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Frequently Asked Questions

We get all kinds of questions asked on a daily basis. Here is a summary of the questions asked by reporters, authors and school children.

Top Three questions
How can I join your group?
How do I get started as a paranoramal investigator?
I am very curious about the paranormal, can I tag along on one of your investigations?

Questions about the Paranormal
Why can't we hear ghosts, when they can be recorded with equipment?
New
What kind of special light is used to capture ghost images? Also, are ghosts “orbs” or can you actually see their figure?

What are the ways that paranormal activity manifests itself?
Do you believe paranormal activity is caused by spirits? New
What is your definition of “paranormal activity?”
What are your thoughts about the "spirit box?" New
What was the most unique paranormal experience you had?

Questions about becoming a "Ghost Hunter"
When I get older, I want to do what you do. How can I make this a career?
What is the most important tool to have when you become a ghosthunter?
What made you decide to become a ghost hunter?
What technical gadget would you recommend to a novice ghost hunter?
What should the novice ghost hunter expect when he/she first starts in the quest to hunt ghosts?
What does it mean if a person fails to ever have a paranormal experience even if he or she is doing all they can?
How can a novice spot a fake?
At what point do you consider a novice an expert?

Top Three questions

How can I join your group?

We are not currently looking for new team members. Our group is small so we can focus on helping our clients to the best of our ability, and they can communicate with a familiar person throughout the process. We simply do not have the resources to train and guide inexperienced investigators, and we have chosen not to expand our group in this way. There are other groups that offer this type of membership, but be prepared to sit out many of the investigations that are offered to more experienced members first. Don't let this discourage you from joining a group where you can network with other people that share your interest. You can always start your own group when you learn more about how you would run the group if you could.

How do I get started as a paranormal investigator?

Most of us began with some form of research. Of course this takes time, but nobody jumped onto the set of Ghost Hunters the day after they decided they were interested in the paranormal. We read books, research potentially haunted or historical locations and historical or infamous people. There are also several good podcasts you can listen to. Many older cities, offer ghost walks and tours. If you are lucky, you may be able to find a good paranormal convention to attend in a nearby city. Then you want to meet other people that share your interest so you can compare notes. Seek out large groups that are accepting new members and learn what you can.

Please remember that when you send an email to a group you want to join, you are trying to convince them that you should be a member of their team. Do your best to write in complete sentences and use spell check. Don't send an email that sounds like a short-hand text message. If you do, chances are your email will not be returned. If necessary, ask someone to check your message before you send it. You want your email to stand out from the possible dozens or hundreds of emails received by your prospective group.

If after taking these steps over the course of several years, you are still as interested in finding answers to those unknown questions, then you can decide how far you want to go.

I am very curious about the paranormal, can I tag along on one of your investigations?

The people that ask us to investigate their homes or businesses require a certain degree of privacy, which makes it impossible for us to bring extra people that are simply curious about hauntings. We try to be professional and treat people with respect. Even though you may have good intentions, we don't know you and can't anticipate how you will behave or react in certain situations. For these reasons, we cannot invite guests to accompany our group during investigations. If you just have to visit an authentic haunted location, do your research on the internet. There are many locations that are open to the public that have had several reports of strange activity. You may not be able to conduct an investigation, but often times, employees are willing to share their personal stories if you are brave enough to ask.

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Questions about the Paranormal

Why can’t we hear ghosts, when they can be recorded with equipment?

Many people think that you can record voices on a cassette tape or on a video because the ghost’s voice imprints directly on the magnetic tape inside the cassette. Another theory is that ghosts speak at a sound frequency either lower or higher than we can hear. Kind of like a dog whistle, dogs can hear it but people can’t. EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomena can be recorded using anything that records sound. Even if you record EVP, it doesn’t mean that your house is haunted, it is just an unexpected voice that is sometimes found on recordings if you listen very carefully.

We don't suggest you do this in your own house, you shouldn't give entities in your home attention, or question them directly. The only way you should be communicating with spirits is commanding them to leave your home in the name of Jesus Christ.

By talking to them, you are inviting them into your life good and bad. Evil spirits are perfectly capable of pretending to be good in order to gain your trust, and once you invite them in, well you're asking for trouble. This is how it always begins with minor activity, and it will escalate into something you never intended and have no ability to stop.

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What kind of special light is used to capture ghost images? Also, are ghosts “orbs” or can you actually see their figure?

It seems that ghosts can be captured in any kind of light. Some of the most famous photos were taken by accident with a regular camera in full daylight.

