What Is A Paranormal Investigation?

Paranormal investigation

A paranormal investigation is the process of exploring and studying phenomena that cannot be explained by conventional scientific understanding. This typically involves examining reports of ghostly apparitions, poltergeist activity, unexplained sounds, and other supernatural occurrences.

The goal of a paranormal investigation is often to observe, gather, and analyse evidence to either confirm or debunk claims of paranormal activity.

What Is A Paranormal Investigator?

A paranormal investigator, also referred to as a ghost hunter, is an individual or a member of a group that investigates mysterious occurrences and haunted locations. This is what is known as a paranormal investigation.

These investigations revolve around ghosts and other spiritual entities and are definitely not for the faint-hearted. Investigating teams must have the courage to record supernatural phenomena on video, without so much as batting an eyelid!

The group of investigators often conduct their ‘research’ late at night. This is the time spiritual beings are known to be the most active.

The stories of eras passed often have interesting backgrounds attached to them. And with the help of modern-day video equipment, investigators are able to bring these stories ‘to life’…

A few modern-day ghost hunters include:

  1. Zak Bagans
  2. Ed and Lorraine Warren
  3. Lee and Linzi Steer
  4. Ryan Bergara
  5. Maurice Grosse

Harry Price: Bridging Science And The Supernatural

Paranormal investigators look into the logic behind eerie phenomena. Harry Price, a British psychic researcher and author of Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter (1936), underpinned the research of paranormal investigations in the early 1900s – particularly when he opened his National Laboratory of Psychical Research in 1926.

Price combined science with the supernatural, conducting ‘experiments’ under controlled conditions to debunk paranormal myths and occurrences. He wanted to give a logical or scientific reason behind his eerie findings.

Price was part of London’s Ghost Club and described psychical research as “the attempt to ascertain, by exact experimental methods, how far the alleged phenomena of the séance room can be brought into line with normality”.

Yet, ghost hunters are criticised for the methods they use as there has been no scientific proof that ghosts exist. Educators and scientists often refer to a ghost-hunting investigation as “pseudoscience.”

Modern-day investigators do the same thing as Price did back in his day: 

  • Finding tangible proof that spirits exist and debunking hoaxes and myths.
  • They explore various haunted locations in search of paranormal entities.
  • They use various ghost-hunting equipment such as voice recorders when conducting their investigations (more on this below).

Where Are Paranormal Investigations Conducted?

The truth is that these psychical phenomena can occur at any location – even at an ordinary home in the suburbs or countryside!

Most of the time, though, investigations trace ghost stories and events that have a historical background, like reports of ghastly entities at The Tower of London, Highgate Cemetery, or Bank tube station in London. Ghost hunters search and keep a watchful eye for supernatural events in various locations, such as:

  • Domestic properties – where occult occurrences are common, such as the Enfield House in England.
  • Historical sites – where gruesome events have happened over the course of history. This includes Littledean Jail in Gloucestershire and the Hellfire Caves in Wycombe.
  • Abandoned buildings – where freakish and downright scary things have transpired, such as old schools, castles, or prisons.
  • Natural sites – where folklore and legends are attached to them, such as the Lady of Lake in Wales. These areas can include forests, lakes, mountains, and caves.

What Equipment Is Used?

Paranormal investigators use various ghost-hunting equipment when conducting their psychical research. You have been warned though – it ain’t for the faint-hearted! These techniques, methods and equipment are used to test conditions where paranormal activity exists.

Some ghost-hunting equipment includes:

  • Voice recorders
  • Spirit boxes
  • Electromagnetic Field Meters (EFM)
  • Environmental Detection Instruments (EDI)
  • Rem rods
  • Temperature gauges
  • Thermal, infrared, and full-spectrum ghost cameras
  • Motion detectors
  • Vibration sensors

The Process Of Paranormal Investigations

Ghost hunters analyse the mysterious data they collect. They sift through the (white) noise to try to make logical sense of the creepiness. This is critical in any paranormal investigation. It determines if the ‘haunted’ location, person or toy is genuinely connected to ‘the other side’.

Here’s a brief rundown of how a typical investigation is done.

Gather equipment

Before an investigation, the group needs their ghost-hunting gear. Some items, like PIR sensor alarms, can be set up for remote viewing. Others, such as thermostats, can be used to find ‘cold spots’ directly on the scene.

Document findings

Documentation of all eerie evidence is a vital part of any paranormal investigation. It gives a clear paper trail of tangible ‘proof’. These findings can be reviewed at a later stage to piece the mysterious puzzle together.

Investigators can document their findings in the following ways:

  • Audio recordings – using Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP devices).
  • Video recordings – using thermal or infrared video cameras.
  • Photographs – using night vision cameras.
  • Journals – used for timestamping every spooky encounter. This includes dates, times, weather conditions, and how they physically (e.g. cold shivers) and psychologically (e.g. sad, angry, etc.) feel.
  • Other recordings – such as electromagnetic readings. They use Electromagnetic Field Meters (EFM) and temperature guns to gauge temperature fluctuations.

Investigators must timestamp every single bit of paranormal activity they come across. This is needed when it comes to correlating the relationship between the natural and the supernatural. It’s also specifically helpful when investigators need to review their evidence.

Reviewing the evidence

Next, the team will cross-reference their findings. They will review videos, images, and recordings, referencing each piece of evidence by its timestamp. They will also compare their findings to previous reports of the area, finding any similarities.

It’s important that this step is done with a healthy dose of scepticism, to ensure there are no logical explanations behind any eerie event. For instance, power outages or banging doors due to bad weather don’t necessarily indicate the presence of demonic spirits nearby!

FAQs

Are paranormal devices reliable?

To ensure a successful ghost hunt, investigators must calibrate their equipment to confirm everything is functioning correctly. Tools like EMF devices, which detect changes in electromagnetic fields, are generally reliable and are often used in ghost-hunting investigations. 

The belief that spirits can cause electronic disturbances such as a flickering lightbulb, still remains a topic of debate.

How do investigators distinguish between paranormal evidence and natural occurrences? 

Paranormal investigators employ a variety of methods to differentiate between authentic supernatural phenomena and possible explanations. Beyond the use of advanced equipment, they document findings meticulously. This detailed documentation helps them scrutinise evidence with a sceptical eye during the review process, ensuring they consider logical explanations and minimize the risk of misinterpreting events.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a fan of ghost-hunting shows or are considering it as a career, it is essential to be prepared when approaching any macabre investigation with a healthy dose of scepticism. Piecing mysterious puzzles together takes patience and a deep understanding of the unknown realms.

Some entities are ‘friendly’ and may just want to communicate with you. However, others may have a darker side, wanting to inflict pain and suffering on their seeker. You need to be ready for whichever one you happen to cross paths with…

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!