When to Go Ghost Hunting

When is the best time to go ghost hunting?

Many researchers prefer to investigate after dark.

Are ghosts more active at night? I’m not sure. Maybe the darkness makes it easier for us to notice them. After all, in the dark, we have fewer visual distractions.

For me, it’s more important to investigate at anniversaries. They’re the dates when someone at that site died, or married, or something significant happened. (Birthdays can be surprisingly good days for ghost hunting, too.)

This video shares more about the best times — days and hours — for ghost hunting.

Of course, your results may be different. If you have suggestions, I hope you’ll share them with Hollow Hill readers. Leave your comments (and questions) at this site.

I’ve created a When to Go Ghost Hunting Worksheet, as well as an instruction sheet for using it.

The worksheet includes more than just times and days. I’ve also added lines for possible triggers that may improve your research results.

The worksheet instructions feature even more suggestions related to research, era cues, and other ways to enhance your investigations, specific to each location.

Here are the PDF links (on Google Drive):

When to Go Ghost Hunting – Worksheet / https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_HSWKNTnx8bFmS7r7lFNtAz9YJH9Izh0

When to Go Ghost Hunting – Worksheet Instructions / https://drive.google.com/open?id=111_cv7Xzo0CaH2TI2NEzYpvp9jMpPZfp

If You Think Ghost Hunting is “Weird”…

If you ever meet people who think ghost hunting is a “weird” hobby, this photo of a gravedigger may change their perspective.

gravedigger woman - her hobby

It’s a 1944 photo from the (U.S.) Library of Congress.

Yes, it’s a little old woman, wearing a dress, a hat, and an apron.

And she’s a gravedigger.

The notes with this photo say, “Meet Mrs. Josephine Smith, aged 84, whose hobby is digging graves. She lives in Drouin, a typical little farming town (1100 people), in southern Australia, 60 miles out of the Victorian capital, Melbourne. …”

Maybe I’ve lived an insulated life, but in all my decades of trekking around haunted cemeteries, I’ve never met anyone digging a grave “for fun.”

Ghosts in the News: Nov 2017 [1]

cemetery at HalloweenCatching up on the Halloween surge of ghost-related new stories, a few articles caught my attention.

First, I noticed that several popular locations are increasing police surveillance, especially around Halloween.

Michigan’s Northville Psychiatric Hospital is one of them. It has an increased “no tolerance” approach to trespassers.

That article said:

The site is popular with paranormal explorers and ghost hunters. And with the Halloween season in full swing, police are beefing up surveillance at the site.

The property is full of asbestos, broken glass and other hazards, authorities said.

Whether or not a site is off-limits and patrolled, asbestos is always a concern at older, decaying sites. The cumulative effects of exposure can be fatal. Take no chances.

Fundraisers

Around Halloween, several ghost hunters provided demonstrations and tours to raise funds for charities. For example, a Racine (Wisconsin) group, Racine Paranormal, held a fundraiser for hurricane relief.

If you’re part of a ghost hunting team, consider a similar fundraiser next Halloween. (Or, schedule one around Christmas. A surprising number of people are alone at the holidays. A fundraising event might be a wonderful distraction for them, and a big help to struggling communities and nonprofits.)

Ghost Hunters: The Next Generation?

I’m optimistic about the next generation of ghost hunters. I really liked an article about high school ghost hunters in Griffith, Indiana (near Chicago, IL).

Here’s part of it:

Fueled by the popularity of paranormal pop culture, such as “Ghost Hunters” and easy access to portable online electronics, the club now has 94 members among juniors and seniors — 25 percent of the school’s upperclassmen.

“When you go out on these things, you go out there expecting nothing to happen,” said Pete Ghrist, “and when something happens, it’s awesome.”

“We don’t rid people of ghosts,” he said. “It’s not a ‘Ghostbusters’ type of thing.”

“Slimer’s not going to come out of the wall and knock you over,” he said. “You’re not going to see some big apparition come out of the wall. Every once in a while, you get surprised. Something really cool happens.”

