I am interested in the paranormal .... What next?
A few years ago, I was a lot like you guys. I had an interest or an intrigue in the world of paranormal. I watched the tv shows, I did a bit of a research online and I loved visiting locations and hearing the eerie tales about what goes bump in the night. It has been a few years since my very first paranormal investigation and quite a lot has changed. This isn’t a post about how you need to work hard to make a name for yourself, I think I covered that somewhere else, but the point of this was to show you that if you have a passion or an interest you can take it as far as you want to go. The sky is the limit! Maybe you have an interest in the paranormal, but you really don’t know what to do. Here are some very simple tips that can help you get your foot in the door and become an active member of the paranormal community.
Firstly, not everyone wants to become a serious paranormal investigator. That is OK too. Again you take things as far as you want to take them. You are in the driver’s seat, no one else.
Attend a Paranormal Investigation
I guess that is a pretty easy and simple one. There are places in every state of Australia that run paranormal investigations. Just make sure you know the difference between a ghost tour and a paranormal investigation. Does it matter? Absolutely, they are 2 completely different experiences. A ghost tour is usually ran by a guide with a theatrical background. They are often dressed in costume and play the part of someone that supposedly lived or worked at the location you are visiting. For example at a gaol, you are likely to encounter someone dressed as a prison guard and will take you on the tour in that character. They take you through the building and give you the sordid history as well as tales of hauntings that have been experienced by people. Some even scream, jump out at you as the aim is to give you a bit of a fright. That pretty much sums up a ghost tour. If this is up your alley fantastic get on it because it can be a really fun night out. If you want to get more into the investigation side of things, a paranormal investigation is what you are after. Gone are the costumes, gone are the theatrics and what you are left with is your investigator/s for the night who will take you through the building with different pieces of equipment. Lights flash, voices come through boxes, it can all be very exciting and hopefully you will walk away with some sort of personal experience that leaves you craving for more. I know that is how I got hooked. The important thing to remember and most places should state this at the beginning of the investigation but they cannot guarantee you that you are going to encounter anything paranormal. We all have good and bad nights and some nights nothing happens at all. If you do go on an investigation and it is a quiet night, don’t give up try it again.
For some people, this is enough to wet their appetite of the paranormal and they attend a few investigations a year. At Black Rock House we have many regulars who love just attending different investigations. It is easy, it is relatively cheap, you don’t have to supply your own equipment, you don’t have to worry about things like public liability insurance, you don’t have to organise anything, and you can simply leave at the end of the night. It is really a great way to go.
Become friends with people that are also interested in the Paranormal
Did you meet some people you got a long with on the tour? Why not try to develop a Facebook friendship with them. You can swap stories and bond over your evidence. You may even decide to do your next investigation together. I am always saying how much I love the people in this community and that they feel like family. You have a common interest on a subject that can sometimes have a bit of a taboo attached to it. Some of your friends might think you are weird or are too scared to try it themselves. It is perfectly OK to lead a bit of a double life. I certainly do. I can tell you that no one at my workplace or any of the mums at my son’s school have any idea what it is I do with my nights. Why? i haven’t told them. Why I haven’t is many reasons which I am not going to get into now but the point of what I am saying is that you might need a whole different social group to do or talk paranormal stuff with and that is OK. Follow your favourite groups on Facebook and get involved in discussions. As a person that runs several Facebook pages and investigations on a weekly basis I can tell you that I remember who you are. I remember the people that are always getting involved in the discussions on my pages. I remember the people that attend the tours and get involved. I certainly remember if you attend more than once. Im not the only one that does. That is what we are like as a community. When we see someone with an interest we give a high 5 and welcome you to the fold.
We are really lucky (and maybe cursed) in some ways to have a thing called google. A lot of information is now available at our fingertips. Use this to your advantage. Start looking up the different kinds of hauntings and researching different pieces of equipment or even theories. Look up the history of different locations. Just keep in mind that sites like Wikipedia are not a reliable source or information.
Use mainstream paranormal tv shows for entertainment purposes only
Quite a lot of people decide to go on an investigation because they have watched Ghost Adventures. I used to find it highly entertaining. Now I watch it and cringe for 45 minutes. All paranormal shows in the mainstream media are intended to entertain you. Their evidence is not necessarily reliable and words from the mouth of someone who used to be on one of these shows told me that they are told to overact. Play up everything so that it will translate on camera. Think about it, if they showed you what a real investigation was like, you wouldn’t watch it. You would see a bunch of people sitting around for hours and not a lot happening. What you can get from these shows though is ideas. Maybe they have tried a piece of equipment you want to look into and test or a new experiment they are trying. Not all is lost. There are also a lot of great independent documentaries, films and interviews available online from serious people in the business. These are ones that you should stand up and take notice of. You won’t find them on network television and that is honestly a great thing because it means they are not doing things to entertain you because the network demands it. They are doing things because they believe in them.
