TUSCALOOSA PARANORMAL RESEARCH GROUP

Ghost Hunting 101

 

Ghost hunting is the process of investigating locations said to be haunted. Typically, a ghost "hunting party" will involve 4-8 individuals who work as a team to collect evidence of paranormal activity. Ghost hunters usually record data in a scientific manner, making observation using electronic equipment of various types, such as; EMF Meters, digital thermometers, infrared, thermo graphic, and night vision cameras, handheld video cameras, digital audio recorders, and computers. Organized teams of ghost hunters are also called paranormal investigation teams.

 

Paranormal is an umbrella term used to describe unusual phenomena or experiences that lack an obvious scientific explanation. In parapsychology, it is used to describe the ostensibly psychic phenomena of telepathy, extra-sensory perception, psycho kinesis, ghosts, and hauntings. The term is also applied to UFOs, some creatures that fall under the scope of crypto zoology, purported phenomena surrounding the Bermuda Triangle, and other non-psychical subjects. Stories relating to paranormal phenomena are widespread in popular culture and folklore, but the United States National Science Foundation has stated that mainstream science does not support paranormal beliefs.

 

Ghosts are said to be the apparition of a dead person. They are usually seen to be similar in appearance to that person, and are often encountered in places he or she frequented, or in association with the person's former belongings. The word "ghost" may also refer to the spirit or soul of a deceased person, or any spirit or demon. Ghosts are often associated with hauntings, which is, according to the Parapsychological Association, "the more or less regular occurrence of paranormal phenomena associated with a particular locality (especially a building) and usually attributed to the activities of a discarnate entity; the phenomena may include apparitions, poltergeist disturbances, cold drafts, sounds of footsteps and voices, and various odors."

 

Ghosts are a controversial anomalous phenomenon. According to a poll conducted in 2005 by the Gallup Organization, about 32% of Americans believe in the existence of ghosts. The term ghost has been replaced by apparition in parapsychology, because the word ghost is deemed insufficiently precise.

 

Shadow people (also known as shadow men, shadow folk, or shadow beings) are supernatural shadow-like creatures of both modern folklore and traditional native American beliefs. According to folklore, they appear as dark forms in the peripheries of people's vision and disintegrate, or move between walls, when noticed.

 

Reports of shadow people occupy a similar position in the popular consciousness to ghost sightings, but differ in that shadow people are not reported as having human features, wearing modern/period clothing, or attempting to communicate. Witnesses also do not report the same feelings of being in the presence of something that "was once human". Some individuals have described being menaced, chased, or in some rare instance, attacked by shadow people. There have also been reports of shadow people appearing in front of witnesses, of which they stay there or lingering for several seconds before disappearing. Witnesses report that encounters are typically accompanied by a feeling of dread.

 

Demons in religion, folklore, and mythology a demon (or daemon, demon, daimon from Greek: δαίμων daimōn) is a supernatural being that has generally been described as a malevolent spirit, and in Christian terms it is generally understood as a fallen angel, formerly of God. A demon is frequently depicted as a force that may be conjured and insecurely controlled. The "good" demon in recent use is largely a literary device (e.g., Maxwell's demon), though references to good demons can be found in Hesiod and Shakespeare. In common language, to "demonize" a person means to characterize or portray them as evil, or as the source of evil.

 

Poltergeist (from German polter(n), meaning to rumble or make noise, and geist, meaning "ghost", "spirit" or "embodiment") denotes a spirit or ghost that manifests itself by moving and influencing objects.

 

Poltergeist activity tends to occur around a single person called an agent or a focus. Foci are often, but not limited to, pubescent children. Almost seventy years of research by the Rhine Research Center in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, has led to the hypothesis among parapsychologists that the "poltergeist effect" is a form of psychokinesis generated by a living human mind (that of the agent). According to researchers at the Rhine Center, the "poltergeist effect" is the outward manifestation of psychological trauma.

