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How to Conduct a Paranormal Investigation

This will be my 52nd blog post, and I have yet to cover how I conduct a scientific paranormal investigation. Today I will remedy that and detail how I perform this task.

I will preface this with a statement that when conducting an investigation, my top priority is to discover a scientific cause of the perceived paranormal activity. In many cases, that can be done with an inquisitive conversation between myself and the person reporting the activity. If you have seen paranormal television shows, you will find that they use very little or no scientific discovery and jump right into an onsite investigation to attempt to find paranormal activity. The goal of these television shows is to make money, and to maximize that opportunity; they need to produce a show that will draw the largest audience. In general, that equates to searching for the spooky and an unscientific production. While these television shows state that they are paranormal investigators completing a paranormal investigation, in reality, that is not accurate as they are ghost hunters engaging in a ghost hunt. A ghost hunter is someone who goes to a location to attempt to find paranormal activity, in most cases with little or no actual attempt at scientific discovery or methodology. A paranormal investigator aims to explain perceived paranormal activity with a plethora of science-related subjects and empirically confirm their findings and, if required, through consultation with someone with either an advanced college degree or a subject matter expert. Only after all science is exhausted will a paranormal investigator entertain the thought that something could possibly be paranormal and continue investigating accordingly. The two terms paranormal investigator and ghosthunter started being used synonymously in the mid-2000s by television shows. Although they are two completely different things, they have incorrectly been associated with meaning the same thing since the production of these shows began. Historically a paranormal investigator and a ghost hunter were two completely different things. My investigative methodology and technology are very different than what you will have seen being used by ghost hunters on television, as my goal is different than what you see on television productions. My goal is to ensure that I discover the truth of the situation, and in doing so, I feel that I must attempt to find a scientific explanation for the perceived paranormal activity, even consulting those with advanced college degrees, before even considering the possibility of something possibly being paranormal. My thought process is, how could I even consider something as being paranormal if I hadn’t exhausted any potential scientific cause first? In my mind, I wouldn’t be doing due diligence. I wouldn’t be conducting an investigation that was one of integrity and truth-seeking if I just assumed the paranormal without exploring the science first. I always say the science comes before the spooky.

On television shows, you will see them jump right in and conduct an onsite investigation without any prior scientific discovery, not conduct any fundamental scientific research during an investigation, and only attempt to find a spooky cause. During these television productions, they use devices under the guise of various paranormal theories. However, if you were to ask any of these ghost hunters the question of who originally came up with the idea and any scientific hypothesis or experiments providing evidence to this theory, they would look at you like a deer in headlights. None of the ghost hunters know where these theories came from or any scientific methodology behind them. These theories have been passed from person to person for many years and are assumed to be accurate. Still, as you may notice, there has been very little or no advancement in provable science in the field due to chasing these untraceable theories without conducting any real scientific experimentation, documentation, and peer review and a lack of collaboration between those in the field. For the most part, everyone does their own thing, and very little scientific research or experimentation is completed. Various ghost hunting teams will post videos, photos, and audio clips on the internet that they believe and want you to believe are paranormal. However, there typically isn’t any science investigated when capturing these media files, and the reported evidence is recorded and interpreted with incredible bias with ignorance of science or visual or audible artifacts. There are countless times when I watched a ghost hunting show and could easily see a scientific or natural cause for a situation the cast members deemed as potential paranormal activity. In my opinion, these television shows should not be used as a template for conducting an investigation, as they aren’t an investigation of any kind, as they are simply a ghost hunt to find the spooky with, at best, a little common sense debunking. Unfortunately, many people in the field use these shows as a template on how to conduct an investigation when what you are seeing is not an investigation. So how do you conduct an actual paranormal investigation?