I especially like seeing cross-generational interest in ghost hunting. And, as I’ve often said, police officers are among our best resources.

Note: In November, the students will be visiting Old Lake County Jail. It sounds like a good investigation site.

Old Lake County Jail

I haven’t watching this video all the way through (it’s around 30 minutes), but the jail looks interesting. (The investigation starts at about 2:53.)

Open-Minded Skeptics

After that, I found a refreshingly skeptical article about ghost hunting tools, Verify: Is there a science behind ghost hunting? The video (and article) from a Dallas (TX) ABC station, WFAA, manages to lean towards skepticism but avoid most snark.

From that article, after mentioning results from a spirit box (or something like a Frank’s Box or Shack Hack):

Biddle says, what we’re hearing are random snippets from ads and DJ’s.

“And if you combine it with the expectations of a paranormal group that’s in there asking questions, over and over. And that’s just waiting for something that sounds like a word. Or sounds like an answer that fits what they expect to hear,” he says.

Kenny’s studied a lot of ghost hunters. His biggest problem is most do not use technology in a scientific way. Mostly, they’re hooked on the thrill.

“You gotta go in and find a cause. If something goes off and you can’t explain it, that does not mean it’s unexplainable,” he says.

That last line changed my mind about what seemed an annoying, “Yeah…? Prove it!” attitude.

The fact is, we do need to debunk every anomaly, if we can. And, if something happens that we can’t explain, that doesn’t mean it’s unexplainable.

But which explanation makes the most sense? It’s not as easy as saying “Occam’s Razor.” We can’t assume that everyone’s on the same page.

Remember that hard evidence — photos, EVP, cold spots, EMF spikes, etc. — aren’t the only evidence.

Personal Evidence Matters

Always consider personal reactions and connections.

On a foggy night, maybe that weird mist by your (late) Great-Aunt Hazel’s favorite rose bush is just moisture.

That’s one explanation.

But, maybe you always had a certain feeling when Great-Aunt Hazel entered the room, or you always knew it was her call, even before the phone rang.

If you had that same feeling right before the mist appeared, or as it arrived, maybe the mist was a greeting from Great-Aunt Hazel.

That’s a personal decision. In our research, I believe it’s important to consider credible impressions.

Those impressions are another reason to avoid total focus on your ghost hunting equipment. If you’re in hyperfocus, studying an electronic device, you might miss seeing a shadow person.

Or, if you’re shouting at a (loud) spirit box, you could miss a ghostly whisper from the darkest corner of the room.

You might easily explain your exhaustion, shoulder aches, or uneasy “gut feeling.” But… what if it’s actually a ghost trying to make contact?

In the past, I’ve spoken about baseline checks.

Routinely repeat them during every investigation, if only to pause and shift your focus away from gadgets.

Also note all personal reactions, no matter how small. When you exchange notes with other researchers, those “trivial” reactions may reveal a pattern that fits the site’s ghostly history.

Summary

From what I’m seeing, ghost hunting is still thriving. Even better, new generations of ghost hunters are joining us. They’re genuinely interested, not just copying something they saw on Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures.

Though a few people are still sensationalizing this field, most of us (new and old) are serious about paranormal investigations.

People are more skeptical about ghosts (in a healthy way), but also willing to explore new research techniques. That makes ghost hunting an evolving, exciting field.

It’s a good time to be a ghost hunter.

Mental Work, PK, and Poltergeist Activity

ghostbatPoltergeist activity… is it ghostly?

Four theories are popular:

  1. A ghost causes the objects to move.
  2. A ghost works in tandem with a living (and somewhat emotional) person. Their combined efforts remotely move objects.
  3. It’s a psychological issue, and PK (psychokinesis) probably comes from a living person.
  4. Poltergeist activity doesn’t exist, and it’s always a prank. (I’ve witnessed enough dramatic poltergeist activity to laugh at that idea.)
Mental Work?

In the near future, a research project called Mental Work may tell us more.

Here’s a YouTube video about it.

