Reluctantly you search the entire house and you realize that nobodies there.
So it's happened, you think that your home maybe haunted.
When in this type of situation happens it's hard to say how different people will respond to this situation. I've seen people react to the possibility of a ghost in their home in various ways. It runs the gamut of anything from those who think they must have gone crazy, to those who are terrified and want to find out answers immediately, even if they've never dealt with this type of thing before.
I have also seen a wide variety of what can go wrong when people don't know what to do, and take the situation into their own hands.
Now before we get started, this is not saying that my opinions are correct in this matter. All I can do is base an opinion after years of watching this type of situation go awry.
Bad things CAN happen, even when the situation seems completely innocent.
Now when faced with this situation, it seems people are left with 4 choices. Of course each choice has its downfalls, and positive aspects. There is no easy answer, but I will explain each as best as I can, based on my own observations.
Lets look at those options.
Ignoring the situation is not a bad thing, Especially if you don't feel you are in any type of danger. After all, chances are if we don't give it much attention, it has the possibility of going away. At least that's what I've experienced after doing this for a few years now.
It's important to point out that before calling anyone into your home to do ANY job, paranormal or not, its important to do your homework. I cannot stress this enough. Unfortunately the Paranormal community is not policed by any other governing agencies. There is not an actual certification procedure that takes place, ensuring you that the person you call into your home is by any means qualified to give a professional opinion about what it is they find. My best advice is to look carefully at their pages (web domains, Facebook, Blogs, etc). How do they carry themselves? Look at their "evidence" they produce. Look at their mission statements. Look at reviews left by other clients, who've used their services. NEVER be afraid to look into the individuals coming into your home. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Even as the founder of a team myself, it makes me sad to admit there are some really shady characters posing as helpful investigators who are not fit to be in your home around your valuables, or around your family.
With a little investigation on your own behalf, its easy to rule out teams who maybe not the best fit for your situation. My theory is, a team who has millions of photography-type evidence on their pages, may not be the best choice. While I agree that its important to share our findings with others in the community, there is a point where we have to draw the line. I find it suspect when a team has a rather large handful of evidence from every place they've ever visited, with very little supportive information to why they believe their findings are paranormal. A good team will be crusading for truth rather legend or a good ghost story. A good team will be seeking out answers other than paranormal before jumping to paranormal conclusions. Most likely this type of team will come into your home, "find a ghost" (if not many), and feed deeper into your fears and anxieties that you already have.
Use your gut instincts.
Teams that use analytical thinking will have a few good, solid pieces of possible "evidence" on their pages, if any at all. This is the type of team I recommend. It's important while investigating the paranormal, to rule out and exhaust all avenues of logical possibilities, before looking towards a paranormal one. This will mean hours of research, interviewing, and data collection before coming to a conclusion. Its important to find out what can be causing a claim. For example: Those foot steps, could they be rodents? Shaky pipes? A neighbor pacing down stairs? etc. If they immediately conclude that its the ghost of Mr. Sherman from 1843 pacing the halls, red flags should be going off.
Any team that can go in after a couple of hours and deem a home haunted, may not be there looking out for your best interests. Ghosts are not circus performers, and do not work on demand. It takes time and lots of observation to come to any conclusion.
Now, after all of that, the good in finding a team to check out your home? You're getting an outside on an opinion by someone who does not have a biased opinion of your situation. If treated with care, a good team can give you answers without scaring you to death. It's important that a team remains unbiased to your situation. If they come up with nothing and make a determination that your claims are perfectly explainable, be relieved. If they come up with the conclusion that they have in fact had profound findings that they cannot explain, then you can go on to the next phase of what to do. That's up to you and your team of choice to come up with a solution, if any at all. Never feel pushed into doing anything you're uncomfortable with. You are in control of your situation. You have to decide if your situation warrants any further intervention. Sometimes simply ignoring the situation, or finding compromise is the best bet. Sometimes personal spiritual beliefs play into what your next step will be.