When a client contacts me about a situation they believe to be paranormal, I will have an inquisitive conversation with the client. In many cases, I can derive the cause of what is being perceived as paranormal through a series of questions that will be tailored to the perceived activity being experienced by the client. There is often an easy-to-find scientific explanation for the perceived activity that the client hadn’t entertained, primarily due to it having a scientific cause where the science involved isn’t common knowledge. I start by asking about the physical symptoms that the client is experiencing as scientifically it can be more critical to helping me find a cause of the situation as various physical symptoms, either unilaterally or in tandem with others, may point towards a scientific rationale. After exploring the physical symptoms, I will ask the client about what they are experiencing that they believe to be paranormal. In many cases, this acts as a pointer in concert with the physical symptoms, directing me toward a scientific cause of the client’s perceived paranormal activity. After discussing the physical symptoms and perceptions with the client, I will tailor my questions to explore possible scientific reasons for their perceived activity based on the previous statements made by the client. For instance, the feeling of being watched, known scientifically as scopaesthesia, is often a symptom of acute claustrophobia caused by changes in the physical environment around the client. Another example is the client being unaware of pareidolia and the various stimuli that can cause it to occur, such as infrasound, ultrasound, electrostatic presence, toxic fumes, or hypnogogic or hypnopompic hallucinations to name a few of the many possibilities. Often this discussion will allow me to deduce the scientific cause of the perceived activity, and I can coach the client on how to remedy the situation, if possible, or simply educate them on the fact that their situation isn’t paranormal in nature.

Suppose I am unable to conclude the case with a phone conversation. In that case, the client will be asked to fill out a provided log sheet for any perceived activity, recording not only the activity, but other possibly influencing stimuli, including weather conditions, atmospheric conditions in the house, appliances running, medication taken, food/drink consumed, stress level, sleep achieved, medical conditions, and human activity to name a few. The date and time are also recorded because if the perceived paranormal activity has a reoccurring time frame, it may help me pin down a scientific cause. The log also includes documenting nearby activities such as vehicles in motion, generators, construction, business activity, human activity, etc. This log often allows me to discover a cause of activity that has a scientific explanation either unilaterally or in tandem with previously discovered information obtained during the initial interview. Keeping a detailed perceived activity log will often activate the preverbal lightbulb for the client, and they can deduce the cause of their perceived paranormal activity due to commonalities between reoccurring perceptions.

After the client can produce logs from several occurrences of what they perceive to be paranormal activity, the logs will be reviewed thoroughly by me. If necessary, I will clarify with the client any questions about what is stated in the log. If the situation requires it, I will then research the information provided in the logs to confirm or expand on the information provided by the client. This research may include investigating the local topography, business activities, human activities, and other possibly influential matters. This may include researching meteorological conditions at the time of the perceived paranormal activity. Once this is completed, another discovery discussion will be scheduled to follow up with the client to explore the information provided in the log and any findings from my research. Often at this point, I will have been able to deduce the cause of the perceived paranormal activity with a natural explanation and can coach the client on how to remedy it where applicable or be able to explain what is occurring, so the client isn’t wondering about what is going on around them that they perceive to be paranormal.

If at this point, I cannot pinpoint a cause for the perceived paranormal activity, I will schedule an onsite investigation. I will begin to research the history of the location where the investigation will be conducted. This research includes property and area history. This will be completed by researching at the local library,  town records, and the internet and speaking with historians when necessary. Personal information will not be revealed to anyone I speak with during my research, and any questions pursued during the research phase will ensure anonymity. At times, this research may provide additional information that may explain what is occurring that is being perceived as paranormal. For instance, an underground stream on the property could be causing erosion, and in turn, the building shifts, even slightly, causing objects to move or fall, which is often attributed to paranormal activity. We may find an industrial generator at an adjacent business that is the source of infrasound causing physical symptoms to the client that they perceived to be of a paranormal cause. Another example would be finding that there was a situation of audio misinterpretation due to echoing, evolution, or amplification of audio frequencies due to the local topography or layout of human-built installations.

Suppose I decide that the client would benefit from an onsite investigation. In that case, the client will be asked to sign a document giving us permission to conduct an on-site investigation and another document which is a two-way non-disclosure agreement. This agreement protects the client from us sharing anything from our investigation without their express written consent. It also protects us from the client sharing anything from the investigation without our permission.

Now I will discuss the general procedures that I follow a few days before a scheduled investigation is to commence.

