How can I join a ghost hunting group?

Would you like to join a ghost hunting group?

Some of them are great.

Shadowy figuresOthers were started when ghost hunting TV shows reached their peak — before 2012 — and kind of fell apart after that. A few dedicated members may still be ghost hunting, but they’re not as enthusiastic as they once were.

So, don’t sign up for the first ghost hunting group you find. Check all your options, first.

Start with an online search for local ghost hunting groups.

– Examine each group’s website. Is it well organized? Is it believable? Is it updated regularly?

– Are they open to visitors and new members? (Some groups welcome new ghost hunters on investigations. Others are closed. A few host only fund-raising events.)

– Read the profiles of individual members and see if they have their own blogs. Do they sound like smart, experienced, interesting ghost hunters? Have any of the members already made up their minds about ghosts?

In other words, are they really investigating ghostly phenomena? Or, are they looking for evidence to confirm what they already believe? (If you share their beliefs, that group may be okay.)

Make sure the group seems a good match for your interests. You’ll spend hours sitting in the dark, waiting for ghosts. If your companions annoy you, those hours can be pretty awful.

When you have found a likely group, contact them.

– Have several phone or Skype conversations before meeting anyone.

– Don’t go alone. Bring a friend with you during your first meeting.

– If something makes you uncomfortable during the investigation, leave. You don’t need to make up an excuse. “This isn’t right for me” is enough. (If a group keeps trying to include you, ask them to leave you alone.)

Unfortunately, this is important: Rarely, sexual predators join (or form) ghost hunting groups. They like working in the dark. Women and children are the most frequent victims, but they’re not the only ones.

Remember: Physical phenomena are unusual. That includes ghosts that touch, pinch, or slap you.

If you feel uneasy around someone during a ghost hunt, you don’t need to make up an excuse. Just leave.

Not comfortable walking away…? Need an excuse no one will argue with?

– Say that you had fish for dinner and now you feel like you’re going to throw up.

– Act as if your phone is on vibrate. Pretend to answer it, wait about 15 seconds, and say into the phone, “I’ll be right home.” Then, say you have an emergency at home, and leave.

On the other hand, if the group seems like a good match, go on several more investigations with them.

Then, try a couple of investigations with another group, and so on. Identify what you like and don’t like about each ghost research team and the locations they investigate.

If you decide to join one of them, ask what’s involved. A waiver may be necessary. Read it carefully.

Things to avoid:

– A long-term commitment.

– A large, up-front fee.

– A fee to be part of the “inner circle.”

– Restrictions on who else you can ghost hunt with, what you can talk about, and so on.

If you’re going to join a ghost hunting group instead of start one yourself, choose carefully. You’re going to be in stressful situations with them. Be sure they don’t contribute to the stress, but help you achieve your personal goals as a ghost hunter.

How do I start ghost hunting?

Are you ready to start ghost hunting?

Have you watched a lot of TV shows such as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures? Are you sure it’s a hobby you’d like to try?

If you have a good idea what’s involved in ghost hunting, and you’re eager to try it, you may be ready to explore a haunted location with other ghost enthusiasts.

haunted house in NHLearn more about the subject, first. Get some hands-on experience with a team or someone who’s been ghost hunting for some time.

Don’t rush out to a “haunted” site in the middle of nowhere, thinking it will be fun. You might be scared (or bored) out of your mind, and wonder what you got yourself into.  Sometimes it’s easy to get in your car and leave.

At other locations, especially if you’re in “lockdown,” it’s not so simple.

In addition, some isolated “haunted” sites are truly dangerous. (Those dangers usually come from the living more than the dead, but both are possible.)

Best ways to learn more about ghost hunting

  • Watch ghost related TV shows. (If you’re using Roku or other streaming-to-TV devices, look for ghost-specific channels.)
  • Watch ghost hunting videos on YouTube, etc.
  • Read my books. (Of course I’m going to say that.)
  • Read books by ghost hunters (and the stars of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, and similar shows).
  • Visits websites like mine, EncounterGhosts.com.
  • Read about haunted places in books, magazines, and newspapers, and online.
  • Listen to ghost-related podcasts.

Be sure you understand the risks of ghost hunting. You can avoid most dangers if you know what to expect.

Most real investigations include waiting for hours while nothing happens. Even at reliably haunted sites, expect a lull as long as two hours. After that, the “haunting” may only be an unexplained sound or a brief shadow seen by one person, out the corner of his eye. That’s typical, and it may be disappointing.

