Once the interview has concluded, request the client to take you, and any team members with you, through the premises. Pay close attention to identifying the area where the paranormal activity purportedly occurred, and note any comments on your audio or video recorder that the client may share during the tour. You may wish to also utilize certain basic equipment we tend to favor, such as a 35mm camera, an EMF meter, digital thermometer, and possibly a video camera. This will help you in determining certain points-of-interest to concentrate on during a formal investigation, should you decide to take the case to the next step. It’s not uncommon to witness an event during the informal walk-through, so be prepared. The Floor Plan One of your team members should be concentrating on creating a simple floor plan of the premises to familiarize yourself, and later the investigative team, to know what is around you, where you are, and where you need to concentrate. The plan should identify the location of furniture, appliances, number of electrical outlets and location , number of light switches and the types of fixtures (wall sconces, ceiling lamps, ceiling fans, table lamps, etc.) in each room. Also it’s important to note the location of all doors and windows in each room, the number of steps in each stairwell, creaky floor boards, type of floor coverings, throw rugs, and any hazard that your team may be noticed in the daylight. Examine the window frames and sills for drafts visually for gaps and tactilely for potential drafts (using your hands and thermometer in an attempt to sense a breeze or air leak). Such as holes in the floor, broken chairs, ladders, wall hangings, and swinging lamps, to name a few, that could present a problem in the dark. This map will later be used during the planning session in determining possible equipment placement, team size, and vigil assignments (a session where two people sit quietly observing and recording during a a formal investigation). Records the EMF readings and temperature of each room to be used as a baseline later in the analysis phase, noting and identifying any artificial fields that may have been created by electrical appliances and investigate them closer before you conclude your walk-through. Understanding where these fields are and how they may effect your formal investigation is very important. This way, your team will not misinterpret any artificially induced EMF field or temperature reading for something paranormal. Concluding the In-Person Interview By this time you should know if you client(s) can be considered to be credible witnesses through your keen observation, and their verbal responses to your line of questioning. Be sure to thank your client, and verify the time and date for the formal investigation, being sure to clarify the starting time (usually before dark to get setup) and the time you expect to conclude the investigation to your client. The Research & Preliminary Steps After the Interview, Before the Investigation Now the Fun Begins After your information has been transcribed and placed in a client ‘case file,’ it’s time to begin gathering as much background information as you possible can. You will want to learn as much about background of the house as possible. Any history you can obtain about previous owners, events that may have occurred on the existing premises, or the property before the building was constructed will help provide you a basic understanding and background to the location. However, it should not affect your team’s objectivity in the case. None the less, should you uncover a fascinating story about the house, that could reveal the reason why it may be potentially haunted, such as a murder, a traumatic death, or death after a long illness. You will want to keep this information in the file until after the investigation and not reveal it to your investigation team until after the formal investigation. The will help ensure that total objectivity is maintained and subjective influence does not affect, nor cloud, any data gathered by the team. A good idea is to also have the case research done before the formal investigation and by your paranormal team members who will not be participating in the formal investigation. Nor is this information to be shared with those who are, to avoid having their research influence the formal investigation. Resources to Investigate A member of your team, who may be good at doing research, should begin the process of researching the history of the location you are planning to investigate. Their objective would to find out as much detailed information as possible, and only reveal the discoveries to the lead investigator. This will ensure that the knowledge gained will not taint the outcome results of the investigation allowing other team members to interject subjective opinions during the actual investigation. The most logical place to begin could be with government offices like the city hall. Often information on the property is public (when it was built, names of previous owners, maps, improvements, etc.). The local library, local historic society, and the Internet may also prove helpful resources. During the discovery you hope to discover what was there before the current structure was ever built and possibly even discover who owned the land through time. Interview neighbors, caretakers, employees, witnesses, or current and past residents, for these people may offer the researcher more insight and leads to follow, proving useful. When the investigation has concluded, and the data is being analyzed, then and only then can this information be shared with entire team. As mentioned above, there are many, many resources available to us today for gathering personal, current, and historical information on any person or location. Many which are free and available on the World Wide Web (Internet). These resources can include: Historical Society Library (microfiche) County Archives Deeds Recorder Newspaper (microfiche) Websites City Hall State Archives Military Archives Research the History of the Client’s House If these walls could talk...what stories would they tell? If the client is living in an older house, one can’t help but imagine what it may have been like when it was originally built, including the owner. Your objective is to find out. But what about the property before the house was built? What was there first? A pioneer settlement, an Native American burial ground? Most probably nothing really exciting, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. It could have been that a famous historical figure slept in the house, or maybe even died. When did plumbing and electrical get added? Or was there always a second floor with a four gable roof? Find the history, and you may discover a reason behind why a ghost may be occupying the house. To get glimpse into the secret past of your client’s abode? Try these steps. 1. Inspect the house closely, a lot can be learned by just by looking around and noticing what doesn’t fit. Investigate how and when the house was built and what type of building materials were used. 2. If you live in the United States, the registry is usually found in the clerk and recorder’s office. Ask for the registry of deeds for the property. In the U.S, knowing who built it and owned it over the years may allow you more insight into the investigation, and how the original house may have become haunted. 3. Another great place to look is with the local City Hall planning commission. (Your main objective for this search, is to locate an original building plan.) Tips If you plan on making a lot of copies at a public court house (records office) or library, always ask (if it’s not posted) is how much they charge for copies. Otherwise it could get expensive. Locate old photographs of the house or neighborhood from the past to get a better idea of what’s happened to the house over time since the pictures were taken. Old newspaper records and micro-fiche records may contain some valuable information, but can be time consuming. Warnings Remember, you may be infringing on the personal lives of previous owners or relatives of the dwelling. Sometimes very painful memories which the the client may or may not wish to remember, or forgot to mention. In most cases it would probably be best to gather your information without personally contacting any of the past owners. When asking questions, of neighbors, relatives, or previous owners, respect their wishes if they don’t want to take the time to talk with you. And always handle delicate and ‘old’ documents carefully. They may be the only records remaining; protect them by placing them in clear archival covers (available at scrapbook or crafts stores) and save them in binders or sealed zip-lock plastic bags. Young woman using the microfiche index at a London lending library. Microfiche is an older form micro-storage medium, still in use today in which images (newspapers, book details, historical birth records, etc.) are arranged in a grid pattern on a sheet of film, which contains an index or title that may be read without magnification. The user inserts the chosen sheet of microfiche into the viewer and manipulates its position until the relevant entry is found. Microfiche facilities have superseded traditional card index systems in many libraries. Paranormal Teamwork A Step by Step Methodology
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