In this article, find 11 of the most common questions I get asked about being a cozy ghost hunter, and … well … cozy ghost hunting. Read more after the jump.
How Long Did It Take Before You Realized You Followed The Cozy Ghost Hunting Style?
It was a bit of an epiphany. I started out with the confirmation style. That’s where you interview witnesses, do some basic historical research, then pull out the Mel meter and get to work. But, it wasn’t very fulfilling. I wanted to know more about who could be the ghost, why it haunted a place, and what keeps it anchored there. That led me to look into whodunit mysteries and sleuthing like true crime fanatics. I started using more of those techniques in my paranormal investigating, and it totally changed my perspective on what it means to be a ghost hunter.
Were You Inspired By Any Specific Paranormal Investigators?
This will sound awful, but not really. I bought some books to learn when I first started paranormal investigations. I always recommend Chris Balzano’s “Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting” and Benjamin Radford’s “Investigating Ghosts.” As a cozy ghost hunter, you get to the point and focus on running good experiments to collect clues and evidence. Radford’s book is the best at doing just that.
What Are Some Of Your Favorite Cases?
My favorite place to investigate is The Congress Plaza Hotel in (my former hometown) Chicago. It has a rich history of deadly acts, mobsters, socialite suicides, and more spirit shenanigans. I researched the ghost of a little boy named James, who just wanted to be with his family. He was killed during a mob hit in 1921 (answering off the top of my head on the year).
More recently, it was The Old Courthouse Inn in Powell River, British Columbia. That was a wild couple of nights with EVPs, shadow figures, doors opening, and motion detectors catching something running down empty hallways. I’ll be back for a second part. I’ve got a few suspected ghosts to question.
What Ghost Hunting Equipment Has Really Helped You Gather Clues And Evidence?
You know I’m a gadget junkie, right? I’ve written a post about gadgets to use on a cozy ghost hunt. Check that one out first. I’ve had the most success with a camcorder (with a great mic on it), an audio recorder, EDI+, EMF meters, and interaction gadgets like a Boo Buddy. Here’s the thing: You never really know what will happen when you start the ghost hunt. Some gadgets go bonkers, others are silent. Sometimes, you get a ton of EVPs, while other nights it’s quiet. If you have equipment that covers visual evidence, audio evidence, environmental anomalies, and engagement, you’ll be in a good place to collect evidence. Cozy ghost hunting relies on audio the most because you’re interviewing (or is interrogating?) a ghost for clues.
How Should Someone Start As A Cozy Ghost Hunter?
Start in your own backyard. Many towns have haunted places or ghost stories. Use those as leads. It’s amazing what you can find by just knowing an address. It opens up leads for your to follow. Look at the previous owners of a location online to get a list of suspects. Then, take it from there. I’ll write a post about getting leads and seeing if a case is worthwhile in the near future.
How Do You Get Access To Haunted Places To Investigate?
Just ask. If it’s a public place like a museum, you can send an email to the general inquiry email address. I like to combine it with a records request or visit to the archives. Then, you can sleuth while you’re reviewing records. I think that’s pretty exciting.
Don’t get discouraged if you get turned down. You’ll probably have a 20% success rate when you first start. I find having a really good website with your research or social media profile with some of your investigations helps open doors literally. If the approver knows you’re legit, then your success rate goes up.
Can You Be A Solo Cozy Ghost Hunter?
Sure, go for it. If you focus on public places, then safety isn’t as much of a concern (see the next question). If you do go to a home or abandoned place, then bring another person and let people know where you went. The living and rabid animals are more dangerous than ghosts.
Why Do You Focus On Public Places Rather Than Private Residences?
There are 2 reasons. First, it’s for your safety. I’ve been locked in a haunt against my will, a partner has been assaulted by a homeowner due to mental illness, clients have had family and friends over to watch a real ghost hunter, and more reasons you can shake a stick at. You may also uncover some ‘dirt’ about the current owners. It happens during research. All your private details are just a few clicks away. If you know the person well, then it’s fine, but I’m done with private homes.
Second, I like public places like museums, archives, old hotels, and places like these because they have a long history to look into. They’re public so you can find many more records and documentation, too. You also don’t run into troubling personal details about the people who lived there. They’re usually long since dead. It’s fun to step back in time and think of how the haunt was over 50 years ago.
What Kind Of Training Do You Need To Be A Ghost Hunter?
First, a lot of the training is self-directed. You’re in charge of your learning path. That said, there are 3 areas of study I think cozy ghost hunters should have some knowledge of:
- History (mainly research methods)
- Investigative journalism (for sleuthing, interviewing, and putting clues together)
- Basic police procedures (to learn how to collect evidence)
Also, put time into learning how to use your equipment. If you don’t know how to use your gadgets, then all the clues and evidence you collect may be useless.
How Do You Know It’s Time To Close A Case?
Once I’ve verified the evidence collected from the haunt (i.e., the EVPs trace to an individual and other evidence supporting it), I can close the case. The goal of cozy ghost hunting is to identify the spirit and why they haunt a location. You can provide counseling on how to live with a haunting if it’s appropriate. If you can do that, then you can close the file.
Do You Believe You Should Cross A Spirit Over?
No, I don’t. Spirits, especially intelligent hauntings, move on when they want to. If there’s no indication they’re stuck between the living and ghost worlds, don’t meddle. I mean, would you want to be evicted from your home to make someone feel better about themselves? I don’t think so. Plus, I’ve had cases where ghosts return after a clearing, and they were angry. Think twice about trying it.