Now and then, an investigation seems tame for the first 20 minutes or so. Then things turn chilling. You’ll have one eerie experience after another, for an hour or longer.

If that sounds fine to you, download my free, four-week course. It explains basic ghost hunting.

Learn some of the words. Know what to expect during investigations. Try some inexpensive ghost hunting tools like homemade dowsing rods.

Some people start with public, organized ghost hunts. Often, they’re advertised online, in newspapers, and on community bulletin boards.

Ghost hunting events attract dozens or even hundreds of people.

What to expect at a ghost hunting event

  • You’ll usually hear a talk by one or more professional ghost hunters.
  • Then, you’ll learn about the history and layout of the location you’re investigating.
  • After that, the audience is usually divided into smaller groups. Each group will investigate one part of the location for a while.
  • Then, you’ll swap places with another group, and see what happens there. You’ll continue the rotation until you’ve explored the entire site.
  • Later, you’ll share your discoveries with others at the event, including some of the professional ghost hunters.

Tip: Most professional ghost hunters are eager to talk with people who share their interests. A few professionals are obnoxious. Don’t take it personally. They’re insulting and arrogant with me, too.

Some others — including me — can seem shy, “too busy,” or less accessible. (Talk to us anyway.  Most of us are happy to chat and share insights and research methods.)

Events show you what can happen during ghost hunts. You’ll meet people who are interested in ghosts.  You’ll understand more about ghost hunting.

If this isn’t as much fun as you’d expected, it’s okay to quit ghost hunting. You didn’t spend much money. You didn’t commit to membership in any groups. You met some interesting people, and maybe a few celebrities. You have some stories to share with friends and family.

Did you enjoy the events you attended? Look for good ghost hunting groups in your area. See if you can go on a few investigations with them.

Explore with different groups

Go on investigations with several groups. Decide whether you’d like to join any of them.

No groups in your area, or none you’d like to join? That’s okay. Find a few friends with similar interests. Explore safe, popular haunted locations near you.  Start your own group.

Never go ghost hunting by yourself.  Even with friends, avoid isolated haunts.

Haunted cemeteries

Haunted cemeteries can be a good starting point. Often, you can learn about the cemetery’s ghosts, online. Almost every community has a haunted grave or cemetery.

Also, ask local residents what’s haunted. Read regional newspaper stories, especially around Halloween.

I like cemeteries for many reasons. For example, you can use information on headstones to research the real history of each ghost. (Many haunted houses and battlefields are far more difficult to research.)

Regional books can provide extra information about haunted cemeteries. Ask at the public library. That information can make research more interesting.

My book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries: A How-to Guide, can be helpful, too. Your public library may have a copy.

What is a ghost hunter? Why would anyone want to hunt a ghost?

The term “ghost hunter” is slang. The person is hunting for evidence of ghosts.

It’s an old expression.  I’ve seen it used in the early 1890s. I think it’s far older than that.

So, don’t think a TV producer invented the phrase.

The Ghost Hunters™ TV series re-popularized the phrase in the early 21st century.  The phrase is trademarked, but only for the TV series and products directly related to the show.

The stars of the Ghost Hunters TV series are from a research group called TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society. It was around long before the TV series started. They have their own website, separate from the TV show.

As far as I know, nobody actually “hunts” ghost. It’s not like hunting game for dinner.  (Some people hunt demons, but that’s a different field.)

Would you like to become a ghost hunter?  Do you have questions about ghosts and paranormal phenomena?  If so, ghost hunting may help you find answers.

Your research may be tedious and time-consuming. Many investigations involve uncomfortable settings. The work can be fascinating. Sometimes, it’s exhilarating. However, it’s still work. It’s rarely relaxing.

If you’re more interested in being entertained, try ghost tours. They’re fun. Many are theatrical performances. Others may reveal actual ghosts.

You might also like John Sabol’s presentations. What’s going on in front of you is real. It’s often extreme and fast-paced.  It’s very different than typical ghost hunts.

If you’re not sure, sign up for some ghost hunting events. Try several. No two are exactly alike.

Some researchers and psychics are more credible than others.  (I can vouch for Gordon Ellison, Lesley Marden, Sean Paradis, and David Wells, among others.)

The key is whether you have unanswered questions, or if you’re looking for entertainment.