Catching them on Film
Ghost Hunting/Investigating, as we know it, is an attempt to understand and prove the existence of paranormal beings, powers or intelligence. Understanding it isn’t that hard, but providing evidence can be more than difficult.
Photos that claim to have captured the image of a supernatural being are among the most scrutinized evidence out there. (short of maybe UFO pictures or maybe even photos from the OJ Simpson case) The simple fact is, ghosts tend to appear as mists, orbs or other vaguely distinguishable forms which, unfortunately closely mimic very natural, very earthly circumstances. And so they are easily debunked.
So, how do you get people to believe you? Take some very deliberate precautions.
1. The first and foremost rule a ghost hunter should follow is, “Be Skeptic” Just because you see a shiny orb in the woods through your night vision video camera, don’t think you’ve caught a ghost. Try and think of what earthly item it could be. Ask yourself questions like; “Is it moving or standing still?” “Does it show up in every photo I take?” “Is there ANYTHING that might have caused a reflection?”. If you ask these type of questions, you’ll catch your own “hoaxes” before they are debunked by someone else hence ruining your credibility.
2. “2 or More Witnesses” Even in the legal systems, two or more witnesses will always outweigh what one person claims to be the truth. If you can say “There were eight of us there and no one saw the figure in this image.” chances are people will believe you. Especially when they interview the other seven people and get the same story.
3. “Never Smoke” on a case that is. If you can say, with confidence every time, that no one was smoking or had been smoking, you rule out 98% of skeptics’ excuses for “mist” type pictures. In the case of cold weather cases, let everyone around you know you are about to take a picture, then have everyone hold their breath for at least five seconds (if not ten) before you snap it. If you make a habit out of this, then you’ll know for sure that you didn’t catch anyone’s breath on film. (It should be said that it is quite easy to distinguish cigarette smoke or human breath from ethereal mists.)
4. “Surprise Them” Take the ghost by surprise. Some ghost want to be caught on film, some don’t care, others don’t want to be caught at all. Because we don’t know the ghosts’ feelings about this, there is only one way to pretty much guarantee that you’ll catch it on film. This is by casually snapping a picture, over your shoulder even, whenever you get the inkling to. It may sound silly but it works. Trust me. There’s no need to line up a perfect shot, as long as there is a ghost in it, no one cares if it’s not “framed” right.
5. “Trust your Feelings” Learning to trust your feelings can yield astounding results. If you get even the slightest urge to snap a picture somewhere, Do IT! Don’t hesitate. Most often pictures taken like this will be the only ones that show results.
6. “Get a Digital Camera” Ok, so this isn’t a “rule” but a personal suggestion. Number one, you don’t need to worry about film. Number two, you get instant gratification. There’s nothing quite like knowing exactly where these things were just a few seconds earlier. Number three, you can instantly email them to TAPS so everyone can see what you’ve found!
Hopefully, these tips will help increase the amount of specters you catch on film, and therefore increase your desire to continue looking for and learning about the paranormal.
Recording Their Voices
Some of the creepiest evidence of paranormal activity are EVP’s or “Electronic Voice Phenomena”. This is the mysterious and often disturbing act of capturing the voices of spirits on an audio tape.
Much like photos of the paranormal, there are hundreds of examples of EVP’s to scrutinize. They range from unrecognizable groans and mumbles to three hour long conversations.
Many scientists have studied this phenomenon and have not been able to explain it. I can’t explain it other than this is yet another way for spirits to communicate with us. Frankly, I don’t care how it works, I just know that it does and here is not only how to do it, but how to remain credible at the same time.
How do you do it?
Set down your recorder and relax. Settle down into your chair and get comfortable. Clear your mind and just sit still for a few minutes. You can say some sort of prayer if you feel like it, but it doesn’t seem to affect the outcome at all.
Turn on some kind of background noise. Keep it pretty low, you don’t want it to overpower the recording. Some suggestions are white noise (you know that fuzz you get when there’s nothing on the TV or a particular radio station.), running water or even a vacuum cleaner. Anything that will give you a steady stream of jumble.
This may sound wierd but the spirits have a hard time creating any sound that makes sense. This is why people usually hear moans or groans. This takes a lot of energy to do. The background noise allows them to piece together sounds from the static to more easily form words. Plus, the recorders are more sensative than our ears. So, essentially, we are making it easier for them to talk.
Ok, now that you’re comfortable and you’ve got some noise going, you can either just sit there, you can leave and see what turns up later or, you can start asking questions. Be sure to ask simple straight forward questions such as, “What is your name?”. And don’t forget to leave a long pause between questions so that the spirit has time to answer. Give them about three times as long as you would give a living person to answer.
When you’re done with the recording, politely thank the spirit if you want to, once again this has no effect on the outcome of the recording. Then you can go home and listen to it.
How do you remain credible?
Just doing a few simple things can save you a lot of grief when trying to prove your recording.
Unplug anything you don’t need to do the EVP. Almost everything that can be plugged in will make noise that will turn up on your tape, possibly fooling you into believing it is a ghost.
WHILE THE TAPE IS RECORDING, do the following:
When you first get to where you want to record, make every sound possible that could be mistaken for a spirit. Cough, breathe, scoot around, etc.
Next, have someone go into all of the surrounding rooms and talk at various volumes. Also, have them bang on the walls etc.
Announce that you are done with your comparative noises and begin your EVP.
Some general rules to follow when creating an EVP:
Don’t use a crappy little recorder.
Try to use something better. This isn’t always possible. Even a portable stereo has better recording capabilities than a walkman sized unit.
Use an external microphone.
Any unit, no matter how nice it is, will put off somekind of internal sound that will be picked up by the microphone. Stear clear of using the microphone that is mounted on the actual unit or you’ll pick up the gears inside the unit that are moving the tape. This kind of interferance makes it VERY difficult to make out the voices.
Spend the extra two bucks and buy some high-quality tapes.
Remember, this is what holds the valuable recordings. The better the tape, the clearer the sound.
When you talk or ask questions speak loudly and clearly. Don’t speak directly into the microphone because when you play back the tape you’ll most likely have the volume cranked up so that you can hear every little sound. If you come cranking over the speaker at 50,000 decibles, your chances of ever hearing anything else again are slim.
Ask simple questions.
Don’t ask “How often did you think about going to your mother’s house, and if it was often which days did you not do it?”
Use some background noise. (If you prefer)
Running water, white noise, vacuum cleaner… just make sure it doesn’t dominate the recording. Remember, it’s called BACKGROUND noise. This will help to “raise the sound floor” or allow for easier filtering.
The less noise YOU make the better.
Respect the dead.
Be courteous to the spirits. Thank them for their help and try to help them once you’ve heard what they have to say. Don’t immediately ask if they know they are dead, etc. Try to keep in mind the time period in which they lived when asking the questions. Someone from the 1600’s won’t know what a “recorder” or a “camera” are.
Most of all, try and do it where there is spiritual activity, this will always increase your odds. Good luck, and happy hunting!