Why You Should Stop Looking for a “Good Scare”

Many people start ghost hunting for fun. They’re looking for a “good scare.”

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. Not on its own.

Of course, if drinking or drugs are involved, it’s risky to visit haunted places. That’s not just about ghost hunting dangers. A bigger concern may be the police who closely watch “haunted” sites and arrest trespassers.

In fact, many people who thought ghost hunting was a one-time “just for fun” adventure, later become serious researchers.

Looking back, I’d guess that at least 30% of my team members and close associates had a “good scare” story from the past. And, in every case, that’s what sparked their long-term interest in paranormal research.

So, why should anyone stop looking for a “good scare”?

In many cases, maybe they shouldn’t. I’m not sure, and it’s probably a very individual decision.

Today, my warning is about the adrenaline rush and possible addiction. In ghost hunting, it can lead to danger.

A Typical First-Time “Good Scare” Ghost Hunt

Let’s say that Joe and his friends visit a famous haunted cemetery (or a battlefield, an abandoned hospital, or a deserted house).

Maybe they’re just bored, looking for a thrill.

They wander around the site, griping about stupid ghost stories, stupid ghost hunters, and how this visit is a waste of time.

ghostly handThat’s when they encounter something odd.

And, on closer investigation, they realize it’s truly scary.

They run, nearly falling over each other, back to the car.

“Holy crap,” one of them says. “What the heck was that thing?”

“I dunno,” another replies. “I wish we’d never gone there.”

“Me, too,” a third agrees. “Let’s get out of here. Now.”

Eventually, they go home. And, for a few days, each promises himself he’ll never joke about haunted places again.

And Then, the Scare Wears Off

Some time later, Joe decides he was just imagining things. Or maybe he realizes how alive he felt, in that moment of terror.

He decides to revisit the site – his own or with his friends – to see how it looks, now.

One of four things result:

  1. Nothing happens. Joe is disappointed.
  2. The same thing happens, but Joe debunks it.
  3. The same thing happens, but Joe isn’t so scared, this time.
  4. Something bigger and scarier happens, and – once again – Joe experiences that intense adrenaline rush.

If nothing happens, Joe may shrug and laugh about how scared he was. In time, he may forget the whole thing.

If it’s 2 (Joe debunks it) or 3 (Joe isn’t so scared), he may decide he’s kind of interested in this. He learns more about ghost hunting, goes on a few ghost hunts, and becomes a serious researcher.

Joe, frightened - a good scare or not?If something bigger & scarier happens (point 4), Joe may quit going to haunted places. He figures he’s learned his lesson.

Or, he might decide he likes that “good scare,” and go looking for bigger and better scares.

That’s when he’s at risk.

Sure, maybe he tells himself he’s ghost hunting, or looking for UFOs, or something else.

But, what he’s really doing is looking for another adrenaline rush.

It can become an addiction, as Joe looks for progressively more terrifying encounters.

That’s the Danger

If Joe doesn’t understand the real risks – physical, emotional, and spiritual – at haunted places, he’s a danger to himself.

Physical risks include stumbling or falling because he’s not watching where he’s going, or he’s ignored warnings about uneven footing, weak floorboards, etc.

Or, eagerly pursuing “a good scare,” he might forget to put on his respiratory mask at a site with deadly mold or rodent droppings.

Emotional and spiritual risks include being tricked or attacked by a malicious entity.

demonic face - provoking demons is never a "GOOD scare"If Joe is on your ghost hunting team, he could provoke spirits best left sleeping. (Joe might do this deliberately, or without thinking about it.)

Or, he might recommend a site that’s truly dangerous, thinking everyone is on the same page.

What to Do

If you’re Joe, pause and think about your ghost hunting goals, as well as clear warning signs that it’s time to stop. Put them in writing. Tell a trusted friend (or team member) what they are.

Consider going to scary movies – the bigger the movie screen, the better – for a safer “good scare.”