 

Lights-Out Method: Many ghost hunters prefer to conduct their investigations during "peak" evening hours (midnight to 4 a.m.) when most paranormal activity is said to occur. This time period seems to have been put forth in the 1970s and was supported by Lorraine Warren herself. Most paranormal groups favor the "lights out" or black-out conditions, theorizing that it’s easier to see a possible apparition in the dark since it requires less energy to manifest. According to the theory, spirits/ghosts that attempt to manifest themselves (become corporeal or material-visible) do so by drawing energy from all surrounding sources of both electric and magnetic waves/frequencies. This is one of the reasons why paranormal groups utilize the Gauss (or Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF)) meter. By drawing these energies from surrounding sources, they are enabling themselves to be seen in this plane of existence. A popular thought among ghost hunters is that any equipment that behaves erratically (temporary and inexplicable battery drains, electronic units that shut down, flickering lights or other unexplainable anomalies) point to the presence of a spirit/ghost that is attempting to materialize. Some have even explained that people who experience nausea or dizziness are being subsequently affected by these manifesting spirits/ghosts due to the fact that our brain's synapses (all electrically based) are misfiring and causing an equilibrium change that affects the individual's perception. Additionally, some paranormal investigators point to a disturbance of their equipment by the presence of fluorescent or other types of lighting. Critics of the lights-out method of investigation point to the lack of evidence regarding the apparition-occurrence-to-darkness ratio, indicating that, historically, 80% of full-body apparitions have been witnessed during daylight hours. Daytime investigations, they claim, will produce markedly better results since the video and photographic evidence will be much clearer and more concise for others who scrutinize such "evidence". Some also experiment in wavelengths on the fringe of human vision including red and ultraviolet light.

 

Dead Time: the time around 3:00am, the time most paranormal experts believe spirits are most active. Three AM is called "dead time" because of the death of Jesus at this time. It's also the most active when it comes to paranormal activity. When you wake at this time, it might mean you are being visited by a spirit, or are aware of their presence. You may be a "sensitive" and can pick up on the vibes they send to the sixth sense. There have been songwriters, poets and painters who say that spirits have visited them and given them inspiration and ideas while they slept. This is why many of them keep notepads beside their beds, to record these things before returning to sleep. On the other hand, it may be your internal clock is waking you, it's happened to me before and I'm sure millions of others.

 

The term orb describes unexpected, typically circular artifacts in photographs. Sometimes the artifact is in motion, leaving a trail. The technical photographic term for the occurrence of orbs, especially pronounced in modern ultra-compact cameras, is backscatter, orb backscatter or near-camera reflection. Most of the time just dust kicked up when taken a picture.

 

Mist refers to a fog or smoke like haze that appears in photographs and video taken by paranormal teams while touring or investigating reportedly haunted and cursed sites. The popular belief among paranormalists is that this mist is the visual representation of ectoplasm that accompanies the presence of spirits/ghosts when they are active in the area. Many paranormalists will deny having seen any fog or mist during the filming and photography process and claim that these vaporous forms only appear on the film after the fact. Skeptics and photography/videography experts point to a variety of reasons for these misty forms to appear, including cigarette smoke, candles burning, the frosty breath of the photography on a cold night, or other natural vapors in the air which are only visible when the flash or lights reflect off the haze and back into the lens.

 

Ectoplasm (from the Greek ektos, "outside", + plasma, "something formed or molded") is a term coined by Charles Richet to denote a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by physical mediums. Ectoplasm is said to be associated with the formation of ghosts, and hypothesized to be an enabling factor in psychokinesis.

 

Although the term is widespread in popular culture, the physical existence of ectoplasm is not accepted by mainstream science. Some tested samples purported to be ectoplasm have been found to be various non-paranormal substances, including chiffon and flakes of human skin. Other researchers have duplicated, with non-supernatural materials, the photographic effects sometimes said to prove the existence of ectoplasm.

 

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are sections of static noise on the radio or electronic recording media that are interpreted by paranormal investigators as voices speaking words usually attributed to ghosts or spirits. Recording EVP has become a technique of those who attempt to contact the souls of dead loved ones or during ghost hunting activities. In addition to deceased spirits, various paranormal investigators say that EVP could be due to psychic echoes from the past, psychokinesis unconsciously produced by living people, and the thoughts of aliens. According to parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, who popularized the idea, EVP are typically brief, usually the length of a word or short phrase.

 

Skeptics of the paranormal attribute the voice-like aspect of the sounds to apothecia (finding of significance or connections between insignificant or unrelated phenomena), auditory pareidolia (interpreting random sounds into voices in their own language which might otherwise sound like random noise to a foreign speaker), artifacts due to low-quality equipment, and simple hoaxes. Likewise some reported EVP can be attributed to radio interference or other well-documented phenomena.

