Ghost hunting in real life is far more risky than watching it on TV… and not just for paranormal reasons. Now and then, someone gets hurt. This is why every team of ghost hunters should have a good first aid kit that includes:
- Sterile wipes.
- A treatment for cuts and bug bites.
- Some bandages (like BandAids™ or plasters).
- Fabric for a sling.
- A stretch (Ace-style) bandage for sprains. (If you need a splint, you can usually improvise).
- An OTC painkiller like aspirin, and something other than aspirin. (Some people are allergic to aspirin and related medications.)
- On a more serious health-related topic, be sure to read Ghost Hunting and Respiratory Risks.
It’s a good idea for someone on the team to take a first aid class. Community centers often offer them, and some church and Scouting groups will, too.
However, it’s just as important to determine what caused the injury, and if that person — or others on your team — are at risk at that location… now or for repeat visits.
Obviously, if it’s a turned ankle, an insect bite, or something you could encounter at any location, routine warnings and precautions are a good idea.
But… what if it’s something unknown, invisible, or paranormal? What if someone is pushed, shoved, slapped, or scratched during a paranormal investigation?
When the problem might be paranormal
If the haunted location has a reputation for possibly demonic activity, get out now. Conduct off-site research to find out if rumors and stories have enough credibility to make it a “don’t go back there” location. Look for moderate warnings in about 20% to 30% of credible reports, or reports of significant issues from a few teams that include experts you respect.
If one ghost hunting team keeps encountering dangerous physical phenomena at a variety of locations, I’d suspect one or more issues. None of them should be taken lightly.
- Someone on the team is either a prankster or deeply unhealthy, and is using the cover of darkness to hurt others.
- Someone among the ghost hunters is attracting poltergeist activity. Usually — but not always — you’re looking for a female coping with an emotional or hormonal roller-coaster. If you think you’ve identified the person, ask that person not to participate in two or three investigations, and see if the issue continues.
- The team are really good at finding and activating physical phenomena, wherever they investigate. This can be an asset, if the team take safety precautions.
On the other hand, if it’s a rare event and at just one location, there are several explanations.
- It’s a poltergeist linked to that location. Advice: Take safety precautions, and stop investigating if the physical dangers increase. If one person is the regular target, ask him or her not to return to that location for a month or so. Then, proceed with caution.
- The spirit was just playing a prank and it got out of hand. (That happened to me at the Myrtles Plantation.) Advice: Talk out loud to the spirit, tell it that you are okay, but that kind of prank is not acceptable while you’re investigating.
- The spirit is still figuring out ways to communicate. Advice: Explain to it, out loud, more appropriate ways to communicate. Clearly, it can move things, so give it something to move, like a small ball, a feather, a set of marbles or ball bearings, etc. Also explain how your EMF meter works, that voices can be recorded on your voice recorder, and so on.
- Though it’s unlikely, double-check in case the injury (especially a scratch, a sprain, or a bruise) happened earlier and the person was so involved in research, he or she didn’t notice until it started to bleed, sting, or hurt. That’s happened to me, but only a few times in 20+ years. Usually, after the initial surprise, the victim will say, “Oh. Wait a minute. I might have scratched myself when we were passing that hedge.”
- The activity might be malicious or demonic. Advice: If there is any chance of this, leave immediately and do not go back. (Well, not unless you’re also involved in demonology and know exactly what to do next.) Research the site, compare notes with other investigators, and then decide if this is a real possibility. Demonic attacks are very rare, but not impossible.
As long as the injury is minor and an isolated incident at that location and for that individual, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d make sure my first aid kit is well-stocked, I’d take sensible precautions in the future, and — just in case — I’d recommend normal spiritual protection like a brief prayer or circle before entering that site again.
The chances of the injury being paranormal depend on the people involved and the reputation of the site. The likelihood of it being demonic are slim, but should never be lightly dismissed if anyone’s “gut feeling” indicates a problem.
A malicious or demonic attack usually includes most or all of the following:
- A physical injury.
- A sense that the injury was a warning or “just the beginning.”
- Something that impinges on the awareness of the person… a feeling of evil or intended injury.
- Uneasiness that lingers far longer than you’d expect after an encounter with a ghost, even one that makes physical contact.
Remember that any physical contact with a ghost (or other entity) is unexpected and often feels like a violation of personal space. That’s a reasonable reaction.
When the person is still distressed long after you expected the whole thing to be shrugged off or even forgotten in other conversation, something else may be going on: Either something genuinely disturbing happened, or the person isn’t ready for intensely haunted locations.
In most cases, once the person gets past the initial surprise, you’ll recognize it as one of those weird, rare things that can happen during an investigation.
If you return to that same site, fairly confident that the injury was a fluke, take a few extra precautions for safety’s sake.
I wouldn’t avoid a location as long as all the following criteria are met.
- It was a one-time, minor injury.
- The victim is okay and didn’t feel any emotional or spiritual distress at the time of the incident.
- The site has no credible reputation for malicious or demonic activity.
- The team wants to return there.
- You take extra precautions the next few times you visit that site.
- Nothing risky happens during future visits.
If the physical issues continue with that person or someone else on the team, pause and consider other explanations, including non-paranormal ones.