Much like attending a movie theatre or five-star restaurant, there are several rules of etiquette that should be followed while participating in a paranormal investigation. Many of them are to ensure an efficient and safe investigation process, but others are critical for the collection of clean, uncontaminated evidence.
Do not whisper
Whispering can make it nearly impossible to differentiate between paranormal interference and the voices of team members in audio data. Try and train yourself to always speak at your conversational volume.
Use your ears to investigate your surroundings and help your team to do the same by keeping verbal communication at a minimum.
Make written notes of your perceptions
The power of suggestion can quickly turn a simple observation into a false encounter. One investigator may mention an unusual sound, smell, or sensation of touch and it could spread through the rest of the team, unintentionally causing them to believe they’ve had the same experience.
Making written notes and recording the time and place of each observation will make for stronger evidence when it is later compared with other investigators’ notes – especially if they have mentioned the same or similar experiences.
Do not smoke
Particles in cigarette smoke can carry much farther than we are able to detect with our naked eye but often result in false ectoplasmic mists in photographs.
It is also thought that the scents of cigar and cigarette smoke are a signal from spirits that they are near.
Do not wear perfume
Again, it is thought that floral scents are a signal of the presence of spirits – try not to confuse your team by bathing in heavily fragranced products or misting on cologne or perfume before an investigation.
Keep your flashlight pointed at the ground
Blinding your teammates with a flashlight beam can cause them to trip and fall, lose their bearings, or even miss a visual paranormal event.
Using glow sticks is often a good solution to prevent “eye-shine” during interior investigations, but headlamps in any environment tend to only make the problem worse.
Watch that flash!
Be careful when taking photographs to warn any team members that may be in the shot to shield or close their eyes. Optical recovery from a camera flash can sometimes take three minutes or more and can cause the same problems as an ill-aimed flashlight.
Keep your cool
Mentally prepare yourself ahead of time for the investigation and think about how you might react to a startling or unbelievable event. Screaming and running are not usually your best options!
Make sure your ghost-hunting team is familiar with these rules of etiquette before each investigation. Do not hesitate, if needed, to remind investigators of these points while onsite to ensure your team performs safely, operates at peak efficiency, and collects the strongest evidence possible.