Paranormal investigating is not an exact science but you should approach the investigation like a scientist. You will want to investigate and hopefully provide help for your client and give them some understanding and comfort for their particular situation. You also want to rule out any possible natural or man-made occurrences. So, what do you do when you are asked to investigate a haunting? Here are 5 steps to get you from the initial request to the final meeting with the client.
Step 1. The Interview
One of the first things you need to do is talk to the client. Make up a list of questions from your initial contact with the client whether it be my e-mail or phone. Have a pen and paper to note anything that might come up that isn’t on your list. Have a camcorder or voice recorder with you to tape the interview and ask permission to use them. Let them know they need to be as honest as possible no matter how strange or personal it may sound. It is just as important to get to know them as it is the alleged phenomena. It is important to get personal information about them. Find out who they are, what they do, and what their beliefs are.
Get them to tell you everything they can about the events. Get the specific details – date, time, and what they were doing at the time. Ask them how they felt when the event happened. Find out if there were any other witnesses and get their names for possible interviews with them.
As you are conducting the interview, it’s a good idea to walk through the location with the client and your camcorder or voice recorder. Having them recount the events in the locations might jog their memories and they may provide you with more information.
Step 2. The Walkthrough
Once you have completed the initial interview have the team do a complete walkthrough of the area. Keeping in mind the specifics from the interview, look inside and outside the structure. Take pictures. Make note of anything you need to check that may have a possible influence during your investigation and possibly on the events revealed to you.
Check the area out. Is it an urban or rural area? Each have their own specific features. Is it a quiet or noisy neighbourhood? Are there hydro poles around? What’s the traffic like? Are there just cars or are there buses and heavy trucks that go by. What kind of lighting is in the area?
You need to know if the location is in good repair. Are the windows drafty? Are there squeaky floors? Are there noisy or unbalanced doors? Do you notice any temperature changes or electrical problems? How is the plumbing? Are the appliances noisy? Is there an animal or insect infestation?
Step 3. The Research
Taking the information you have gathered, ask permission to do more detailed research on the client, their background, as it relates to the people of the haunting, and property. Find out if there have been any significant occurrences that may have happened there and then research those events and how they could relate to your investigation.
Go you your city archives and look up property information. Peel’s Prairie Provinces have directories that date as far back as 1880, in some cases, for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and are an excellent source of information for addresses of people and businesses. Checking through the different years you may find a list of people from the location you can research further. The history, research, and newspaper sections of your local library are another excellent source for additional information.
Step 4. The Investigation
Gather your team of investigators and take all your measurements and readings with your equipment. Break into teams of two to cover the area quicker. Establish your baseline readings for EMF and temperature. Set-up your equipment positioning cameras and recording equipment at established hot spots.
Use your equipment well and continually monitor your static equipment for low batteries and functionality. Have EVP sessions to try and contact the spirit. Take pictures, remembering to inform the team when your flash is being used. Have quiet times in the hot spots. Rotate your teams between locations. One team may encounter something where another may not. Investigate any noises, lights, or smells to find their possible location or source and note what you may or may not have found. Try and duplicate any event related to you by the client about past activity as well as any that have occurred while doing the investigation.
Take notes throughout the investigation, recording your research and any activity you encounter. These notes should describe the activity, along with the location, time of occurrence, and any other witnesses present. Continue to re-check your baseline readings during the investigation and note any significant changes.
Step 5. The Reveal
Analyze and compile the results of the investigation and present a thorough report of your investigation to your client. Point out items that had a natural or man-made influence on the events and explain how they could have been mistaken for paranormal activity. If you found anything unusual and could point to spirit activity, present that as well and give an honest interpretation of the results. Provide your client with all the information you have gathered regarding their situation. This will allow them to review everything you have done before, during, and after the investigation. Let them know that if they have any additional questions about the investigation you will be more than willing to answer them.
If a client contacts you again at a future date, and a follow-up investigation is needed, re-evaluate the entire location and any subsequent activity reported by the client. Conduct your re-investigation as before.
These paranormal investigation tips and tricks provided by Joanne Schiavoni, Paranormal Research & Investigation Society of Manitoba (P.R.I.S.M.)