"GHOST": Noun, "dead person's spirit, apparition, phantom, spectre, spook, wraith"
There are many theories in what ghosts are and how they may appear or present themselves to us. It is said that ghosts may draw energy from its surroundings as it is about to manifest itself. Energy can be found in heat, light and sound. Ghosts appear in those three forms as well. Below, we'll talk about a few of the more common signs of a haunting and methods that are used to gather evidence.
-- Our suggestion is to read a variety of books to educate yourself with a variety of theories, before you make any decisions.
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Orbs -- "noun: sphere, globe"
Thought to be the early stage of ghost manifestation, alight anomaly that is captured in a photograph. An orb does not necessarily have to be round shaped. It can appear in other shapes (eg: L-shaped, crescent shaped, even of the appearance of feathers or thread), and in a variety of colours. Some sub-categories of orbs are vortexes (swirling motion) and mists (haziness). Traditionally it's circular balls of light, while other shapes are referred to as light anomalies. Orbs are mostly seen after a photograph is taken and the film is developed. The widespread theory is that we are able to capture spirits on film due to the wider spectrum of light that film is sensitive to, as compared to the human eye.
Skeptics counter these claims with theories that include film flaws, error in development and judgement, lens flare, light tricks, moisture (water, snow etc), dust and deliberate fraud. Light does reflect off dust & other moisture.
Try a test: take a photograph in the dark without your flash, then take it with a flash of the same area.
When taking photographs things to ask yourself:
-- am I in a dusty area? has the building been visited recently, or is it abandoned or infrequently visited? Are there any reflective surfaces nearby? Am I kicking up dust/dirt as I walk around?
-- is my camera lens clean?
-- was there someone nearby with a flashlight or camera/video cam?
-- are there any warm air pockets or draughts nearby? is my breath showing up due to cold temperatures?
-- do i have all the negatives from conventional film available for closer investigation?
EVP's -- "Electronic Voice Phenomena"
Allegedly an EVP is not heard at the time of recording, but only when the tape is played back. Skeptics contend that the voices heard come from radio or TV or are imagined from static and white sound. An EVP is said to be either faint or clear, can speak or sing in a variety of languages, and are identifiable as men, women and children. According to reports the voices suggest they can communicate with us through central transmitting agencies from the other side.
When performing an EVP session, things to ask yourself:
-- am I alone? are others nearby that may be whispering so I cannot hear them? -- is there an open window nearby to allow outside sounds in?
-- are there animals nearby?
-- is my stomach growling? perhaps i should eat something before an investigation.
-- are the voices heard on my recorder actually responding to my questions or do they sound more like background noise?
Many people believe that different scents/smells are representative of spirits present, while others believe that spirits will send out a scent that is assosiated with them in life, such as cigar smoke, perfume, flowers, body odor etc.
What to ask yourself when you smell something different:
-- am i, or anyone with me, wearing perfume? have i, or anyone with me, had a cigarette recently?
-- is there an odor coming in from another area? or outside because of a draft?
-- can i identify what it is i'm smelling? a sweet or foul odor? or something completely unexplained?
-- is there a garbage bin/dumpster nearby?
Cold Spots / Hot Spots
Often thought that ghosts are absorbing heat energy, thus causing cold spots. Therefore, hot spots are when a ghost expells heat energy.
What to ask yourself when you feel a temperature change:
-- is there a draft coming from another source? eg: window, door, weather, fan etc.
-- is the building cooling off during the evening? is this area generally cooler than the rest of the building?
-- is the building made of stone or wood? each holds cold & heat in different ways.
-- is there a fireplace lit in the room/area?
You may feel as if you walked into a spider web, yet when you look around there is nothing hanging from the ceiling or above you. Or feel like something or someone grabbed you, feeling a coldness / dampness. Or feel like an animal rubbed itself against your leg, a child tugged your pants, or someone poked you from behind or beside. Or feelings that cause your hair to stand up on your arms, or back of your neck. Not to forget Goosebumps. What can these be?
Questions to ask yourself when you feel something unusual:
-- is anyone close to me that could have bumped into me, or shoved me on accident? is someone playing a trick with me?
-- am I in an area that has things falling from the ceiling?
-- are their animals (cats, dogs, mice, bats etc.) in this area? perhaps it is too dark to see them.
-- have I bumped into something that I didn't see was there?
-- what is it I’m feeling? depression? joy? confusion? etc.. can this be connected to the history of the place and I’m picking it up? am i sensitive to other's feelings?
Sounds / Audio We Can Hear With Our Ears
It has been said, that sometimes people can hear whispers or loud voices calling our names, when no one is around. A voice we recognize to be afamily member, or a friend, and yet, no one is nearby. Often sounds of children laughing, music playing, footsteps and/or babies crying. Or something falling and breaking, yet there is nothing out of place.
Questions to ask yourself when you hear the unexpected sound:
-- am I alone? or is someone nearby whispering with another person? or perhaps calling me and I didn't realize it?
-- are there things dropping from the ceiling or above?
-- is there a window or door open where sounds from another room or outdoors can come through?
-- is someone coming from another room?
-- does sound carry in this place?
It can happen to us all, seeing an object moving, a mist or haze, an apparition, shadows, shapes, or out of the corner of our eye. Sometimes orbs can be seen, although most are not visible to the naked eye. The use of an EMF (Electromagnetic Field Meter) can assist us in seeing if there are fluctuations in the area (be sure to take base readings of the area before you go further). The use of a thermometer for unusual cold and hot spots, as well as taking photos (take two of the same area at a time) are useful in evidence gathering.
Questions to ask yourself when experiencing visual sightings:
-- am I the only one around? Are there animals or other people present?
-- did I see that only once, or more times? or anyone else see it?
-- is there anything in the area that appears different in the dark?
-- is someone using a flashlight or camera nearby that can cause a reflection or momentary light to appear?
-- could I have been influenced by the history of the place? is the building/land made up of materials that may cause residual hauntings: slate, limestone, iron nails, quartz and so forth?
-- is the floor on a slight slant that would cause a door or window to open or close?
It is thought that ghosts turn TVs , radios, and lights on and off. Or cause toys to move by themselves, appliances explode, and fans turn on or off. But did they? Or was it natural? Knowing the history of electrical problems in the area would be advisable, and if the owner(s) tried everything to fix the problem.
Questions to ask yourself when experiences these:
-- are their electrical problems (shortages & outages) that have not been looked after?
-- could the neighbours remote control influence the entertainment units?
-- are their copper pipes or electrical units/power lines nearby that can cause the EMF fluctuations?
-- battery drains: cold temperatures can severely disrupt a cheap battery's life cycle.
Taking notes, gathering information from those you talk to, visiting your local Historical Society & Library are great places to start when researching a place which is reported to have paranormal activity. Putting together a time line from information gathered, and checking on names/dates etc via Vital Statistics and geneology sites is indeed helpful to verifying evidence gathered. Don't be shy. Talk to people, read books, and spend time checking out stories/legends through local resources. But be aware, most geneology sites charge fees. You can access similar information with the help of a knowledgable librarian.
Protection, Recommended for all Paranormal Investigators
Please check out our "Protection" web-page for details. It is recommended.
Remember: there may be logical explanations for a portion of your experiences. You should investigate as thoroughly as you can, and ask yourself questions before drawing any conclusions. Never investigate alone, and document all you find, so you can mark it down as evidence that can be scrutinized afterwards. If you have questions concerning any of this, please email your Vancouver paranormal investigations team @ firstname.lastname@example.org .