Chapter 4: Setting Up The Interview
Once you have satisfied the question concerning whether there is something to investigate, you have to make your plans. Investigations must be orderly although they can become chaotic. What you have to shoot for is controlled chaos. The first thing you need to be concerned with is the number of people you will have working with you and how many people will be in the house on the night of the investigation. More is not necessarily better when it comes to investigations. The size of the house and the type of phenomena reported dictate the size of the investigation group. Needless to say, four investigators investigating a possible haunting of a studio apartment will not work. On the other hand, it might be good to have four or more investigators in a ten- room house. Also, the reported phenomena must be considered. If the activity consists of minor movement of objects, you will probably have investigators work alone. On the other hand, if the phenomena reported is frightening, you might want to team up investigators. Common sense should govern.
You also need to be aware of how many people will be in the house that are not with the investigation team. I am in favor of having the entire family home for the investigation. My theory is that we want the “normal” energy patterns in the house. If most of the activity happens when four residents are home, the best chance of having activity take place is with those four present. However, that is where it should end. Unfortunately, I have been on many investigations when it appeared that half of the neighborhood was present. They all wanted to be part of the “ghost hunt.” Forget it! A situation like that quickly turns into a circus and I can guarantee that nothing will take place that night. When confronted with such a situation, the best thing to do is reduce the number or pack up and leave. As much as you want to help the clients, you do not want to waste your time.
The early stages of the investigation are usually a bit nervous. The clients do not know what to expect and the same is true of the investigating team. This can result in nervous laughing and any number of faux pas. There is nothing wrong with a little levity; if anything, it can be helpful. However, it is important that you eventually get down to business. Professionalism is a key here. Anything in moderation is okay but things can get out of hand if you are not careful. If you are using equipment, you will now begin setting it up.
Assuming all that is taken care of, you then assign locations to your investigators. You want to try to have people in the most active areas. If there is movement of objects, you will want to set up camcorders. It is always a good idea to set up audio recorders. You never know what you might get on them. When making assignments, take note of the equipment available and who knows how to use it. Obviously, camcorders will be set up where there is the best likelihood of something moving. If someone has night vision equipment, that person would be assigned to a dark location.
Once everything is set up, all you can do is wait. It is very common for little if anything to happen in the early stages of an investigation. Expect this. It is not recommended that people stay glued to a location for a great length of time. Granted, if you stay in one spot all night, you are not taking the risk of missing something. However, sitting in a dusty attic all night is not the best thing to do either. You can go stir crazy in a hurry. Besides that, your mind will eventually start playing tricks on you. You may also want to rotate locations as the night wears on. Always keep in mind that investigations can go on for a long time so do not burn yourself out on the first night.
Eventually, the night will wear on and with that comes fatigue and silliness. There is nothing wrong with having fun on an investigation. Even professionals need to laugh. Like anything else, common sense is tantamount. On many cases, the clients will ask about other cases. Never tell them about the frightening ones. Most of the time, they are more interested in the funny stories. If you have been investigating for a long time, you will have a treasure trove of hilarious incidents. That can be the best part of the night. It has the advantage of making the night bearable and it also helps to establish rapport with the clients. That will pay off down the road.
At some point, you will decide that you have reached the point of diminishing returns. By this I mean that it is time to call it a night. If the reported phenomena is not serious, you will probably decide to leave earlier than if it appears serious. This is normal; if the people are at risk, you want to stay as long as possible. Again, you may be in it for the long haul so you do not want to overdo it the first night. Again, more is not necessarily better. The next thing we will do is take a look at equipment and what it all means.