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It’s one of the biggest debates in ghost hunting:
Before a ghost investigation, how much should you know about the site?
Many ghost hunters have very different opinions.
Some are believers. Others are skeptics.
They may seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but – often – a skeptic is almost desperate for the kind of proof they want, to (finally) feel comfortable believing in ghosts.
You’ll also meet psychic ghost hunters who start with the assumption that the “odd feeling” is a ghost.
By seeming friendly to spirits, they believe they achieve better cross-worlds communications.
Those paranormal investigators may be right.
Some ghost hunters insist on physical evidence they can’t debunk. They want hard proof – or at least solid, independent, electronic evidence – before they’ll take any ghost story seriously.
And so on.
But, another topic divides ghost hunters…
It’s how much to know before they investigate a haunted place.
Do you prefer to start with no information?
Many ghost hunters – but not all – avoid learning anything at all about the haunted site.
That’s especially true of psychic ghost hunters.
They feel their impressions are more credible (to themselves and others) when they can say “there was no way I could know about [whatever they perceived].”
It affirms – to the paranormal researcher – that what they experienced is real.
Or should you research everything?
Some people (including me) want to know every possible detail about the site:
- Its history
- Its geography
- Its ghost stories
I’m impressed when something weird in a ghost story turns out to be true. I’m even more excited when we glean supporting information that no one else had discovered, up to that point.
- For example, maybe locals always call a cemetery’s ghost “Theodore,” even though no grave marker has that name on it.
- Then, through elaborate research, we discover that there is a Theodore in the cemetery, but his family never had enough money for a headstone.
- That’s when everyone agrees that (maybe) the cemetery is haunted by someone named Theodore… or they remain skeptical.
What do most ghost hunters choose?
Most ghost hunters are between the “know nothing” and “research everything” extremes.
That is, they want to know a little about the site, but nothing that will make them wonder if an experience was “just the power of suggestion.”
But, for all of us, there’s another concern: telepathy.
That is, if the energy or mental images we pick up were inadvertently communicated, psychically.
Could that influence what ghost hunters — especially psychics and mediums — detect at haunted sites?
Telepathy is impossible to measure, confirm, or deny.
In Peter Underwood’s classic Dictionary of the Supernatural, he describes telepathy as “Communication between one mind and another without the use of speech or any of the normal conscious channels. Also known as thought-transference [and] thought-reading…”
So, I think telepathy can play a role in some investigations… but not all, and perhaps not most investigations.
For example, in Confessions of a Ghost Hunter, Harry Price described a remarkable psychic encounter:
The most striking incident was where the alleged spirit of Lieutenant Irwin came back within forty-eight hours of the crashing of the R101 airship and gave a circumstantial, detailed, and highly technical account of the disaster. The psychic was Mrs. Garrett, the British trance medium, who does not know one end of an airship from the other. The sitters present at the séance were also quite ignorant of such a highly-specialized business as navigating an airship; yet ‘Lieutenant Irwin’ gave particulars of the R101 which were semi-official secrets, and which were afterwards confirmed at the public inquiry.
If you’re familiar with Harry Price’s work, and how carefully he phrased his reports, you’ll understand why this account is credible.
When telepathy is a a concern, does distance matter?
One problem with questions of telepathy is the same reason Albert Einstein – initially, a believer in telepathy – rejected the notion: It’s possible that ESP (including telepathy) doesn’t fall off sharply and isn’t diluted with distance between the sender and receiver. (Technically, this relates to the inverse square law.)
In other words, the psychic ghost hunter might perceive thoughts from someone merely researching the site’s history, at a laptop computer 500 miles away.
Is that likely? I’m not sure.
Perhaps telepathy isn’t isolated to the investigation site.
Likewise, there’s a problem if telepathic communication doesn’t decay with distance.
Let’s say a ghost is a spiritual/psychic projection by the deceased.
- In that case, we can’t assume the ghost is at that research site.
- The actual, spiritual entity might be half a block away, or on the other side of the globe. Or in another reality.
Okay, that’s placing one “what if?” question on top of several others. So, let’s put that challenging topic to one side, for now.
There is no proof. Not really. Not yet, anyway.
In my own research, I’m uncomfortable with “evidence” provided entirely by electronic ghost hunting equipment.
Oh, like many (most?) researchers, I’ve used EMF meters, ghost boxes, voice recorders, and so on.
But, I still believe that the most meaningful proof – if there is any – is based in the mind of the investigator.
If you’ve had a meaningful ghostly encounter, and it affirms your faith in life after death and spirit communication, does anything else matter?
That brings me back to the topic at hand: How much ghost hunters should research before an investigation.
Why I believe in pre-investigation research
For me, historical and geographical evidence can support the idea that a location is haunted.
Or, it can make me question it.
I’ll stack the odds in favor of a successful investigation.
In addition, if I already know the names of likely ghosts – and those they associated with, in life – I think I get better results. After all, everyone likes to feel remembered, and called by name.
If I also know the context of the ghosts’ lives and deaths, I think it improves my rapport with them.
That’s true when I’m looking for a reaction on an EMF meter, an EVP response, or something else.
But, for others, the stronger confirmation is what Harry Price described: An investigation where no one on the team (or nearby) had any prior knowledge about the ghosts.
I’m okay with that standard.
This is something each ghost hunter needs to decide, in general… and sometimes on a case-by-case basis, depending on your goals.
I like to know every bit of information I can dig up (no pun intended) about a site and its ghosts.
What are your thoughts on this controversial topic?
Learn more about ghosts and haunted places at my YouTube channel, Ghost Hunting with Fiona Broome.