How not to be a ghost hunter

Recently The Sun newspaper ran a piece called ‘A Ghost Hunters Guide’

It touched upon the fact that “wanna-be” ghost hunters can pay to go on a course with Ciaran O’Keefe and Steve Parsons that will teach them how to investigate the paranormal. However, the article left me scratching my head a bit and wondering if the tips in the article had come from Ciaran and Steve, and if they had, why.

Lets take a look at the tips the paper provided, I’ve written them in bold with my thoughts in normal font beneath each one.

Tip #1 – Take warm clothes. Ever tried sitting outside all night? As ghosts usually turn up in the most obscure, inhospitable places, warm clothes, food and drink are key to getting through the night. Don’t warm up with whisky though – you don’t want to miss the action by passing out.
In my opinion, and from what I’ve witnessed and investigated over the years this isn’t true at all. Yes, you should wrap up warm and take food and drink if you’re going to be at a location for a long amount of time. However ghosts don’t usually “turn up in the most obscure, inhospitable places” at all. That’s where the ghost stories turn up because those sorts of places tend to look more spooky and scary.
Although I’ve visited such locations in the past, a majority of the locations that I have investigated have been modern buildings and homes that don’t fit the ‘haunted building’ cliche that thrill seekers tend to love.

Tip #2 – Take a torch. Fumbling around in the dark will not look good, and having a torch can offer some welcome reassurance should you get a little nervy.

Although some people do witness what they believe to be a ghost in the dark, a lot of ghosts are seen during daylight hours – or with the lights on. The idea that you have to sit in the dark to see a ghost is silly and simply deprives you of your senses. Sitting in the dark, you are more likely to interpret something quite mundane as spooky. One thing that has come to amuse me greatly over the years is the habit some investigation teams have of visiting locations at night time when the ghost they are supposed to be looking for has been seen during the day. That makes no sense at all unless you’re doing it purely for the thrill of the hunt.


Tip #3 – take a voice recorder. For all those baffling and unexplained noises. Ghost hunters often play back recordings at home, only to hear whispers or threats they didn’t hear at the time. Spooky stuff.
Yes, it can be spooky to play back a recording and hear a supposed voice that you didn’t hear at the time. However, any open minded investigator would know that it’s impossible to rule out every possible logical explanation for the recording and that it can’t be classed as paranormal because of this.
For more information about the logical causes of such recordings visit my research teams article on the topic by clicking here.
Tip #4 – Take a camera. Many an eerie figure has been snapped on camera.Plus you want something to take home and show your mates.

Tip #5 – Take something to do! Sitting staring into the same gloomy spot for hour after hour can be a pretty mind numbing experience.Stay awake by flicking through a magazine, a book or the newspaper.

If any member of my investigation team was caught doing this, they know how I would feel about it. Paranormal research is a very boring thing to take part in. It does involve sitting around in rooms and buildings for hours on end with nothing happening. However, a paranormal researcher should be alert at all times and should be aware of their surroundings and what is going on. By sitting down with a book or a magazine you’re going to be distracting yourself from what it is you are meant to be studying and you will be defeating your objectives. It does get boring at times, and this is why some teams schedule in breaks so that people can go and get something to eat or drink and take a break from the long, sometimes boring study sessions.
Final tip – Despite what Bruce Willis and The Exorcist may have taught you, a sixth sense and prayers are not essential.

This is probably the only piece of advice given in The Sun article that I fully agree with and funnily enough it’s the only piece they weren’t trying to be serious with. *sigh*

It’s probably pointless me trying to rationalise something that The Sun has written because they can be described as ‘an easy target.’ The fact is though that this newspaper and website is read by hundreds – if not thousands of people, and some of those people will accept the above tips as genuine. There are already a multitude of groups out there who use pseudoscientific techniques (and even completely barmy spirutual technqiues) to investigate apparent paranormal phenomena, we don’t need even more being created through the sharing of shoddy ghost hunting tips.

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About Hayley Stevens

Hayley Stevens is a podcaster, blogger, writer, public speaker and ghost geek. She likes tea, cake, sci-fi books and being a humanist.

Posted on March 9, 2010, in ghost, irrational, paranormal, pop culture paranormal. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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