Paranormal Investigator Etiquette 101

After going on several investigations and meet-ups I got to thinking, what is the proper “ghost hunter” etiquette?  Or better yet, what is the proper “Maine Ghost Hunter” etiquette?

First of all, and most important, is respect.  This includes, but is not limited to, respect for your fellow investigators, the property you are on, the clients you are working with and the spirits you may be in contact with.  In our excitement of the unexpected and the thrill of the hunt, we often forget that we are in someone else’s home or business.  In speaking to a spirit we often forget manners like the simple words of please and thank you.  Here are a few things we can do to show respect during our investigations:

  1. Leave all perfumes at home.  Wearing perfume may cause allergic reactions in our co-investigators or hosts.  It may also mask “phantom smells” that the spirits are trying to share with us.
  2. Respect the investigation space.  Looking for spirits does not mean having a license to go through the cupboards, closets, desks, etc.  We are guests in a client’s home or business.  Treat the client’s property with the same respect with which you would want someone to treat your own.  If you make a mess, clean it up.  Leave the clients home or business looking exactly the way you found it.
  3. Respect both the living and the dead.  Many of us would never look into the face of a child and ask, “How did you die?” or “Do you know you are dead?” over and over again.  Why then do we feel so open to ask this of a possible young spirit?  These types of questions have their place and time, but they are to be used sparingly and with caution.  We, as investigators are looking to make a connection with the spirit and find out all we can about him or her.  We can do this in ways that are sensitive to the situation at hand.  Great questions to ask are ones that find out more about the individual; their name, what they liked, where they worked, the types of games they played, etc.  Remember to use words like please and thank you, especially when receiving a response to your question.

Another important point is safety.  Paranormal investigation (or ghost hunting) can be a dangerous job.  You are often in the dark and in places that you are unfamiliar with.  You may also be dealing with angry spirits or energies.

  1. Stay together.  This is especially true with meet-ups or larger groups.  The old adage “Safety in numbers” is true.  You should never investigate alone.  Remember the “buddy system” and stay in pairs of two.  If you are new to investigating or are at a new site, always stay with a more experienced member of your team.  At meet-ups, the group should always stay together.
  2. Stay in touch.  Investigators should have a walkie-talkie to contact other members of their party.  This is especially important if you have more than one group or investigation team or are accidentally separated from the others.
  3. Watch your step.  Flashlights or headlamps are very important gear.  You should always have at least two flashlights on you at all times to assist with navigating the area you are in.       Remember that you are not alone, keep your flashlight beam low as to not blind your fellow investigators and to assist in seeing where you are walking.

Integrity of the evidence is also important.  Many long hours are spent investigating, but even longer hours take place after the night is over.  Making sure that the evidence we collect is as uncontaminated as possible will assist us in thoroughly going through the audio and video and decrease the amount of frustration it often creates.

  1. Announce  noises.  During investigative sessions, like EVP or ghost box, where recording equipment is being used, it is important to announce your noises.  For example, if you need to get in a      more comfortable position, state “Joe moving”.  This saves the person reviewing a lot of extraneous work and time trying to figure out a noise that is not paranormal in nature at all, just you moving.  If you know you are going to make a loud noise like a cough or sneeze, try to announce it ahead of the actual incident, for example “Joe coughing”. This alerts the reviewer that a loud noise may be following and they can remove their headphones or turn the sound down.  You should also announce the flash of a camera or a bright light.
  2. Be  aware of where equipment is.  This is especially important if you are using stationary cameras.  Investigation equipment is expensive and many investigators are volunteering their time and/or equipment.    Knowing where equipment is placed will also assist in making sure the samples and recording are as pure as possible without contamination, for example your head blocking the video footage or coughing loudly beside  a stationary microphone.
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