I will begin reviewing space weather (solar activity) reports to prepare us for any increased electromagnetic radiation. Strong solar activity can further increase the electrical charge of the ionosphere. This can lead to increased ionospheric radio wave propagation, which will elevate the amount of radio interference experienced by our investigation equipment. We also review meteorological weather reports to ensure that there won’t be overly strong storms or potential Schumann Resonances during the investigation, which can cause audible and electronic interference to some of our investigative equipment and supersede any infrasound already occurring on-site that could have been causing the perceived paranormal activity. If there is going to be either a strong solar or meteorological storm, I will reschedule the investigation. During an investigation, I will secure any of our equipment susceptible to electromagnetic frequency interference in faraday bags which blocks out 95% of the surrounding electromagnetic radiation, helping prevent false data points. I will also confirm the investigation date/time with the client and ask to be sent electronic copies of any additional activity occurrence logs, which I will then review and, if needed, research any new relevant data that could point towards a cause of the perceived paranormal activity.

Now I will discuss the general procedures I follow on the day of an investigation.

This investigation I lead is nothing like what you see being conducted on paranormal television shows, as what you see on television is a highly edited, unscientific ghost hunt. My onsite investigations are pretty different and genuinely scientific in discovery and methodology.

Firstly, I will review solar and meteorological weather reports to ensure minimal interference from stellar radiation and meteorological anomalies. I will also ensure that there aren’t any public or private events in the immediate area and that there isn’t construction nearby, and confirm any last-minute specific details with the client. I will go through my equipment bags to ensure everything is ready for usage. I will now discuss the equipment that I use during investigations. You will quickly notice that I do not use most of the devices that you see being used on ghost hunting television shows. The premise of the usage of the equipment that you see on shows is through old untraceable theories that have been passed around for years, yet no one can tell you who came up with the theories or any actual scientific methodology behind them. I do not go in looking for paranormal activity, as I am looking for situations that could cause perceived paranormal activity. The equipment that I use consists of:

• Apple M2 MacBook Air – This computer is used for automatic data logging for our infrasound analyzer and our ultrasound analyzer. It is also used to transfer data from our FLIR camera and a few of the various other analyzers that we use.

• Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max – This is used for manual data logging and 48-megapixel high-resolution photography. It is also used to explore images taken with our FLIR camera.

• Apple iPhone 13 Pro – This is used for manual data logging and 12-megapixel high-resolution photography.

• Infiltec INFRA20 Infrasound Monitor – This device allows me to detect, monitor, & analyze infrasound frequencies between 0.5 – 20hz which are below the threshold for human hearing which is approximately 20hz to 20,000hz or 20kHz. Exposure to infrasound can cause symptoms including but not limited to anxiety, shakiness, a feeling of doom or depression, headaches, and ear pain. This device is connected to the Apple M2 MacBook Air in order to provide a digital waveform readout of what the device is sensing.

• BatBox Baton Ultrasound Monitor – This device allows me to detect & analyze ultrasound frequencies between 20 kHz – 120 kHz which are above the threshold for human hearing. Just like infrasound, exposure to ultrasound can cause symptoms including but not limited to anxiety, shakiness, a feeling of doom or depression, headaches, and ear pain. Like the infrasound analyzer, this device is connected to the Apple M2 MacBook Air in order to provide a digital readout of what the device is sensing.

• GCA-07W Geiger Counter – This device is used for analyzing alpha, beta, gamma, and x-ray ionizing radiation. Exposure to this radiation, even in smaller amounts can cause a wide variety of physical symptoms. While not very common, someone could purchase an object that has been exposed to this harmful radiation, and even in small amounts, this radiation could cause a wide plethora of physical symptoms.

•Mileseey Gas Detector• This analyzer detects carbon monoxide (CO), oxygen (O2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), & combustibles (EX) in gaseous form. These gases can cause a slew of physical symptoms and can even cause serious health problems.

