How (not to) Be a Ghost Hunter- A Tongue in Cheek Guide Original Link
So you want to be a ghost hunter. Being a ghost hunter is easy, all you need to do is spend a few hours watching television, you can learn all about it. There are wonderfully real and accurate paranormal shows all over cable television. Watch them and you too can be an expert. But what if you don’t have cable television? Never fear I have watched all the shows and I can tell you what to do:
Preparing for a Ghost Hunt
1. Ghost hunting is an exciting and thrilling hobby. Your time spent ghost hunting will be action packed. Ghosts are drawn to activity, so have fun and be high energy. Don’t stay in one place too long 2-3 minutes is more than enough. You never see the guys from TAPS sitting around for hours do you?
2. Your mind is more open when you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. So be sure to have a couple beers before you go, and bring a few extra along in the cooler. I would never advocate the use of illegal drugs but let’s just say this: Too bad they are illegal because they would be great help on a ghost hunt. Also if you have smokers on the team, be sure to bring cigarettes. Ghosts are attracted to the nicotine and you can often see the ectoplasm of many ghosts hovering around smokers.
3. The more the merrier, bring all your friends! Make it a party. Ghosts love parties, and if something gets trashed- well who cares? It isn’t like the dead can complain right?
4. Asking permission to investigate a site is for amateurs, the real die-hard ghost hunters don’t care. Break in if you have to, it’s in the name of science after all.
5. Do NOT do any sort of research on the site before you go, it is much better if you go in not knowing what the claims are or what to expect.
Using Your Equipment
1. Never warn a ghost that you are going to take a picture; it is much better to surprise them. If you say “flash” or give any sort of warning, they will run off.
2. Orbs are great evidence of paranormal phenomenon, don’t use night vision, not only are these cameras expensive, but they also can’t capture orbs. Use a very bright flash or spot light to capture these ghosts.
3. Never take a tripod, they are too bulky and they will slow you down. Keep moving when you are taking photos. Never take 2 shots of the same spot. Most ghost hunters have a nice steady hand, so they won’t have to worry about the camera jiggling.
4. Set your shutter speed to a slow speed. Ghosts move very fast so you will need the slow shutter speeds, this is especially helpful for capturing rods, and paranormal ribbons.
5. Bring crystals, Ouija boards, divining rods, etc you never know when they might be helpful.
6. Bring an EMF detector, a KII if you can, if you see the numbers go up, you have a ghost and ghosts like to communicate through them.
7. When doing an EVP session, make sure you whisper- you wouldn’t want your voice accidentally caught on tape. Keep the conversation moving; don’t pause too long in between questions. NEVER video tape an EVP session, it is a waste of film; you have an audio recording, anything more is overkill.
8. If you can’t find equipment that will do what you want, build your own. There is no need to waste time conducting scientific testing to evaluate the tool, if it lights up, is shiny or makes cool noises- it works!
9. If one of the television ghost busters uses a new tool- don’t waste any time getting it. These shows have hundreds of highly-paid researchers to look for new gear, if they use it, it must work!
10. If you can’t get the equipment to work the way TAPS does, then you must be doing something wrong, so keep trying. In fact you should spend the majority of your time trying to duplicate the same cool results they get.
Developing Your Investigative Style
1. You don’t get a television show for nothing- these people on TV know their stuff! If they do it, there is no need to question. Never question the pros. They know what they are doing; you really don’t need to know why they are doing something, if Paranormal State then that should be enough for you.
2. The best answers for paranormal activity is usually the most irrational, when explaining paranormal activity don’t let skeptics try to throw logic into the mix. And always give a full explanation- such as how the ghost was feeling, what they were thinking and so on.
3. Use your instincts; your first impression is usually right. Don’t dig around trying to find explanations for something, remember your test taking advice from school, “The first answer you choose is generally correct”
4. Think on your feet, never pause to evaluate a situation, chances are you will miss your opportunity to capture a ghost. If you hear a noise, run blindly toward it; don’t pause to think about what might be the source. Besides, you are totally safe, it is just you and your friends in the abandoned building- what could possibly go wrong?
5. Don’t ever get bogged down on researching other people’s theories, develop your own and stick with it. If someone questions you, make something up or confuse them with mysticism or throw some technical sounding terms at them. Try to create your own phrases by combining technical and new age terms such as “isochoric manifestation of a cosmic energy relative to the ethereal plane in pseudo-corporeal form”. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what you are saying- no one else will either, and you will look very smart! REMEMBER! You are the paranormal "expert" make sure you let everyone know that!
