“Creepy” locations can be haunted
Many of my most surprising discoveries resulted from a comment by a fellow researcher, or an acquaintance. He or she said a place felt “creepy,” “weird,” or haunted when he or she passed by.
I had no other reason to visit those locations, but I did, anyway.
In most cases, the site isn’t haunted. It might have an odd history or weird visual cues.
Or, the “creepy” feeling may actually be a warning to stay away from that site. (If that’s your gut feeling, avoid that location.)
So, a “creepy” site may be chilling, but it’s not always ghostly.
However, a significant number of those sites — or something nearby — have turned out to be haunted. When I did off-site research, those locations had histories of violence or power struggles.
Many also had ghost stories, forgotten since the 19th century.
So, once you’ve exhausted all known haunts, try a few places that — for no clear reason — have always given you a chill.
Local ghost hunting groups
Sometimes, there’s no point in looking for fresh, haunted places. Local ghost hunting groups have already done the research. In many cases, you can accompany them on investigations.
To locate a good ghost hunting group, start by looking online. Search for your location plus “ghost hunters” or “ghost hunting.”
Though the fad of ghost hunting seems to have peaked (for now, anyway), you may find at least one ghost hunting group near your home.
Many of them are very good. Some might be more professional. Others may be more fun.
There are just a few things to watch out for:
- A bossy leader who has to have the last word. He or she has nothing good to say about anyone else, and seems to enjoy ridiculing others. Low key, they’re just mean-spirited jokes at the expense of others. At the other extreme, the person posts flames and even YouTube videos, making fun of other teams or individuals. If you see anything like that, run in the opposite direction.
- A group with uncomfortable politics, usually two different factions that never actually argue… but tension is there and it’s a distraction. It may be a power play. Eventually, these group splits into two or more smaller groups. Right before and after the split, the situation can become very uncomfortable.
- A group that asks for money without real accountability for how it’s spent. (Frankly, most ghost hunting groups don’t have dues or fees. You may want to look for that kind of group, instead.)
- A group that doesn’t actually do anything. They meet at coffee shops and talk about sites they might visit, and houses they may investigate… but they go on few (if any) ghost hunts.
Instead, you’re looking for:
- An informal group, where everyone seems independent. Each member has an equal role (and vote) in investigations. Leadership may be structured, but it’s never overbearing.
- If the group has a website, it looks professional. Online articles, photos, videos, and EVP include thoughtful evidence and avoid unsupported claims. Instead of engaging in flame wars, they simply delete snarky comments at their site.
- Every member pays his or her own expenses. Team members carpool when a location is distant or has limited parking. The team don’t charge vulnerable clients for investigations, either.
- A group that regularly investigates a variety of haunted locations, and sometimes gets together to attend local ghost hunting events.
If you find a group that seems pretty good, ask if you can just accompany the team for a few investigations. (I suggest taking a very level-headed or discreetly skeptical friend with you.)
Never commit to membership until you’re sure they’re a good match for your interests. This means at least three or four ghost hunts over at least a month or two.
Look for a second or third ghost hunting group in your area, and go on investigations with all of them. Compare their good and bad points to make a smart decision about which one (if any) to join.
In a later lesson, I’ll say more about ghost hunting groups. I’ll also share basic tips for forming your own ghost hunting group.