By now, if you haven’t become the least bit interested in the paranormal field and really wanting to know what this ghost business is all about, chances are you might not anytime soon. But for all of you have developed a growing interest and want to know how to get started, here some basic tips found at a very good site which cover everything I was already going to hit on anyhow to get you started…
# Check out the area in daylight so you are familiar with the area. Look for dangerous places and obstacles that you will not be able to see in the dark.
# Look for no trespassing signs. Make sure you are not trespassing. If you are on private property you are risking getting a ticket or arrested in some areas. You can get permission from many owners and or caretakers. We will often notify the local Police that we will be in a grave yard “taking pictures” so they are aware of our presence. If you are asked to leave do so immediately, you will not win this argument and you make other investigators look bad if you make a scene.
# Make sure you bring you ID. (drivers license, etc.) so if you are questioned by the police you can prove who you are.
# Never go alone. This is just common sense. If you get hurt, who will get help?
# The best times are from 9pm to 6am, these are the psychic hours, but anytime can produce results. Photos have historically been better in the dark but don’t let that discourage you from taking them during the day.
# Find out all you can about the history of the locale. Newspapers, town historians, WWW and books can be helpful finding folklore or hard facts about the site.
What you’ll need to bring with you to be effective:
* 35mm Camera – Nothing fancy with at least 400 speed film. 800 speed film is also good at night but you’ll have to test your cameras flash strength to see which speed works best for you. Even those single use 35mm cameras have gotten good results. If you are more experienced photographer you may want to try infrared film. I have seen results from Polaroids but I suggest you only use these along with a 35 mm camera so you can compare the results. When you develop them you don’t need to go to a camera shop, the local drug store or department store is fine. Let them know you want all the pictures developed so that you get the pictures that they might think are bad ones. These “bad ones” are normally your best ectoplasm mist photos.
* Digital Camera – Regardless of what you’ve heard digital cameras are great tools for ghost researchers. Once upon a time they had their limitations and problems but that is no longer the case. Not only do they allow you to see instantly if you have a positive photo, they can also take photos in limited infrared range of light.
* Flashlight with spare batteries – Remember to bring spare batteries for everything. Due to spirit activity, batteries often run down very fast and you don’t want to miss anything because of dead batteries.
* First aid kit – just in case, it’s very easy to trip in the dark and get cut.
* Notebook with pens and pencils- you need to write and log in everything that happens. If you don’t then you really don’t have much research information. An example of this is one investigator gets a EMF reading that’s high and never writes it down. Another investigator takes a picture of the same area but is not aware of the reading and gets a anomalous image. Without that EMF reading the picture may be good evidence, but with a report noting the reading, the picture greatly increases in evidence value. Many investigators use a pocket tape recorder in stead and that is fine, just make sure you have spare batteries and tapes.
* Jackets or weather appropriate clothes – if you are cold you are not at your best and your observation skill could suffer.
* Watch – so you can log in the times of events and your arrival and departure.
* Tape recorder with an external microphone and high grade tapes – recorders or digital voice recorders are with out a doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment that you should have in your investigators toolbox. Audio recorders are used for many different purposes throughout an investigation. Recorders are used for interviews, spontaneous thoughts, your notes and electronic voice phenomena (EVP). You have to use a external microphone when recording EVPs. If you rely on the internal microphone you will also be recording the internal gears and motors and this will make your tape worthless.
These are just the basics, there is much more to it. These are just some tips to get you started.