•EG Air Quality Detector• This device detects formaldehyde, natural & synthetic volatile compounds, and particulate dust matter. Various forms of allergens and airborne particulates can cause people to have symptoms that are often attributed to the paranormal. One allergen, in particular, would be mold which can easily cause hallucinations.

•Simco Electrostatic & Ion Balance Analyzer• This device locates the sources of electrostatic & ion balance charges. Electrostatic and ion imbalance can cause various physical symptoms such as tingling, perception of cold spots, cause visually perceived and physically felt sparking, and can cause random situations that may appear paranormal in nature.

•High Precision Microwave Detector HT-M2• This device is used to find leakage of microwaves (electromagnetic) which are known to cause physical symptoms including loss of appetite, fatigue, sleeplessness, headaches, emotional instability, and poor memory just to name a few.

• TriField TF2 EMF Meter – This device allows for 3-axis detection of AC magnetic, AC electric, and RF/microwave electromagnetic radiation in one device. I use this device to find sources of the various forms of electromagnetic radiation that could be influencing human biology in a matter that causes physical symptoms or perceived paranormal activity.

• Engidot 5hz – 3Ghz Digital EMF Detector – Just like the TriField meter this device is used to find the source of electromagnetic radiation that could be influencing human biology in a matter that causes physical symptoms or perceived paranormal activity.

• Weather Sensing Array – This device measures outdoor precipitation, wind speed, temperature, humidity, & air pressure as well as indoor temperature & humidity. Often atmospheric anomalies can be misinterpreted as paranormal activity or influence other natural reactions that could be perceived as paranormal activity.

• FLIR Far-Infrared Thermal Camera TG267 – This device allows me to see in the far infrared spectrum for heat signatures. I use this device to look for such things as drafts, causes of Helmholtz Resonances, and vermin living in the walls or between floors. I am able to take still photos using this device and then use Bluetooth to transfer them to my Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and then transfer them to the Apple M2 MacBook for further evaluation.

• Zoom 360° Audio Recorder – Due to high sensitivity and amplification, it will record audio that is beyond the capabilities of reception by the human ear. It allows for live use so we can plug in headphones and monitor the feed during usage. I primarily use this to record sounds that the client is perceiving to be out of sort or paranormal for proper scientific identification. This device is used in a Farraday bag which blocks 95% of possible radio frequency interference. 

• 3Dio Free Space Binaural Microphone – This device is connected to the H4N Pro Audio Recorder and is used to capture 3d audio as a human would hear it. Electronic devices can often record sound in a manner that alters it from the way that a human would perceive it. This microphone ensures that the audio recording is in the form that a human would have heard it. Just like the audio recorder this device is used in a Farraday bag which blocks 95% of possible radio frequency interference. 

• Shure MV7 Microphone – This microphone is used as an alternative audio receiver connected to the H4N Pro audio recorder and is used with the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max for audio data logging when typing would affect the investigation or not be convenient due to safety concerns or logistics. Just like the audio recorder and binaural microphone this device is used in a Farraday bag which blocks 95% of possible radio frequency interference. 

• 4k Full Spectrum Camera with Infrared Light – This mobile device allows me to extend the visual spectrum to see in the near-infrared spectrum beyond our eye’s ability, taking both still photography and 4k quality video. I use this device to primarily spot wildlife or vermin that could be causing activity that is perceived to be paranormal in nature.

• OOSSXX 2k Wireless Near-Infrared Cameras w/ DVR – These devices allow me to monitor and record day visual and night near-infrared video and audio. I primarily use these to monitor the output of non-data logging devices as upon leaving a device in a room to record readings I will exit the room to ensure that I am not contaminating the readings due to the electromagnetic radiation emanating from my body. Secondarily I will use the camera in an attempt to record activities exterior of a client’s property that could be causing what is perceived to be paranormal activity. Such things that I would be looking for would be potential sources of infrasound, ultrasound, and vibration. I would also be looking for human or natural activity that could be having an effect on the property owned by the client.

• Bshiny Trail Camera – This device provides us with 30-megapixel day and night infrared motion-triggered photography. I use this device to photograph vermin inside of a client’s residence or business or wildlife outside of a client’s property.

