I’ve been on a couple of ghost hunts organised by a local paranormal company, so I wanted to share some tips for anyone thinking of attending their own ghost hunt!
- DON’T delete any photographs or footage until you’ve looked at it on a larger scale!
This was something our host told us on the very first ghost hunt I attended. The majority of us were using mobile phones to capture any evidence, although there were a few camcorder/digital camera users too. These devices are great, but you’re unlikely to see everything in a photo properly until you transfer it onto a computer. You might miss something potentially groundbreaking if you delete blurry or dark images before you’ve had an opportunity to enhance them.
- DO take more than one photograph of a certain spot.
Our host advised us to take at least three photos if we saw something or just wanted a photo of a particular area. That way, if something shows up in one photo, you have a precise timeline.You might get nothing in the first photo, something noticeable in the second, and then it might have disappeared by the third. Most importantly, you have a “normal” photo or two with which to compare the “abnormal” photo.
- DO look at your photos carefully.
Be mindful that it’s easy to get carried away, and not every shadow or light you see in your photos and footage is necessarily an apparition! On one occasion, I was caught out. Having taken photos which appeared to show orbs, I returned to the spot only to find that there were small shiny panels on the walls of the tunnel designed to reflect vehicle headlights.
- DO bring snacks and drinks!
The company we went with provided crisps and chocolate, but we took our own flasks of tea. I don’t know how common it is for ghost hunt organisers to arrange food, so it’s a good plan to take your own.
- DO pay attention to any emails you receive from the organisation you’re using.
Provided you choose to go on a pre-arranged ghost hunt run by a company, you’ll likely get an email from them. Make sure you bring anything they ask you to or anything mentioned on their website.
You’re highly likely to need: a decent torch (most camping/outdoors shops will stock the suitable kind – a keyring/phone torch is a no-go!), a small backpack to keep your snacks in, a watch (or a mobile phone) in order to keep track of the time, sensible footwear (flat shoes/trainers, avoid high heels or flimsy pumps), appropriate clothes. To give you a good example, my first two ghost hunts took place in a decommissioned nuclear bunker, so I spent four hours (6pm – 10pm) in the middle of January in underground tunnels. As you can probably imagine, I went fully equipped with a winter coat, gloves and a hat.
- DON’T feel self-conscious.
Depending on who is organising your ghost hunt and what their company policies/practices are, you may take part in various “experiments” or styles of investigation. Personally, I’ve used or watched other people use ouija boards, angel boards, table-tipping, maglites (torches with a coloured bulb which respond to movement), EMF meters and K-2 meters. You may also participate in group vigils. During some of these practices, you might be asked to call out to the spirits or introduce yourself, and it’s often expected that you ask the spirit/s to perform specific tasks (e.g. move the planchette, light up the torch, make the EMF meter spike, etc.).
It can feel a bit awkward or even unnerving when you first attempt to call out into the darkness to someone that may or may not be there. But the chances are that at least one person in the group will also be a ghost hunt virgin (as they’re affectionately known), so you won’t be the only one thrown in at the deep end! You’d be surprised how quickly you get used to the methods and mysteries of paranormal investigation.
Finally, happy hunting! Be careful, but, crucially, enjoy!