Halloween, when most will run local ghost stories.
Easily searchable, but can be inaccurate—if not flat out fallacies. Make sure you back up any information from the Internet with another, more reliable source.
Ask Area Seniors
Senior citizens are a wealth of information! Do not overlook this valuable resource. Especially helpful if the person has lived in the area for several decades.
Historical societies have enormous amounts of information and archives. Some charge a small fee for using their archival libraries. If you plan on using their archives on a semi-regular basis, it’s a great idea to become a member since archive research is usually free for members.
Area Paranormal Groups
Surf the Internet for paranormal groups or clubs in the area you’re interested in investigating. Many have web sites with a haunted locations page.
Bed & Breakfasts / Restaurants
Places Associated with Death
Funeral Homes, Hospital, Churches, Graveyards/Cemeteries
1. Make sure you have fresh batteries and lots of extras.
2. If you have long hair, tie it back. One stray hair in front of the camera lens can be misconstrued as a “vortex.”
3. Keep your fingers as far away from the lens as possible.
4. To avoid “orb” photos, do not take photos of an area that people just walked through. Dust will have been kicked up by the movement.
5. Be aware that rain, fog or moisture can appear as “orbs” or anomalies in photographs.
6. If your camera has a strap—take it off for investigations. These can also appear as “vortexes” in pictures.
7. If using a film camera, use at least 400 speed film for low lighting situations.
8. In cold weather, hold your breath when taking a photo; otherwise, it can show up as “mist” or “ectoplasm.”
9. Avoid taking photos into the sun, a direct light source or where there are reflective surfaces.
10. Asking the spirit(s) if you may take their picture is not only polite, it just might work.
11. Take photographs of the entire area you are going to be investigating—they will come in handy later when you might need to know where a certain object was located.
Electronic Voice Phenomenon
1. Speak as little as possible during EVP attempts.
2. Make sure only one person is speaking at a time. You may want to appoint one person on the team as the person who will ask the questions or you can decide to take turns asking question, one person at a time consecutively.
3. Do not whisper! If you need to speak, do so in a normal tone. Whispering can later be mistaken for EVP.
4. Do not walk around, fidget or move your feet or arms. It may seem trivial, but you’d be surprised how loud these sounds are when you play them back.
5. Do not hold the recorder in your hands. Lay it on a flat, sturdy surface. Even better, place the recorder on a soft cloth to avoid vibration recording.
6. If you do hold the recorder in your hand, do not move your fingers—the sound of your finger rubbing across the microphone (or even vibrations of your moving fingers) can be misrepresented as EVP.
7. Be sure to allow enough time between questions for the spirit(s) to answer.
8. Do not yell or scream at the spirits. Be respectful.
9. Do not negatively provoke the ghost(s) or demand they perform.
Notebook & Pen
1. Draw a map of the area you are investigating.
2. If you experience a feeling, odd noise or have a sighting—write down the time and experience. You can check the other team members’ notes later to see if you had a similar experience at the same time for corroboration.
1. Watching hours of footage can be extremely boring and you could miss some amazing footage. Watch the footage only an hour or so at a sitting to remain sharp.
2. If filming outside, be aware that dust and insects can appear as anomalies.
At least one person on your paranormal investigation team should be responsible for interviewing witnesses to the paranormal activity at the location you are going to be investigating, particularly if it is a private residence.
Use one form per witness.
Be sure to also record the interview on tape or digitally for future reference.
1. Set up an interview time and location that is convenient for the witness. When possible, meet at the location where the experience took place. The witness will be able to show you exactly where the event occurred and other pertinent information at the venue. Take photographs of the relevant locations.
2. Never push a witness to talk about an experience they do not wish to share.
3. Do not influence the witness’s descriptions.
4. Allow the witness to remain anonymous, if they wish. NEVER give out a witness’s name if they wish to keep it concealed.