Katrina, in Laguna Nigel, California asks:
I don’t know very much about ghosts, paranormal activity or haunted houses, but there have been some strange occurrences in my attic and I was wondering how I can tell if it is paranormal or just normal sounds. Are there any clues or experiments you can suggest do determine if my house is haunted?
Psychic Marin ext. 5113 responds:
Many callers are perplexed by situations that appear paranormal, and they seek to get to the root of the cause. The most commonly reported signs of activity are: experiencing the sense of being watched, hearing strange noises, seeing moving objects or unexplained shadows, and feeling cold spots and the sense of the hair on the back of your neck raising. Try some of these exercises to explore these areas further…
1. Diary of a Ghost Hunter. Begin a journal and record all activity that you think is “strange.” Write down what the occurrences may be, the times in which they take place, and any obvious changes within the area where the events occur, such as cold spots, sounds or even visible manifestations. I also recommend that you research the property and dwelling history, and include this information in the journal as well. Local historical libraries or old neighbors can be a wealth of information. After reflecting on the notes and information you have gathered, try to determine if it is the person, house, land, or object that is being haunted.
Sometimes sounds like the water heater, wood expanding and contracting, or weather disturbances can cause sounds that may seem eerie, but in reality, are all perfectly normal. The human imagination contributes to this, as we often see or hear things that aren’t what we think they are. A nightmare, scary movie, or bedtime story can influence your imagination. A paranormal journal is your first step in determining whether or not actual paranormal activity is occurring.
2. Photography. By using a digital, 35mm, or Polaroid camera, you can often capture images of paranormal phenomenon. Paranormal activity will appear in the form of orbs (small spherical images appearing in a random pattern), vortex (an energy pattern that will appear in the image as a line of light), and vapor (a hazy appearance, similar to smoke swirling). If you are fortunate to capture one of these images, it doesn’t automatically indicate a entity. There can be nonparanormal interferences in photography, such as dust, sun spots, or weather that can account for some of the odd appearances in your images.
3. EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena). EVP recording can be performed in a quiet room, free from distractions. Using a blank cassette tape (preferably new) or digital recorder, begin recording, and boldly ask a question out loud. Repeat your question three times, and allow for plenty of time for an answer. Limit you initial session to one or two questions, such as “What is your name?” or “Why are you here?” After speaking your question, you can then instruct the spirit that you are going to allow the recorder to allow for “free talk,” in case there is anything they would like to share. After an hour of recording, stop the player and play back for any sound or responses you can decipher.
4. Video Documentation. When attempting to capture paranormal footage, persistence is the key. For a beginner, it would be extremely rare to produce instant footage of activity during your first attempt. Even if you have done the research and are in a location with suspicious activity, you must avoid any errors as a videographer that could negate your footage, such as lighting issues and unintentional sounds that you could easily confuse for paranormal activity.
Lastly, when conducting any paranormal investigation, ask for permission to photograph them, and invite them to appear for you. Show appreciation and let them know that you will continue to recognize them. Most paranormal occurrences arise out of the simple need for attention and recognition, desiring the same affection you desire. Respect the dead just as you would respect the living.