 

Electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field.

 

The electromagnetic field extends indefinitely throughout space and describes the electromagnetic interaction. It is one of the four fundamental forces of nature (the others are gravitation, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction).

 

The field can be viewed as the combination of an electric field and a magnetic field. The electric field is produced by stationary charges, and the magnetic field by moving charges (currents); these two are often described as the sources of the field. The way in which charges and currents interact with the electromagnetic field is described by Maxwell's equations and the Lorentz force law.

 

From a classical point of view, the electromagnetic field can be regarded as a smooth, continuous field, propagated in a wavelike manner, whereas from a quantum mechanical point of view, the field can be viewed as being composed of photons.

 

K2 Meter: In Season 3, episode 12 of the Sci-Fi channe's hit series, "Ghost Hunters", Jason and Grant, founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), invited psychic medium Chris Fleming to accompany the team on the investigation of a home on Cielo Drive. Located in Hollywood, California, this road was the site of the infamous Manson murders of 1969, wherein cult members entered the home of starlet Sharon Tate and brutally killed her, her unborn child, and four of her close friends. This particular house, along with several others on the same road, is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of Sharon, her friend Jay Sebring, and the others. This area was also the location of a number of suicides as well as Indian deaths and burials. The homeowner, Dave Oman, and his acquaintances report hearing footsteps and voices, and Dave awoke one night to see an apparition standing at the foot of his bed pointing towards the direction of the driveway. He didn't recognize the man at the time, but three months later while researching the area, he came across a photo of Mr. Sebring and identified him as the man who had manifested in his bedroom that night.

 

During the investigation, Chris decided to try out a new device that is currently all the rage in the paranormal community: a K2 (or K-II) meter. This handheld device is a special type of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) detector. An EMF detector locates and tracks energy sources, and picks up on fluctuations in electromagnetic fields in the surrounding environment. Because spirits are comprised of energy, it is believed that when an anomaly is present, it disrupts this electromagnetic field. When you experience a cold spot in a haunted house, it is because whatever spirits are present need to absorb the energy around them in order to manifest (either physically or audibly.)

 

So the idea is that ghosts can actually communicate with the living by disturbing the electromagnetic fields that surround the K2 device. In the episode of "Ghost Hunters", for example, Chris told the spirits that they could answer his questions by making the meter flash twice for "yes" or once for "no". A previously inactive screen began lighting up with activity but only when he asked the questions. They even changed the batteries just to make sure the meter wasn't on the fritz, but fresh batteries produced the same results.

 

Cold spot is a term used to describe an unexplained area of localized coldness, or sudden drops in temperature, that are said to be the result of paranormal activity.

 

Infrared thermometers measure temperature using blackbody radiation (generally infrared) emitted from objects. They are sometimes called laser thermometers if a laser is used to help aim the thermometer, or non-contact thermometers to describe the device's ability to measure temperature from a distance. By knowing the amount of infrared energy emitted by the object and its emissivity, the object's temperature can be determined.

 

The most basic design consists of a lens to focus the infrared energy on to a detector, which converts the energy to an electrical signal that can be displayed in units of temperature after being compensated for ambient temperature variation. This configuration facilitates temperature measurement from a distance without contact with the object to be measured. As such, the infrared thermometer is useful for measuring temperature under circumstances where thermocouples or other probe type sensors cannot be used or do not produce accurate data for a variety of reasons.

 

Some typical circumstances are where the object to be measured is moving; where the object is surrounded by an electromagnetic field, as in induction heating; where the object is contained in a vacuum or other controlled atmosphere; or in applications where a fast response is required.

 

Thermographic Camera, sometimes called a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared), or an infrared camera less specifically, is a device that forms an image using infrared radiation, similar to a common camera that forms an image using visible light. Instead of the 450-750 nanometer range of the visible light camera, infrared cameras operate in wavelengths as long as 14,000 nm (14 µm).

