3d) Preparing for Your First Ghost Hunt

You’re almost ready to investigate a haunted location, or at least a place that’s supposed to be haunted.

apparition of ghostly woman Remember the key points from your previous lessons.

Find someone (preferably two or more people) to go ghost hunting with. Even if you’re meeting a group of experienced ghost hunters, take a friend along for safety, moral support, and some common-sense grounding.

Research the location.  I like to use Google Maps. (Note: Google keeps changing how its maps work. The following worked in 2010, and can still work in the “old” version of Google Maps, if not the new.)

First, find it on Google Maps’ street view.

To see the street view (if one is available), go to Google Maps and enter the address of the haunted location.

When the map appears, look for Google’s little yellow-orange figure. With your cursor, drag that figure to the spot on the map where your destination is.

In a minute or less, a photo should replace the map.

Use the wheel and arrows to navigate so you see what the site looks like, what’s across the street and nearby, and so on.

If the area is okay, visit the site in daylight. Whether you actually go there ahead of time or not, don’t just show up at night without a good idea of where it is and what it looks like.

For your first ghost hunt, choose a place that’s not too isolated and not in a dangerous area.

(That said, many haunted sites are deserted, avoided, or out in the boonies. That makes them popular locations for keg parties and drug deals. If your “gut feeling” tells you to get out of there… run!)

Ideally, select a site that’s been recommended by someone you respect, and preferably someone who’s encountered something “odd” there.

If you’re meeting someone there (as opposed to traveling with them), don’t enter the site until your companion/s arrive.

Plan to spend no more than an hour at the site. 20 or 30 minutes may be as long as you need… or can tolerate.

There’s no way to predict — or fully prepare for — what you may encounter. You might feel uneasy. You might be terrified. Or, you might feel disappointed and just want to leave.

(Don’t expect to see a full-body apparition. People hardly ever see them. The photo above isn’t real… just a picture of what an apparition can look like.  Something that vivid can be a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for a ghost hunter.)

Leave when you’re tired, frightened, or simply not having fun.  You don’t need an excuse, not even for yourself.  When you feel like leaving, say so and then leave. 

I know I say this often, but it’s important: Any time you feel prompted to leave a site, or you feel even a little unsafe, leave.  Later, you may decide you were being silly. It’s better to be safe and feel foolish, than sorry you stayed and then something bad happened.

As ghost hunters, we’re dealing with the unknown.  The invisible world isn’t just Casper the Ghost.  There are some ugly, dangerous entities visiting use (and some ugly, dangerous people).   Your “gut feeling” may be your best alarm system.  Trust it, and fine-tune it as you go along.

You’ll develop tolerance for “normal” ghost phenomena.  However, you should never ignore any feeling that you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Get out of there.

As soon as you arrive home (or take a break at a coffee shop), jot your immediate thoughts into your ghost hunting journal.

A day later, review those notes and any other evidence that you found, like photos, EVP recordings.

Add your current thoughts, once you’ve had time away from the site and its spirits.

Now let’s talk about Lesson Three Homework.

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