These guidelines are what help set our teams apart from the horde of paranormal hobbyists out there. Yes, this means that we’ll get a lot less evidence this way. The difference is, however, that the evidence we will gather will be more credible and of a higher quality. These guidelines should make sense to people who are in this field to properly prove or disprove unexplained phenomena or legitimately help those in harm’s way.
Exhaust all possible natural causes for supernatural claims first
Everything we encounter is not paranormal. In fact, there are usually a number of logical or scientific explanations for various experiences, sounds, feelings, etc. A good paranormal investigator does not assume the ghostly route first. Every effort should be made to recreate the situation as exactly as possible to duplicate the claim or experience. If evidence can be replicated easily and repeatedly, it should be ruled out automatically. Just because it can be replicated, however, does not prove it’s not supernatural; but it does make it a lot less likely that it is. By process of elimination, that evidence should be excluded.
Do not allow smoking within the area being investigated or in adjoining areas before or during an investigation
There are many pictures of mysterious mists that are nothing more than cigarette smoke caught lingering in the air. It may even look like there is nothing in the air, but a camera flash or video light can illuminate smoke that was previously unseen. Smoke can even linger for long periods in a room that has little or bad air circulation. Smoke is also a problem with photos or videos captured outside. By excluding smoke from the equation, we don’t have to rule it out as a cause of a ghostly mist captured as potential evidence. Besides smoking during an investigation or in a client’s home or business is simply unprofessional.
Do not capture photographic or video evidence outside during adverse weather conditions or cold weather
Cool or cold weather produces false mists from breath that still pictures or video will capture. Wind, rain, fog, and other adverse weather conditions can create a number of other false anomalies. It is never a good idea to investigate under these conditions, as most evidence gathered would have to be disqualified.
Do not use straps on or near any devices that capture photos or videos of any kind
Camera straps are a common accidental cause of ghostly vortexes in photos. The tip of a strap can get photographed and appear like it is floating in the dark, spinning like a vortex, or creating a dark shadow. When in motion, a strap captured in an image often looks like a ghostly streak of light. Camera straps, while convenient, are completely unnecessary on cameras used for collecting evidence of the paranormal.
Do not allow whispering when sensitive audio recording devices are in use
Besides the standard issue digital voice recorders that everyone uses, we use hyper-sensitive audio devices called digital field recorders. These record in studio quality and pick up even the quietest of sounds. Whispers that are captured by these devices can often be confused for ghostly communications. We have found that it’s way more effective to speak at a normal level while “tagging” oneself. This means that if anyone speaks out of turn, that they identify themselves clearly & distinctly to disqualify that as evidence. The same goes for coughing, sneezing, stomach growling, etc.
Do not permit the use of cell phones or other unnecessary electronic devices during or near investigations
Electronic devices, especially cell phones, can generate false EMF & KII-meter readings. They can also cause interference in audio or video recording devices, and disrupt other ghost hunting equipment. For this reason, we do not allow the use of any unnecessary devices during or near investigations. Necessary devices that may cause interference are used with great care and are isolated to a neutral, investigation-free area.
Do not wear any type of cologne, perfume or other fragrances during investigations
By avoiding artificial fragrances of any type, such as heavily scented body wash or shampoo, body sprays, or colognes/perfumes, it avoids many false positives for olfactory paranormal phenomena. It has been theorized that these aromas are caused by spirits that are directly manipulating the olfactory receptors in the brain to communicate.
In using these guidelines during investigating, we greatly reduce the amount of contamination to our potential evidence, as well as, ensure that the most credible data possible is collected.