Hayley is a Ghost

How do you hunt for a ghost?

Posted on: December 28, 2010

Numerous people have pointed out that I’m rather quick to point out how you shouldn’t conduct paranormal research but I don’t outline how you should (or more specifically, how I personally) conduct paranormal research.

Recently I began to produce ‘The Ghost Field Guide’ podcast that will be a short series of podcasts that look at various areas of paranormal research and the flaws or mistakes people make without necessarily doing so. The topics that will be covered by me and my guest hosts are mistakes that I personally made when I first began conducting paranormal research, I thought it would be useful to look at the general gaps of knowledge I had, what I found difficult to understand and what I could necessarily find information on easily and focus on these things in a bid to help others.

However, to summarise my methods of investigation and research in a nutshell is what people want me to do, and that is what I shall try to do here in this article.

To answer the question in the title of this post, how do you hunt for a ghost? – You don’t. You can’t. Not without flawing your research from the start.

It’s quite difficult to explain what it is I actually do when confronted with a possible case of ghost phenomenon because no two cases are alike. One case could be in a pub where six members of staff work on a rota and experience weird things in the kitchens, another case could be in a family home where a single mother and three children reside and are terrified by odd noises and the sensation of being watched or the feeling they’re not alone.

These two cases throw up different sets of problems and different opportunities for research and study. For example, to go straight into the home where the children reside could be unethical – it might be easier to give each family member a diary in which they can note down anything strange that concerns them. A problem shared and all that.

If you can identify patterns that emerge from what they are writing down, that can really help you to identify what could have caused the odd experience.

With children, it’s very likely that one reporting of something strange can lead to numerous reports of numerous strange things that didn’t necessarily happen. Children often play up to what is expected of them and it’s important to be able to see past this and to not include testimonies that aren’t as sound as they could be in the overall case.

When I have a case reported to me I don’t like to instantly assume the best action is to visit the location – not everyone wants that, and sometimes doing so can issue a false authority that because a paranormal researcher has visited a location, the location has something paranormal there. It is a link people make in their heads and it’s something I’ve learnt through mistakes.

When telling some people that you don’t think anything paranormal is the cause you could be greeted with odd looks and the question “why did you come here then?”

It’s not a logical link to make, but then if you don’t know anything about ghost phenomena and you have a horrible feeling a ghost is in your house you’re probably not going to act logically all the time – fear is consuming. It can be very easy to presume that a paranormal researcher is an expert in what they are doing – this means any claim made is accepted as fact.

Generally the best thing to do with a reported case of phenomenon is to try and understand what is normal about the place it happened .

How can you tell what isn’t normal is you don’t know what is normal? You can’t.

A lot of ghost hunters visit a location one or two times and that will be all they need before they reach their conclusion – but in my mind that doesn’t make any sense. I have to be used to a building before I can even start to consider questioning what may have caused the reported phenomenon/phenomena.

There are various locations that I have been investigating for years and it’s very much an on-going process.

Normally, simply by spending time at a location it’s quite easy to pinpoint causes for the odd things that have been experienced – especially if you haven’t gone there looking for a ghost like a lot of people do.

I hope this can give you some insight into what I do if, and when, I have a case of phenomenon reported to me, it’s not as exciting as running around in the dark with some gadgets that beep and “detect ghosts”, it’s not as thrilling as table tipping or a seance, but it’s certainly more realistic.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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