A Beginner's Guide
So, you enjoy a good ghost story? I think it is safe to say that we have all shared a great spooky story or two around a campfire while shining flashlights under our chins. Now you feel ready for more than a spine-tingling tale and want to experience a ghost firsthand. As girls, if we need to travel to public restrooms in packs, then it is simply logical to grab your best girl friends for an evening of frightful fun.
First things first: Where to Investigate?
That old abandoned mental hospital on the edge of town may seem pretty tempting. After all, it must be haunted! At least it looks haunted. Let me say this, fear the living and not the dead. If a place looks abandoned, it probably isn’t. “Abandoned” buildings make great homes for vagrants and junkies. Also, when a building is left to decay, it becomes unstable and is dangerous to walk through. “So, where do we go”?
The next on the list is usually a cemetery. Pretty scary and there are plenty of dead people who must be “dying” to talk to you. If you were dead, would YOU hang around the cemetery? I personally would be anywhere I could prank the living or spy on some hotties!
Not to worry! There are still plenty of spooky places left to investigate.
I recommend booking an investigation with a reputable group or lodging. Many Bed and Breakfasts offer group investigation packages and there are plenty of reputable paranormal groups who will guide you through your first investigation in a knowledgeable way and in a safe area. You may also wish to check for paranormal conferences in your area. These conferences will not only provide you with great information, but many vendors sell equipment, and group investigations are sometimes offered as part of the admission or for a few dollars more.
What equipment do I need?
Most first-time investigators do not have any equipment; or so they think! Bring a flashlight (the flashlight on your phone will work too) because, no lie, when things go dark, it is really dark! Most times you will be in an unfamiliar place, and you need a little light, so you don’t trip over something or run into a wall. Even the most seasoned investigator has run into a wall or two.
Bring a camera-or your phone! I do recommend a simple point and shoot camera however, because sometimes, a phone camera cannot focus properly, and a regular camera is just easier. Take lots of pictures too. It will be dark, and you won’t know what you are aiming at half the time, but that is part of the fun! What will you see when the flash goes off? Usually, it is something that will scare you. I was taking photos on an investigation once and looking at the screen, I saw what looked like a ghost girl walking toward me with her arms outstretched. My heart stopped as I took a few more pictures. I think I even uttered a few swear words. The figure never moved out of the frame of the shot. Upon closer inspection it was a shelf that looked like hair, a shadow from the flash on the wall, and a bed covered in a sheet that made it look so scary. And by the way, a word to the wise, if you take a picture of a window or mirror, you will get a “ghost” almost every time. This “ghost” is simply light refraction so let’s stay away from shiny surfaces.
If you happen to have a voice recorder, bring it along. DO NOT just let it record for hours! Ask a few questions, and then play back to see if a ghost answered. Act like it is an interview. When you play back after a few questions, you know if you are talking to an entity or not. For every minute of record time, it is a minute of review time so keep it short and sweet. After all, who wants to listen to hours of static in the hopes you will hear a ghostly voice? You are more likely to hear a human burp or fart in the empty room. I know an investigator who had horrible gas one night and was looking for a private place in which to relieve the pressure. He found an empty room and with a happy sigh let it all out. Only after the fact did he notice the voice recorder setting on the table that someone left recording in an empty room. I bet evidence review was fun.
These are great tools for beginners. For those that are wondering, no, do not use a Ouija board to speak to ghosts. I know it seems like great fun and scary excitement to have the planchette move seemingly on its own. Here is the problem: have you noticed that when you have a bad day everything just seems to go wrong, and it only gets worse rather than better? That, my friend is called the law of attraction or the snowball effect. What if you have a negative Nancy in your group or someone just isn’t feeling great? Combining your energy with negativity will often attract negativity! Unless you are skilled in this area, it is best to leave it alone lest you wish for your world to be turned upside down by unseen negative forces. Leave such things to experts.
A better test is to unscrew a flashlight until it takes a small touch to turn it on and just set it on the floor. Then ask the spirit to turn the flashlight on. The reaction when the flashlight turns on is better than any moving planchette, because there is no question that there are no human hands on that thing!
Now on to a very important topic: Shoes!
My friends, I have a confession to make. I am short! This alone makes me love my big girl shoes which make me look taller. High heels however are not the greatest idea when wandering around in the dark, holding hands, half scared out of your wits, and about to run at the slightest hint of an apparition! By all means, wear a low or no heel shoe and be comfortable. This is much better for running. I know I ran when I saw my first ghost.
This brings me to flip flops. While flip flops are luxuriously comfortable and great in the hot summer months, you may want to rethink this fashion choice. Most investigation sites are dirty, old, and dark with who knows what on the floor. So, sorry ladies, once again not the best shoes for the job, especially if you feel the need to run. Not to mention, some ghosts do have a foot fetish and will mess with your toes.
Your best bet of getting out alive is to wear comfortable sneakers or boots. Your feet will be fully covered in the event of a curious spider, a ghost with a foot fetish, and whatever else the night may throw at you. I actually investigated one home in which the homeowner decided to let her dog do his business in the basement because it was cold outside, super glad I wore hiking boots that night.
What Not To Wear
DON’T: Wear booty shorts! With photos being taken in the dark booty shorts are not the best
DO: Wear Make-up
DON'T: Wear low cut shirts
DO: Wear a belt
What to wear:
Admit it girls, we often compete with each other to look good. Which, frankly, is silly. We need to be supportive of each other and make sure 1) we ALL look good and 2) are dressed appropriately to get out alive. First and foremost, can you can move comfortably in your clothes? There will very likely be a lot of sitting on the floor. The floor WILL be dirty so be sure you are wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. I mean, don’t wear your favorite white designer brand jeans on a ghost investigation. I wouldn’t recommend wearing a mini skirt either, or booty shorts, unless you want dirt in your crack. And that reminds me: wear a belt!
As for shirts, I recommend something relatively modest. You might have a great set of ta ta’s but you don’t want them jumping out as you make your way through a dark obstacle course. And you don’t want a clear view down your shirt if you lean forward or bend over!
You may wonder what it matters since it will be dark and no one can see your crack if you don’t wear a belt, or your breasts if your shirt slips. One word: cameras! People will be taking random shots in the dark never knowing where the camera is aimed. I have seen my fair share of body parts exposed on film because someone did not think through their wardrobe choices for the evening. Trust me, you don’t want the “orbs” captured on film to be yours!
When getting dressed for your ghost filled evening, feel free to wiggle, bend, and squat just to make sure you are covered and comfortable.
Oh! This brings me to make-up!
Make-up: wear it! I promise you, someone at some point will catch a picture of you at the worst possible moment. The flash will wash out your skin tone almost to the point of making you look like the ghost. Most investigations are late at night, and you will get sleepy and your eyes will look tired. Do yourself a favor and wear a little make-up. A little, you don’t want to look like a psychotic clown.
Odds and Ends
While we all enjoy smelling good, please do not wear perfume. Some people may be allergic and if you do get a ghostly waft of lilac or baked goods, you want to be sure it is ghostly in nature and not someone’s perfume.
If you smoke/vape, please do it away from the location and for crying out loud don’t take a photograph if you or anyone near you has a lit cigarette or vape! The naked eye may not see the smoke, but the camera will. Smoke has often been mistaken for a ghostly mist formation.
Most importantly, have fun. Remain open to possibilities and don’t expect anything. When you are open is when the fun stuff happens. Happy Hauntings!