A few years ago, I had a call from a woman who had moved into a new home, and she was terrified beyond words. She told me her numerous claims, ranging from voices to shadow figures being seen outside her peripheral vision. She stated that it started out as curiosity and she only suspected that there maybe things going on. She told me in time that her "ghost" had grown in intensity and became extremely malevolent. She had also become extremely depressed, and she claimed this entity was draining her energy. This is when she explains to me that she has hundreds of hours of video containing orbs that would surround her. Hours of voices on audio recorders, and a large collection of photos that contained ghosts. Hearing this I instantly suspected what was happening. Her curiosity had launched into bull blown paranoia. Still wanting to go into this without surmising what was happening without checking into it, I agreed to look at her footage.
As suspected, the many hours of video footage were captured in the middle of the night using a cellphone with a very bright external light source. There were small balls of light coming towards her. I could hear her talking to each one, beckoning some to come forward, others to go away. By her comments, I realized that she had already concluded that these were in fact paranormal in nature. Her photos were blurry and in my opinion, taken with a camera set up on night shot (slow shutter speeds), which is the incorrect settings for this type of situation. Her audio was quite questionable as well. She was recording audio while she slept and while she was at work. It was all completely unmonitored data collection. Much of the audio taken while she was sleeping, in my opinion, sounded like her talking in her sleep. Other clips sounded like a dog barking in the distance. The hums of noises coming from the world outside morphed into sounds that could easily be misinterpreted, through a phenomena called auditory pareidolia.
I gently explained my conclusion based on what I observed using her own words and her own "evidence". I concluded after investigating her home, she had terrified herself through over-reading everything she felt significant, even if there was a logical explanation for what was happenand. She was not sleeping because her obsession with every creak or bump in the house had become out of control. She felt drained because every thought had become consumed with finding out what was happening in her house. She had become withdrawn from family and friends. She found herself going over recordings to the point she wasn't doing much of anything else.
Our investigation yielded no evidence of paranormal phenomena.
While her case was extreme, she is not the first, or the last person I've encountered with this type of reaction to investigating their own home.
When we are biased to our situation, its hard to be objective about what we find. We are too close to the situation. We are emotionally invested into it. Emotion typically overrides logical thinking. Our fears take control and we are left to bear the weight of the situation on our own. Often misperception and a lack of knowledge leads to the person becoming more traumatized than anything else.
Another reason, which is more an opinion of the metaphysical sort than anything else, is that if we are giving all of our time and attention to this "ghost", how can that be healthy? If there is something in our home of the paranormal sort, and it is feeding off our energy, why give in to it? Intention is a very powerful thing, in my personal opinion. If we are perceiving something as positive, we will gain positive from it. If we perceive negative, we will get negative from it. Regardless, there is a point where we have to realize we need to take a step back and ask for help from either someone experienced in this type of thing, or someone we can trust whether that be a friend, or even clergy.
Asking for help is a hard thing to do, but going with it alone is even harder in the long run.
4) Write it down. Something I typically recommend to people who are experiencing something strange in their home that is becoming a nuisance, is to simply keep a journal. If something notable is happening in the home, write it down. Keep track of the time of day its happening, what the conditions are at the time (weather, noisy outside, wind blowing, who's home, etc). Write down what we suspect is happening, and take a moment to reflect on what else it could rationally be. Keep an open mind to the non-paranormal possibilities. After writing it down, try your best to stay calm, not draw attention to it. Simply observe. It's my opinion that empowering the client to remain in control of their situation is very important. Do not give, whatever is happening, any attention to draw from. Much like a victim situation with the living, do not give the violator the satisfaction of being in control. If it is negative, there's a chance it may feed on your fears. If it is paranormal, even as noisy and as a nuisance, that does not necessarily mean that it is malevolent. Perhaps it is just misunderstood and our imaginations and emotions are getting the best of us. Simply observe and write down what you are experiencing. In time perhaps you can look at this journal and find information or trends you didn't realize were there. Come up with a conclusion on your own. If you are unable to do so, you have a great piece of information in case you do decide to seek help down the road.
The important thing is to remember to take care of yourself. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of your situation. Stay strong, stay vigilant, and become knowledgeable about your situation. If you conclude help is needed, reread this paragraph and proceed.
If you need advice on a situation or finding a team in your area, local or not, please feel free to contact me email@example.com