• Laser Grid – This device allows me to see if there is any type of movement in a dark room. This movement could include vermin, dust and airborne particles, gasses, or excessive humidity.

• Faraday Bags – These devices house the audio recorder and microphones to ensure that external EMF radiation doesn’t interfere with them.

• 10 Red LED Flashlights – These devices allow me to illuminate my way or a room where needed without seriously affecting my night vision and investigation.

•24-Inch Professional Digital Magnetic Level – Allows us to find grades on objects that are designed to be flat.

Upon arriving on site, I will review the client’s latest activity log and follow up with any questions based on the previous findings, the original interview, and information found during the research. Sometimes the latest logs can reveal new information.

I will then ask to be given a tour of the location and informed where we could go on the premises, and of any locations where we are unable to proceed. I will inquire about any safety hazards that are present on the property. During this tour, I will be looking for anything that could possibly be a safety hazard and marking it with a visible flag.

After a tour, I will complete a preliminary investigation. I will attempt to find a simple scientific explanation for the reported paranormal activity that the client may have overlooked, such as a prominent source of infrasound, Helmholtz Resonance, or something tangible such as furniture that is not level or various illusions caused by lighting and object locations. This procedure varies depending on the information previously received. I will explore the property both externally and internally. I will also attempt to recreate any situations reported by the client using various scientific experimental methodologies.

At this point, if it is warranted, I will set up my audio/visual equipment.

I will conduct a detailed investigation to find a scientific cause for what is being perceived as paranormal activity using my team’s standard investigation procedures. This includes analyzing the location for excessive electromagnetic radiation, infrasound, ultrasound, electrostatic presence and ion balance, ionizing radiation, microwaves as in EMF and not as in the device that heats your dinner, toxic gases, air quality, and atmospheric anomalies such as excessive temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. I will also review the layout of the house and property to discover any architectural causes of the reported activity. These devices are not searching for paranormal activity or entities, as such a scientifically proven device does not exist as some devices are portrayed as being able to do on television shows. Often I receive data from this research that pinpoints a scientific cause of the perceived paranormal activity. All data gathered will be analyzed on a computer to find any commonality between the readings that could present a situation that could be misperceived as paranormal activity. I keep detailed notes during the investigation using a Shure M7V microphone directly connected to the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, which will be transcribed where needed a subsequent day in my home office. My computer records countless data points from various attached technological devices during the investigation. As I will be recording three-dimensional audio with a binaural microphone on a professional audio recorder, I will audibly tag recognizable noises to allow me to ensure that artificial or natural noises are not mistaken for something possibly related to what the client believes to be paranormal in nature. If there is possible perceivable paranormal activity without a remote possible scientific cause, I investigate it using multiple avenues to provide the most thorough investigation of the situation occurs. I never assume any activity is paranormal and only will entertain a possible paranormal cause after all science has been exhausted. The methodology of this investigation is designed for each particular case and can vary significantly from case to case depending on the previous information gathered. I am not using audio and video recorders, or any type of advice in an attempt to find paranormal activity. If you aren’t searching for the science then you are simply conducting a ghost hunt and not a paranormal investigation. In my eyes how could something possibly be considered paranormal if you haven’t ruled out all possibilities of a normal cause of the perceived activity? I have been at this for a very long time and can only think of several times that I couldn’t find a scientific cause for something, so I don’t bother attempting to find paranormal activity using unscientific and unproven methods like those seen on television shows. Hypothetically let’s say that I manage to catch something that I can’t explain on video or audio. What do I have then? I simply have something that I can’t easily explain with science, and that doesn’t make it paranormal. If I record something during my scientific investigation I will run it through the science gambit, but I do not waste time trying to record something paranormal as in most cases there is a scientific explanation for what is going on, and those are typically ignored on the ghost hunting shows that you see on tv.

After conducting my scientific technological investigation, if needed, I will then temporarily cut all power to the building by a master off switch and complete another round of data collection as I had before I cut power. This will be followed by analyzing the data points on a computer and comparing them to the readings taken before power had been cut to the building. This can often shed clues to a natural cause of the perceived activity.

