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Best Practices for Investigation

Do – Ensure that all devices are undamaged, properly operating, and have fully charged batteries.

Know your equipment. If it makes a noise, find out how to turn the sounds off. Know what sort of batteries it requires, what tapes, or flash memory it takes, how long it will run for unattended or how long it takes to charge the flash.

Get permission to be at the location you plan to investigate. Trespassing is a great way to ruin your reputation. Being arrested for trespassing is even worse.

Have a plan before you show up. This cuts down the amount of time it takes to set your equipment up.

Work as a team. There should be at least three of you and working together will help make things like taking baseline readings run smoothly.

Document what you do, when you did it and what you experienced. You can do this with cameras and audio recorders but a pencil and notepad never suffer from battery drain or run out of tape or require a change of flash memory.

Treat the location with respect. After all, you may want to go back.

Map the location and mark the placement of equipment. Even a rough map will do, because it will help you debunk on the night and may help during evidence review.

Bring spare batteries, video tapes, camera film, audio tapes etc- if your equipment uses it, have two spare sets of everything. You never know when you will need it.

Interview witnesses, if anyone is willing to talk, record their experiences. This may give you good ideas where you need to put equipment.

Reinvestigate, especially if you come up with anything interesting. Ghosts rarely perform on command.

Carry a watch for noting times of occurrences and specific details; use walkie-talkies to keep in touch with other team members; bring a flashlight, check the batteries. Have a first-aid kit on hand.

On-site Inspection

Give the outside of any building a thorough once-over. Note any bushes or tree limbs that have contact with the building and could cause banging or scraping noises. Look for visibly loose boards, siding, shingles, rain gutters, or shutters.

While outside, stand in several different locations and observe if there are any sound amplification points. House angles, trees, and terrain changes can affect how sound travels.

Indoors, check all windows and doors for drafts. Don’t forget to check attic and basement access points.

Rooms containing fireplaces should also be examined closely. Is the flue open or closed? Are there any animals nesting in the chimney that may be causing unexplained noises?

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