Two important rules are:
First, never trespass.
Don’t go ghost hunting on private property without permission. Neighbors may call the police. The owner may file charges. Either way, you might end up with a police record, or worse.
Don’t take that chance, even if “everyone goes to that place.” You probably don’t want to be the first one the site owner — or the police — use to set an example to others.
It’s a sad story I’ve heard over & over again, and it could have been avoided.
Then, even more important…
Never go ghost hunting alone.
Many haunted places are isolated or generally avoided. Safety is a concern. If you encounter someone frightening — living or dead — you should not be on your own.
In most cases, you have more to fear from the living than from the dead. (I’ll say that repeatedly in my articles, because it’s true.)
It’s not just the annoying kid who sneaks up on you in the dark, and screams, just to scare you.
(Yes, there’s a lot of that at Halloween. It’s annoying.)
More often, it’s the creepy guy at the back corner of the cemetery, or a back room in the empty house.
He’s there because most “haunted” sites are isolated, and his plans are criminal. (Count yourself lucky if he’s only dealing drugs.)
In addition to strange people, many haunted sites present everyday physical risks.
Unmarked graves (depressions the size and shape of coffins), exposed tree roots, spiders, and rodent holes are common in overgrown cemeteries.
Old buildings can have loose boards, decaying floors, uneven stairs, rodents, and squatters.
If you’re in a rural or wooded area frequented by hunters (whether or not it’s officially hunting season), it’s smart to wear something reflective, or a neon-colored vest or jacket. (They’re inexpensive at stores such as Wal-Mart.)
A cell phone is not enough for safety. In many haunted places, perhaps because EMF levels are high, your electrical equipment isn’t reliable.
So, never think that it’s okay to go to a deserted, haunted place on your own. If you need to call for help, your phone may not work.
These are good reasons to find a local, informal ghost hunting group, and sign up for one of their casual investigations.
However, some people try ghost hunting with a few interested friends, first.
Either way, find people who share your interests. If you’re a skeptic, you’ll probably have more fun with other skeptics. If you’re a believer, investigate with other believers.
In general, keep an open mind and choose companions who are interested in the paranormal but — like you — are willing to objectively consider the evidence.
Recommended reading: Guidelines for Ghost Hunters.