Gathering evidence of paranormal activity on paranormal investigations is both a rewarding and time-consuming process. It is less likely to capture something of true paranormal origin as most evidence can be explained away logically. There are several techniques and methods that need to be carefully and effectively employed to assist the investigator in possibly capturing something out-of-the-ordinary. An important rule of thumb, is to not solely rely on one type of technique, method or experiment; utilizing a variety of approaches is most effective in field investigations. It is vitally important to know your equipment: basically knowing the what (is it used for), when (it is used), where (it is used), why (it is used) and how (it is used) of your equipment. All field investigators need to be trained on each type of device used in paranormal investigation.
Below are some important points to remember when using the investigation methodologies of EVP, ITC, Photography, Videography and Meter usage.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and Instrumental Trans Communication (ITC)
Prior to starting a session, record the time, date, location and investigators present. Always use fresh batteries prior to conducting EVP sessions; it is a good idea to ask permission from the entities and always show respect and reverence. Always document erronous and ambient noises during a recording session. NEVER whisper or talk in a low voice as doing so can cause false positive EVPs. It is recommended to allow a minimum of 5 seconds in between asking questions and twenty to thirty minutes for an audio session. A shorter EVP sweep may last just a few minutes. Always know the location of other investigators and those present for the session must be as still as possible. For best results, employ the active (asking questions) and passive (leaving recorder running in a controlled environment ) techniques. Importantly, always have a great working knowledge of your recording devices, ITC devices and audio software programs such as Adobe Audition and Audacity. Always have a notepad handy to take notes of other occurrences that are happening during the session.
It is important to utilize a variety of cameras when attempting spirit photography. Probably the best camera to use in paranormal investigations is the Polaroid, however, investigators have been capturing some fascinating evidence with 35mm, digital, Infrared and Full Spectrum cameras as well. One of the most important pieces of advice is to have a basic knowledge of photography, camera uses and reasons for its various settings. Here are some basic tips for camera use on paranormal investigations: remove camera strap prior to taking pictures; if using a flash, make sure to not take photos into reflective surfaces; never attempt to take photos during adverse weather conditions, such as rain, show, mist, fog, dust storm, etc., as this can cause false positives; familiarize yourself with the location of each photograph taken, noting reflective surfaces, light sources, objects that allow for matrixing, etc; if using a 35mm camera, compare any anomalous photos with matching negatives for comparison; have a good working knowledge of your camera and photography editing programs, such as Photoscape and Adobe Photoshop, take a minimum of two photos in each area you photograph, as you will have two photos to compare with one another; study the key characteristics that differentiate a false positive from that of a true anomalous photography; always thoroughly examine each photograph taken–divide the photograph into sections (tic-tac-toe grid) and analyze each section
There are major benefits of using video cameras on paranormal investigations. Capturing an apparition or ghost on video is extremely rare, but when it occurs, it is very rewarding. Utilizing video cameras allows investigators to document the investigation and notate the time and date of what’s being recorded. Many of the tips and suggestions offered in the photography/spirit photography session can also be applied to videography as well. Additionally, make sure that all investigators know the exact position of each static camera and/or IR/DVR system. If you are taking still photographs, never use a flash pointing directly at an IR camera, as this can damage the IR settings in your video camera. When reviewing video footage, it can be beneficial to watch the footage frame-by-frame or at a decreased speed. For best results, mount your videos on a tripod and position them in known paranormal “hot spot” areas. If you are using a video camera while surveying the area by foot, make sure to take video at eye level. It is advisable to use external IR illuminators with video cameras as this will further illuminate the environment.
Various types of meters are utilized on paranormal investigations, such as EMF meters, temperature meters, hygrometers (humidity detector), Geiger Counters (radiation detector), ion detectors, sound detectors, geophones, etc. When using these devices, it is a good idea to conduct general sweeps of the area to notate baseline readings. Obviously, know what types of meters and detectors you are using and what they are used for. Red flag areas that seem to give off unusual readings as well as noting areas in a location that can explain natural causes for fluctuations in EMF, temperature, humidity, radiation, etc. Differentiate between readings that indicate something of natural origin versus something of paranormal origin. For example, EMF readings between a 1-7 milligauss (mg) may indicate the presence of paranormal activity, depending on what meter is used.
For more information about the various types of equipment used in paranormal research, please visit the Educational Information section of our website.
Keeping a Log
It is very beneficial that each investigator keep a log of all personal experiences, unusual encounters, photographs taken, meter readings, environmental changes, etc. When keeping a log, we notate the time, date, location, description of event, investigators present, equipment used and what was captured.