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As I’m writing this, I’m in coastal Maine (USA) and it’s November. Recently, the weather has been rainy and rather miserable. At night, some roads are dangerously icy, too.
So, I’m unlikely to go outside for ghost hunting, but I’m still looking for “haunted” places.
This is what I do every winter:
I do deep research to find historical – and potentially ghostly – places near me.
And all of that can be done at my desk, with occasional visits to local libraries and historical societies.
The more I prepare ahead of time, the more likely my haunted house investigations will be successful… and eerie.
These tips may help you find ghosts during your next ghost investigations, too.
(In a warmer climate, such as in Florida or southern California, the following advice would apply to the hottest summer months. Any time you’d rather stay indoors, it’s a good time for deep, background research.)
Future Preparations and Ghostly Rapport
If you’re like me, you love to roll up your sleeves and dig into the history of haunted places and their ghost stories.
That can help you find ghostly locations that no one else knows about yet.
At the very least, it’ll improve your results when you’re ghost hunting.
- Calling a ghost by their actual name (or nickname, if you discover it) can make a big difference.
- Ditto, identifying relationships that were important to them, so you can mention names of people they care(d) about.
- You may discover which objects from their past – or items similar to them – could be trigger objects.
Also, with our new understanding of how people sense time passing, those references may be more useful than we’d realized.
After all, what if the ghost doesn’t understand that it’s the 21st century, not 1859 (or whenever the ghost died)?
What if the ghostly entity is genuinely convinced that they’re waiting for a friend, lover, or associate to show up? (The ghost beneath the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland is a good example. He truly thought he was just waiting for someone.)
Often, rapport with the spirit can make a big difference. Understanding the entity’s point of view can be useful.
And, to get the best results, knowing details of the related person’s life and times can be important.
Will Next Year Be Your Best Ghost Hunting Year So Far?
If it’s a time of year when – frankly – you’d rather stay at home instead of braving the elements, here’s how to turn that into an opportunity.
First, decide where you’d like to investigate – or where you’ll investigate, most often – in the year ahead.
Then, with those locations in mind, focus on one, single aspect of one potentially haunted site. (In other words, don’t try to learn everything about every haunted place on your investigation list. Start with just one, and go deep.)
- If you love history in general, dig into the era when the likely ghosts lived, and how they might be affected. (One of my most useful references is The People’s Chronology. It covers far more time than I need, but I like how it’s organized, and how many cultural references are included, so I get a better sense of the ghosts’ past.)
- A site like The People History can provide helpful cues. For example, if your ghosts lived in the 1920s, playing music from that era might spark some residual energy, or bring spirits out of the shadows.
- If you’re intrigued by the site’s location, explore local history. The best resources may be the nearest historical society, as well as the reference section of the local library. See what dramatic events happened near (or even at) the haunted site.
- Similarly, consider ley lines. I’m editing my book about how I identify “hidden” haunted places, sometimes within feet of where they’re most active. Until that book is available, the basic concept is: Identify other, nearby haunts or sites with odd energy, and – with a map – literally connect the dots. (My Salem Judges’ Line map is an example, and it’s led to other eerily “haunted” sites.)
- While you’re looking at maps, also check travel map, geological maps, and so on. (In the U.S., that might include the US Geological Survey database. In the UK, the British Geological Survey can be helpful.) Look for nearby rivers and streams, and possible underground water sources that could produce (and therefore debunk) ghostly, infrasound-related anomalies. Also check for highways – especially nearby bridges – and railways for sources of infrasound that could trigger otherwise-unexplained ghostly phenomena. (Generally, pets are most immediately affected by transportation-related infrasound. If your dog barks frantically at irregular times, it may not be sensing a ghost.)
- If you find a particular person’s life compelling, dig into that person’s family history. Ancestry.com is my favorite go-to site for this, but some free records at FamilySearch.org can be helpful (but be sure to double-check them). Look for quirks in the family tree, such as siblings no one ever talks about, or a family member curiously missing from the family plot… and that could unlock the real reason for the haunting.
Warning: It’s easy to get sidetracked. Try to focus on just one kind of historical research at a time. Go as deep as you can.
Later, if you want more context for the apparent ghosts’ lives, you can stack research into other aspects of the deceased’s life and times. Or dig into the history of another, related haunted site.
With resources like those, you can uncover a wealth of information that will lead to better paranormal investigations.
If you truly know your ghosts’ world, even before you set foot inside the locations they haunt, you’ll be far ahead of other researchers.
So, take advantage of “bad” weather. Use that time for research. It can be the make-or-break difference for your upcoming visits to historical, eerie places.
Did I miss a useful, online resource for historical research? Let me know.