Tips and Hints
Some of the tips and hints
the NEPRS has found helpful
- If possible, do some research. The
best sources for
information on a potential investigation site are the town library's
local section, the local people who live in the area, and if possible,
a local historian. The more you know about a
haunting, the more you will know what you may expect.
- But at the same time, don't over research
an area before you
investigate. Over research often leads investigators to
have preconceived ideas of what they will find at a spot before the
investigation takes place. This can lead to missing very
important details that do not fit into the folklore of an area.
There is always time to research the fine details later.
- If you have a medium or psychic on the
team do not share
much, if any, of the research with them. It is important that
their senses are
clear to all possibilities. This is not to "test" them against
the facts, but so they will feel free to explore other contacts and
impressions they get that are not part of the established folklore and
may help to expand the understanding of the history of a haunting
click here for more tips for Mediums and Psychics.
- Wear comfortable clothing and
sensible shoes or boots. If you are working outside during bug
season be sure to bring the appropriate bug repellant.
- It is important to do a daytime
walkthrough of the area before
going at dusk. Get daytime EMF readings and take some photos you
can use as reference for the ones you will take in the dark. At some
very active places you may even experience daytime haunting events so
always be prepared. Consider making a map to mark out things
that could be hazards such as gofer holes, large rocks, broken
headstones, fences, ropes, tree roots etc. Also, make note of
parking areas and posted notices. If there are no trespassing or
private property signs do not enter unless you have the owners
- Set up a meeting place and time. NEPRS
members prefer to
meet at a local coffee shop and then drive out in as few cars as
possible. Be sure everyone knows what they are going to be
doing, what equipment, if any, they will be in charge of and who is
driving who if you need to make a quick retreat. We have yet to feel
the need to make one, but you never know.
- If the area is outside, such as a
cemetery, make special
note of any signs of partying activity by the local teens. Beer
bottles, broken glass, remains of a campfire and the like are an
indication that the area has become a hang out. If this is the
case, you might want to pick up the litter, and then plan your night
time investigation during the week when the partying teens are less
likely to be present.
- Check and double check ALL
equipment. Be sure you have
plenty of batteries and film. If you intend to use electronics
always keep extra batteries in your car and out of the investigation
area as some spirit energies will drain batteries quickly and you
might need to replace them.
Although you don't really need
anything more than an open mind to investigate a haunted area,
NEPRS uses many types of electronics including, but not limited to,
EMF meters, digital and tape video recorders, digital and cassette
voice recorders, and both digital and 35 mm cameras, as well as
knowledgeable staff and proven
Though there are just
about as many ways to investigate hauntings as there are investigators,
some of the most basic things you need to remember during an
investigation are simple, common sense things. The following are
some of the methods NEPRS members follow during an investigation.
- NEPRS outside
investigations are ALWAYS and WITHOUT EXCEPTION done on days or nights
that are clear and dry. There is no point starting an
investigation outside in the rain or even after the rain has
stopped. Rain will give you false orbs. Even after rain has
stopped, water droplets falling from trees or blowing in the wind can
cause false orbs for hours after the rain has moved on. Wet grass
is not very comfortable to sit on, and delicate electronic equipment
can be harmed in the wet weather. So if it is not dry don't
bother going out that night.
- Get everyone's watches set to the same
time. This will
help when keeping notes regarding the timing of events. Keep
those notes either on paper or on some type of voice recorder.
For example, you should note when a car drives by or when a plane flies
over head. That way, if there are any questions as to what the
white lights in the bushes are, or what the rumble on the EVP recording
can check the time against the notes and verify that a car
drove by or a plane flew overhead at the time.
- Be aware of your environment. Be
sure all members know
where previously identified hazards are so no one trips or falls.
If you are in a public area watch out for not so dead people who might
be around, especially if you are away from the road in a secluded
area. Some secluded cemeteries are the frequent haunts of
drinking teens an troublemakers. In our experience, we've
found that if there are any people there when you arrive, they will
usually leave soon after. But if they don't, then you should
leave. Not only could they be trouble, but there is no point is
trying to do a serious investigation with them present, making noises,
and getting in the way.
- An NEPRS investigator will start a digital
voice recording at
the moment we enter a site. We do this so we have a full and
complete record of an investigation from start to finish. It
unlikely to record EVP (electronic voice phenomena) until some time
investigation, so if you only intend to use voice recorders (digital or
tape) for EVPs then we suggest you wait at least 30 minutes to start
- If you are luckily enough
to have a homeowner or historian
to talk to, then you should consider setting up at least some of your
equipment in the area where they report there has been the most
activity in the
past. We often set up video cameras in such areas.