After I have decided that my team and I have collected ample comprehensive data, we will complete our notes and pack up our equipment. We will inform the client that we are leaving the property and, if appropriate, discuss any findings if I feel that we were able to fully explain and confirm the cause of the perceived paranormal activity.

The following procedures will be completed by my team and I in the days after the completion of the onsite investigation.

If needed, I will contact my scientific advisers with advanced college degrees or subject matter experts with any data that may point towards a scientific explanation of the cause of the perceived paranormal activity to ensure the accuracy of the data collected in the investigation. I will also use them as a source of information to help me understand something that is beyond my skill set.

In the days following the investigation, the team and I will review data recorded during the investigation. Each member will individually complete an investigation report that will be given to me. Multiple team members will analyze all data to ensure that nothing is missed and there aren’t any misinterpretations. This could take up to a week or longer, depending on the amount of data recorded and the time availability of the team members.

Team members will complete their final investigation report and submit them to me.

After reviewing the investigation reports, I will follow up, if necessary, with the team members and discuss each member’s findings to ensure clarity and accuracy.

If necessary, I will again contact our science advisors or subject matter experts to confirm or explain certain aspects of our findings. No client personal information will be given to the advisors. Any information obtained is confidential between MWV SPIRIT and the client.

I will then contact the client to discuss the next steps, schedule another on-site investigation, or schedule a meeting to present our case findings and any suggestions we may have.

The active case will continue as long as I deem it necessary.

Here are a few disclaimers about my investigations:

In most cases, investigations do not have to occur in the dark, unless the perceived activity only occurs in the dark. As we are looking for the science and not for the spooky the daylight often allows me to more easily find the cause of the perceived paranormal activity.

I do not incorporate religious beliefs or practices in my investigations. I suggest that clients contact the church leadership associated with their religious beliefs for consultation if that is an avenue they wish to pursue regarding their case. When I need to pursue avenues of paranormal science beyond generally accepted science, I do so as scientifically as possible using the scientific method within my ability to do so and leave matters of faith to the client’s religious institution where there are people qualified to handle those matters.

I do not have any spiritual mediums or intuitives in my group. I inform clients who wish to contact people who have passed away that they should seek someone from that field, as my group is science-based and not spiritual.

During investigations, I ask that family and pets be offsite if possible. However, if the animals must stay onsite, I ask that they be kept secured in a room that we wouldn’t be investigating for our safety and so recorded data contamination is minimized. While investigating, I try to minimize the amount of non-team members in the house. I understand a property owner, family member, or representative may want to stay on-site for security reasons. I ask that they don’t interject into the investigation unless requested to do so by a member of the team to help avoid investigation contamination.

As you can see, my investigation is entirely scientific and does not try to find or confirm paranormal activity. That is the difference between a paranormal investigator and a ghost hunter. Only after eliminating all scientific possibilities will I begin to entertain the possibility of something being paranormal and may pursue further investigation with that in mind. The investigation I conduct would make for horrible episodic television as it would only entertain those interested in the sciences. That is why the ghost hunting shows that you see on television focus on the spooky, as it will draw the most viewers, and why you don’t see any shows about an actual paranormal investigation. The goal of those who produce television shows is to make money and not produce a scientifically objective investigation. Unfortunately, these television shows have been used as a template by many ghost-hunting teams that take on clients. I’ve said before that if someone or a group of people want to ghost hunt for their recreation and leave science out of it, convincing themselves that there is paranormal activity everywhere, and don’t take on clients, I hope they have a blast doing so. However, I also always say that if you are going to take on clients, I feel that it is essential to research a wide variety of sciences to ensure that the client is receiving a thorough investigation of their case and is being provided the most accurate information possible. By science, I don’t mean the pseudo-science that you see on television shows or some common sense debunking. I mean real science as those taught in advanced college courses. I feel that a ghost hunt can’t begin to provide any help for a client and that only a thorough scientific paranormal investigation can provide clients with the precise information they seek.

Remember everyone, contrary to what you see on tv, the science comes before the spooky.

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