If Joe might be on your ghost hunting team, sit down with your members. As a group, discuss each person’s goals and limits (time, money, travel distances, fear/boredom levels) in paranormal research. Find out which kinds of sites (or hauntings) intrigue them, and what they’d rather avoid.

When everyone knows more about fellow team members, they can support each other’s goals. Your research results may improve.

And, if anyone is searching for increasing “adrenaline high” moments, you can follow-up with a private conversation about potential risks.

A “good scare” can be a fine foundation for future serious, paranormal research. Many ghost hunters started that way.

The only time it’s a danger is when the person doesn’t realize he (or she) is seeking a thrill, and deliberately looking for an increasingly terrifying experience.

Know the difference, for yourself and your team members.

Ghost Hunting without Equipment

This is one of the first of my re-issued Hollow Hill podcasts.

Ghost Hunting podcast - Hollow HillIn this 16-minute podcast from November 2009, I talked about using your five (or six) senses to investigate haunted places. I also shared other ghost hunting tips.

Some things have changed in the eight years since I recorded this. (Okay, a lot has changed, but the info in this podcast is still valid, with a few notable exceptions.)

For example, as of 2017, the K-II isn’t the only good EMF meter.

EMF Ghost MeterIn fact, right now (late 2017) I like the Ghost Meter better than the K-II. (Also, the Ghost Meter costs about half as much as a K-II meter.) In “seance mode,” the Ghost Meter been surprisingly accurate for yes/no responses.

(That’s one in a photo on the right. Mine has a clear case, not black. And yes, it is an “as seen on TV” product. Despite that, it seems to work as a real-time communication device. I’d trust it far more than, say, a loosened flashlight/torch.)

Also, the Ovilus is available again. It’s far more sophisticated than it was in 2009. As of 2017, I’m testing its accuracy in a variety of on-site and remote experiments. So far, I can confirm that the Ovilus III can work remotely, with about 30% accuracy.

Other than that, most of this 2009 recording is still good information.

Yes, I still experience frustration when people miss seeing apparitions and other ghostly phenomena. But, since 2009, I’ve learned to accept that some researchers are going to hyper-focus on their ghost hunting equipment… and miss real hauntings.

Maybe this podcast will help. (It’s from HollowHillPodcasts.com.)

First, I talked about the importance of looking around and listening. I described the kinds of evidence you might see and hear.

Then, I shared an easy way to make your hands more sensitive to “cold spots” and exactly how to find them.

I also described the best ways to use dowsing rods, and whether or not you should investigate “lights out” at indoor locations. (In most cases, there’s not much reason to work in the dark, but there are exceptions.)

Related Links

Homemade Dowsing Rods – My article about how to make and use your own dowsing rods.

Joey Korn’s Dowsers.com – The only professional-grade dowsing rods I use.

Podcast by: Fiona Broome, the founder of HollowHill.com
Music: Zombie by Devin Anderson

A Fresh Approach to a Haunted Building’s History

This week, I was charmed by a CBS video about informal, modern-day archaeology.

Then I realized we could do this in many haunted locations, especially private homes and businesses, where the owners ask, “Who is that ghost?”

The video is less than three minutes long. I think it’s worth viewing if you’re actively involved in private investigations.

Though this kind of dig may not confirm anything, it might give you more clues about the history of the site. That could suggest a context for the haunting.

As I see it, this is a fresh research approach. It uses a little “informal archaeology” and it’s something almost anyone can do. You can include the site owners in this project, as well. (It might mean a lot to them, even more than it does to you.)

Since this kind of research is limited to areas like closets, it won’t disfigure the more visible parts of the home or business. That’s important.

(If you can’t watch that video, here’s a link to the related article: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/childrens-workshop-school-students-dig-up-treasures-from-closets-nyc/ )

Until I saw this video, I never realized how many historical clues could — literally — fall through the cracks.

If you try this (or have, in the past), I hope you’ll share results and insights. I’m very interested in whether this could be useful.

The site in the video is about 100 years old. So, this kind of dig — with permission, of course — could be useful at sites from the mid-20th century and earlier.

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

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.