There is no other time of year when ghosts & hauntings are more popular than in October. With the veil thinning, and Halloween around the corner it’s the talk of the town. Some people are happy just to watch shows or talk with a medium. Ah, but for you, my more intrepid friends, you may hear the call and dream of going out to experience otherworldly encounters yourself. On the surface, it may seem like it's as simple as calling in a favour from your most adventurous friend and setting out to the nearest abandoned building. But as someone with over 25 year's experience clearing homes, researching paranormal activity, and training others, I promise you, there is so much more to it. So get settled on the couch with your cup of pumpkin spice latte and lets delve in.
Firstly, it's time to decide what kind of an investigator you yearn to be. Do you see yourself with equipment, hoping to make a contribution to science? Or do you see yourself feeling, seeing and sensing spirits? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with either, but its good to know what you prefer before you spend your life savings on crystals and technology.
Safety First (um yeah, that’s actually a real thing) No matter your style, no matter the location, the first and most important part is your own safety and that of your team members and clients. So let's start with clothing. It's extremely important to wear closed toed shoes that have a good tread. Plus appropriate clothing for the weather and the environment. Long pants are usually best if the building is any sort of disrepair or if its outdoors. If you are representing a team, its likely that they will have other clothing requirements such as dressing casual-professional or wearing their identifiable team shirts or jackets. For my team, we dress professional and usually in dark clothing. By dressing professional it helps our clients perceive us as the professionals we are. Make sure you and your team members each have a fully charged working cellphone. Ultimately you never know when something dangerous might happen or as mundane as the car won’t start. So its vital to be able to call for help if the need arises. Plus on some investigations, you’ll want to take pictures or video, so hey, why not make sure its ready for the trip? Another important tip I learned is to always ALWAYS make sure someone else, not attending, knows where you are, how long you’ll be there, and when to expect you back. I know, I know, I sound like your mom. Well guess what? Your mom was right! There are tons of crazy people out there. While looking for ghosts might be fun, becoming one isn’t. Having someone on alert could save your life.
There’s No Such Thing As An Abandoned Building
Everyone knows that derelict building in town. Ya know that one that’s haunted…because it's falling apart ….and looks creepy…and that kid you knew in grade school said a murderer lived there? Ya that one. It looks incredibly sinister and would make for awesome photos and videos. In your mind you can already see your social media clicks climbing and envision your friends looking at you, with eyes filled with envy, cuz you were brave enough to go in there….DON’T DO IT. Not because the ghosties will get you, but because the Law will. ALL buildings are owned by someone. Even if you never see anyone there. Even if it hasn’t been touched for decades. Even if its scheduled for demolition. So if you go there without permission from the owner, you run serious risk of being criminally for trespassing. You may be surprised to know, that even if there isn’t a door, you just walked in, and didn’t touch a single thing, you can still be criminally charged with break and enter. While that may sound ridiculous, I promise this happens a lot. Depending on the building you might even be able to guarantee its going to happen.
There’s a reason for that. Many, if not most, derelict properties are structurally unsound. That means you run the risk of having the roof cave in on you, or you could fall through the floor. There could also be exposure to toxic chemicals. Many chemicals travel to the lowest part of a building and don’t dissipate in the air. It’s called “confined spaces” and can be deadly in a matter of minutes. Tragically, its not uncommon for someone to see a friend collapsed in an invisible confined space, rush in to save their buddy, only to collapse and die themselves. Ultimately there’s no end of ways to get hurt/die in an unmaintained building so unless you’re hoping to star in the show “1000 stupid ways to die” just avoid sneaking around and get permission.
How To Get Permission You may be surprised to know that most owners of unusual properties are totally used to being asked if paranormal investigators can visit their property. Chances are you won’t be the first to ask, but if you follow my tips, you might be the first to get a “yes.” Start with researching who actually owns the property you want to visit. If its not active, city hall should have records, or the library. You could even ask a Real Estate Agent friend for assistance. If it's an active building, you can call or visit during business hours to book an appointment to talk to the decision maker. That’s right, the first step is to book an appointment to talk, not interrupt their day to ask a stranger for a favour. When you have your appointment, arrive just like you would for a job interview, because ultimately, that’s what this is. Then have answers to all of their questions ready, ahead of time, in writing.
How many people are going to attend the investigation?
How much time is this going to take? (you need to have clear start and end times that are reasonable for the owner)
Explain exactly what you will be doing
Invite the owner to join in and observe or even participate
Be clear about whether or not you have insurance to do this
What happens if you or a team member accidently breaks something? (hint: 'you’re gonna reimburse them' is the only correct answer)
Are you financially compensating them for the use of their space, or do you hope they will just volunteer it?
Are you expecting them to compensate you for the investigation?
What are you going to do with the data? Do you want permission to post on your social media? Use pictures on your website or brochures? Include in a TV segment? Whatever it is, you need to respect any parameters that the owner requests.
What’s follow up going to look like? If they tell you yes one time, are you going to call again next month with a new team? Do you need multiple visits or is one enough?
After you’ve had your meeting, leave all your nicely typed up documents with them to contemplate and ask them when a good time might be to follow up. Please do not expect them to give you an answer on the spot – or it will be NO. Give them at least a week to think it over.
Ghost Hunting Is Expensive
Paranormal investigations can be costly. There is no end of “gear” that you can spend your money on. Even if you are an aspiring medium, the cost of crystals alone can be crazy. So I recommend starting with the basics. A good (fully charged) cellphone, pen & paper for notes and a flashlight will go along way. Personally, I also like a talisman or crystal for extra energetic protection.
Most teams meet in advance to talk about the property, its history, the expectations and to divide out the jobs. This is an opportunity to share other equipment you may need to start with.
Personally I recommend staying away from Apps, as they are only as good as the algorithm and most are designed to give you a thrill rather than provide quality data.
The best way is to ask around for reviews of equipment before spending the money and plan your budget.
Don’t Drop The Data What you do after an investigation can be as important as what you do during one. It's important to share your experiences with your team members, and with the owner of the property (assuming they want to know.) Keep your files organized and accessible – particularly if you are hoping to contribute to the scientific community. From a spiritual perspective, once you’ve done that, its time to push the particulars out of your mind. Continuing to talk about entities or negative experiences can draw that energy back to you and back to the building.
Keep Learning When it comes to paranormal phenomena one things stands to be true more than anything else – There is ALWAYS more to learn! There are so many amazing scientists researching the paranormal who put out important information. Plus let’s not forget the hundreds of years of historical data and occult research. The more you learn, the better and better you will become and the more you will get out of your ghostly encounters.
One super fabulous way to stay connected and learn more is to join our “Paranormal Enthusiasts of Ontario” Facebook Group. We post interesting questions, articles, videos and fun memes so there is always something engaging to see. Plus you get to connect with lots of others who enjoy the spookier side of life.
Barbara Ford is one of the founders of InSpirit Centre and an internationally recognized Spiritual Advisor, Holistic Practitioner, & Paranormal Expert. Barbara has been featured in many TV Shows for her Paranormal Expertise, and was consistently voted Top Paranormal Expert in Canada from 2007 - 2018 on Yahoo Answers, a group of 19 million people. Barbara has her own team of professionals and provides Paranormal advice and clearings across North America. Barbara is known for her detailed readings and deep knowledge of spirituality. Barbara brings a warm welcoming attitude and a down-to-earth approach to everything she does.
To book a session with Barbara please call InSpirit Centre 289-891-7711