Chapter 3: The Interview
The key to answering these questions may lie in the interview process. If someone is doing something like casting spells, they may be honest about it and tell you. Then again, they may be afraid to tell you about that. This is where you may have to dig. In the next chapter, we will look at the best way to conduct the interview. Once you are able to answer these questions, you can begin to formulate a strategy to a positive outcome. Keep something in mind: the best solution is not always to make the spirit leave the premises. After a lengthy investigation, you may determine that the spirit was someone who once lived in the house and means no harm to anyone. This spirit may simply love the house and is not ready to leave it yet. In many cases, once the client realizes that there is no danger involved, they stop worrying about the spirit and in many cases that alone reduces the activity that was taking place. Some people even learn to like “their” ghost. Besides that, there is no sure fire way to force a benign human spirit from a location if it chooses to stay there. An exorcism will not help because that ritual was designed to rid evil, inhuman spirits; thus, it is ineffective in removing human spirits, especially if they are benign to begin with. In so many cases, human spirits will leave on their own once they decide that the place they love is safe.
There is much debate as to how best to conduct an interview. I used to be a proponent of videotaping every interview. The benefit of this is it gives you the ability to review the tape and look for things such as congruence and the like. It also has the value of deterring hoaxes. People are less likely to lie on tape. There is also the added benefit of being able to show the tapes to the other investigators. They may pick up on something you missed. On the negative side, I have noticed that when I videotape an interview, I do not always get the best information. Many people feel embarrassed or shy when it comes to taping. (I do!) Thus, they may be more worried about how they look then they are about answering my questions. You can lose a lot of information that way. To be honest with you, I use my hunches when it comes to deciding whether to video an interview or not. If I suspect that something is not right, I will video it. However, I always audiotape the interview. Again, it has the value of letting other investigators hear the tape and it also comes in handy down the road. In many cases, you will listen to the tape over and over again.
One of the most important things you must do during the interview process is get the client to trust you. Remember, you need all the information you can possibly get. If the client does not trust you, a lot may be lost. Another key is to make sure that you do not do anything that might lead them to believe that you will be critical of them. What I mean is that if someone in the house is dabbling with an Ouija board or something, you have to know that. That certainly is a critical piece of evidence. However, if the person you are interviewing believes that you will be critical of them for doing that, they will hide that from you. That can throw off your whole investigation. You can lose many nights sleep and critical time chasing in the wrong direction. Therefore, never appear critical
When I do an interview, I try to be as loose as possible. I want the client to relax around me and I try to do that using humor. Now this is not to say that you should be the class clown. The trick is to show the client that you take your work seriously but you do not take yourself too seriously. This is much easier to do than you think. I like to work off interview forms for the simple reason that it is easy to lose your train of thought when you are hearing about fantastic phenomena. However, you have to be sure that you do not sound like an interrogator. Ask all of your questions but mix in a little relaxed conversation too. The more information you can get before the night of the investigation, the better off you will be. Also, do your best to sound as supportive as possible. If the client believes that you truly care, they will trust you and they may open up to you more. That is when you can often get very important information
In a sense, the interview process never ends. Over the course of the investigation, you will hear many pieces of information that will be helpful. Always keep your ears open for this. No matter how many times you may have talked to the client and no matter how many questions are on your interview forms, there is always something that gets missed. That is why it is good to establish a good rapport with your client. Sometimes valuable information comes at the oddest of times. Again, keep your ears open.
It is always a good idea to have a member of the opposite sex with you if possible. Match ups can become important. In many cases, a woman will feel more comfortable talking to another woman, sometimes not. You have to be sensitive to this and never take it personally if someone else is doing better with an interview. The goal is to get as much information as possible. Who gets that information is unimportant.
Try to get as much information as possible before the night of the investigation. That can save you time and make it easier to plan your investigation. Your time is valuable to you and you need to do as much possible if it will make things easier for you. Investigations can take a considerable amount of time and you have to be aware of that. A good interview is a must if you want to maximize your time on an investigation.