 

A highly sensitive person (HSP) is a person having the innate trait of high sensitivity (or innate sensitiveness as Carl Gustav Jung originally coined it). According to Elaine N. Aron and colleagues as well as other researchers, highly sensitive people, which would represent about a fifth of the population, process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly due to a biological difference in their nervous systems. This is a specific trait with key consequences that in the past has often been confused with innate shyness, inhibitedness, innate fearfulness, introversion, and so on. The existence of the trait of innate sensitivity was demonstrated using a test that was shown to have both internal and external validity. Although the term is primarily used to describe humans, the trait is present in nearly all higher animals.

 

The term highly sensitive person was coined by Dr. Elaine N. Aron in 1996, and the name is gaining popularity because it presents the trait in a positive light, as it posits shyness, inhibitedness, fearfulness as negative traits that may or may not be acquired by highly sensitive people and animals, depending on environmental challenges. Yet other names used to describe the trait in literature include "introverted emotional temperament", "chronic cortical/cortisol arousal", "hypervigilance", and "innate shyness".

 

Psychic: In popular culture the word psychic (pronounced /sahy-kik/; from the Greek "psȳchikós of the soul, mental") refers to the ability to perceive things hidden from the senses through means of extra-sensory perception. The term also refers to theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation and cold reading to produce the appearance of having such abilities. Parapsychologists attempt to study what some believe are psychic phenomena using a variety of methods such as random number generators to test for psychokinesis or the Ganzfeld experiment to test for extra-sensory perception.

 

VOICE RECORDER PROTOCOL

 

  1. Don't whisper. Talk in a normal voice.
  2. Try to keep recorder away from your mouth.
  3. Please turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate during an investigation.
  4. Keep cell phones away from equipment as it could throw distortions on cameras and tape recorders and EMF meters.
  5. Persons holding tape recorder need to give as much information on tape as possible.
    1. State time
    2. Location at the investigation, i.e., what floor, room number if possible, etc.
    3. How many and in the group
    4. Try to get everyone in the group to state their own name, that way there is a reference to their voice.
  6. Try and be as specific as possible when giving information.
  7. Try not to let anything hit recorder, i.e., lens caps or other pieces of equipment.
  8. Talking during investigations is okay, but, try not to talk over other people or while other people are talking. This makes listening to EVP's difficult.

 

TYPES OF HUNTING

 

1. Types of hauntings

 

A haunting is a recurring presence of a ghost, demon, or similar supernatural being at a specific place. A haunting can occur anywhere. Belief in hauntings and ghosts spans the world geographically and is recorded throughout history. Additionally, anthropological evidence indicates it was common in prehistoric societies also. Typical researchers of hauntings include parapsychologists, paranormal investigators, historians, folklorists, anthropologists and skeptics.

 

Types of hauntings

 

Intelligent - The entity is aware of its surroundings, including living people who are present within the area. The entity's classification can be benevolent, benign, or malevolent.

 

Residual - It is believed that a residual haunting occurs when an entity visits the same place and performs a repetitive act. The entity is not cognizant of any living persons who are present within the area and often times is not aware of its surroundings as we see it today. These types of hauntings typically occur after a tragic event and the repetitive acts display a portion of the event as it happened. There are times, however, that the residual act is of a mundane act the individual repeated often in life. Generally these types of entities are not considered an actual ghost, but an imprint of energy left at the location due to the tragic event.

 

Benevolent - A benevolent haunting is of a protective nature. It is felt that the benevolent entity is a loved one looking to protect the living people within an area in which a demon or other possibly violent entity exists. These ghosts are often found to be related to the living persons within the area, but also have been found to be closely connected to those being attacked.

 

Malevolent - A malevolent haunting occurs when a ghost or demon seeks to inflict harm on the living within an area. It is said that this occurs because the entity is angry for events that occurred in its life, jealous of the living, or a malicious personality in general, seeking attention, or is defensive of its home and wishes the current living persons to depart, or sad and wants others to acknowledge its sadness and to feel its misery. Poltergeist activity is often confused with a violent haunting; usually it is spirit simply seeking attention. A demon can be present if a murder existed in the area.

 

WARNING: Although cases of hauntings by malevolent spirits are very rare, it's best not to take any chance. If you think your house might be haunted by an entity, your best course of action is always to contact a reputable expert.

 

Benign - A benign haunting occurs when the entity is unconcerned with the living or unaware of their presence within the area. This type can also be connected to an intelligent or residual haunting.

 

2. Surviving a haunting

 

Living through a Haunting can be a traumatizing experience. Fortunately, most types of hauntings are not dangerous.

