Want to avoid big disappointments on your first ghost hunts? Know the biggest ghost hunting mistakes beginners can make.
From the start, lower your expectations, but also pay attention to everything. One of the biggest blunders any ghost hunter (new or experienced) can make, is to brush off something “odd” with what seems like a reasonable explanation.
Fact-check everything at the site.
For example, did the door really slam because of a breeze… or might that be a ghost? (Hold up a lit candle or a piece of tissue paper to detect a breeze.)
Was that voice a team member in a nearby room, or a disembodied spirit? (Call out to your team members to see if anyone was close enough, and talking when you heard whatever-it-was.)
The rules can be different at haunted places. Once you get used to that, ghost hunting can be even more thrilling than you expect.
Here’s what you need to know.
1) Ghost hunting can be more – and less – scary than you expect.
On most ghost hunting TV shows, something weird happens every 15 minutes or so.
In real life, if we hope for at least one ghostly anomaly during a two- or three-hour investigation.
Be patient. Try waiting 20 minutes before formally starting your investigation.
- Walk around. Get familiar with the setting.
- Do a baseline check – of the site and yourself.
- Allow the ghosts (if there are any) to become comfortable with you.
That’s when the eerie moments can happen… but you may still have to wait an hour or more for anything dramatic.
2) Expect some drama, but not the kind you’ve seen on TV
Sometimes, dramatic things do happen during a ghost investigation.
- Someone sees an apparition, or captures a shadow person in a photo.
- Or, you record some astonishing, clear EVP, even if it’s just one word.
- Or, someone is touched by invisible hands or (rarely) hit, slapped, or scratched. (Note: It’s important to be sure that’s real, and not some joker in your group, taking advantage of the dark setting.)
- Or… a door slams (or an object flies across the room) while you’re watching it, and no one is nearby.
During most paranormal investigations, the subtle things are the ones that seem the most disturbing… and sometimes very personal.
My Eeriest Paranormal Experience
For me, the eeriest was hearing my late mother’s voice – her distinct tone, accent, and phrasing – say a single line through a “Frank’s Box.”
Just that once.
The person with the Frank’s Box was on a balcony about 20 feet away from me. He had no way of knowing that my mother had died about three weeks before that.
If I hadn’t been listening closely, I would have missed what she said, even though it was directed at me, personally.
The rest of the investigation was merely average. A few odd noises. A few orb photos. Something that might have been EVP, or it might not.
But for me, that one, strange moment made it a successful investigation.
I’m glad someone else was using a Frank’s Box. I’m also glad I wasn’t focused on any ghost hunting tools. All I was doing was listening and observing, and that’s why I heard that faint, distant message.
Since Mum didn’t use my name, the researcher wouldn’t have known the voice was speaking to me.
What I Learned from That
Yes, it could be argued that the voice came through a Frank’s Box.
Without that device, in that quiet setting, perhaps my mother would have found some other way to communicate with me, if she needed to.
For me, the key element was: I was listening to every sound.
So, one of the biggest ghost hunting mistakes can be: not pausing and paying close attention to everything around you.
3) Always start with a plan
Some ghost researchers prefer not to know anything about the site – and its ghosts – ahead of time.
With no data or expectations, the power of suggestion cannot be a factor.
That’s fine. I understand that logic, but it’s not for everyone.
I prefer to research everything about the site, its ghosts, and their history. That way, I know exactly where I’ll get the best results.
Also, I’ll have a list of possible triggers to use, to prompt paranormal activity.
No matter which approach you choose, it’s always good to have some kind of plan. Here are some suggestions.
- Who will be with you, and transportation arrangements. (Also know the best route to the site, where to park, when the site is open/closed, any fees, etc.)
- Who’s bringing what kind of skills and ghost hunting equipment. Decide each person’s focus (kind of phenomenon), with only a little overlap. Compare notes as you work. See if there’s a correlation between, say, EVP and EMF surges in a particular location.
- A Plan B, similar to what I suggest when you’re planning your Halloween investigations. (See the video below.)
Make the most of your ghost hunting at Halloween. Between weather, crowds, revelers, and police patrols, it’s best to plan ahead to avoid Halloween disappoin…
And… One ghost hunting mistake some beginners make after their first ghost hunt
Whether it was a good experience or a bad one, too many beginners decide that their one ghost hunt was “all it is.”
Please, go on a second (and third) ghost hunt.
At least return to the first site to debunk what you encounter (or confirm that the place really is haunted).
Watching ghost hunting on TV – and hearing others talk about their investigations – your expectations may be skewed.
From my experience at ghost hunting events, here’s what I see among many first-time ghost hunters:
- 80% of first-time ghost hunters are looking for a “good scare.” (See my article about why a good scare is a bad idea.) Yes, there’s a good chance they’ll find the good scare they’re looking for… even if it’s only their imaginations.
- 20% of first-time ghost hunters are looking for something specific. They want to know if ghosts are real. Many have encountered something odd in the past, and they think it was a ghost. So, they want to compare that with other “real” hauntings, and see if whatever-it-was really was a ghost.
- Within that 20%, a small percent of first-time ghost hunters seek confirmation about a specific loved one who’s passed. Most don’t find the answers they’re looking for. The best outcome is the realization that something continues after death. And maybe that’s all they really needed.
Whatever your reasons, I hope you’ll try ghost hunting several times.
We need more serious researchers so we can learn what’s really going on.