- If you have a reliable medium with your
team, as the NEPRS does,
then start the investigation by having the medium walk around the area
and give you their opinion of what they sense about the
environment. Be sure to record this, as a good medium has been
known to give information that is useful in future investigation.
The mediums we use have given us names and dates that were unknown at
the time but which later research proved to be accurate. If your
psychic/medium feels strongly about an area, you may want to set up
some equipment there as well, even if there have been no reports of
- If you have one, a sweep with a Gauss
meter (also known as
an EMF meter) should take place the moment you arrive. This sweep
should be repeated several times during the investigation.
- Tips on working with an EMF meter.
- Hold your meter steady and
level. Try not to move
it around a lot. If you have the type with the probe on the end
of the wire, be careful not to swing the probe around or jolt it
quickly as it can give false readings during such actions.
- If your meter reads very high, check
sources before getting excited. Check for poorly shielded wiring in
walls or electronic equipment in use (particularly microwave ovens), or
in the case of an outside site, underground cables or large
- Many EMF meters have audible alarms
that are pre-set to
go off at about 2.5 milligauss, which is the level considered
dangerous to humans with prolonged exposure. But many times ghost
energy will not register this high (at least at first) so watch your
needle, don't just wait for your alarm.
- If your meter's audible alarm does
sound, you might want
to turn the volume down as it can interfere with EVPs. We learned
from hard experience when a very loud, rapidly beeping meter sounded
during one of our best EVP sessions and made the EVPs almost impossible
to hear. Had someone turned the volume down, the EVP would have
- Once you have done a sweep or two,
find a place to sit
and stay there. Leave the meter on, lay it somewhere safe and
watch the needle. If any spirits come closer to check you out,
the needle will go up. So keep your eyes on it.
- If your meter readings go up, or are
It's a good time to start your EVP work and photography. The
uses a combination of digital and 35 mm photography, and digital
and cassette tape for EVP work.
- If you get a very active spirit, you
might want to try
using your meter to communicate with them. Click here to
learn more and hear an example.
- An amazing thing to note, on many
occasions when our
medium is channeling, the EMF meter will
register when pointed at the medium, and even when held inside the
Medium's closed fist. This does not happen when it is pointed at
or held in the same fashion by others. This does not happen
when the probe is pointed at
the medium at any other time.
- Once you find a place with promising EMF
readings, pick a
spot nearby to start your EVP work.
- Tips on working with EVPs
- Be sure to use external microphones
on all your audio
even if they have a built in microphone. Built in microphones
often pick up the sounds of the inner workings of the audio recorder
and may give, at best, poor quality sound, or at worse, false results.
- When using cassette tape recorders of any kind be sure
to start with a new fresh tape. Reusing tapes is not a good
idea. They lose sound quality each time they are reused.
Sometimes overwriting does not work correctly and some sound may remain
from the previous recordings causing false EVP events.
- Before you start, take a moment to
explain to any
spirits around what you are trying to do. We have seen some new
investigators give the old hands strange looks when they speak out loud
to the unseen, telling them that the device they are putting down can
record their voice and asking them to speak into it, but it does seem
to yield better results.
- NEPRS EVP investigators usually begin
the recording by
saying who they are,
where they are, where the recorders are placed, if there are any
noises expected (crickets, traffic, etc.), and the time and date of the
recording. Then they usually say "Hello" or some other
- There are 2 basic methods of capturing
EVP we at
the NEPRS use. The frst we call
'question and answer EVP'. In this type of EVP the investigators
ask a question and sit silently waiting for a reply. Since EVP
usually only heard when they are played back later, they
hear nothing, so they pause for a while (20 seconds or so) then ask
another question, repeating the pause until they are done with the
questions. The second type is what we call quiet time EVP.
This is when the recorder is started and the the investagators walk
away to a far distance, or even leave the house if they are inside.
