Though stories about paranormal phenomena have been around for centuries, the field of Paranormal Investigation is relatively new. The equipment we use was not designed to do what we ask it to do. But, like any new science, we, as investigators, must start from a familiar place, and from there, delve into the unfamiliar. Only through constant testing of theories, and diligent research, will the field have a chance to make the leap from the outer fringes of the science community, and find its place as a respected field of study. A flurry of television shows have dug a niche for this type of investigation in popular culture, and, because of this expanding interest, we feel obligated to offer some advice for the would-be investigators out there.

Know Your Location
It’s imperative that you learn all that your client has to offer on your Location. Be a good listener and take notes. If you are doing a guided walk through previous to investigation time it might be helpful to bring along your digital recorder and, if they are comfortable with it, record your guides’ tour. In most cases you might also want to do some historical research on the site at the local library or historical society. If a location has ties to a particular family you might also try a site like to learn more about that family. Please remember to always be respectful of all parties involved. Always ask permission before researching a family history.
Permission and Respect
That creepy house up on the hill is screaming your name. You have heard the stories ever since you were a kid, and it would be a perfect place to investigate! But, before you do...

 Find out who owns that property - Many properties that seem neglected, and have fallen into disrepair are still owned by someone. Not only is it disrespectful to go traipsing across someone’s property, but it is illegal, and dangerous. You aren’t just in this for satiating your curiosity. You are in this to learn, and knowing your location (see above) is part of the process. If you behave like a professional, you are more likely to be treated as one. Too many property owners see paranormal investigators like a bunch of irresponsible kids with the urge to knock over tombstones. It is your job as a researcher, to dispel this stereotype.
 Procure permission first - Truly, the cops could be the least of your worries. There is no telling what or WHO is lurking in an abandoned space. Personally, I am much more concerned about the living beings using an overlooked site for various purposes, than I am about any ghost or spirit. By procuring permission first, not only will you gain the respect of the owner, and open a valuable pathway for discovering information about the location, but you will be able to investigate with the knowledge that some crazy won’t get spooked by your spook hunt and surprise you with a loaded shotgun! (Hey, it could happen. Better safe than sorry!)
 And Speaking of Safe - Abandoned buildings can be absolutely spellbinding (And I speak from personal experience), but the amount of unseen dangers involved in their exploration are too numerous to list. Did you know, that there is an air-born illness you can catch from stepping on rat droppings? When they are crushed beneath the sole of your shoe, badness is released, and, once inhaled, it can cause some serious health problems.  Most doctors won’t even think to check for this disease unless they know you have been crawling around abandoned places. (I learned that from some crusty old dude in Tonopah, Nevada. And you don’t mess with crusty, old dudes.) Mysterious diseases, the names of which I can’t remember aside, there are many other things to take into consideration when investigating a run-down site. From asbestos, to rusted nails, to the integrity of the structure itself, buildings such as these may offer more in the way of bodily harm, than in the way of spirit activity.
 A Line to the Outside World - Make sure you let people know where you are going to be and when you are going to be there. That way, if you don’t come back out, they can send a posse to retrieve you!  It should go without saying that you should not investigate alone (I slipped it in anyway), but a partner is not enough. You need that line to the outside world as a safety net. If you have followed the above advice, at the very least, the owner of the property will know you are there.
Dude (don’t) Run!
When I was nineteen, I was spending the night at my friend’s house. She had the cool room, the one detached from the main house, next to the pool. Fancy. It had a kitchenette and a pool table. We were playing a game of pool when suddenly, we heard a couple of loud knocks on the outside wall. Needless to say, the sounds got our attention. Eyes widened. Pulses raced. I asked her if she had ever heard that sound before. She admitted she had heard something similar, but nowhere near as loud. 
    It was time to investigate. A moonlit walk around the outside of the building yielded no lurking boyfriends ready to spring. Nor did it yield any knife wielding maniacs (much to our relief). Shrugging it off, we went back to her room, locking the sliding glass door behind us, and wishing it were iron instead. This is when my “friend” mentioned the suspected haunt activity her family had experienced several times before. 
    After some casual conversation about possible ghost encounters, we decided it was time for a snack. There was a moment of silence between us, a heaviness lingering in the air, as we tried to hide the fact that both of us were scared to death.  After a few hard gulps and an exchange of some less than reassuring looks, we left the safety of her room, and scurried towards the back door to the house which lead directly into the kitchen. After a brief time, we had managed to ransack the fridge of all it’s fun food, and decided it was time to brave the moonlit trek back to the pool house (which, in reality, was all of 15 feet away). My friend was out the door first. I, being the good horror movie heroine I am, managed to drop some very important chips, and was left scrambling to pick them up. 
    All of the sudden, as she makes it half-way to the door to her room, we both hear two very loud, very distinct knocks, once again, on the outside wall.  My friend shrieks, her feet kicking into high gear, which, in turn, puts the pep in my step as well. Unfortunately for me, my state of panic, and my split second decision to favor flight over fight, lead me to miss the second step which would have carried me safely to the ground. Instead, I felt myself fall much further than I had intended, causing me to sit down on my foot which had turned sideways, and was hanging partially off the edge of the bottom step. As my ass landed, it bent the rigid bones in my foot in a way that rigid bones do not bend, over the stair. Yes. Ouch. That would be pain. 
    However, I would not be deterred.  There would be no fumbling for car keys or breaking the heel on MY shoe! No sir! I got my ass back up and hopped, on one foot, the rest of the way back to the pool house, which was now locked, thanks to the quick thinking and selfless actions of my good friend. Luckily for me, she managed to pull herself together enough to let me back into the room. 
    Many panting breaths, and several hours passed before we could manage to find our way to sleep, but, eventually, we did manage. The next morning, in the light of day, we heard the knocking sounds once more, and it didn’t take long for us to figure out that the refrigerator in the kitchenette was our ghost or axe murderer. And while this served to put us both at ease, it did not manage to save my summer which, I found out several days later, would be hampered in every way by a broken foot. The moral of this story, in case I have to spell it out: Do not panic. Do not run. You are more of a danger to yourself than any ghost could hope to be.

With it’s increasing popularity, it is important for us as a team, to usher in new investigators, offering whatever knowledge we have gained over the years. It is our hope, that by treating those new to this field with respect, they will, in turn, treat both their fellow investigators as well as their environment with that same respect.

Ghost hunting has more to offer than the hope of capturing the elusive full-body apparition on film, or garnering that class “A” evp which also happens to be a direct response to a question. Investigating the paranormal offers a first-person link to history. It ignites a child-like wonder of which life often seems devoid. It affords us a glimpse at what may otherwise remain unseen.

And, for those of us who are passionate, it offers new ground for building a community. There is plenty of room for us all, so share what you know with others eager to learn, and do what you can to advance the field.

From all of us at EVP, we wish you safe hunting, and we will see you on the other side.

Take Only Pictures...
There is an old adage that people who explore ghost towns often use: Take only pictures. Leave only footsteps. This saying holds true for ghost hunters too. Paranormal investigations take place at historical monuments, private homes, businesses, and long abandoned places. All of these locations deserve the same respect. Remember, you are there asking the environment to give something to you. Make sure you leave the location the way you found it. Not only is it a show of respect for whoever owns the property, but it is a show of respect for any investigators that come after you.
Thank You For Illustrating Our Point
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