How to Conduct a Safe Ghost Hunt
Published in the May 15, 2001 ed. of Bayside News
In the modern world, where technology makes so many things are explainable; the realm of the supernatural remains one of the last uncharted scientific quadrants. Ghosts, with their cross cultural and historical allure, are an easy supernatural target to research. What neighborhood does not have a house reputed to be haunted? With the advent of more accessible and cheaper tools and gadgets almost anyone can hunt ghosts. However, even advanced technology does not ensure human safety on a ghost hunt, common sense and reasoning does.
One of the first things to remember is that ghosts very rarely hurt the living. It is the living's reaction to ghosts that does harm! Culture has taught us that the supernatural is something to fear, therefore a common reaction when confronted by the supernatural is to flee. Unfortunately, in instances like this concentration is not focused upon any particular destination nor upon any particular pathway. The only conscious thought it to get away from the area. This distraction leads to situations where people may run into walls, trip over furniture and other unhappy fates in which injury may occur. If ever confronted by a supernatural entity the first reaction MUST be to REMAIN CALM. Always remember that the living have more power than the dead. YOU are in control of yourself and the situation.
Several sources, both psychic and scientific, have recommended imagining yourself surrounded by an impenetrable white light bubble of mental/spiritual energy. While this may sound rather unusual, it is supposed to offer the living protection. Regardless of whether the bubble is actually drawing sustenance from an unknown energy or not, it is a method to help focus the mind, boost confidence, and offers the living a means of defense against the unknown.
Always hunt in a group. This serves two purposes: one is to offer more eyes to witness a situation. The other is to offer more eyes to look out for one another. Pay attention to your own situation and offer verbal warnings to other teammates to avoid potentially unsafe locations.
Next, always wear sensible shoes. Comfortable shoes are essential because ghost hunts usually entail a lot of walking around. Make sure shoes have good traction to help secure your footing when crawling through attics or scrambling around a bush.
Sensible clothing is also recommended. Jeans or pants are preferable; it's harder to scratch, scrape, or bruise skin that is not directly exposed to the environment. Clothes should offer a good amount of room for movement, however. Reaction time can be essential in a ghost hunt should any instruments register potential paranormal powers or should a ghost be sited.
Bring a very strong flashlight. Many ghost hunts take place at night. Strong lighting is not always available. Flashlights also help to see into those dark and hidden places along a trail or in a home.
Heavy-duty flashlights are preferable, though they can be bulky and tiresome to carry. One option is to have different members of the team bring different types of flashlights from hand-held to heavy duty. Always bring more than one flashlight and spare batteries with you.
Adding a first aid kit to your ghost hunting kit is also a good idea. Ointment and bandages should always be available just in case an accident does happen to you or a member of your crew.
Leave a copy of the address where you and your team are ghost hunting and an approximate time to expect the team's return with a reliable person who is not on your ghost hunting team. A list of names and phone numbers of team members might also be of benefit in case of a large-scale emergency. If one or more members of a team are injured, or the team becomes lost and disoriented, this outside person will be available to locate the authorities and launch a search. Granted, this happens rarely, if ever, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. This is a simple precaution to take.
It may be advisable to remain within reach of a telephone or a cell phone. If you bring a cell phone make sure it is turned off unless there is an emergency, or set on vibrate. Ringing cell phones can cause distraction during hunts, interviews, to other people on the team, and possibly to the ghost itself!
Despite this list of tips, ghost hunting usually is not a dangerous sport if you pay attention and keep your mind focused on the surrounding area. However, always be prepared for an emergency and have a plan worked out in advance with your teammates in case an injury does occur. Good luck, and safe and happy hunting!