- If your group is broken into more than
one party, be
sure everyone writes down any sounds they make in a different area at
times when EVP are being made. If someone in team 1 talks loudly
40 feet away over the hill from team 2 who are attempting to record an
EVP, no one in
team 2 may notice it, but it might end up on the tape as a strange far
- NEPRS has a rule that we do not whisper when any voice
recording device is on. Though you might think whispering is better
when you are making a recording, the NEPRS has found that it only makes
it harder to hear if the faint voice is a team member whispering or a
real EVP. So if any investigators talk, it is done in a clear
- When playing back your EVP at a later
time, listen carefully, as many times ghost voices are very quick or
- Be sure to check anything you hear
against the notes
investigators made so you can rule out odd sounds. You may find
that almost all the strange sounds on your EVP recordings line up with
in the notes.
- Make a recording of the clicking of
camera shutters for
equipment used. This way you can identify their clicks and beeps when
you heard them as the EVP is played back.
- Many times the NEPRS has gotten the
of very loud
sighs on "question and answer" type EVP. Since people will sigh
or exhale heavily without being aware, it's hard to say if these are
ghost sounds or not. We have gotten such sighs on quiet time
EVP, but not nearly as often. So if you hear a loud sigh in your
EVP playback keep an open mind that it might be the investigator's and
not true haunting sounds.
- EVP are difficult to get, or at least
get clearly, so
don't be upset if you get very few or none at all.
- By this time you should be taking photos.
- Tips for taking photos.
- When you take photos we recommend you use several
cameras. We always use at least three.. Different
too. Some people seem more "lucky" when it comes to getting
ghost photos. We use at least 1 digital and 1 35 mm at every
- Know where all your light sources are before you take
even one photo. Where is the moon? Is it full? Are there
street lights or house lights you didn't see in the daytime? Can
you see the light of passing traffic through the trees? If in a home
are there any glow in the dark knobs or light digital displays you
didn't notice before the lights were out? If you are at a
cemetery, where are the glossy stones that might reflect your
- Try not to photograph directly towards the moon, sun,
any other strong single light source. This can cause solar flare
which is sometimes mistaken for orbs.
- We have gotten
some of our
best photos, including the incredible photo of
ectoplasm below, by photographing where our Medium told us to.
note: the NEPRS blurs the faces in our photos to protect our
some of whom feel their belief in the paranormal may hinder their
employment and social opportunities, etc. Otherwise photo above
has not been re-touch in any way.)
- No psychic on staff, don't
worry. It seems that
the 'gut' is one of the best indicators of where and what to
photograph. For most of us, the best photos seem to happen when
we just get the urge to point and click.
- NEVER take photos on rainy days or
when the grass or
brush is still wet from rain. This is sure to give you false orbs.
- When using a 35 mm camera, be sure to
carry extra film
and know how to reload it quickly and in minimum light, just in case.
- Try not to take photos at the same
exact time as someone
else, as your flashes may cause lighting effects that will be
problems. If you do take a photo as someone else's flash is going
off. If possible, try to make note of what number photo it is for
- Be careful not to photograph your
camera strap, thumb,
watch, lens cap, or other such thing that might get in your way.
- A rule of thumb could be that the
higher the EMF reading
the more photos one should take.
- Do not smoke when you take
photos. And do not take
any photos around people who are smoking. Smoke can cause false
ectoplasm in a photograph.
- If the weather is below 45 degrees, or
cold enough to
see your breath in front of your face, hold your breath when taking a
photo so your breath doesn't appear on the photograph as false
PHENOMENA.... Some of our researchers have noticed something we have
called the shimmering lights phenomena.
Though we have no scientific proof, and everything we know about this
is based solely on the report of our investigators, it seems most of
our investigators report that they consistently see a strange
shimmering effect like sparkling lights that fades rather than "goes
off" in front of them when they have taken photos with obvious spirit
manifestations. At first we thought it may have been caused by
the air, as bugs can be a problem. But it has happened
the same investigator could take 10 photos in a 2 minute period in the
same exact spot and only see the shimmering lights phenomena when
taking 1 of the 10 photos. And amazingly that 1 photo will have
or ectoplasm in it, or both! But the ones where no shimmering
phenomena was seen will have nothing unusual in them, even if taken
only seconds apart in the same direction. Interestingly,
shimmering lights phenomena is not seen by everyone. But for
do see it, it has become so consistent that just by noting its
occurrence, we can expect that a roll of film or digital
disk is going to have interesting evidence.
When this photo was taken the Investigator burst out
"Shimmering lights in the daytime! It's a good
away another investigation said, "Great! Quick take another shot!"
camera takes 4 seconds to reset. And another
shot was taken
right away. As the camera clicked the investigator who took it
"Darn. Much less shimmer." Here is the photo from 4 seconds later.
