A successful ghost hunt often brings unexpected surprises—lights flickering on and off, unexplained noises, a phantom scent or two. The last thing you want on a serious hunt is a crew member who brings along surprises of their own. An often overlooked step in preparation for a paranormal investigation is the selection of people to bring along.
Before you step foot in a haunted place, you should have a good idea of what to expect, and this holds true for the people hunting with you. In a perfect world, this would not be an issue, but we are all human. The attitudes of your fellow ghost hunters and how well their personalities mesh can make the difference between a fruitful search and a complete bust.
For example, does everyone on your investigating team believe in ghosts? This may sound like a silly question, but it is a valid concern. Their level of belief can also be a factor. Oddly enough, I have found that the more strongly a person wants to experience something paranormal, the more his or her presence can be detrimental to the hunt. Here’s why:
If you have someone along who I like to call a “True Believer,” someone who is convinced not only of the existence of ghosts but who also holds a disdain for any skepticism at all, well…that person may wind up being trouble. Sometimes a sudden flash of light is just a car passing by, and sometimes that odd sound really is the house settling. The True Believer has the tendency to assign any and all activity to the paranormal—and in all honesty, that is practically never the case, even in the most haunted of locations. It can defeat your purpose if too many folks along for the ride insist that every speck of dust is an orb, every shadow an apparition.
The True Believer’s polar opposite is the Proud Skeptic. This is the type of person who is convinced the paranormal is 100% bunk, and by-golly nothing short of an act of Congress is going to persuade them otherwise. Though it can be entertaining to have such a person be proven wrong during an investigation, their presence can cast a negative pall. I have been told by other investigators that having a Proud Skeptic along can even keep paranormal occurrences from happening, their brassbound attitude acting as a blocking agent. In all fairness, though, I have also heard that a strong skeptical attitude can convince the spirits to act out even more, almost as an act of rebellion against the skeptic. Your results may vary.
Simply put, you want to assemble a ghost hunting crew that strikes a sensible balance somewhere between the True Believer and the Proud Skeptic. The members of your group should be aware of perfectly normal phenomena that are often mistaken for paranormal activity. They should also be able to accept an occurrence as spirit activity after all other possibilities have been eliminated. In short, you want your fellow ghost hunters to be flexible and open-minded, and at the same time sharp enough to tell the wind apart from a banshee.
Finally, the members of your crew should get along. This affects your team as a whole; if there is tension between two or more of you, it can spread over the entire team. Additionally, some believe that personal tensions can taint the paranormal atmosphere, in much the same manner as I described when discussing the Proud Skeptic. I like to use the term “psychic poison” in such a situation when toxic vibes or auras are present. Depending on the circumstances, it can dampen or eliminate activity in a location, or potentially invite more negative or malevolent energy. Neither is a desirable outcome.
Your investigation should be an enjoyable and productive experience. Assembling a well-balanced crew of hunters will help make that happen.
If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.