With Samhain (a/k/a Halloween) swiftly approaching, I thought now would be the perfect time to publish an article about ghost and/or monster hunting safety tips.
Seeking proof of paranormal phenomena is an exciting hobby to participate in. However, it can also be a very dangerous activity. I have compiled a list of some basic, but by no means all-inclusive, safety guidelines that should be followed.
- Get Permission
I cannot stress enough the importance of asking the owner of the property you wish to investigate for their permission. Going on or in any property without permission is considered trespassing. It’s bad enough to trespass during the day, but even worse at night.
If a frightened property owner. or one of their neighbors, sees strangers wandering around on their property late at night, that person may call the police and have you arrested, or even worse, they may be scared enough to actually shoot at you and your friends. Put the shoe on the other foot…if you saw strangers milling about your land late at night, what would be your first instinct?
Any person under the age of 18 years old needs to ask their parent or guardian for permission. Never do anything without letting your parents know. There should also be an adult present for every ghost hunt. I recommend at least one adult for every 2 or 3 kids.
If you plan on conducting an outside investigation, in a graveyard, for example, you may also need to ask permission from the local police department.
- Always perform a pre-investigation investigation. Go to the location during the day, with the property owner present, and check everything out. There are several reasons this should be done.
- It is wise to get familiar with the area. Ask the owner to show you any potentially dangerous areas that you should avoid. There could be structural damage or other such hazards. Check for mold, weak or rotting floor boards, improperly installed carpet tacks and other such sharp objects that may be strewn about on the floor like nails and broken glass.
Also look for signs of insect or rodent infestations, such as droppings and strong odors. Big holes in the yard are also a major issue, such as old wells. If you find the location to be in total shambles, I recommend scrapping the investigation and looking for a safer place to investigate.
Conducting a pre-investigation is a wonderful way to debunk most alleged hauntings. Those bumps in the night are most likely squirrels in the attic. Shadows dancing across the walls could be opossums. The sound of distant murmuring could be caused by leaky pipes. Growling noises outside the bedroom window may be coming from a pack of coyotes. The main objective of any good ghost hunt is to rule out the explainable in order to give more credence to the truly unexplainable.
If the property owner wakes up with unexplainable scratches, this could be an indication of insect infestation, such as fleas or bed bugs. Scratching is an involuntary reaction to itching. Most people aren’t even aware of the fact that they have scratched themselves. They just do it without thinking. Three scratch marks is NOT an indication of a demonic presence. The next time you scratch yourself, watch how you scratch. Only 3 fingers are used. Pinky is too short to make contact with the skin, and thumb just sort of dangles at the side of the hand.
I don’t recommend taking your shoes off at the front door. You can buy disposable shoe covers at most hardware stores. Having to be rushed to the hospital after stepping on a piece of broken glass would definitely be a horrible experience.
You may wish to buy safety helmets with a light on the front of them, especially if you will be investigating outdoors. In heavily wooded areas, you run the risk of having dead tree limbs fall on you.
Respirators are also a great idea for indoor investigations. Some older buildings are insulated with asbestos, which can cause breathing issues.
If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous, leave. There could be noxious fumes making you ill, such as carbon monoxide, natural gas, or radon.
Try your best not to run. It is a natural reaction to run when scared, but doing so in the dark is just an accident waiting to happen. Stay calm. Remind yourself that the noises you hear and the shadows you see most likely have a perfectly logical explanation.
When investigating outdoors, always have an escape path planned. Try not to venture far from where you park. A hungry grizzly bear is far scarier than any spirit you could possibly ever encounter. I also recommend carrying air horns, whistles, and flare guns in case you encounter a wild animal to scare them away. And, as I mentioned previously, ALWAYS have several adults with your group. And, please NEVER EVER wander into any cave or abandoned mine. If the structure collapses, you just do not stand a chance to survive.
Also, be sure to dress appropriately for outside investigations. I recommend wearing boots, in case you should happen to come across snakes. Have an adult check you for ticks after the investigation, too.
Never ghost or monster hunt alone. There are just too many things that could possibly go wrong.
Always inspect your cameras, flash lights, and tape recorders prior to any investigation. If you hear something running towards you in the middle of the night, the last thing you want to happen is for your flash light to fail because the batteries are old.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list of safety guidelines. I’ve just mentioned some of the most important ones. Ghost and monster hunting can be a fantastic form of entertainment. The best way to start out is literally in your own backyard, as well as other places you are familiar with. You should also consider the fact that your Aunt Ann would be far less likely to sue your parents if you should happen to accidentally break one of her vases than a stranger would be. The best places to investigate are those of friends and family members.
TV ghost hunters make it look far easier than it is, though. What you don’t see on those shows is all the support crew your favorite monster and ghost hunters have brought along with them to help prevent accidents and injuries.
It has also been proven that many of the events on those shows are indeed staged. Not ALL the things that happen on those shows are fake, but the majority of them are. It makes the shows more entertaining. I still enjoy watching them. It is fun to try to debunk all the noises and shadows. I even saw an automatic door opener in one of them. I knew it would be there because the host kept pointing his camera towards one particular door.
Thanks for reading. I wish you all a Blessed, and above all else, SAFE Samhain (a/k/a Halloween).