Dealing With Clients
1. Try to always keep in mind, the client has no idea what is going on. Don’t waste time talking with them or getting their opinion. If you do have to interact with your client, don’t ask a bunch of personal questions. It isn’t any of your business what is going on in their lives; never ever ask about drug or alcohol abuse, histories of mental illnesses, recent stresses or other personal information. In fact, never ask questions; let them tell you what they want to. Not only is this much more professional, but asking a bunch of questions will only encourage them to bug you..
2. If the client does start to bug you, asking annoying questions about why you do something or stuff like that, it is easy to shut them up by simply asking, “Don’t you watch Ghost Hunters?” If they did, they would know what you were doing, and if they don’t… well they are beyond help.
3. Make sure you state your rates up front and always collect payment before you start investigating. Only amateurs do an investigation for free. The only exception to this is if you are trying for a TAPS family membership- then you have to work for free because they say so. But don’t worry; you will still make a ton of money doing personal appearances when you are accepted as a member. (Did you know that recently autographs of TAPS members sold for $35 each? - you do the math!)
4. Always try to sell your client a paranormal cleansing while you are there. (even TAPS members can charge for this one!) This is very easy to do, just burn some white sage, say a few prayers and sprinkle some holy water around. It is guaranteed to get rid of the ghosts and will make your team extra money- so it is a total win-win!
5. Don’t ever give a client a copy of any evidence. They will sell it or use it to write a book and will take all your glory. You captured the evidence using your equipment- you have sole rights to it and can use it whenever and wherever you wish. When you do post evidence, make sure you include all the important facts, time and date it was captured, the exact address where you caught it, and if you can post GPS coordinates so other people can find the haunted site- the only time you should not do this is when there are other teams in the area. This leads me to my next point.
Working With Other Teams
1. Ghost hunting is a competitive business. NEVER EVER work with another team, unless they can do something for you. But as soon as you get what you want out of the relationship, cut all ties.
2. Your best bet is to bad-mouth, harass, and run down other teams. Let everyone who will listen know why your team is so much better than theirs. Spy on them, try to post nasty messages if they have a message board, and make fun of them whenever you can. The only teams worth working with are TAPS, Penn State, GHI or other TV teams; everyone else deserves nothing but your disdain.
3. Your best bet is to just break up the other teams. If you find a weak member do everything you can to steal them. Good people will jump ship to go to another team at a moment’s notice- remember that and watch for your opportunities to talk trash to those people and turn them against their team.
4. If you do get someone to switch sides, make sure they take as much personal and private information as possible. Use what you can to better your team, and leak all the dirty laundry- it will only make them look bad and you look good.
5. Never take the advice of a more “experienced” investigator. Sure, there are people who have been investigating for 20-30 years, but let’s face it, if they were really any good, they would have a TV show, so don’t bother with them. You know just as much as they do, and why would they help you anyways? Be suspicious of those people, they just want to steal from you or ruin your excellent reputation.
1. If at first you don’t notice anything in your audio or photos, use fancy software to enhance it. When you do this, you will be surprised how much you will find. Don’t ever publish unaltered evidence- that is boring. Make sure you enhance it until you will be sure everyone else will be able to see or hear what you did.
2. Never ever question your findings; this will make you look ignorant. And if by chance you discover something you published is wrong- never, never, ever retract it. No one else is as smart as you so chances are if you missed it, they will too. It is much better to leave it up and just run with it.
3. If you can’t find any compelling evidence, it is ok to fake it. The only way to gain credibility is to post exciting evidence. This will help you gain more exposure and you will eventually have the chance to find real evidence later.
4. Be sure you know how to spot other people’s fakes and call them out on it every chance you can. If they try to call you out on your fake evidence, or even question your real evidence, personally attack them. This will show what losers they are and no one will listen to them.
Putting Together and Promoting Your Team
1. It is much better to start your own team than join an established one. If you must join an established team, try to make changes to suit your needs as soon as possible. Especially if they don’t do things the way it is done on television. If they try to question you, simply tell them, “Well that is the way (insert your favorite TV team here) does.” That is all the explanation anyone should need.
2. Start building trust within your team immediately. Never do a background check on a potential team member. That is an invasion of privacy and besides, what they do in their personal life has no impact on your ghost hunting.
3. People with jobs and families will just hold you back. Try to find people who don’t have any responsibilities or goals other than ghost hunting.
4. Go EVERYWHERE together in your team t-shirts. Try to attract as much attention as possible. Dress crazy, be loud, do what ever it takes to attract attention. This is especially important if there is a television camera or a reporter nearby. Do whatever it takes to be photographed, or even better, interviewed in your t-shirt! All press is good press. (above taken from "The Examiner.com Author: Cheri Esperon". )