- Using a compass to detect ghost activity.
It has been
for a long time that ghost activity can affect the true north pointing
of a compass needle. NEPRS trust in using a
compass is shaky at best due to the multitude of things that can
affect a compass needle.
According to the Boy Scouts of America a compass can give an
incorrect reading if it is in the presence of iron, steel, or any
electrical device or battery that generates a magnetic field.
Such commonplace things as nails in picnic tables, belt buckles, rings,
lighters, and any rocks containing iron can easily disrupt a compass
Many grave yards in the North East are rimmed with stone walls made of
rocks containing iron. Rod iron
gates, which of course are made of iron, are common enclosures for
graveyards. There is often enough
natural magnetism in these structures to
cause a compass needle to move away from magnetic north and towards
when you are anywhere near them.
The NEPRS only uses compasses for making general maps
But if you want to try using a compass, here is how you do it. Be
sure to take off all metal or electronic items from your person.
Hold the compass
steady and try not to wiggle it too much as you walk, as the needle is
floating in water. Line the needle up with N on your compass. As
you approach an area, watch to see if the needle drifts off of N.
If it does, check to be sure you are not approaching a big rock, an
iron gate, or a telephone poll with wires on it. When the needle goes
off N, take photos, and mark the location as a
spot for later research.
In the days and weeks after an investigation there is a lot to
- First thing is get your evidence together. Start with
listening to all your EVP recordings and watching your videos. It
to do this in groups of 2 or 3 people per EVP or Video. It's
more than one group will review them independently, making notes and
recording questions, statements about their impressions & feelings
(both physical and emotional)
- Each group should isolate anything they feel merits further.
- When you
have your film developed, be sure to tell the lab to
PRINT ALL PHOTOS no matter how dark. Some members have sent film
and forgotten to tell them to print all photos and got only 3 or 4
back from their roll and had to have them printed again.
- If your photo lab offers it, have them make a CD rom of
photos. When you get the CD rom, do not install the photo viewer
program it may have with it, as it will only load low resolution
photos. Be sure to open the original
high resolution photo files. Since photo lab machines are set to
develop standard family photos, the prints you get may be unusually
dark. When you look at the photos on your computer you are likely
see a lot more detail and maybe some ghost activity that doesn't show
in the standard printed photos.
- Assess and note your own photos then have them reviewed by
- Be careful when looking at your photos.
When you get
unusual photos that are not expected, it doesn't hurt to go back and
check out the site again. For example, take a good look at the
photo below, taken at the Pine Hill Cemetery in NH. (also known as
Blood Cemetery). To most of us, it really looked like we got some
amazing light phenomena on the front of this stone in daylight.
But others in our group insisted it was not, so we went back to
the cemetery and checked. Sure enough, the stone itself is
colored like this, as is the stone behind it to the left of the
photo. It is only a trick of the eye that the light tones seem to
create the vision of light streaks that start at the back stone and
continue across the large one in front and onto the grass. Had we
not returned, we would have never been sure.
- Get together and compare notes, review
EVP, videos, photos,
and other evidence if you have it. NEVER feel pushed to declare
something haunted if you do not have enough evidence to support
You can always say "maybe" haunted if you are not sure.
- If you found little or nothing unusual,
say so. Just
you're "ghost hunting" doesn't mean you have to find one.
even the best fishermen come home with an empty net.
- If you worked with an historian, provide
that person with a
copy of your report and important photos.
- If you worked with a homeowner, provide
them with the same.
NEPRS does not recommend that newly trained ghost hunters and people
without experience work with homeowners or families living in
they assume to be haunted. It is difficult to assess people's
feelings, and you must be careful of their state of mind. The
that a home assumed to be haunted is in fact haunted may be
overwhelmingly disturbing to the residents. On occasion it is
even more distressing to
to tell the owner who believes their home haunted that you found
nothing to substantiate the claim.
When doing a private investigation for a homeowner
family, be sure
to take the time to talk to them before hand on how they might feel
about your results. If you believe any person may have mental or
emotional problems, or may develop them when dealing with the possible
results of your
investigation, do not proceed.
Also note: Before investigating any home,
private property, be sure to have the written consent of the owner, not
just the occupant, as in some states your results as to whether
believe the house haunted or not must be revealed to prospective buyers
in the future. This could affect the resale value of the property so
the decision to proceed must be that of the owner.