This is just some of the basic things you need to know before you go hunting for ghosts. There are several good books that have a more in-depth look at ghost hunting, most of which can be found at larger book stores
"While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead."
Percy Bysshe Shelly, 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty'
GHOST HUNTING BASICS
What follows are merely guidlines, you don't have to follow them to the letter. Over time you will build your own technique. The key to creating your own style of investigating is experimentation. Everyone has their own way of investigation, but there are two guidelines that everyone should follow.
No matter how you decide to conduct an investigation, don't jump to conclusions. Investigate!
In other words, keep your head!
Above all, the people you will talk with during your investigations should be given the utmost
respect and courtesy. It is very hard for the average person to even consider consulting a
paranormal investigator due to the many norms and taboos in our society. They are relying on
and if you treat your clientle right, they will surely return the favor by telling trusted
friends or family of your professionalism.
Before going into an investigaton you should know what your innvestigating. Many people put
ghosts, spirits, and poltergeists into one catagory. Knowing what type of haunting will help you to know what techniques to use.
GHOSTS AND APPARITIONS
The "technical" definition of a ghost is: some paranormal aspect of the physical form and/or
mental presence that appears to exist apart from the original physical form. But in "laymans" terms it is described as a form of recording, similar to an audio or videotape, a ghost is the residual energy of a person, animal, or even an inanimate object.
A recording can be likened to a truck being driven down a muddy road. The tire tracks are left
in the mud, giving the next person a visual indication of the tread. The tracks may eventually
be worn away to the point that identification would be almost impossible. If the truck went down the same path every day the tracks would be more distinct.
This is also true of ghost recordings, with one difference. Recordings can be "recharged" by a
person who has an aura close to the person that made the first recording. Thus explaining why a family can live in a house and not have anything unexplainable happen, but when another family
moves in the ghostly activity starts almost instantly.
TYPES OF APPARITIONS
For a more general description see Theories of Apparitions.
To many, a ghost or apparition must always be visual; in fact, they can be realized by any of
senses. The the most part visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory apparitions come in
a combination of the senses, but sometimes only one sense is involved.
This is the manifistation of a person, animal, or object that was commonly linked to the area in life. There are different levels that they can be seen at. Some can be seen whole, like seeing a live person. Most of them are either hazy or blurry, almost as if out of focus. Likely a person seeing an appariton will see a fully formed individual with one or more obvious body parts(legs, head, arms, etc.) missing. The last being in areas of battles or other violence.
Sounds are more readily experienced than any of the other types. Usually sounds of conversations or footsteps are heard. Other sounds include doors opening and closing, singing and music, yelling, and battle cries.
Everyday odors and scents are associated with the olfactory manifistation. A lot of hauntings
have had organic scents connected to them (usually flowers like rose or lavender) that happen
before or just after a visual or auditory apparition. Other smells are of food be prepared; bread baking; pipe, cigar, and gun smoke; as well as alcohol or purfume. Usually the scents are
related to the ghost.
This is a noticeable change in temperature for no apparent reason (unless you live in Chicago, then its normal - pardon the humor) and is a sign that a ghost or spirit is present. A
temperature change of five to twenty degrees is the norm. This is generally the rule but
increases in temperature have been reported. This happens when people have died in fires.
An additional type of tactile occurs when a person can actually feel the ghost. A brush of the
hair, a gentle breeze, and scratches are of this type. This is the least common of all the manifistations, and when it does appear it is very slight. Instances of this type include feeling a slight wind in a closed-off room or a slight tug on a person's clothing when nobody is around.