I prefer the explanation (and demonstration) in the Euronews report: http://www.euronews.com/2017/10/24/public-invited-to-show-off-the-power-of-their-minds

You can participate in this experiment in Switzerland. They’re hiring: Mental Work.

What this means to ghost hunters

Psychokinesis (PK) – also known as telekinesis – could explain some ghost phenomena.

  • Someone could cause poltergeist activity. (Most people connected with poltergeist activity have no idea they’re part of it.)
  • When we ask the ghost to move the child’s toy, knock on a wall, or slam a door, maybe someone living controls it.
  • Is some form of electromagnetic energy involved? That could trigger EMF spikes and affect devices such as the Ovilus.
  • Likewise, a living individual could create the on-off “communications” we attempt with loosened contacts in flashlights.

Of course, these “could” possibilities are more theory than hard science.

Meanwhile, avoid skeptics’ mistake of insisting that anything that can be faked (or explained in normal terms), always is.

I’m not sure where these studies will lead us. But, anything that clarifies what the mind can do – among the living or the dead – can help us better understand haunted places.

Armchair Ghost Hunting? TV Show Experiments

This might be “armchair ghost hunting,” and it’s a little early to talk about it. But, thanks to Halloween TV shows & movies, this may be a good opportunity to test a theory I’m exploring.

And, if this idea appeals to you, it’s an ideal time for you to play along, as well.

This is sort of like treating the TV (or your computer monitor) as if it’s haunted.

Here’s what I’m doing

armchair ghost hunting - via the TV?For the past couple of months, I’ve been watching ghost hunting shows — mostly old Ghost Adventures episodes, and the newest season of Most Haunted.

I’ve been watching both shows on Really, a British cable network. (Ghost Adventures is  available on Hulu and online, too, but I haven’t tried those resources, yet. )

I’ve watched TV with my Ovilus III next to me, set to dictionary mode. I’ve used a pen & paper to note the results.

I wanted to see if the Ovilus “said” anything, and if the words were a good match for whatever was happening on the TV.

Ordinarily, my home has few EMF spikes, so the Ovilus is not likely to react, even if I leave it on for an extended time.

The Ovilus III has a 2,048 word vocabulary, but I haven’t estimated the odds of a “close match” during a typical ghost hunting show. (I’m not sure it’s possible to calculate that.)

These are my results, so far

Watching Most Haunted, my results have been vastly better if I research the location, first.

That suggests a connection between my awareness and what the Ovilus says.

Since I haven’t looked ahead in the UKTV listings, to see which Ghost Adventures episodes were scheduled, I haven’t researched them at all.

But, in general, the Ovilus seems more chatty during Ghost Adventures than during Most Haunted. In fact, some Ghost Adventures episodes seem to send the Ovilus on a tirade.

At best, I’ve seen about 20% correlation between the Ovilus’ words and what was on the TV screen at that moment.

Until today, I wasn’t sure this experiment was worth an hour a day.

Ovilus III v. a “control” word list

Today, before turning on Ghost Adventures, I decide to try a “control” list of words. Would they match the TV show as closely as the Ovilus did?

To test this, I printed a list of 50 random words. (I used a random word generator.)*

Right away, I saw six (of 50) words that could match almost any Ghost Adventures episodes: hunt, ask, call, shivering, spooky, and terrify.

Then, it was time for Ghost Adventures. (In the U.S., Eastern time zone, it starts at noon on weekdays.) Today’s episode was from 2012, Horror Hotels and Deadliest Hospitals.

I kept the Ovilus running — and took notes — even through the commercial breaks.

As the Ovilus “spoke,” I noted it by the next sequential word on the random list. (That is, until the Ovilus spoke, I didn’t count the random word, even if it was a good match for the TV show. In addition, I followed the exact sequence of the random words list; I didn’t skip around.)

This is far from scientific, but it’s a start.

Today’s results

During the show and its commercials, the Ovilus spoke 45 times.

11 of the Ovilus’ words were a good match for the what was happening on the TV. (In general, the Ovilus seemed to speak about two to three seconds before the matching moment on the show. I didn’t stretch the window beyond that.)