Here is a website that shows a lot of famous ghost photos:
http://www.prairieghosts.com/grphotos.html

When we are doing an investigation, we use infrared illuminators when we are taking pictures or video in the dark, because this is another kind of light we think makes it easier to see spirits. This is what you see on TV when they are shooting in the dark and all of the people look green. A digital camera can also capture this wavelength of light, which is why we like to use them during investigations. Some investigators like to use infrared film in their cameras, but it is hard to work with because it is expensive and very sensitive to heat and light.

Ghosts can be both orbs and full body or partial body spirits. They can also appear as a mist or dark shadow. We think they show up as orbs, or round balls of light, sometimes because it takes a lot more energy to form a figure. Click here for more on our theory of orb photos.

But not all orbs you catch on a camera are ghosts. You can do this experiment at home if you have a digital camera, it will probably work with film also. Turn the lights off or down really low, and then shake a blanket, pillow, or something that is dusty and take a picture. You will probably see a lot of orbs because when dust is close to the camera lens (within 4”) the light from the camera flash will bounce off the dust, and it will look blurry because it is so close to the camera. This also works the same way if you take a picture when it is raining or snowing. So we have to be very careful when we are taking pictures, or we use a dust cover over the lens of the camera. We also have to write down how the weather is if we are outside.

It is very hard to tell the difference between what a real orb may look like, and what is just a particle of dust. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. But if we set up equipment and a meter detects something strange, and someone feels a cold spot then takes a picture with an orb in it right where they are pointing, I would say that is a very good example of what may be a spirit.

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What are the ways that paranormal activity manifests itself?

It can be anything from voices to loud noises to missing items, seeing shadows, a white cloud, or balls of light. People see objects moving, or fall off of shelves. I even recently had someone tell me that she had "beds being made, clothes being folded, (and) beds being turned down," among other more disturbing behavior, like animals that act strangely or scared and end up in weird places, like closed drawers. Paranormal activity also seems to wreak havoc on electrical and/or plumbing equipment. There have been a few cases where electrical problems are persistent, and no matter how many times the electrician or cable man comes out, they can't explain why it won't work.

Do you believe paranormal activity is caused by spirits? What do you think about animal spirits?

I believe that our family members come back to visit after crossing over, and can find ways to let us know they are around. I also believe that the spirits of human beings that are currently suffering in purgatory can interact with people on the Earth and can possibly cause poltergeist-type activity. The Secret of the Poor Souls in Purgatory: An interview with Maria Simma of Austria

Then there are demons that can deceive and have all of the time in the world to wait until the moment is right to cause suffering, pain and destruction. They can also pretend to be our loved ones or children, and it is in this way that they can prey on greiving families desparate to contact the deceased.

I also believe in animal spirits, just like the spirit of family members, I think they can come back to visit. I have heard many first hand accounts of deceased pet sightings or sensations of them curling up in bed next to their previous owners.

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What is your definition of “paranormal activity?”

Paranormal activity is any activity that can’t be explained with a natural cause.

What are your thoughts about the "spirit box?"

My husband does have experience with these in haunted locations. He saw one being used that was hand-made by the guy that invented it, an authentic "Frank's Box" and it appeared to be legit, or it seemed to say unexpected phrases appropriate to the location, and the questions asked.

That is not so much the case with the mass-produced models made in China, ie. generic "ghost boxes."

NEVER, under any circumstances, do WE ever attempt to have a conversation with spirits. Yes, you will see that on TV, but it is a really bad idea. Part of the problem with these boxes is that there is no earthly way to know who or what you are communicating with (if anyone at all). It doesn't really matter what what hours of the day you're doing it, it's never a good idea. Even if this entity tells you it's name, you can't trust the answers.

What was the most unique paranormal experience you had?

Well, this is unique only to me, but we were at a historical house in a state park and we were discussing the owner and his profession. We weren’t sure what he did, but someone said they thought he was a tanner. As if in answer to the question I heard a man’s voice make a sound in the affirmative. It sounded very close to my ear, but it also seemed to echo as if coming from a large empty room. The quality of the sound was just very different than if someone “living” who was standing next to me had made it. Then as we were leaving we walked past the house and heard the sound of a man coughing, with the same quality. Another woman walking with me heard it as well, but there were no men around. It was very eerie to me because I had never heard anything like it before. I have heard many good stories of full apparitions, or ghosts that appeared as living persons. I have yet to experience one. That happened a couple of years into it, but we see stuff out of the corner of our eye all of the time that can’t be confirmed.

