How to Investigate a Paranormal Activity or Experience

Have you ever felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up? Have doors slammed shut with no one else in the house? Why not approach the situation logically and maybe learn something cool about it?


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    Look for a logical explanation. As cool as it would be to have a paranormal experience, if you don't investigate the logical explanations you'll always have that edge of doubt in your mind. Look for the everyday explanations. For example, if doors are closing when no one is near, is there heavy or moderate air flow? Are the hinges loose? Is the door jam crooked? If there are "orbs" in pictures you took around the house, stop to think whether you recently dusted the room. The only real way to find evidence of the paranormal is to actively try to disprove your experience. That way if you really cannot find a logical explanation, it means it really must have been something unusual. The best paranormal investigators will always describe themselves as skeptics.
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    Research your location. If logic can't explain your experience, it's time for some research. Search for things like deaths or other traumatic events on the property, other reports of paranormal activity at that location, and other locations with similar manifestations.
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    Try to duplicate the experience. Go back to the location under similar circumstances, perhaps with a friend to act as a witness. Take recording equipment, cameras and EMF detectors. See if the same event happens again and if you can record it in any way.
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    Try to capture the experience in a different way. If you heard voices, try to snap photos or run film in that location as well as recording the EVP (see the Wikipedia link at the bottom for information on EVP.) If you saw a figure, set up sound and temperature recording devices as well. The more ways you can document the haunting, the better.
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    Remain objective. Keep your mind open to all possibilities. Neither dismiss your experiences as "just imagination", nor accept each bump and flash as proof of a haunting. Weird things happen all the time. The fun part is figuring out why!
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    Call in the Pros. If you have significant evidence of a haunting (photos, recordings, multiple witnesses, etc) call in the paranormal professionals. Check with your local university's psychology department, the newspaper or even the Yellow pages. But be careful. The field of paranormal investigation is awash with frauds and con men, so check out your expert's credentials thoroughly!


  • Try investigating with a friend or two.
  • Never be scared to ask questions, even if you think no one is there.
  • Set up motion sensors. Paranormal activity can trigger motion sensors.
  • Maintain caution in what you deal with. (Do you want to star in a recreation of The Exorcist?)
  • Be professional: A well-groomed and intelligent person is more convincing than an unkempt, raving lunatic.
  • Be prepared for ridicule: If you make your findings or research public you will be laughed at.
  • Stand by your findings. You went through all that work, at least get credit for it.
  • Read and study: Monsters by John Michael Greer is a good start.


  • Don't try to investigate paranormal activity in dangerous places like abandoned buildings or high crime areas. The ghosts aren't the danger, the living breathing people and crumbling floors are.
  • Respect private property, and always obtain permission before entering. It's better to do this than to be surprised by a load of rock salt from a shotgun--or worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Open Mind
  • Transportation
  • Equipment Essentials: Notebook, pen, tape recorder, decent camera with a flash, appropriate gear should you venture away from civilization.
  • Useful: Laptop, thermal camera, digital thermometer, wireless cameras you can network to the laptop or other recording device.
  • Permission, if you are on private or government land.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Paranormal Beliefs