There is a reason why we teach that the first thing a researcher/investigator needs to do is…research. Research the proposed investigation site. One of the key elements of the Intuitive Science Method of Investigating is the history of the location. Everywhere you go there is history, and when investigating a site, especially a historic site, you are going to get what I call layered history. Someone lived there before someone lived there before someone else lived there; you get the picture. Most often you head out to a known haunted location with the intent of capturing the known activity, but sometimes you get what is underneath that haunting, and often, that’s when you hit the jackpot!
Layered history happens more often than you might expect. It is certainly time driven. A spirit from the 1870’s may be haunting a house as well as a spirit from the 1900’s. On battlefields the layered history can be in hours, days or even years. A perfect example of this is in my book, Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg, (available on Amazon.com - just in case you want to know) had three teams of investigators working the Double Blind Ghost Box. The first team with me was at Brown’s Knoll, in front of the Bloody Angle wall. I was focusing on Confederate General Ambrose Wright’s Brigade of Georgians who, the general claimed, took Cemetery Ridge on the 2nd day of the battle. We were communicating with soldiers from the 22nd Georgia and the 2nd Georgia battalion; to validate the information coming in. I wanted to see if the Ghost Soldiers would give me the correct answer as to their deployment, which they did!
In the middle of this investigation about Wright’s Brigade, the guy on the ghost box (Shawn Taylor) suddenly started hearing about the Virginians, followed by the name George and soon after the name Pickett. The interesting thing about this investigative event is that the activity was initially focused on Wright’s brigade which took place on the 2nd day of the battle, but then, via the ghost box, shifted to the 3rd day of the battle on what is referred to as Pickett’s Charge. This is a perfect example of layered history. During the Battle of Gettysburg these actions actually occurred in less than 24 hours, but layered history can also be events that occurred hundreds of years apart. Events like this can happen at any haunted location.
One question I always had was, could ghosts see each other from different time periods. Most people would say, “sure why not?”. But, at the time I was asking this question, no one I knew of had captured the voices of ghosts in different time periods talking to each other. No pictures of ghost in different period dress interacting, and no medium that I knew that had stated that a ghost from any one time period recognized the ghost from a different time period.
I taught a class and conducted an investigation at Bertha’s Mussels in Fells Pont, Maryland. The building it resides in has been around since the late 1700’s. The first business was a brothel! Bertha’s Mussel’s has been at its location for over 40 years, and is still an excellent establishment to eat, drink and be merry! It is haunted by many ghosts, among them a little girl, a woman in a cloak, and a drunken sailor.
I had already experienced several interactions with the little girl, and as she called my name into the hallway I walked out there and saw a woman seated on a bench; I felt more than heard that she had been there in the late 1790’s. I walked back into the class room and asked the medium I was working with to go check out the area. I gave her a few minutes and then heard her talking. When I came out to join her she said there was a woman from the late 1700’s and a drunken sailor from the late 1800’s. I sat down across from the medium and asked if the male ghost could see the female ghost. Suddenly the medium turned very red, and I chuckled as the drunken sailor said what he would like to do to the lady of ill repute! The medium stammered that she could not say what the spirit of the drunken sailor said, which was completely understandable. But, I had my answer, yes, spirits obviously can see other spirits from different time frames.
So, back to researching the history of a location. First you want to check on all haunted evidence that may be out there. Keep in mind that if the paranormal event has been captured before, we as investigators should see if we can duplicate that evidence to help validate the previous capture. Then check on all the people who lived and died there, who visited, and any major events that may have happened there. On battlefields, breaking it down by day of the action (if more than one day) will make it easier to plan where you will investigate. Break down each army involved by the Corps and Divisions all the way down to the company level. If you are doing a battlefield or a location that was a skirmish, make sure to get each company’s list of men who died or were wounded in the action; this will help you validate any names or company designations you may get on EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena).
The final note on haunted history; when taking your team in, try to do your best to have the Sensitives come in cold, by that I mean they should have the least amount of information about the site you are investigation. Have one person be the control; meaning that person is the one who does the research and can validate any data coming in from the Sensitive or from any other source. This way if Sensitive is giving you historically accurate information you can validate he or she is on the right track.