Don’t expect freebies or special treatment
This is kind of an important one. Again as someone that runs investigations , I am often inundated with friend requests which ultimately lead to people (some of who I have never met and I don’t even know who they are) to ask if I can take them on a special free investigation or if they can join the team or the newest one is to work at the National Trust Events and get a free investigation. For anyone that has been in the paranormal community for any amount of time and has any sort of success, they will tell you that they have worked their ass off to get to where they are. From my point of view and this is only my point of view, I have spent time away from my children, I have lost relationships with some of my friends, my marriage for some part has suffered because I am not home on weekends and I am ‘working’ every night yes every single night on making Black Rock House Paranormal Tours and even this blog what it is. This has been my choice because I absolutely love what I do and I in the last 12 months have evolved from just getting a thrill out of investigating and made it my personal mission to help out the paranormal community by creating experiences for them that I did not have the opportunity to experience. There are a limited about of locations here in Vic and the last 12 months I have spent trying to get all of you guys in the door as well. I have the most fun when I am on one of our investigations and meeting new people each week. I have made so many friends with our regulars and I actually no joke look forward to seeing them again because it is just so much fun. So I personally (and a lot of other people are also in the same boat) have put a lot on the line for you guys to walk through the door that we have opened. It kinda hurts when people expect freebies or just want something from us when we have done all the work to benefit you because it costs us money out of our own pockets. Most of the time we are not even in a position to give you a freebie because already we run at a loss. There are some regulars or people that we may offer special things to. If it is offered to you, accept it gratefully and know that it is because we think a lot of you and appreciate your support. Usually these are the people that don’t ‘expect’ anything from us.
You don’t have to join a paranormal group
Paranormal groups pop up every day on Facebook. Some are just a bunch of a friends with a cool name and matching t shirts (hey I am not at all bagging this because I used to do that as well). Others are really looking at new ways to investigate or to collect data, make theories, conduct experiments etc. I am not going to go into intent because that was in the my last post but really you don’t have to join a group to do an investigation. If you want to go further than just attending a tour, you can sometimes hire out places (for a very large fee) and that is where being in a group helps. You also usually need public liability insurance. Again a group comes in handy here but don’t despair. A lot of groups these days invite members of the public to investigate with them. Hopefully all they are charging you is a fee to cover the cost of hiring the place etc because it can go into the thousands to hire a building for the night and it is only fair for you to pay your cut. Usually they will still provide you with equipment but they may not – depends on the group. If you are going to join a paranormal group, first of all you should not have to pay any sort of fee just to join. You may be expected to contribute to equipment if you are going to be using it or you may have to supply your own and yes it is absolutely fair and standard to have to chip in to pay for the hire of venues and public liability insurance. Taking this step as an investigator is one a lot don’t understand or expect. It gets really really expensive.
What equipment do I get?
This can be quite a personal thing as everyone likes different pieces of equipment and not everyone is a believer in all of the different pieces of equipment. Equipment is expensive and there is no way around that. If you want to build up your own kit with lots of different things, you are looking at thousands of dollars (I am really not over exaggerating). I am here to tell you that when you are starting out, you do not need all this fancy equipment. It is fun and there are lots of flashy lights and yes you can get some great stuff. The one thing you can do is very cheap and for some costs no money at all is EVP. I have done talks about EVP at seminars for investigators starting out and not only is it one of the most popular forms of investigating, but it is super cheap. You can get more than adequate digital recorders on ebay for around $35 dollars. You can even use your mobile phone to record EVPS but here is where I must put a disclaimer. A mobile phone interferes with just about any piece of equipment. You are usually asked to turn it off during an investigation. If you are going out on your own or you are with a group that will allow you to record on your phone, you can use this to do EVP sessions. I will go into more detail on how to capture EVP and what it all means in a new post but as an investigator starting out, your probably already know the basics. Start with your recorder and if you wish gradually start building your kit. Get perhaps something that can measure temperature such as a temp gun or a data logger. You should have some sort of EMF reader, but also you need to understand how it works (this is where your research from above comes in). You can then start looking into ITC items such as an ovilus or a spirit box but again it comes to your belief and knowledge. You have to know your equipment. If you don’t know it, don’t use it.
So that is a really small start of things that you can do to become more active in your community. From there, the sky is really the limit. You will know really early on if it is something you want to continue with or if you think it is too expensive or too much hard work. Again not everyone has to be a fully serious investigator. Going to a few tours may be fine for you whilst the guy over there wants to really get his hands dirty. Thats OK too. We all have different levels of passion but something I will tell you for sure ….. once you do it and your eyes are open, they cannot be closed.
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