Chapter 02: Research Before the Ghost Hunt

Research Before the Ghost Hunt

Research makes up the majority of work performed prior to a ghost hunt. Ghost-hunting research is aimed at discovering, interpreting and understanding the different aspects of the investigation using historical facts and logical deductions. Careful research leads to successful results. Poor research or no research will lead to failure. Developing gut feelings is useful but allow those personal intuitions to stem from applying knowledge and the facts. Knowing and understanding the facts will allow ghost hunters to develop a chain of reason that can be used to justify conclusions.

Prospective ghost hunters avoid research for one of three reasons: (1) The word “research” sounds like boring technical work; (2) Ghost hunters do not know how or where to begin researching; and (3) Ghost hunters do not understand that research will aid the process.

The majority of ghost-hunting research is spent listening to people tell ghost stories and reading through old newspapers or books for insightful details. Research also means putting together location histories including lists of the people and their personalities that lived at the property. Ghost hunters must consider themselves detectives searching for evidence and clues that will help them catch an elusive ghost.

Begin the research with simple tasks like speaking to neighbors. Conduct the proper interviews with neighbors who know anything about the ghost, the past occupants or any strange occurrences. Search for documents and old articles at the local library, the local historical society or the local newspaper. Most libraries have past newspaper articles on file. Newspaper companies also have research departments. If a ghost hunter is in need of structural records or names of past occupants, check the local library, town hall or the county courthouse. Some people feel intimidated about calling a courthouse or visiting City Hall. Government institutions are there to help the public and the information is public record. Another way to gain information is through a title search company; however, a title company will charge a fee for services. The Internet is also a large resource of public information. Research is a valuable tool of ghost hunts.

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