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When I get older, I want to do what you do. How can I make this a career?

Well, this is something we do on a volunteer basis. We want to help people that need us, so we don’t charge anyone when we go to their house or business to investigate, it’s not really a job. Sometimes they buy dinner or snacks, but that’s about it. Everybody in our group works full time at other jobs.

There are some people that are able to make a living out of this, but usually they live in a city that is really old and is known to be haunted, or a big tourist location, and they run haunted tours, sometimes year-round. In New Orleans they have tours four times a night all year, and they get a lot of people to take them. But usually that is not enough money to live on, so they also write books about the paranormal. For example, Troy Taylor from the American Ghost Society in Alton Illinois writes a lot of books, he owns a publishing company that also prints other people’s books, and he runs tours and group trips to haunted places in other cities in Illinois and nearby states. But there aren’t many people that can do what he does, so not many people are able to have paranormal investigating as a job.

Then there are the psychics who charge people a lot of money to come to their house, and to do psychic readings, but that is also pretty rare.

Another reason everybody has a day job is because the equipment can get expensive, especially if you want a setup like on the TV show Ghost Hunters. You also have to find someone who knows electronics really well, so they can fix things when they break.

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What is the most important tool to have when you become a ghosthunter?

The most important tool you need to ghost hunt is free, you need to bring an open mind and logical or skeptical attitude. Many ghost hunters will tell you that the first objective is to disprove the haunting. All possible logical explanations for the phenomena must be analyzed before declaring the location haunted. When there seems to be no physical explanation for the haunting, you need to have an open mind to be able to accept the other possibilities. And just because you aren’t able to document activity, it doesn’t mean the location is not haunted. It may require several visits to document activity, or it may not happen at all. I like to ask the owner to keep a journal of activity noting the time, location, persons present, and type of activity. This may help to determine the best time to come back for a follow-up visit. As far as electronic equipment goes, most people start with what they have. This usually means a camera, either 35mm or digital. This is ok when you are just starting out, but what really makes compelling evidence is when several pieces of equipment back up some kind of phenomena occurring at the same time in the same place.

What made you decide to become a ghost hunter?

I have always been interested in ghosts. When I saw a group in my state that claimed to hunt ghosts, I decided to join to see what they were about. After learning what I could from them, reading a lot of books, and doing a lot of research on the internet, a few of us decided to start our own group. You really have to find a group of people you trust and like hanging out with. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and people that aren’t serious about the paranormal or helping other people. Many groups are formed on a hobby basis, they get together to party and drink alcohol, and call themselves ghost hunters. We like to meet with people in other groups in our state and all around the country, that are serious about the paranormal to talk to them about what they believe and how they operate.

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What technical gadget would you recommend to a novice ghost hunter?

Well, after a camera or video camera, I would recommend a basic EMF meter. There are several low cost models, for example a Gauss Master™, Cellsensor™, or a Trifield® Natural EM Meter. Now, as with any electrical equipment, it is important to learn how to use the equipment properly by reading the owner’s manual, if you are not using the equipment properly then your results are worthless. These meters all work on the common principal that paranormal activity is made up of electromagnetic energy and can cause abnormal fluctuations in the meter, and this is exactly why it is important to read the manual so you recognize natural fluctuations and readings. It is very easy to get excited about a reading that seems paranormal, but may very well be a naturally occuring field.

What should the novice ghost hunter expect when he/she first starts in the quest to hunt ghosts?

Many, many boring evenings where no activity takes place. It is very easy to get discouraged or distracted. And for all of that audio and video recording of an empty doorway, you have to spend an equal amount of time trying not to fall asleep reviewing the footage.

What does it mean if a person fails to ever have a paranormal experience even if he or she is doing all they can?

They just aren’t in the right place at the right time yet, or maybe they are trying too hard. Try not to think about it, but stay aware. Things happen when you least expect them. You can also try to focus on an object and use your peripheral vision, because that is how most sightings occur, when you try to look straight at it, it disappears.

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How can a novice spot a fake?

I think it just takes a lot of practice. Many websites are now including false evidence to show the difference. You can also experiment on your own and try to create “paranormal” activity on purpose with dust and moisture, camera straps and bugs. That way you know what not to look for.

At what point do you consider a novice an expert?

I don’t believe anyone can be an expert in the field of the paranormal. There are many people who have extensive experience, or have been researching the field for 30-50 years, but until it can be fully understood and documented I don’t see how anyone can call himself or herself an “expert” in the paranormal.