So You Want to Start
a Paranormal Group?
who have an interest in the paranormal would love to be in
a paranormal group. However, sometimes there may not be one
in the local area to join. If that's the case then why not
contemplate starting a group up yourself?
most important advice that can be given to potential groups
is to NOT use the TV program 'Most Haunted' as a standard
to how investigations should be conduted. There are a multitude
of groups out there that emulate the format of the 'Most Haunted'
show, right down to the resident medium and 'scientific sceptic'.
However, 'Most Haunted' is currently in wave after wave of
controversy as evidence of the group allegedly manipulating
situations and downright faking phenomena has been documented
by a number of websites, most notably BadPsychics.co.uk. Most
importantly - none of their procedures can produce evidence
that can be scientifically scrutinised. The whole point of
investigating somewhere is to provide solid evidence of what
you're looking for - the paranormal. Vague first-name only
characters and descriptions, the odd stone being thrown and
inaudible sounds being heard hold no value whatsoever. Not
only that, but when anything does happen with Most Haunted
they immediately start accusing the others of 'playing a joke'
or producing the phenomena themselves. Not exactly trustworthy,
is it? The worst thing about the show is that if something
happens, like a knock is heard or a shuffling sound absolutely
nothing is done to see if it has any rational explaination.
Golden rule No. 1 of paranormal investigation - phenomena
is NOT going to happen on your face. Stop pointing the camera
at it when you're asking out for something to happen.
If you want to follow the standard
of a TV 'paranormal investigation' show, then we would highly
recommend 'Ghost Hunters' which follows the methods of 'TAPS'.
They use all of the latest digital equipment and technology
to positively capture paranormal on video which can then be
scrutinised at a later date. If something is caught on camera
/ audio at the time they then thoroughly investigate that
area, examining every single potential possibility of how
it could have occured naturally. It is because of these methods
that any interesting footage or sounds they collect is much
more respectible because you know that they wouldn't have
presented it without exhausting all other possibilities first.
It is able to be discussed, and because their methods are
so detailed possibilities that arise at a later date can be
fully addressed thanks to the data that they recorded at the
When you're planning a group
don't make it too big or too small. Too many people will undoubtedly
get in the way of equipment and could end up giving you a
false positive in your research. However, too little people
would make setting up and packing away a big task, and if
you're on your own and something major happens then there
are no other witnesses to back up what happened. The best
size for a paranormal group is around the 3-6 mark. Not too
crowded, and not alone.
can be a daunting prospect to any new group because there's
so much out there that can be utilised productively during
an investigation. One of the biggest dilemmas that face a
group is budget, but if you know where to look then you can
pick up a decent kit quite cheaply. The 'ready made' kits
that are out there on the market are very small for what you're
paying for. Our entire kit (not including the camcorders or
digital cameras since they are non-exclusive items) as shown
on the Equipment page cost no more than £200 for everything.
But if you're just starting out then the most important pieces
of kit to have are night-vision camcorders, an audio recorder
such as a minidisc or DAT recorder and, most important of
all, a torch. Just writing things down during the night is
not going to hold water "11.52pm - Jamie and I hear a
knock" is nothing. Capturing a knocking sound on both
camcorder and audio recorder is better because then the sound
can be heard over and over again to determine what it could
have been. Also, because there's a visual log it can hopefully
prove that nobody was knocking anything at the time. Another
piece of advice is that when you're talking to each other
do it clearly so that when you replay the tapes back you know
that it's you who's talking. If you try and whisper to prevent
being recorded you're still going to be captured, and indistinguishable
whispers may be mistaken for actual phenomena.
Don't be afraid to speak out
if you think there could be a rational explaination to something
that's just happened. That's the whole point of paranormal
investigation. If you hear a noise from somewhere then go
with the camera straight to where you heard it. It's unprofessional
to hear or see something, go "oh, that sounded odd"
and then ignore it because any potential evidence has been
wasted. As I explained previously, it's a pet hate of mine.
If something happens then get to where it occured and check
it out. Look for pipes to see if it could have been an airlock
or the boiler firing up. Check the window to see if it could
have been something brushing against it like a branch, check
the doors to see if they automatically close by themselves
or if they're freestanding.... basically discount every available
possible cause for that sound. If you do that and cannot even
remotely replicate it then you have some tangible.
After the investigation and you've
had a good nights sleep then go back through the footage as
early as possible, whilst the events are still fresh in your
mind. Now that your mind will be more alert you can srutinise
things that may have happened with a sharper mind and may
even consider a new possibilty that wasn't thought of at the
time. Hopefully you'll have enough data on you to still be
able to either discount or further prove what you have caught.
Evidence is there to be debated.
Once you've gone through what you have caught, maybe cleaning
and enhancing video and audio to highlight potential phenomena
then the best thing to do is to get it out there for others
to discuss and debate about what might have been caught. Websites
are relatively simple to create these days and equipment to
upload video and audio onto your PC is getting cheaper and
cheaper. I use a TV Tuner card to record my camcorder video
from and my audio recorder plugs straight in via USB. The
programs you can use to edit video and audio are free - for
video you can use Windows Movie Maker to clip out certain
sections (and then enhance contrast and brightness to bring
out dark shots), and audio can be scrutinied using the Audacity
audio editing program (which can let you lose the background
hiss and leave just the interesting sounds which can then
be made louder if need be).
enough research was done beforehand then any further questions
that're asked can still be dutifully and honestly be answered
thus either ruling out yet more possibilities or finding a
possible rational explaination as to what has been caught.
The most important thing to remember
is to be patient. You're not going to capture something on
every investigation you go on. You may even go several nights
without getting a single thing. Tangible paranormal phenomena
is so incredibly difficult to capture and I've spent many
a night just sat there in the pitch black waiting for what
seemed to be forever for something to happen. And it didn't.
When you're investigating don't let your mind become biased
- keep level headed and rational throughout so that if something
happens your first instinct is to go straight over and see
what it is, not turn tail and run for your life. I'm sure
you're all irritated by these people who go to a haunted place,
ask for something to happen, and when it does they turn around
screaming, running off in the other direction. That's an opportunity
Copyright 2008 Michael Harbidge. See Copyright page for full