Only five of the words on the random list were a good match at the same time. And, of the six that seemed likely to fit any Ghost Adventures scene, only one — the word “spooky” — correlated to what was going on, at the time.

Some of my decisions were admittedly biased. When Zak was talking about a skeptic, the Ovilus said “jerk.” That’s the word I would have used, myself, so I counted it.

When two voices spoke in EVP, almost simultaneously, a counted the random word “double” as a good match. (The Ovilus had said “yield” at that moment; clearly, that was not a match.)

As I said, this isn’t scientific at all, but it makes sense to me. It’s a starting point.

The most interesting part of today’s experiment was during the scenes at the Goldfield Hotel, where — as Zak and his team investigated — a brick had moved on its own.

As Zak showed what had happened, my Ovilus said a rapid sequence of words, none of which seemed relevant. (The words were: bones, short, outside, carrier, and eat.)

But, it was so different from the Ovilus’ behavior during the rest of the show — and during my other, similar experiments — it may be noteworthy.

Or, yes… it may be a coincidence.

What’s next

Today’s test may have been a fluke. My previous experiments weren’t consistent enough (or dramatic enough) to decide anything.

So, ordinarily, I’d wait to talk about this.

But, if you want to try some “armchair ghost hunting,” the next few days will provide some great opportunities… better than usual.

All you need is any device that seems to respond to ghostly energy. (Even a homemade pendulum might work.) It doesn’t have to be as fancy as an Ovilus.

If you’re using an electronic ghost hunting device, turn it on while you’re watching a ghost-related TV show, movie, or documentary.

For lower-tech tools, just set them up as if you’re in a haunted location.

Note the results.

If you test this, I hope you’ll tell me what happens, in comments on the HollowHill.com article.

I’ll continue my own tests. When I reach a conclusion, I’ll post a new article.

For now, I think this could be interesting, but there may be a lot of trial-and-error to fine-tune this. So, your input (and results, even if they’re ho-hum) could be very helpful.

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*Since posting this, I’ve improved the control option. I copied the Ovilus III word list and numbered it. (That link – updated so it prints on just 13 pages – is a PDF at Google Drive.)

Then, I’m using a random number generator (selecting 50 numbers among 1 through 2048) to choose enough words for a typical Ghost Adventures episode.

After that, I’m using the numbers to create a sequential list of Ovilus words, based on what the random number generator selected. (Same order, but listing the corresponding words from the Ovilus III list. I hope that makes sense; this is easier than it probably sounds.)

In theory, this should tell me whether the Ovilus’ choice of words is more accurate than a wholly random selection from the same collection of words.

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Update: Thursday, 26 Jun 2017

Using the Ovilus III word list is a big improvement. I think it’s a more specialized list than the Random Word Generator list I’d tried, earlier.

In other words (no pun intended), the RWG list included words that were more generic and could fit a wider range of events. So, it seemed to match more moments on the TV.

Today, I tried two different word lists. Both were randomized from the Ovilus III list. After watching the King’s Tavern episode of Ghost Adventures, I was astonished.

During Ghost Adventures, out of 41 times the Ovilus was triggered, 12 words “said” by the Ovilus were a good match, and one more was close (but not quite right).

Usually, the randomized words weren’t even close. One of the lists matched twice (with a so-so third match). The other list had no matches at all.

This suggests that the Ovilus really is doing more than just spitting out random words from its dictionary.

Of course, I’ll continue these experiments. It’s too soon to reach any conclusions, but these early results are intriguing.

Update: Monday, 13 Nov 2017

I’m still testing this, and have expanded my viewing to include Ghost Chasers on Really.

The more I work with this idea, the better it looks. In the past week, there’s been an increase in exact match, topical words said by the Ovilus, seconds before someone on the TV says the same words.

So, yes, it looks like this works.

But, I’m not convinced the percentage of accurate responses is worth the time & effort.

And, I still need to compare my TV research with on-site research at the same site.