 

Handling a haunting depends on the particular type of haunting.

 

Residual Haunting

 

There is no known "fix" for residual haunting, but since they are non-violent, they should be of no real concern. Sometimes, cleansing ceremonies such as burning sage, can help.

 

Since Residual Hauntings pose no danger, some just learn to live with them, and even enjoy the novelty. Others find them too unsettling and when all else fails, move away.

 

Human Spirit (ghost) Haunting

 

The best way to deal with a Human Spirit is to have reputable medium or psychic communicate with it to help guide it. We are not talking about the kind of "psychic" that you might find on the other end of a 1-900 number. There is no shortage of charlatans that call themselves "psychic" and take advantage of grief-stricken relatives that want to communicate with a recently departed loved one.

 

Reputable psychics and mediums will only charge a nominal fee for their time, or may not charge anything at all. They make their living by writing books and collecting speaking fees on the lecture circuit. If a psychic tells you that evil spirits are about to harm you or your loved ones and your only option is to pay them thousands of dollars to rid of the spirits, contact your local police department or your state's Attorney General office immediately. These people are criminals.

 

A real psychic or medium would communicate with the spirit and try to ascertain the nature of the entity, what it is, who it is, and what it wants. It may be a loved one with a message, or a confused spirit that needs guidance. Either way, a good psychic may be able to guide the spirit towards their next destination and stop the haunting.

 

If a psychic a not available, you may try to assert yourself as the legitimate owner of the house. Claim loudly that the spirit is not welcome here and that this is your, and only your house. Symbolic cleansing ceremonies, such as burning sage many also help.

 

However, if the spirit is not a ghost, but rather a demonic entity, the above steps may only escalate the situation.

 

Demonic Haunting & Exorcisms

 

Demonic Hauntings are dangerous and there is no sure fire way to get rid of a Demon if it is determined to stalk you. They are not bound by time or geography. They are methodical and persistent. They enjoy tormenting people, and can be very patient.

 

The only people qualified to deal with a demonic haunting are Demonologists and Catholic Church sanctioned Exorcists.

 

(Wikipedia: Demonology)

 

(Wikipedia: Exorcism)

 

An exorcism is a religious ritual where an exorcist tries to command a Demon to leave a house, or to leave a body it has possessed. There is much debate about the success record of exorcisms. In some cases it was claimed that exorcisms were completely successful, and the demon left the victim never to return, but in many other cases, the exorcism was only temporarily successful; after a long battle, the demon finally left, only to return a few months or years later and resume the haunting with greater intensity.

 

In a few cases, the demon got so enraged by the presence of an exorcist that it increased the level of attacks, resulting in severe physical injuries to the victim, and sometimes resulting in death.

 

The alternative to contacting an Exorcist or Demonologist is to try to remain strong and persevere though the haunting. If the Demon fails to break the spirit of the victim and can not gain control over them, it may back off temporarily, or move on to the next victim.

 

3. What NOT to do

 

If you suspect that you are experiencing an Intelligent Haunting and not sure of it’s a human spirit, or a demonic entity, it’s best not to take any chances. Contact a reputable psychic right away. If you have reasons to think that the haunting is of a demonic nature, contact the Catholic Church or a Demonologist. You don’t have to be a practicing Catholic to receive help.

 

Do NOT try to communicate with the entity in any way.

 

Do NOT try to perform any rituals on your own.

 

Do NOT taunt or speak directly to the entity.

 

Do NOT use talking boards or Ouija boards.

 

Do NOT show fear and let the haunting break your will.

 

Do NOT believe anything the entity says, even if it appears to be the spirit of a relative.

 

4. Conclusions

 

A Haunting can be a terrifying experience. Hearing inexplicable noises in the middle of the night, or witnessing apparitions of deceased relatives can be more than unsettling. People react to Haunting in different ways; fear, panic, curiosity, denial, anger.

 

For some people, a haunting can have a detrimental effect on every part of their lives, including family life, relationships, work, mental state, etc. Whatever you do, remain strong, and if the target of the haunting is someone you love, support them as much as you can.

 

Most hauntings are benign and pose no threat to you or your family. Most people persevere through hauntings, and are unharmed in any way. Violent hauntings by malevolent entities are extremely rare.