So, you go out and investigate a haunting. You set up all your equipment, you do an EVP session, take still photos and capture video. People who were with you swear they had interaction with some of the spirits and are hopeful they captured something of the paranormal event. What happens next is the review of evidence, but what you need to know is that…not all things are paranormal! So, let me break it down for you, what to look for, listen for, and what to immediately exclude as possible paranormal evidence.
First, let’s look at a quick snapshot of the basics of investigating. When in a location, make sure to categorize it. If in a room take still photos of everything in the room, also video sweep the room from the center of the room, basically doing a slow 360 degree turn. When the investigation starts, make sure to note where each person is, and what equipment they have. During the EVP session, make sure that all “live” people talk in their normal voices; the last thing you want in a review is to question if the voice whispering is a team member or a ghost.
Let’s look at one of the most common pieces of evidence people claim to have, orbs. In today’s world of digital cameras almost 99% of the orbs you capture will be some form of particles. Why is that, Patrick, you ask? Great question. All digital cameras have a built-in flash, just above the camera lens With the flash that close, you are going to pick up a whole lot of particles that are floating right in front of the lens. To avoid this issue, you must have the flash 8” or more above the camera lens, this allows the flash (light) to lighten up the area away from in front of the lens and thereby eliminating a plethora of particles. My brother John, God rest his soul, always believed everything was paranormal. I can’t tell you the number of times he would show me a photo of dozens of orbs around a cannon or statue on a battlefield; and I would dutifully point out that if the 8” rule; if the flash is to close it very likely isn’t paranormal in nature at all.
So, what do we look for in an orb to qualify it as paranormal in nature? First and foremost, it needs to have a luminousness of its own and a defined nucleus. In this photo Mike Hartness, original member of the Wolf Pack, is in the location where the slave quarters used to be at the Dr. Mudd House and Museum. I was using a Sony cybershot camera when Mike said he felt heat on his face, I turned and took the picture. And you see the results in the photo. The first thing I noted was the lack of any other anomalies in the photo, just Mike and the glowing anomaly behind him. It was on December 5th, ergo the winter jacket and gloves Mike is wearing. Notice that the left side of Mike’s face is red and the orb to the left of him has a solid nucleus and a light source of its own. Even though this camera has a built-in flash, it is also a steady shot camera, so I do use this camera at times. This is a classic spirit-orb, in that it is clearly not explainable as a normal event and as Mike was feeling its presence tells me it was a interactive haunting event.
With EVP, it is a bit easier because you are looking for a response to specific questions you have asked. Again, it is easier to eliminate the obvious noises when reviewing EVP; cars outside, someone talking in a normal voice that is recognizable as a team member. What we do is that if we are conducting an EVP session is this; if we hear a noise that is obviously not paranormal in nature we will state so clearly. “A car just honked outside”, “Patrick coughed”, doing this will make it easier for you to identify possible spirit interaction.
When it comes to videos or photos, matrixing is your biggest problem. When looking at film evidence you have to be objective, you have to understand that your mind knows you are looking for something paranormal and it will try to accommodate your desire by matrixing. Meaning you may see things that aren’t really there. Do those leaves in the video just seem to look like a face, is the high grass really a Confederate soldier crouching? Here is one rule of thumb for you, if you have to circle it for others to see it, then it is most likely matrixing on your part, and by circling the possible evidence, you are causing the viewer to matrix as well. Over time, as you gain experience in reviewing evidence you will be able to clearly, and objectively, look or listen to the evidence and evaluate it on its own merits.