CAROLINE McKENDRICK, from Somerset Paranormal Investigators UK, describes her methods for investigating private haunted houses…
Over the years, the method which I’ve approached dealing with private haunted houses has developed somewhat.
In the early days of running a paranormal group, we used to attend a property and interview the occupants/homeowner and take down as much detail as possible. This hasn’t changed. But now, I tend to do this initial interview over the phone to start with, getting as much information as possible.
At home, I then carry out historical research about the property and the land and I research the newspaper archives for the area.
I also look for important landmarks that could be responsible for any environmental anomalies in readings, such as power lines or sub-stations etc. These could be potential reasons for high EMF.
A couple of the team members then attend the property to carry out a pre-investigation. This is where we check the information that we have taken is correct, add in anything that the homeowner has forgotten, as well as take environmental readings at the property.
I have recently started to create WhatsApps chat groups for our team investigators involved, and the homeowner.
What I was finding was that the homeowner’s recollection of dates and times were being muddled.
If we have a living document within WhatsApp, it’s easy to look back and reference the date that the activity was reported.
I am then also able to copy all information that comes into the WhatsApp group and paste it directly into the log.
It’s an incredibly difficult, time-consuming job, to try to take information over the phone and then retype it from your notes.
It is then also possible to take these notes and put them into an excel spreadsheet to see if we can find patterns within the activity that is happening in the property.
One thing that has become apparent over the years is, that despite having high-end activity within a property, the homeowner does claim activity that’s either been misinterpreted or just made up.
Risks when investigating private haunted houses
It’s very easy to misinterpret activity in a home, especially if those experiencing it are vulnerable and emotionally distraught from the activity that has been occurring. It’s easy to put everything down to being paranormal. Objectivity goes out of the window.
There have been occasions where homeowners have made up or faked activity.
When questioned, they admit that they feel they have to keep you interested by making stuff up. Unfortunately all this does is skew the evidence because it disrupts patterns being shown of activity in the home.
This is where our team comes into their own. Their reasoning and Investigative skills are superb.
During investigations into a property, strict controls are put into place to avoid as many external influences as possible that could affect the area.
We try to debunk things as they happen, finding reasonable explanations for the activity.
The more I’ve been doing paranormal investigating, the more sceptical I have become, finding very reasonable explanations for why the activity has been occurring.
This is down to learning and educating myself over the years and having a better understanding of environmental influences that could impact claimed activity.
I have also set up a good network of other paranormal researchers and investigators that have expertise in certain fields. They can offer a second opinion if needed.
I have an expert within the EVP field who look into frequencies, and have been able to pinpoint the position in the room that the EVP came from, using the multiple labeled camera and recording devices in the room, and plot them against a room map.
Clear to say, the method in which our team investigates has changed drastically over the years, needing to have more scientific proof, to have thorough controls in place, and experts to analyse the captures!
We are definitely not your bog-standard ghosthunters!
CAROLINE McKENDRICK is the team leader and case handler for SPI UK: Somerset Paranormal Investigators UK
What tips do you have for investigating private haunted houses? Tell us in the comments section below!