What Really Goes Into A Paranormal Investigation?

by Armchair Paranormal on November 28, 2012

What is so glamorous about paranormal investigation anyway? Well, glamorous isn’t the word, after all, most investigations are done in darkness, and at times in extreme weather and terrain. Of course a lion’s share of investigations take place in regular family homes. But for all of us ‘Armchair Paranormal’ fans out there watching on our TV’s and computers, there is a sense of excitement, history and mystique with the dusty, dangerous, creepy old locations. We’ve become familiar with the investigators we watch on screen, it’s like we are right there beside them on their investigations. So this left me wondering, what really goes into a paranormal investigation? It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is a lot of planning, preparation and time involved. So I thought I’d do a little delving of my own…

What really goes into a paranormal investigation? Obviously you need to find a location that is known or presumed to be haunted. Research is a top priority, go to the local library and archives, interview property owners, neighbors or people who previously worked at or lived at this location.

These are some questions that you may ask – What is the history of the location? Has anyone died or been murdered at or near this location, has there been a troubling family history attached to this place? For example, has this building been a church, prison, hospice or hospital, housed any ill or abusive people?  Is this land an Indian burial ground? Take note of family and business names connected to the property. Of course not all haunting is due to trauma and pain, but an emotionally charged atmosphere, happy or sad is said to be able to leave an imprint.

These questions apply to the history of the surrounding land as well as the current building you are investigating. Perhaps the haunting is attached to the land because the original haunted building has been torn down or destroyed. Knowing as much history as possible could help you piece together or understand any evidence you may collect on your investigation.

There are geological factors to research as well. It has been speculated that certain minerals and materials may be a conductor of paranormal energies, such as quartz, limestone, granite and magnetite. Also fault lines and flowing water have been thought by some to contribute to paranormal activity. Check online for your local government’s environmental protection agency for geological reports.

Now there is the set up. A paranormal team has to own or have use of all the equipment needed to document evidence. It could cost a small fortune to buy EMF meters, digital EVP recorders, an infrared camera, video cameras, a spirit box would be cool to have, and the list of equipment you could acquire goes on. You have to find a power source for your equipment, find the best placement for your cameras and since you’re fumbling around in the dark, you might want to keep that in mind when you’re setting up your equipment and cable chords on the floor. Better bring a flashlight and lots of extra batteries too!

During and after an investigation, you must be adept at debunking claims and false evidence. It is wise to take on a skeptical point of view when investigating paranormal claims. It would be too easy and quite frankly wrong to believe that every sound, shadow and creak on the floor was paranormal. In many cases there is environmental and human ‘contamination’ of evidence. A draft may cause a window or door to slam shut, buildings settle and creak all the time, a person or car headlight could cast a shadow in another room and be caught on camera, noise traveling from outside, any of these things and more could be the cause of a false claim.

It helps tremendously to have a team with a wide range of knowledge when investigating the paranormal. Look at Jason and Grant, the Roto-Rooter plumbers from TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), they have a great base of knowledge that has helped them debunk many claims, just by being handy-men. Another thing to consider is carbon monoxide or other chemical contaminants being present in or near a home, or building that you are investigating. Carbon monoxide and other chemicals may be odorless and colorless, and therefore not obvious. Chemicals can cause hallucinations, neurological damage and even death. It is unusual but worth considering that dangerous chemicals could be present and possibly the cause of hallucination. This sounds far fetched, but you have to be a detective, anything is possible right?

There is a lot that we ‘armchair paranormal’ folks don’t know about when it comes to conducting a paranormal investigation. You need to be part historian, detective, geologist, camera and equipment tech. We don’t always take into consideration that investigators spend countless hours researching, they take time away from their family and friends, spend money on equipment and driving to or in some cases flying to an investigation. Don’t forget about the time spent setting up and breaking down a location. Investigating can be a long drawn out, fruitless endeavor, but I also know that it is a labor of love, no one is forcing these people to do this job. They do it because they want to help and they want to satisfy their own paranormal curiosity.

Thank you to all the people who go out there and share their paranormal investigations and experiences. You make it possible for us to travel along with you to places that we may never have had access to otherwise. And to see places and faces we may never have known to exist otherwise.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Daniel To December 25, 2012 at 12:03 am

One thing people watching tv also forget is the this work is also quite dangerous. It’s all well and good if a paranormal seeker finds nothing – maybe disappointing but safe. Finding the supernatural and trying to “guess” the proper reaction is probably the hardest part. As always with venturing into the perilous unknown, it’s always best to do so with a bit of fear and trembling….


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